BY PATRICIA DUFF
Whidbey Life Magazine Editor
June 19, 2013
Relax, refresh, renew. That’s what awaits visitors to the One Spirit Tea Garden in Clinton.
Gloria Sherman had the right idea when she turned the beautiful gardens surrounding her Holst Road home into One Spirit Tea Garden, a place to relax with tea, soup or homemade pastries that she prepares in the house, while guests visit with friends or enjoy some alone time. It is also a place to roam and take in the lush gardens and forests, or to sit quietly and meditate.
Sherman is serious about keeping the place serene.
Her idea, when she began last year, was to provide a tranquil place for folks to gather, but by the end of the 2012 season, there were days when people were walking around the garden waiting for a seating area to become available.
“While I was happy that word-of-mouth had worked so well, I was also a bit worried that the tranquility could suffer,” Sherman said. “This year I’ve begun a reservation system.” Reservations are recommended, but not required at One Spirit, where guests are welcome to two seatings, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 2 to 4:30 p.m.
“I encourage people to make reservations, particularly if a specific date is an important celebration or includes visits from out-of-town friends,” she said.
Sherman plans to limit the number of guests to the garden to 16, unless a group wants to reserve the entire seating area for a larger group.
Sherman is proud of her new website, www.OneSpiritGarden.com, which offers all the detailed information one needs for a visit to the garden, but the feeling of One Spirit can’t be described.
“I don’t think that many persons would get an adequate feel for the peacefulness, camaraderie and spirit available in the garden,” Sherman said, about describing the place online versus being there.
Sherman moved to the place in August 2009, and planned the garden based on her love of English gardens. She had help from a friend who came from her home in England to take a “first look” and who has been back every year since to watch it grow.
“I consider myself extremely fortunate to have found Wade Wilcox, the owner of the landscaping company, Earth Rhythms on Whidbey, who was able to take our initial jumble of ideas and move them from our hearts and brains to the infrastructure you now see in the garden,” Sherman writes on her website.
“Last year, patrons returned many times with different friends or groups for the experience of quiet time together, or alone, that is on offer here. This garden experience is unique on the island and perhaps in the greater area. I’ve been trying for a year to get the island tourism people here, without success,” she said.
Sherman teaches meditation during the nine months that the garden is closed, and also donates time in the garden to Whidbey charitable organizations for auctions and other events, such as she has done thus far for Saratoga Community Housing, South Whidbey Commons and Whidbey Children’s Theater.
‘I’m exploring having a half-day each summer that is reserved for free teas for care-givers. Maybe this can happen this year,” Sherman said.
“The garden’s name represents my belief that, though we all have unique, individual souls, we share one spirit. The meditation instruction, which is also part of the offerings of one spirit garden, represents that belief,” she said.
One Spirit Tea Garden is open from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; admission is $12 for adults and $6 for ages 7 to 12; (ages 6 and younger are free). Unlimited tea and a selection of baked goods, soups (vegetarian and gluten-free) are available for $4. A 10 percent discount is available to Whidbey Island residents with ID.
One Spirit Tea Garden is at 7131 Holst Road in Clinton, about three miles from the Clinton ferry terminal.
(Note: One Spirit accepts major credit cards, though cash is preferred due to the high cost of credit card fees.)