Edenton couple uplifts tea and the American spirit at local shop

Laurie Dablow of Edenton, NC. Source: Carolina Journal

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  • “We embrace the story,” said Laurie Dablow of Edenton. “It’s a birth of an understanding of ourselves as human beings and in relationship to government. It happened here."

The coastal town of Edenton, North Carolina, thrives off its history dating back to the nation’s birth when America’s founders risked their livelihoods for freedom. Today, the small town retains its colonial charm among a new generation, with tourists and residents alike appreciating the historical significance of the Edenton community.

Nestled in historic Edenton, Patrick and Lorrie Dablow are two connoisseurs of their respective trades who have taken leaps of faith throughout their lives. Patrick is a world-renowned artist, and Lorrie is a lover of tea. Together, they’ve utilized their talents and skills to bring new charms to the town. Exhibiting a delightful and down-to-earth character, the couple welcomed the Carolina Journal staff with open arms to convey the story of Edenton’s steadfast patriotism and how they came to be locals. 

Their love story began when they worked in Hollywood 37 years ago. After living all across the US, they moved to Edenton from Virginia Beach during the COVID-19 pandemic to begin a brand new chapter of their lives. After arriving, Laurie realized visitors to the small town were looking to buy replicas of the symbolic Edenton Tea Pot. The teapot honors the 51 women who signed an agreement in 1774 protesting the British tea tariffs. The organized women’s movement sent shockwaves back to Britain, and today, it stands as a bold example of women taking a stand in politics at the time of America’s founding.

Lorrie and Patrick Dablow in front of their new location opening June 1st.

The Edenton Tea Company

Seeing an opportunity, Lorrie returned from a walk one day and said to Patrick, “I know you’re gonna think I’m crazy, but God told me to start the Edenton Tea Company.”

“I don’t think that’s crazy. Nobody’s done it,” Patrick told his wife.

So the Edenton Tea Company was born, and the idea continued to evolve in Lorrie Dablow’s heart and mind until it became a reality. 

The Edenton Tea Company works with local, small business owners. But it’s more than just tea you can find here, you can also purchase craft blended spices from a local chef and horticulturist. 

Laurie Dablow, in her shop, the Edenton Tea Company. Source: Carolina Journal

The Dablow’s quaint tourist shop pays homage to the Edenton Tea Party and sells replica teapots, commonly used as Christmas tree ornaments. On each teapot is engraved the name of one of the women who signed the letter to the King of England in which they resolved not to drink tea or wear English linens. 

Each teapot comes with a little scroll that explains the historical women’s movement – long before women were given the right to vote. Lorrie says the original cast-iron teapot, which dates back to the 1770s, was brought back up in an archaeological dig. The artifact is preserved and mounted on a pillar down the street from their storefront. 

“People come from all over the world. In a week we’ll have somebody from Japan, or somebody from Germany, or somebody from the Netherlands,” said Lorrie. 

They also have a small bookstore nestled inside the shop which features an eclectic collection including modern literature and children’s books. 

“Our local bookshop closed about a year and a half ago and the whole community was in mourning. Everybody loved that place,” said Lorrie. 

The King Street Market Place is the home to their bookstore and Patrick’s art studio at 116 & 114 East King St. in Edenton.

Patrick went on to connect the dots between his wife’s business, and the historical significance of the Edenton Tea Party. 

Source: Carolina Journal

“This was the first women in America. I mean, this is long before the suffragettes. You know, the story here is an inconvenient truth,” said Patrick. 

“We embrace the story, which is why I was so excited about it,” Lorrie explained. “It’s a birth of an understanding of ourselves as human beings and in relationship to government. It happened here. It happened in colonial America. And even people who were marginalized – women who weren’t even allowed to vote or be sold property or any of that – felt it. It caused them to sign a declaration that was going right to King George with their names on it. I mean, that’s huge. That’s huge!”

Source: Carolina Journal

In awe of the courage and sacrifice displayed right in her town, Lorrie pointed to the Chowan County Courthouse directly across the street, where the state Supreme Court sometimes holds hearings. According to the Edenton Historical Commission, the North Carolina Supreme Court can convene only at the North Carolina Courthouse in Raleigh and the Chowan County Courthouse in Edenton, which has been there since the founding of our nation.

“We have really endeavored here to honor their memory and the fact that this is such a pivotal moment in history,” she added. “Now we drink tea on our own terms.”

Patrick The Painter

The Dablows say that with God’s direction, their path in Edenton has unfolded. As the store opened, Patrick pursued his own dreams. He began selling original paintings from his art studio in the back of the shop.

Born and raised in Minnesota, Patrick has a deep appreciation for the bright natural beauty blooming in North Carolina almost year-round compared to the Northwoods. After a 50-year career in design, Patrick naturally pivoted to painting iconic scenes from North Carolina’s coast after moving to the area. He enjoys painting nature scenes, such as gardens, the water, the sky, and houses in Edenton. 

His original artwork is replicated on mugs, note cards, and other products for all to enjoy, and he even offers worldwide shipping.

“Edenton found us, we did not find it,” Patrick told Carolina Journal. “I mean, God just brought us here. But it was like we were meant to be here.” 

With business thriving, Lorrie revealed their expansion plans. As of June 1st, The Edenton Tea Company will be located at 110 East King St. Edenton, North Carolina. It features a tea shop with an added tea room, featuring an American and contemporary twist, both uniquely American concepts, where customers can stop in for tea or book private parties. 

“I want to take this idea and tie it to that American spirit—that colonial spirit,” said Lorrie. “Because I think that’s so important.”