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Monday, March 24, 2008

There Are No Friends Like Old Friends!

Far right: Now that our kids are grown, my long-time good friends Bea and Alice (from left to right) are finally able to aside a little time now and then to just have fun, indulge themselves with an occasional retail therapy date and lunch in a well-appointed tea room.

Below center : Country Village Shops in Bothell, WA has been a popular shoppers destination for years. All pictures that accompany this article are copyright 2008 by Mizu Sugimura.

Getting together with friends for a fancy tea is a rare treat on my calendar. So I truly relished a recent gathering at the Peach Tree Bakery & Tea Room at Bothell's Country Village Shops on Saturday, March 15.

That I'd be sipping tea with two old friends, one of whom goes as far back as my sophomore year of high school in Kirkland, WA in the beginning of the 70's.

Beatrice has been there for me in the subsequent years for most all my ups and down. And I like to think I've been somewhere nearby for most of hers. Alice is our most recent friend. We both met her when our kids were in school.

At one point or another, all three of us spent some of our school years growing-up in Seattle with brothers and sisters. So we have other points of reference that we share as well. When Beatrice and I turned thirty, we went to see the Chippendale dancers in Seattle with her mother and older sister.

A few years down the road she lost her first child, a baby son. She got pregnant again and delivered a healthy baby daughter. Then I had a son and lost my bone density. Things were fairly quiet until she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. We held our breath, but things have worked out for the best. Our mutual wish these days is for good health and days to enjoy it.

Left: The charm of the Peach Tree Bakery
& Tea Room is evident from outside the
front door.

Alice was lucky enough to have lived and worked in Hawaii in the years before we knew her. The rest of us know the islands as our most favorite place to visit. One of the most memorable visits I have had with Alice here in the Pacific Northwest was signing up for a weekend workshop Alice and her daughter to learn how to make Korean kimchee at Seattle's Wing Luke Asian Museum about two years ago. At the last minute her daughter could not go, so if memory serves we had some unexpected adult time. Which, in a nutshell, is precisely why it was that memorable!

Recently, she and I shared a good laugh when we discovered that despite our good intentions, to our mutual chagrin - that workshop was the first and only time since we ever tried to make this standard hot, garlic flavored condiment!

During those years since the three of us discovered we had common ground, family life and responsibilities always had to be juggled adroitly in order to meet at all. With our children
now independent young adults - for most hours of the day, Beatrice, Alice and I have far more time which makes a tea room date like this one something at the top of all our lists!

These days our kids thankfully, don't need babysitters. More significantly, they also don't come as a pre-wrapped package with mom! So we've moved from arranging hasty, impromptu coffee and rolls at the nearest Starbucks, to plan something a shade grander along the lines of the St. Patrick's Day holiday themed lunch and scones that we enjoyed the other weekend at the Peach Tree Bakery & Tea Room.

Country Village Shops boast over 40 cottage style stores offering a colorful selection of unique and delightful items for you, your home, your friends or just about anyone! It's conveninently situated along a tree-lined drive just minutes away from Seattle via I-405 at Exit 26. Although the locale for our tea on St. Patrick's Day weekend was determined by its close proximity to Bea and Alice's homes, a second date is now being discussed for an equally charming South Sound venue? Got any suggestions?

Above: The well-stocked bakery lets you bring
home a sample of your special favorites.


Lorraine Hart said... brought a tear to my eye Mizu. Old friends are the jewels that even the wealthiest must earn.

On Sunday I received a phone call from my dear friend, Cate, who lives up in the Yukon. She and I met when we were both ten. When I first came out here, she came down to visit...our first in twenty years! I love how you can just pick up where you left off with old friends...and it's like no time has passed between you.

I bet Stephanie has the inside skinny on places to go for tea around the South, I go to my kitchen and put the kettle on!

On March 13th. my best friend would've turned 53, being eight months older than me. In those eight months I would delight in calling her my "much older friend." Breast Cancer took her from me at 36. I still miss her every day...though she is always with me.

I hope, when we are in our nineties, Mizu, we can join hands and call ourselves old friends.

EmeraldPrincessOnline said...

Some years ago I would have recommended spending a day in the Historic District in Steilacoom, where our flower shop "Love Me Now Floral Design" was located. We carried the absolute coolest, unique gifts, flowers, Batdorf & Bronson coffee, and Blue Willow Tea.

Across the street was the Bair Drug & Hardware store, the shop from antiquity that was truly a destination spot.

Alas! We were eventually forced out of business and the Bair is betwixt and between, as I understand it at the moment.

However, Lakewood is home to an altogether lovely stop for your spot of tea. Visit: Steeped in Comfort, located on Gravelly Lake Drive.

Hop on I-5 to Olympia and spend the day in downtown Olympia, home to an array of specialty shops you'll not find anywhere else: a shop that sells linen and silk from recycled kimonos, another shop that is just exotic spices, another that is dedicated to gourmet treats for pets; headquarters of Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters, which features a Tasting Room; the Olympia Farmers' Market is nearby; plus Anthony's Seafood on the waterfront; and absolutely the biggest and best selection of teas and teapots anywhere in the Northwest: "The Tea Lady" or visit online at You can lose yourself at The Tea Lady -- any day.

Make a day of it in downtown Olympia then venture down into Tumwater Canyon and visit Tumwater Falls, hike the trails up into the woods by the old brewery and you will have taken the trip of a lifetime on three or four gallons of gas.

Stephanie Frieze said...

Lorraine and Mizu, you've captured the treasure old friends are. As a matter of fact, Mizu, my very dearest friend, Nikki, read your post and wants to come all the way from Oregon to try Peach Tree. Yes, we are tea room critics. There are some in Tacoma and the environs we've not yet tried and it is happiness to have new places to explore!

M. Sugimura said...

You know, we might begin to compile a informal list of "Not-to-be-Missed Tearooms" in the area as a public service on this blog...

If memory serves quite some time ago Coffee Europa here in Federal Way was a popular tea spot and it was served in the same space as a small antique mall.

There was a cute tearoom of the same sort along Broadway in Tacoma which I discovered one day. Not having time to stop, I tried to return to the same location only to find it was dismantled!

My favorite Emerald City tearoom in
years past was the Queen Mary which I believe,is still doing business slightly north of today's oh so busy University Village.

Stephanie Frieze said...

Yes, the Queen Mary is still in business althogh I haven't been there in years. I have reservations for my daughter-in-law and myself for May 4th and will be sure to let the Neighborhood know what we think of it! ~Stpehanie

EmeraldPrincessOnline said...

Looking for a hot-spot for tea?

Peninsula Gateway reported the following that occurred on:

March 18 — Firefighters responded to a wooded area behind a Gig Harbor grocery store for a possible unknown type of fire. Upon arrival, crews discovered the fire was being tended to by a transient man who was heating water for tea. The man extinguished the fire once his water was warm enough for his drink.

M. Sugimura said...

Jaynie -

It's quite a gift to be able to see the humor in everything! :)