We need a few items to refurbish the living room, so a few weekends ago I headed off to Ellicott City, Maryland, about an hour up the highway from DC and renowned for its quaintness and antique shops. Sadly, I got there at about 4pm on a Saturday, and it turns out the town more or less closes at 5pm. Humph. Tea on the Tiber, the Victorian tearoom next the Tiber River (more like a creek at this point) turned me away, as they serve their teas at noon and 3pm only, and had no more scones. Harumph! Who has tea before 4:00pm?
Their loss, as I found a wide variety of teas, a delicious egg salad sandwich and a beautiful though gelatinous (viz, not tasty) chocolate cake practically next door, at the Bean Hollow coffee shop. So neener.
|In keeping with my plan to read the finalists over the weekend, I brought along the Top Two – didn’t get much reading done, though...|
TotT advertises itself as ‘Victorian,’ and the rooms are impressively stuffed with knick-knackery. The hostesses wear fascinators (those mini-hats that are mostly fluffy bits of tulle), and the poor waitresses wear black dresses just below the knee with full, white, ruffled aprons. There may have been mob caps. Tip extra.
And now, off to the shops! One of my favorite finds was this 1950s/60s sewing machine in a shade of lime green not done justice in the photo (sorry). I was thinking of Betty Keira’s tale of becoming a pleat-sewing runway star through the $5 machine she picked up at Goodwill – but that’s not what the shop had in mind for this beauty, as the label makes clear.
Fortunately, there was another option...
Four bucks for this one...
Two very Betty moments presented themselves – one in the form of a pleated dress (not a nightgown; that’s a dress) that made me think of Betty’s favorite, Gina Fratini.
This dress (not nightgown) is actually by the firm Gunne Sax. Anybody? Anybody? By furrowing my brow and pressing hard on my temples, I can remember Gunne Sax, by Jessica McClintock. Many, many 1970s US high-school girls wanted to wear one of these to the prom.