September 19, 2013

Pop...pop...popovers (and tea)!

Having sipped tea in Scotland, England and Turkey, it's time to try a little domestic tea, don't you think?  So today we'll drop in at a very favorite place of mine, Jordan Pond House in Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor, Maine.  I read about this restaurant on TripAdvisor when we were planning our trip to Maine a few years ago, and the reviews had me eager to experience their afternoon tea.

Back in the late 1800's visitors to Acadia National Park became more sophisticated and expected some of the same comforts that they had back home, and of course afternoon tea was one of those comforts.  The Jordan Pond House traces its history from 1847, where its first settlers conducted a logging operation. The original farm house was built by the Jordan family of Seal Harbor, for whom the pond and house were named. The Jordan Pond House was founded as a restaurant by Mr. Melvan Tibbetts in the early 1870's. In 1895, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas McIntire began their association, which was to last over 50 years. They were responsible for the character and atmosphere of the original Jordan Pond House, with its birch bark dining rooms and massive fieldstone fireplaces. Near the end of the McIntire's reign, Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. purchased the property and gave it to the National Park Service to ensure its continuation.  It is located on the Park Loop Road and has both indoor and outdoor seating for its visitors.

The views are spectacular, especially looking out towards the Pond, flanked on the west by Penobscot Mountain and to the northeast by the two mountains known as the Bubbles.  You can see them in my picture below.  The pond has amazingly clear water, with visibility up to 60 feet recorded, the deepest in Maine.
The pond is ringed by a walking trail, and one of the park's original carriage trails runs along a ridge adjoining the pond.
A major excitement for me was that while we were walking along one of the trails by the shore I spotted my very first loon.  It was an On Golden Pond moment--I could just hear Katherine Hepburn calling out to Henry Fonda in that wavery voice of hers... "look, Norman, the loons, the loons!!" 

And then of course, there was afternoon tea.  What can I say?  It was close to perfection.

Tea and perfect popovers, fresh from the oven, served with homemade strawberry jam. 

Browsing through a bookstore the next day in Bar Harbor, I came across a great New England cookbook, The New England Table by Lora Brody, that included the recipe for Jordan Pond House Popovers.  They might not be quite as good as my memory of our delightful afternoon refreshments, but according to my husband they are pretty darn close!  And every time I make them, I smile and remember my first loon, a walk along a clear and beautiful pond and a delicious afternoon tea.  And to keep the smiles coming, I'll end today's post with this commencement address from Dr. Seuss in 1977 at Lake Forest College.  In true Dr. Seuss fashion, his speech was short, consisting of only this poem:

“My Uncle Terwilliger on the Art of Eating Popovers”
My Uncle ordered popovers
from the restaurant’s bill of fare.
And, when they were served,
he regarded them
with a penetrating stare.
Then he spoke great words of wisdom
as he sat there on that chair:
“To eat these things,”
said my uncle,
“you must exercise great care.
You may swallow down what’s solid
you must spit out the air!”
as you partake of the world’s bill of fare,
that’s darned good advice to follow.
Do a lot of spitting out the hot air.
And be careful what you swallow.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful place! And, what a restful post to read this morning :)