The Tea Room Story
The new owner of Gibbs Hill
Lighthouse Tearoom is keeping the beacon of Bermudian tradition in the
Heidi Cowen, whose grandfather Rudolph Howard Cowen was the last
lighthouse keeper at Gibbs Hill in the 1960s, has bought the Tearoom
for an undisclosed amount from Janice and Michael Burke.
Ms. Cowen, who remembers living in the lighthouse with her
grandparents as a young child, said the news had not sunk in yet.
“I signed the contracts on Tuesday but I still can’t believe it,
I’m so excited. I remember as a child sitting on the doorstep where
the gift shop is, playing with my Barbie doll and now I own the
place,” she said.
Janice and Michael Burke converted the keeper’s house into a tearoom
in the early 1990s. Mrs. Burke, who used to run the Tearoom, is now
said to be focusing on the other Burke business, the Blue Water Diving
Meanwhile Ms. Cowen, who has been in the hospitality management
industry for 12 years, is still adjusting to her lifelong ambition
becoming a reality.
She said: “I have been working since I was 18 and always had a dream
about buying my own place. I heard about the Lighthouse and knew it
was what I wanted. It’s like coming home.
“I went in there on Saturday, sat on the couch and remembered the
times with my grandparents, I just couldn’t believe that now it’s
“I love it up there; it’s so beautiful.”
Grandfather Cowen died some years ago; his father and grandfather were
also keepers at the lighthouse, but Ms. Cowen said her grandmother was
delighted with the purchase.
Ms. Cowen said: “We were talking about the old times the other day
and how I used to take lunch up to the top of the lighthouse for my
grandfather. I used to get frightened and stop halfway so my
grandmother would end up taking me all the way to the top.
“She’s very pleased that I am taking it on and is already planning
to come in for afternoon tea.”
Ms. Cowen who also runs Little Steps Bakery, which produces a range of
special diet gluten-free cakes and breads, plans to base the bakery at
the lighthouse and add a gluten-free menu for her customers.
“It will be one of the few places for people on a gluten-free diet
to go for a cup of tea and a gluten-free cake or sandwich,” she
Ms. Cowen does not plan any immediate changes but says she has some
ideas in the pipeline. She will be working every day in the Tearoom
along with her two existing staff who will remain.
Barry Capuano of Capcar Enterprises who completed the deal between Ms.
Cowen and the Burkes said: “It’s a lovely story, Heidi has lots of
plans for the place and I’m sure she will make it a great