"If a man does not take pride in his own town, he isn't likely to give a rap about his country", once stated by Joseph Ridgeway Grundy, a well-known man to this day of our local community here in Bucks County. Joseph Ridgeway Grundy was the son of William Hulme and Mary Ridgeway Grundy and the last generation to live in the Grundy residence in Bristol Borough.
In 1884, the home, which today is the Margaret R. Grundy Museum, was purchased by William Hulme and Mary Ridgeway Grundy to when they moved to the area to venture their wool business. Upon William's death, Joseph took full control of his father's business all while supporting his local hometown. He made major improvements and began a political career to both the state and a nationwide audience.
The changes that he made included financing for the town's necessities, such as: public waterworks, a sewer system, schools, a post office, the municipal building, firehouse, playgrounds and athletic fields. However, his most pride and joy was creating The Grundy Foundation with his sister, Margaret, which supports the Margaret R. Grundy Museum and Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library. He left $19 million after he passed away to continue his efforts of supporting the legacy of their family and the community of Bristol.
The town of Bristol wasn't the only thing that saw major improvements. The home was renovated by the family in a Queen-Anne style that combined modern conveniences and technological innovations. Today, the Grundy Museum showcases the home as if the Grundy family were still living there during the Victorian era of the late 1800s and early 1900s.
My mother and myself recently had the chance to visit the newly renovated museum. I felt as though time was still and I got to live through the eyes of the Grundy family. To me, Joseph Grundy is the true face and heart and soul of the Bristol Borough.
After two years of a restoration project and a pandemic, the Grundy Museum opened its doors once again to the public on April 3, 2021. If there is one positive from the national shutdown, it gave the staff of the Grundy Foundation and Museum a lot of time to do research on the family tree and Bristol and furnish objects!
During our visit, we learned all about the generations of the family, the history of the home and the time period when the Grundy's lived there. The two curators, Robin and Geoff were very knowledgeable and passionate about the family's past and the recent renovation. We could tell they were excited to reveal the information that they discovered and the anticipation was worth the wait.
We went room by room and went over how the rooms were used by each member of the Grundy family and went over updates that were made. The Grundy Foundation continues to strive to revitalize how the house once stood. What interested me the most is how local companies and small businesses were used for the renovation. For example, Gratz Gallery in Doylestown was used to conserve and restore all the paintings; custom draperies and textiles were designed by eros leroi in Bristol; custom carpets were made by Langhorne Carpet Company in Penndel; carpentry was done by John Nadig in Yardley and general contracting was done by Marquis Construction in Fallsington. And these are just a few. This is just another instance of the family paying forward and giving back.
The Grundy Museum will be offering two types of tours. Click here for more information: https://grundymuseum.org/content/hours-admission
After my mother and I finished our very informative tour, we stopped by Bricky Girl Tea Room to continue our Victorian themed day. The teahouse is located right on the historic Mill Street of the Borough. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted with warm hospitality from the staff, sounds of classical music and the elegance of vintage decor. You can tell the two owners, Carmen Harris and Luisa Sanchez-McFadden, put their hearts and souls into the tearoom to make it what it is.
Both owners pride themselves in their homemade seasonal finger sandwiches, house-made scones, bread pudding, and incredible sweets, like mini cupcakes, Petit Fours, and lemon bars. Carmen is in charge of the savory components and Luisa handles all of the baking. They have several menu options that will bring comfort to anyone.
My mom and I both got the "Mad as Hops" menu selection. This included a variation of chicken, cucumber, egg and tuna salad sandwiches, banana and chocolate chip scones with clotted cream and preserves, and a trio of desserts consisting of lemon bars, Petit Fours and Peeps for a fun Easter twist! The food was delicious, the service was very attentive and exceptional and we loved how we were able to just sit and enjoy each other's company, not feeling rushed. We will definitely return even if it is for a pot of tea and scones!
The entire day was full of "histor-tea"! My mother really enjoyed the day learning about Historic Bristol, the significance of the Grundy family and the impact they still make today, and in Buck's County's newest tearooms, Bricky Girl Tea Room.