One of my most favorite things to do is tour historic homes, and a few months ago I got to visit one of the amazing Hunterfly Road houses at the Weeksville Heritage Center in Crown Heights Brooklyn. Weeksville was one of America's first free black communities, and the discovery of the Historic Hunterfly Road houses is pretty incredible. In the 1960's, historians at the Pratt Institute discovered evidence of this lost village while flying overhead for an aerial survey. The houses, which date from 1840-1880, were dug up and restored. They were designated New York Landmarks, and are now part of the Weeksville Heritage Center Museum. The center hosts all kinds of cool activities to bring together artists, writers, musicians, and other creatives to celebrate the rich history of this place. In February, I attended a delightful tea party hosted by executive director Tia Powell Harris where we got to tour one of the historic houses. Keep reading for more details about the tea party, including lots of pics inside one of the houses:
There are 4 historic houses on Hunterfly Road, and each offers a glimpse into a different time period. We toured the most modern of the 4 houses, built in 1883, and originally home to the Johnson family. I love the simplicity of the home's design which while modest, felt warm and inviting. When you enter the house, you walk straight into the kitchen where Mrs. Johnson used to can fruits and veggies. Several of the older ladies on our tour remarked how the vintage stove was just like the ones they used growing up.
This was the biggest bedroom in the house, with a nice walk-in closet over to the left. I love how the style is so minimalist before minimalism was cool. In the olden days, people naturally lived with less because everything wasn't so convenient and accessible.
The Johnson's had one son, and he slept in the tiniest bedroom in the house, which was actually off the master bedroom and through a door in the back. In those days, boys usually got the smaller rooms because it was assumed they needed less space. Sounds about right to me!
You absolutely must visit the Hunterfly Road Houses in the summertime. I went in the winter when the grounds were a bit drab, but the gardens are lush and blooming in the summer.
Now let me tell you about the tea party! Anyone who knows me knows I LOOOOVE tea parties. Like, I'm obsessed with them. I just love everything about them - the charming tea cups, the snacks, the intimate conversation. And I think I found a tea party loving soul mate in Tia Powell Harris. Tia is the executive director at The Weeksville Heritage Center, and a total role model. She's warm and confident, knowledgable, and passionate about promoting education and building community. I'm so happy she hosted this tea party because it was a great way to connect with men and women of all ages from a diverse range of backgrounds.
There was a cute selection of unique and vintage tea cups from Tia's personal collection, and we each got to pick our favorite cup. And there were lots of different tea flavors from all over the world to sample. The delicious tea sandwiches and snacks were provided by BREAD LOVE.
Tea parties are a great way to bring people together and inspire intimate conversation. We all went around the room and took turns sharing our stories and inspiration. And I must admit, some tears were shed. In a good way. By the end we all felt closer and more connected thanks to the magic of tea and conversation. I can't wait until the next one, and hope to see you there soon!
If you are interested in visiting the Hunterfly Road Houses, walk in tours are held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm. You can also check out their event calendar to see the full schedule of creative and literary events.