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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Crumpets and Tea, Huntington, West Virginia

I love tea rooms, and they are getting hard to find!  Is it any wonder?  Everyone is such a hurry, no time for tea, no time for living!  I will take time for tea.  Recently my husband and I moved (temporarily) to West Virginia for his job.  He works and I play.  I hunted all over Ashland, Kentucky for a tea room--no luck.  I did find this little place in Huntington, West Virginia.  Crumpets and Tea is located in the back of an antique store downtown Huntington.  What a delight this was.  I recommend this place to everyone.
 I always feel so special and pampered when I sit at a table like this.
 The decorations are so interesting, which makes the dining an experience.  I was in a graduate course at Sul Ross State University, and we had an owner of a guiding service at one of our meetings.  He said, "We are living in the 'experience' age.  People pay to have an experience.  People want to have supper under the stars in the bottom of a canyon with candles and table clothes."  He ran Big Bend River Tours out of Terlingua, Texas and gave people the experience of floating the Rio Grande, and probably dining under the stars.
 I could have the same food at a table outside of Sonic and it wouldn't be the same, because the eye appeal just isn't there under an umbrella outside Sonic drive in.
 It's fun watching the guests who came in to dine.  I couldn't take any photos of them, of course.  I wish I could have taken one of the man sitting at this table.  He had on a grey suit with a blue tie, and he sat ram-rod straight.  He had the whitest hands I have ever seen.  I know those hands never did a moment of physical anything, except put on clothing, brush his teeth and comb his hair!  If he had to change a flat tire, he would have never lived through it.  I marveled at how daintily he handled his fork, taking little bits of bread pudding on the end of the utensil.  See eating at a tea room is more than food.  I love it.
 Karen has her business organized, and she makes the most of the small space she has for food prep and service.  She says the best part of the business is meeting people.  The hardest part is doing big functions (they do special meals for whatever reason).  And Karen says in order to start something like this you need capital to support yourself.  You cannot expect to draw a big salary from the tea room right away.  Hire local experts for things you cannot do.  Remember,  you have to have permits in these large places, probably not in Jayton, Texas, but Huntington, yes.
 Just a little glimpse of the kitchen area.
 Meet the owners, Karen and Dr. Dale Shook.  Dr. Dale grew up in Illinois, and Karen in Indiana.  She says they have the same work ethic--mid-western.  I have one regret--I didn't really get to talk to these two people the way I would like to.  They are  so interesting!  They  worked in Saudi Arabia for six years, spent time working in Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and then to top it off they they owned and operated the Wayside Inn and Bed and Breakfast in Saratoga Springs, New York.  They also had a tea room to go with it.  I want to sit down with them, and have them regale me with tales of their adventures.  Karen and Dr. Dale have four children, five grand children in Huntington, one in Vermont, and two in Virginia.  I do hope I get to talk to these folks in depth.  In fact I think a pod cast would be good!


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