|Barb Gulley of Barb's Tea Service with Bruce Richardson of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas|
It's always a treat to stop into Elmwood Inn Fine Teas, but when owner, tea educator, writer and all-around Camilla sinensis guru happens to be there (less that 24-hours before leaving to Japan) on the day we took a spontaneous detour during a Florida to Michigan road trip, there's no other word for it than "serendipi-tea"!
|Elmwood Inn Fine Teas is located in Danville, Kentucky, an hour's drive south of Lexington, in the heart of Bourbon country|
Earlier this month, my husband, Chris, and I traveled from Bradenton, Florida to our home in Michigan, driving a U-haul stuffed with heirlooms and treasures from my downsizing in-laws to be dispersed among the family. Along the way, we had planned stays in Savannah, Asheville and Cincinnati - but it was on our last leg of the journey, traveling from North Carolina to Ohio, that we decided on an impromptu side trip to see Elmwood Inn in Danville, Kentucky. This town is not only home to Elmwood Inn, but its in the heart of a region famous for Bourbon distilleries, and about an hour's drive south of Lexington.
Although I've met up with Bruce and Shelly Richardson many times of over the past 15 years, I was too late to the game to be a guest at the original Elmwood Inn and, in more recent times, I never had the chance to visit their newer retail outlet, but it had been on my must-see list for awhile.
I first met Bruce at the Take Me 2 Tea Expo East in 2004 held in Rhode Island. I took his class on tea basics and it solidified my determination to set up my own tea business in 2005.
|With Bruce and Shelly Richardson at Kentucky Craft Fair in 2007|
Since that first introduction, we've continued our Elmwood Inn connections at World Tea Expos and the Kentucky Craft Fair. At every encounter, I've come back with more tea knowledge and inspiration to bring back to Barb's Tea Service. We're a huge fan of their teas and books, and sold many of them at our events over the years.
So, although it was our first time at Elmwood Inn, it felt like home. And, Bruce, ever the warm and welcoming host, made us feel like he'd known all day long we'd be there.
|A treasure trove of herbal and black tea blends from Elmwood Inn to enjoy every day, throughout the day.|
Best of all, we got to sample some of his tea blends, including "banana split", a delightful herbal tea packed with sweet ingredients, including banana chips, mango and strawberry. We picked up two more herbals and two black teas, including "Bourbon Tea", a smoky, hearty blend that pays tribute to the spirit of the region.
Back in 2005, I would never have imagined at that time, that I'd be writing articles for Tea Time Magazine along with one of the most respected "tea maestros" in the industry. Bruce Richardson's passion and enthusiasm has nurtured many tea entrepreneurs and we were thrilled to catch him at "home" this month!
For more information on Elmwood Inn teas, books and classes, check out their website, Elmwood Inn.