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Porches of New Canaan: British tea on a New England porch

Published 10:46 am, Thursday, October 3, 2013

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  • Josephine Weston enjoys tea and biscuits on her front porch. Josephine and her husband, Stephen, say the porch 21 Old Studio Road was the reason they bought the house. Sept. 26, 2013. New Canaan, Conn. Photo: Tyler Woods
    Josephine Weston enjoys tea and biscuits on her front porch. Josephine and her husband, Stephen, say the porch 21 Old Studio Road was the reason they bought the house. Sept. 26, 2013. New Canaan, Conn. Photo: Tyler Woods

 

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On quiet Old Studio Road near New Canaan High School sits a beige-gray house with a dark roof, white pillars and a red door. Walking up a stone pathway, you pass a well-manicured garden with red and white flowers and trimmed hedges, and approach a nice porch.

It's out there that Josephine Weston and her husband, Stephen, enjoy sitting, talking and reading. A pair of British transplants, they came stateside when Stephen, who works in footwear design, was recruited by Reebok.

"I love this property because it's like sitting in a park," Josephine said while sitting on a wicker chair on the porch one recent evening. "You could be in England here on this road. It's green, it's lush, it's like a little country village in England."

The Westons have lived in New Canaan for nine years. Their daughter, Emma, graduated from New Canaan High School and is now pursuing a career in Los Angeles.

Just as she and her husband came to the United States, Josephine's parents went to England for work. Her mother and father moved from southern Italy to the London suburbs in the 1950s and had Josephine and her five siblings. While jobs came back to Italy after the war, they were mainly in manufacturing in the industrial north, while the southern, more agricultural half of the country maintained high unemployment. In 1953, the Italian government implemented "Cassa Per Il Mezzogiorno," a state-sponsored land reform effort to combat the issue, according to the World Bank. Still, many workers fled the country.

Having grown up in England, Josephine has a strong British accent. She said she's been surprised to notice similar accents in a higher-than-expected number of other New Canaanites. She maintains the British tradition of tea time, which she has on her porch.

"I have tea and scones when friends come, or a glass of wine or beer at night," she said.

As a place for tea time, it's tops, she said. She enjoys English breakfast tea and McVitie's digestive biscuits, which the Food Emporium buys imported from Great Britain.

"If you're English, it's served in a tea cup."

The porch is situated on the edge of the 1-acre garden, in which she toils. In the spring, there are daffodils and tulips, and in the summer, geraniums and hostas. There are flowers hanging down from pots between each column of the porch.

"I like nature. I like having nature around. I was here one Christmas and there were eight deer once and they just walked across and were gone."

The porch is also a good place to read. Currently, she's reading "And the Mountains Echoed" by Khaled Hosseini. She first was introduced to the author when her daughter was assigned Hosseini's first book, "The Kite Runner," for an English class in high school. She ended up reading it too and becoming a fan of his work.

The porch was the main selling point for the family, as Josephine tells it.

"This porch sold me this house. We used to walk past it on the weekends and said if it comes on the market we'd buy it."

Do you have a great porch? We'd love to hear from you! As we head into autumn we're looking to extend the series to include wine cellars and fireplaces. Do you have a killer wine collection? An custom or historical fireplace? Contact reporter Tyler Woods to tell us about it.

twoods@bcnnew.com; 203-330-6582; @Woods_NCNews