Wednesday, May 14, 2008

an adventure at rita's tea room...

I had no intentions of joining in the tea stories over at Gracious Hospitality this week...after all, I don't frequent tea rooms, so would have nothing to share. But as I was reading Vee's touching tea-room tale yesterday, I was reminded that I do have a tea room story of my own.

A few years back, we took a vacation on Canada's east coast. Let's just say it was a whirlwind vacation...because there is so much more to see than we could possibly cover in ten days. But as we planned our route, I discovered that we would be passing right by Rita MacNeil's Tea Room.

We couldn't just pass by...since my hubby is one of Rita's biggest fans! He watches her Christmas special on CBC every year...and I think we have been to see her twice in concert. So we booked a bed and breakfast in Big Pond, and arrived just in time for afternoon tea at Rita's. Her tea room is a former one-room schoolhouse where Rita and her family once lived...and has become one of the top tourist attractions in Cape Breton Island.

I don't recall what we actually ate...and I'm sure I ordered coffee instead of tea...but what happened there that afternoon is something I will never forget.

We parked our rental car bearing Newfoundland license plates in the parking lot...and as we walked towards the entrance to the tea shoppe there was someone taking a photo of his wife just outside the door. Hubby offered that he would be the photographer and they could both be in the picture. And so he did......and here they are.

We got to chatting...they asked us where in Newfoundland we were from. We replied that we were from British Columbia...near Vancouver. The lady said, "We're from Kamloops, British Columbia. Isn't that a coincidence?" So we compared notes further, and realized she grew up in our community...on the Old Trans-Canada Highway, to be exact. Well so did my hubby! It turns out they were next door neighbours a very long time ago. Her mother had passed away when she was five years old...and she had spent a lot of time in my hubby's home, being cared for by his mother. He was just a kid at the time, and vaguely remembered her...but he knew his older sisters had been trying to locate her for years. We stood there in the parking lot and reminisced about years gone by...about the ups and downs of life...and about how incredible this was that we should meet here at Rita's Tea Room on the other side of the country. We exchanged addresses and phone numbers...and assured Marge that we would let hubby's sisters know that she was now found! They carried on their way...and we went in to experience Rita's tearoom.

How incredible is that? As it turned out, Marge and hubby's sisters got together shortly after that...they had not seen each other for almost fifty years. Shortly after they met, my sister-in-law, Anne, passed away with little warning. And who should we meet at the funeral...but the stranger that we found at Rita's tea room.

When I think of Rita's tearoom, I have little recollection of the menu...or the tea...or the ambiance, for that matter...I remember meeting a long lost neighbour on the other side of the world!

So if you are ever in Cape Breton Island, wanting a wonderful tea room experience, check out Rita's Tea's the best!

PS If you're not from Canada, here's a little info about Rita MacNeil. She got her big break singing at Expo 86 in Vancouver, and has gone on to international renown.


  1. Some people call these "chance" meetings serendipity or luck, but we both know that it's a God thing. So glad that you shared this truly is amazing.

    I had never head of Rita, but now I am off to follow your link.

    Thanks, Judy!

  2. What a wonderful, inspiring story! Vee said amazing and I have to agree.
    Thanks so much for sharing your story with us.


  3. That's why I miss my big Satelite Dish...I don't get to watch CBC all I get are DaVinci reruns, lol

  4. Oh I do love those moments in time when we feel tapped on the shoulder by God. . .just to let us know that he sees the big picture.
    Only He could make these moments happen by "chance".

  5. Isn't strange how we meet, and re conect with people on our life path? Nice story. I love the picture of the tea house. It looks like it would be a wonderful place to visit.

  6. God works in the neatest ways! What a wonderful story - thanks for sharing!

  7. What a neat story. I am always amazed at how 'small' the world is and how interconnected our lives are. I used to try and run from I embrace it! My problem is that I usually find out I am related to everyone I meet, sigh!!

    I too would have ordered coffee but I am thinking Tea Rooms host more of my type of individual rather than a Starbucks...unless you go to a Timmie's of course.

  8. What a lovely's amazing when things like that happen....I'm with Vee ...I think it's a God thing...Thank you for sharing with us Judy

  9. What an incredible event. The stars must have been aligned to bring on such a wonderful reunion is a place far from home.

    God surely had His hand on you all.

  10. Oh I love how God put you together like that. What an amazing story. I'm so glad you decided to post this and share it with us. Blessings..

  11. Wonderful story, Judy! Amazing.. meeting up with people far away from home yet such a close connection.
    Oh these Mennonites!! lol

  12. Isn't it amazing how the Lord works! There is nothing hidden from Him. I here so many wonderful stories about how the Lord brings people together in this way. All it takes is for us to listen and be obedient.
    Thank you so much for sharing.
    God Bless,

  13. Awww what a wonderful story Judy. And that tea house is so beautiful.

    I've not heard of Rita MacNeil either, and we went to Expo 86 in Vancouver, a wonderful time and so many people and exhibits to see, maybe I did see her there, but my memory fails me. :/

    Thanks for stopping by this evening--

  14. That's the kind of story that gives you chills in the most delightful way. Have you ever considered writing it or having someone write it for you and submitting it to Guideposts Magazine? It sounds like something they would publish and something that would really bless others. I know I was blessed by it!

  15. What a beautiful story, much better than tea, to find a long lost friend! I think there are no coincidences only God-incidences, and you experienced one! Thank you for sharing.

  16. fantastic story, thanks for posting it!

  17. What a wonderful and amazing story, Judy! Meeting former neighbors from years past --- how exciting! I'm so glad your husband offered a good deed and it was rewarded!

    And Rita's tea room looks wonderful!

    Thanks for sharing! BTW, one of my son's friends from college is a girl with the last name of McNeil and she is from Newfoundland. Just an interesting fact I enjoyed. . .


  18. What a serendipitous event! How lovely and heart warming!


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson