The Village Tearoom, Friday, September 1, 12:30 pm
The sound of gravel under our shoes mixes with the symphony of birds and light New Paltz traffic, while the low hanging branches of surrounding trees provide shade on the walk up to the Village Tearoom. The old white, wooden door sitting slightly ajar in the historic red building creaks slightly as we enter. The closing of the door hushes the sound of outdoor patrons’ laughter and conversation.
We are greeted by the sight of homemade treats nestled behind glass, set into a small counter. A waitress walks by and hurriedly says, “Seat yourselves anywhere and we’ll follow!”
My companions and I walk to the wooden tables on the right and take our seats. The table is old, with scratches covering its surface. The afternoon sun streams in through the only window in the room, making the scratches more apparent.
An elderly man with white hair and a magazine in his hands sits behind me in the corner, taking bites of his meal as he reads. A young couple sits in the other corner of the room, with an older couple at the table to their right. A lone girl in a green shirt sits to my left, her eyes scanning our table.
The deep yellow wall behind her holds wooden shelves full of wine, heart shaped pans and acorns. In the middle sits a chalkboard outlined in the soft, warm glow of string lights with the words “Be a local hero, buy local food!” written in blue chalk.
Below is a handwritten list of the shop’s local suppliers in yellow chalk.
A man with a beard approaches our table, momentarily interrupting my view of the chalkboard.
“My name is Alex and I’ll be taking care of you today. Let me know if you have any questions.”
He hands us our menus and walks away, only to return a minute later to take our orders.
As he walks away again, the sound of silverware against plates masks his light footsteps on the aged, wooden floorboards.
Across the room the older couple stands up to leave with a white paper bag of leftovers in their hands. As the couple goes towards the door, our waiter walks our way and places bowls of food in front of us. Just as he turns away, another older couple enters and quickly claims the recently vacated seats, adding the sounds of their scraping chairs to the muffled conversations filling the tiny area.
Before sitting down, the man looks toward our table and takes a step forward.
“I don’t mean to interrupt but what is that you’re eating?”
I respond with, “The turkey pot pie. It’s so good!”
He laughs. “I could tell it was good from the look on your face.”
We soon finish our meals and get our own little white bags to take with us. On our way out, we pass new patrons making their way in.
It’s a busy day for the quaint shop.