My story begins as a high school intern at Bigelow Tea in Fairfield, CT in 2009, which was a great summer where I learned a lot about business, tea and more. My success as an intern then led to me working directly for Cindi Bigelow herself this summer which again was an amazing learning experience. Thanks to the money I saved while going to college and working at Bigelow Tea, I was able to reunite with college friends on an unforgettable trip to the Charleston Tea Plantation in Charleston, SC which was the perfect end to my Bigelow Tea summer.
For my college friends and me, reuniting in South Carolina would be a chance to share pieces of our American life with one another. (I met these particular college friends while studying abroad in Spain.) And what better place to meet than riding the trolley at the Charleston Tea Plantation – where my friends could learn about this Bigelow Tea company I spent so much time talking about!
Bigelow Tea purchased and restored the Charleston Tea Plantation in 2003, when America’s only tea garden was on the verge of being closed. The picture above was taken with world–renowned tea taster Bill Hall (second from left), an operating partner in the Charleston Tea Plantation, which is home to the American Classic Tea.
As we pulled down that long drive, greeted by miles and miles of the camellia sinensis bushes (tea plants), I began to understand why the Bigelow family fell in love with this place. We approached the factory and were greeted by Bill Hall himself. He gave us his own personalized tour of the plant, and told us how the machines work hard to pick, cut, blend, process, and sell this delicious tea, which is grown right there in Charleston. We then watched a video of Mr. & Mrs. Bigelow, and understood why they cared so much about America’s largest tea plantation.
Afterward, we enjoyed a trolley ride conducted by Robert Gisey, who provided us with a relaxing, island-life feel of how all the tea is maintained and produced. As visitors who have already traveled much of Europe, we found that the American Classic Tea plantation offers a peace, beauty, and serenity unique from any other tourist attraction we had seen. I would highly recommend that anyone visiting Charleston or the surrounding area should take a visit to Wadamalaw Island and see the unique beauty of this hidden treasure.
Working with Bigelow Tea has given me so much knowledge about life in the business world, as well as life in general. A special thanks to Bill Hall, Bryn Riley, Robert Gisey, and Ramona for taking us all in, and giving us a truly amazing experience – and to Cindi Bigelow, who has allowed my creative incentives to reach potentials I never knew were possible.
Author Andrew Foy, far right, takes a trolley ride at the Charleston Tea Plantation
— Andrew Foy
With a special thanks to the Charleston Tea Plantation and Bigelow Tea!