Seven Years of Tyme Well Spent in Hartland
Owner Nancy Martin's greatest joy comes from making her guests feel welcome and relaxed -- and shopping.
After opening up her tea room in Hartland seven years ago, Nancy Martin, has hosted many guests from a wide range of places including Canada and Ohio. But she says it’s the ones from England who gave her the highest compliment.
“They say its just like home,” she said.
Martin, who lives in Canton, originally opened Tyme Well Spent Tea Room with her business partner, but for the past two years has been sole owner and operator of the unique tea room located in the village of Hartland. Martin says that making her customers feel welcome and relaxed is just one of the things she enjoys the most about her work.
“I’ve never had a complaint,” Martin said. “They just love it and they come back.”
From the antique, embroidered linens that Martin cares for herself, to the wide array of delicate, china teacups that is different at each place setting, the Tyme Well Spent Tea Room is a step back in time when food was all homemade and luncheons were meant to last for hours, spent chatting with friends.
“I have people who come in at 11 (a.m.) and they sit till 3 o’clock,” Martin said.
And many of her faithful customers, who return on a regular basis, spend hours sitting quietly with a book or socializing with friends. Martin says her key to success is that although she does require reservations, she never double-books her tables, which lets her customers feel as though they are never rushed. Martin says that she will tell her diners if she needs their table for a new party, but if not, they are welcome to stay, chat, shop and socialize as long as they want.
"They appreciate that," she said.
One of the reasons Martin requests that patrons make reservations, although if she has the space she won't turn away walk-ins, is because some days she is alone running the tea shop as well as preparing all the food.
“I know how much to make and I keep everything fresh,” Martin said. “I make my breads and my quiches. My chicken salad seems to be everybody’s favorite.”
Chicken pot pies, salmon patties, soup and salad are also on the menu.
After guests have had their fill of tea and scones, they are encouraged to walk through the Tyme Well Spent gallery located on the main floor as well as the whole second floor. The rooms, which are filled with antique treasures including China tea sets, vintage wedding dresses, ladies hats and jewelry, is part of Martin’s hobby.
Shopping, Martin says is something she gets enjoyment out of and admits that any chance she gets, she is off the antique markets or estate sales searching for interesting items.
“I was always hooked on that,” she said. “I always collected dishes and teacups and stuff like that.”
From evening bags that range from $6 - $10 to a tiered-wedding dress from the 1970s, Martin feels that her treasures are reasonably priced and original.
In the future, Martin hopes to continue to draw clients who are looking for a peaceful atmosphere where they can sit and relax with friends on the front porch or on the deck where Martin recently purchased new furniture, especially during the warmer weather.
“Just stop in and have iced tea or lemonade and sit out on the porch,” she said. “I even collected a bunch of these older magazines that I was going to set out.”
Creating her comfortable environment and giving her clients a space to conduct their meetings, catch up with friends or just find some alone time is always Martin’s goal. Succeeding in that is a source of pride for all her hard work
“My main reward is, not only the shopping,” Martin joked. “But that people enjoy being in here so much.”
Tyme Well Spent is open Wed. - Sat. from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For reservations, call 810-632-9921.
Tyme Well Spent Full Afternoon Tea Special: $24.00 per person. Includes 7-8 desserts per person, seven tea sandwiches, fresh fruit, a scone and your own pot of tea, which serves 5-6 cups of tea. Tax and gratuity included.