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February 6, 2019

Terry Gifford

Willowbrook Manor Opens as English Tea House, Chamomile Farm and Glamping in Washington State

Built as a labor of love and carefully tended, Willowbrook Manor will open for its second season this spring as an English Tea House, Chamomile Farm and glamping location, just off the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) in Sedro Woolley, WA, 26 miles southeast of Bellingham. The English Tea experience will begin with Tea and Tulips during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in April 2019. Tea times are by reservation only and are $30 per person. Glamping at the manor's High Camp will open in May 2019. Summer bike tours on the Cascade Trail near the property will begin in June. Willowbrook Manor has been a work in progress since 1996, when Matthew and Terry Gifford purchased a nine-acre parcel. It was a simple pasture that was hayed every summer. They planted trees and put in a vegetable and flower garden. Blueberries, raspberries and grapes followed. They then transplanted the cottage greenhouse from the farm in Ferndale, WA where Terry was raised. It was the first building on the property. The family of 6 used the acreage as their recreational/work property until they decided to move there from their house in town. But the house in town sold before they had any new living accommodations built, so they decided to camp for three and a half months while they built a large two-story garage. Two children were added to the family during the five-year stay in on the upper floor of the garage. The manor house took two years to construct, with the family doing as much of the work themselves as possible. Terry had a file of pages from English Home magazine that inspired Matt, who hand crafted all of the wood intricate trim, including the custom-made doors in every room. It took him five years to complete the interior trim work. The house feels like you have stepped back in time and into a century-old manor. As many love stories go, Matt and Terry didn't live happily ever after. They divorced, but Terry continued to raise the kids on the property and to improve the house and grounds. She bought a tractor, transformed two acres of pasture into two acres of roman chamomile, and created Willowbrook Manor English Tea House and Chamomile Farm. Willowbrook Manor is a one-of-a-kind place. Tea and Tulips in April offers guests an opportunity to experience English Tea and to stroll through the gardens and take in the raised beds full of tulips. Summers offer scenic and historic bike tours that showcase the beautiful farmland and forest that make East Skagit county so enjoyable. The historic Northern State Hospital bike tours takes a fascinating look at the mental institution that operated from the early 1900s to the 1970s. Glamour camping is a special treat at Willowbrook. High Camp has the feel of a British Safari Camp with elegant furnishings, wall-to-wall carpet, a hot shower and composting toilet. It has the aura of camping without the "roughing it." The full manor can be booked for conferences and corporate retreats. Guests at Willowbrook are delighted with what it has to offer. Owner Terry Gifford uses her hostess skills to make everyone feel well cared for. “When you come to Willowbrook, time slows down,” she says. “So that’s what I invite people to do. Just slow down and take in the farmland and enjoy being here.” For more information call Terry Gifford at 360-218-4585 or email teatime@teaandtour.com.

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