Tallulah 1882: A Cuppa’ Magic

Tallulah 1882 transformed an abandoned train depot into a must-visit coffee and tea shop PHOTO//Hannah Osborne

Hannah Osborne, Editor-in-Chief

Formerly the Tallulah Falls Train Depot, the abandoned structure has transformed into an eclectic tea and coffee house, Tallulah 1882. 

“I hope people will always walk away with connections,” says Christine Major. “Whether that be connecting with oneself. To pause, reflect and sit in peace. Or, of course, people gathering together.”

Christine Major, a certified Tea Sommelier and seasoned vintage shopper, and her ex-husband, Grant Potter, a retired professional cyclist, felt inspired when passing the abandoned train depot. 

“It was an old building, and it wasn’t being loved; it was being bypassed,” said Major. 

While the two are no longer together, having spent 28 years together, both felt inspired by the unused potential sitting off Highway 441. In August of 2021, Tallulah 1882 was born of that potential. 

“I said, ‘I think we can have a tea shop in an abandoned train station,’” said Major. “It sounded magical.”

Potter owns the shop, and Major takes on the creative responsibilities of the business. 

While Potter had long dreamed of owning a coffee shop, Major had previously owned a tea bar and vintage store in Deerfield Beach, Florida, called “Modern Rose.” During a visit to Jaspar, Georgia, in 2017, Major felt drawn to the area and left her life in South Florida behind for the North Georgia mountains. 

In addition to the shop, the two share three daughters, Charlie, Evangeline and Priscilla, who work alongside them, crafting delicious lattes and irresistible baked goods. 

“Everyone has their niche, what we do best,” says Major. 

Charlie and Evangeline can be found behind the bar pulling shots and crafting delicious teas. Evangeline, an herbalist, also concocts the “lotions and potions” available for purchase by the bar. Priscilla, self-taught in her skill, is responsible for the delicious creations from the kitchen. 

“Certain bakery items are on rotation, but it’s more of an inventive process, waking up and saying, ‘What are we going to do today?’ It keeps things fresh,” Major says.

With an extensive signature latte menu for tea and coffee, a first-time visitor may feel conflicted about what to try first.

“For tea lovers, I would recommend the Priscilla’s Chai,” Major says, “and for coffee, I would say the Ophelia; it’s really lovely.”

The menu also features “Moon Mylk,” a non-caffeinated beverage crafted with powdered herbs, roots, spices, mushrooms and fruits infused in milk. 

Not only are the drinks and baked goods delicious, but they are beautiful as well. Hot lattes are served in various unique and aesthetic mugs, and garnished with an edible flower. 

The family-run shop has not only curated a delicious tea and coffee spot for the community but a beautiful location to gather. 

An avid thrift shopper since 1984, Major handpicked all of the elements adorning the walls and spaces in the building. Along with her three daughters, the family took time and care to decorate the space into a cottage-core wonderland. There is naught a nook nor a cranny that has been neglected, making for endless photo opportunities. 

Visitors are even offered the opportunity to write a love letter to leave for future guests and, in return, receive a letter from guests past. 

Tallulah 1882 is an indispensable addition to the North Georgia Mountains. Whether passing through, visiting or an established resident, the coffee and tea shop is an experience that won’t want to be missed. 

“I always feel when I walk through here, when it’s a little slower, I can appreciate all the little groups connecting. Especially when groups that didn’t come together interconnect,” says Major. “That is the blessing.”