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Afternoon Tea
the world's a stage

The roadside tea room was born out of the opportunity that the horseless carriage introduced.

In the days before the Oldsmobile and Model-T trafficked the road, farmers were more concerned with resting their horses. After a long climb up the hill, it was the horse and not the person, that needed tending.

The horseless carriage changed the landscape. In particular, turn-of-the-century chauffeurs often found that when the newly popular automobile made the summit, some level of tinkering was necessary before they could speed on to the next village, some five miles away, and in the meantime, the passengers needed tending.

So, just as the farmers (while resting their horses) would talk with the owner of the nearby farm house, the occupants of the motorcars (while their chauffeurs were making repairs) would ask permission to wander about the farm paths or to relax on the wide front porch.

Enterprising, local farm women quickly developed the ingenious idea of a roadside tea room to accommodate such visitors traveling on a back country road.

Making the most of all the china, old furniture, and such things stored in crowed attics, these women made the farmhouse a tea room for passing-by motor parties, and before long, these establishments became well known and largely patronized.

Setting up a such farmhouse tea room became a popular cottage industry for country women, as the use of motor cars became almost universal. Speeding along through the cool fresh air always whet the appetites of the motorists, making the chance to have a cup of tea at an old farmhouse, rather than at the crowded road-house, very tempting.

The first thing needed was to have a sign which would attract the attention of the passing motorist. The quaint swinging sign-boards, such as those in front of old taverns and inns, were hung by wrought-iron chains from a bending bough of a tree which stood in front of the house. The lettering upon the board was in the ordinary block letter, but it was the tale it told that caught the eye of the hungry traveler—Tea House. Afternoon tea, anybody?

the world's a stage

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