Tea with Vivienne and her friends

Tea with Vivienne and her friends


It was Jenean Hill’s future to someday design and create a comfy house within the basement of her Kalispell dwelling harking back to an English tea room.

She had grown up with snug basements, having spent many nice childhood hours along with her father in his basement workshop. But it surely was a keep at a Victorian B&B and assembly an enthralling British cafe proprietor in Kalispell that planted the seeds and began to form this particular place.

Within the Nineteen Nineties, Hill and a gaggle of ladies from close by church buildings within the valley fashioned what they known as the Sowing Membership. The ladies acquired collectively month-to-month for camaraderie and friendship and loved going to Vivienne’s Fifth Avenue Cafe for lunch.

“The cafe was cozy and quaint,” Hill mentioned. “You would see Vivienne’s mild spirit. And I liked seeing her behind the counter to verify all the things was okay.

Vivienne Montague based her restaurant, Vivienne’s Fifth Avenue Cafe, in 1996 on Fifth Avenue in downtown Kalispell. Its fame for being a spot the place you could possibly discover not solely scrumptious pastries and home-cooked meals, but additionally a heat and welcoming environment rapidly grew. Individuals lined as much as get in. Montague was additionally identified for the afternoon teas she hosted twice per week, which turned much-loved reminiscences for younger and previous who attended.

“I adored him from afar,” Hill mentioned. “I liked feeling his heat and tasting his good meals. There was one thing so snug about it.

Montague stored a trunk by the door of his cafe full of a wide range of hats and boas and Hill and his pals donned them for his or her gatherings.

“Possibly it is a bit imaginary. You must costume up and escape to a different world,” Hill mentioned. “Vivienne was like everybody’s grandmother or mom. She would heat our hearts and put smiles on all our faces.

The Hills left the Flathead Valley in 1999 for her husband’s job, however has returned yearly, making it a degree to go to the Fifth Avenue Cafe, reconnect with Montague and savor the English delicacies she created till retired about 10 years in the past (though you should still see her often on the cafe, now known as The Knead).

In 2021, approaching retirement themselves, they have been in a position to return to Kalispell. Additionally drawing inspiration from an earlier keep on the former Keith Home Mattress & Breakfast on East Fifth Avenue the place the basement was adorned within the type of an English pub, the Hills searched for a very long time for the right dwelling with a basement. flooring the place they might recreate their very own tea social gathering. bed room. Jenean attributes remaining credit and her love of older properties to her curiosity in turning into an actual property dealer.

Whereas Montague was born within the small city of Stoneleigh and raised in London after World Battle II, Hill has her personal ties to England, with a few of her ancestors having come from the British Isles. Throughout her college years, her husband Gary, whose grandmother was from England, had taken a semester overseas to check regulation on the College of Cambridge. Years later, the Hills traveled to London and Gary was in a position to present Jenean all of his favourite basement pubs he had visited whereas dwelling there.

“I liked happening to the comfy pubs,” Jenean mentioned. “I simply knew I wished to have an area like this someday.”

Jenean started scouting areas and placing collectively a design board of concepts – wooden floors, oriental rugs, Victorian tin ceiling tiles, brick partitions, Toby mugs – something England associated. She scoured native vintage and second-hand retailers, brick panels fake painted to duplicate the brickwork she’d present in English tearooms and pubs, and even discovered Waverly material for a tablecloth in a sample known as “Montague”.

Though the Sowing Membership was roughly discontinued after she left the valley, it has since been renewed with Hill as soon as once more on the helm and she or he once more holds month-to-month occasions for the membership, a lot of its members having attended. for 30 years. She can be lively within the Girls’s Co-op of Easthaven Baptist Church, which helps members who need to manage ladies’s occasions. With encouragement from Kristi Willits, Easthaven’s COO, and in an effort to convey ladies collectively, Hill reconnected with Montague and invited her to come back to his cozy English basement and meet a number of the ladies in his church.

“This group made me need to put these teas collectively,” Hill mentioned. “All of us adored Vivienne, had a good time at her well-liked and welcoming café and wished to pay tribute to her.”

On October 29, Hill and Marian Cartee co-hosted a day tea at Hill Home English Tea Room the place visitor of honor Montague and eight different Easthaven ladies gathered, after having ready recipes from Montague’s personal cookbook. True to his gracious nature, Montague served tea to ladies whereas sharing tales of his life rising up in England, emigrating to America in 1965 and finally establishing his personal restaurant in Montana, all of which helped form his full of life character.

“Vivienne exudes one thing that pulls individuals to her,” Hill mentioned. “You’ll be able to really feel his spirit throughout you.”

The occasion was so successful that Hill deliberate one other afternoon tea in November. She says she hopes to carry afternoon teas thrice a yr for gratis to friends.

“I’ve all the time been a matchmaker and we ladies want one another, particularly as we grow old,” Hill mentioned. “I like bringing individuals collectively and hopefully it can catch on and other people will love doing it.”

Tea room recipes

Vivienne Montague has printed a guide along with her recipes and tales about her life. “Meals, Life & Afternoon Tea” may be bought at Knead Cafe, owned and operated by daughter Sarah and son-in-law Mike (previously Vivienne’s Fifth Avenue Cafe), 21 Fifth St. E., Kalispell.

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