Woodlawn Museum keeps up old-time tradition

George Nixon Black Jr.’s favorite — Harney and Sons Paris Tea — is still being served at Woodlawn Wednesday afternoons. PHOTO BY KATHRYN CAWDREY

Every Wednesday afternoon, George Nixon Black Jr.’s favorite fruity black tea blend and Irma Eliason’s sugar and pecan cookies are served up to visitors at Woodlawn in Ellsworth.

Ona recent Wednesday, Jane Eagle of Northport and her friend, Caroline Barberi, drove up to Ellsworth to enjoy afternoon tea at the Black House, where three generations of the Black family lived up until Nixon Black’s death in 1928.

“I’ve done tea in various places, and I heard about this a while ago,” Eagle said while sipping her tea and nibbling on a chocolate chip cookie at a picnic table outdoors. “You feel almost part of the family.”

Through Aug. 30, except for Aug. 13, Woodlawn offers the traditional afternoon tea on Wednesdays as part of its Tea Time Tours. The tour starts at 3 p.m. and costs $12 for Woodlawn members and $15 for nonmembers.

Visitors begin with a staff-led tour of the Federal-style brick mansion providing a personalized overview of the home and estate. The house, completed in 1827, housed three generations of the Black family. Nixon Black Jr., the last of the Blacks to occupy the estate, willed the property to the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations in 1928. Before his death, he decorated his family’s summer home to preserve a piece of early American history.

“He really wanted this to be a place for people to look at history and art and relax and recreate on the trails,” said Joanna Weaver, the business coordinator and a tour leader at Woodlawn.

After exploring the house, guests sit on the lawn overlooking the two-mile trail system and the croquet course to enjoy afternoon tea. The tradition started with Irma Eliason. She served as the housekeeper at Woodlawn from 1916 until her death in 1970.

To reserve seats for the tea, call 667-8671 and visit www.woodlawn.org.