The Ducks at the Old Mill

Mill Bridge 01

In feng shui folklore, one of the most beautiful icons of romance is the Mandarin Duck.  Known as the “Love Birds” in China and Japan, a pair of these feathered creatures together is a historic symbol of love and devotion  because they mate for life.  In certain schools of feng shui, these are commonly used to attract a desirable mate and promote marriage.   I think ducks are cute.  Unless a client has a general fondness of ducks or birds, it wouldn’t be my first suggestion to use Mandarin Ducks in an environment as decor.  However, do I want some for my home?  Yes!!  I’ve been keeping on eye on this beautiful fabric on Etsy.com with Mandarin ducks on a red background.

Mandarin Duck Fabric

Provided by the Etsy store Simply Fabric Oakland, this colorful print would be ideal for a set of throw pillows.   More information can be found by contacting the seller here:   https://www.etsy.com/listing/112921502/97-width-chinese-double-happiness?ref=shop_home_active_1

Mill Ducks 02

In August, I was in Boston for the wedding of my friends Diane and Josh.  Thanks to my friend Amy, a bridesmaid, I was able to attend the rehearsal dinner as her date.  Due to their romantic symbolism,  I found it brilliantly coincidental that the happy couple would pick a location highly influenced by ducks – and I don’t mean on the menu.  The Old Mill, located in Westminster, Massachusetts, is housed inside a historic mill with water all around.

Mill Duck Solo

The ducks here are very happy creatures.  The restaurant provides bread that guests may feed to them.  (The duck pictured above practically ate out of my hand.)  Now, while these aren’t specifically Mandarin ducks, the romantic symbolism can still be applied.

Mill Modern Section

Originally a sawmill in the late eighteenth century, the mill was a thriving part of the community for five generations, before falling into neglect about a hundred years later.   In 1921, it was revived into a summer tea house, operating until 1942 when war rationing of staples forced it to shut down.  In 1946, the Foster family took it over, making it a year-round restaurant and bakery.  They have continued to run it ever since.

One of things I love about the architecture of the site is the blending of old and new.  Throughout the environment, homage is paid to the historical aspects of the structure, yet making it very livable and modern.  In the photo to the left, one can see the new addition to the wing, and how it melds into the vintage timber of the building.

Mill Waterfall and Pond

Flowing water, thriving trees, sunshine, smooth rocks, all of these are prime examples of how the elements can come together in completely harmony.

Mill Pond 02

Another scenic view of the pond from the restaurant’s terrace.

Mill Seating

The inside environment was nostalgic and quaint.  Tables seating four to six were neatly arranged in the dining areas.   Earth was the main element present in each room; brown being the dominant color and altered wood the primary material.  Because the wood used here is dead (no longer a living plant), it’s now an earth element.

Please Watch Your Hat

This amusing sign made me laugh because I was wearing a hat at the time.  All sorts of vintage memorabilia adorn the walls, conjuring feelings of warmth and comfort.

Mill Buffet

Due to the special nature of the event, our dinner was served buffet style.  Some of my favorite items were:

  • Corn Fritters with a Maple Syrup Glaze – Scrumptious.  I think I had seven…
  • Baked Haddock Casserole with Seafood Stuffing –  Rich and filling.  A seafood lovers dream.
  • Roast Prime Rib – Tender pieces of beef.  Tantalizing and tasty.
  • Caesar Salad – A classic done right.  It accompanied the prime rib perfectly.

Mill Chocolate Martini

Our Server, whose name I sadly cannot recall, was incredible.   In addition to making sure everyone’s needs were met, she was also our bartender.  She made me, without a doubt in my mind, the best chocolate martini I’ve ever had.  Just the right amount of sweetness, and the glass lined with chocolate syrup.  Flawless and sublime.  I was a happy man.

Mill Strawberry Shortcake

Each guest was given their own strawberry shortcake parfait, completely with whip cream on top.  Refreshing and ideal for the summer weather.

Mill Fireplace

A majestic brick fireplace demanded attention in the center of the room.  The candles atop were arranged by the groom’s mother and grandmother.  The candles add beneficial fire energy to the celebration.

Mill Ducks 01

After the rich and decadent meal, many of the guests made their way outside to feed the ducks.

Mill Bridge 02

In addition to the main restaurant, The Old Mill also offers The Cracker Barrel Lounge, complete with a full bar and its own menu (although the restaurant menu can be ordered here as well).  The beneficial energy of the Old Mill, due to the very happy ducks, the natural surroundings, and the historical beauty of the structure, provide an auspicious area for dining, be it for the whole family or a romantic occasion.  I will definitely be returning here on my next visit to Massachusetts, for the food, the drinks, and to feed the adorable ducks.

The 1761 Old Mill

69 State Road East, Westminster, MA 04173

978-874-0914

Hours:  Tuesday– Thursday 11:30 am – 9:15 pm,  Friday – Saturday 11:30 am – 9:45 pm,  Sunday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm,  Lounge Hours:  Tuesday – Thursday 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Friday 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Saturday 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Note:  Closed Mondays

http://www.1761oldmill.com/index.html

Mill Pond 01

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Red: The Color of Good Luck

Good Luck Exterior

When used properly, the color red in feng shui can be the fastest, most auspicious way to alter an environment for the better.  Connected to the fire element, red is symbolic of  reputation, prosperity and success.  Red feeds the flames of passion, romance and sexuality, causing a space to have  more yang, sensual energy.  Because of this, in feng shui and Asian folklore, red has often been deemed the color of good luck.  There is one very prosperous lounge in Los Feliz that exhibits scarlet hues in all their elegance, and that would be the aptly named Good Luck Bar.

Good Luck Booth 01

From ornate wallpaper, to comfy leather seating, to the glowing lights scattered throughout, shades of ruby and cardinal permeate the area.  Wood carvings and a metal ceiling evoke a Bohemian Orient-Express feel to the establishment.

Good Luck Interior 02

A jukebox in the corner allows guests to select songs of their choosing.

Good Luck Potent Potion

Now while the environment is Asian inspired, the drinks served at Good Luck are mostly Hawaiian themed.   Many of the specialty cocktails are served in Tiki-esque glasses or ceramic coconuts.  My favorite is the Potent Potion.  Sailor Jerry Rum, nutmeg, bitters, cream, pineapple juice, and toasted coconut are blended together, instantly exporting one to a tropical paradise.  Very, very strong and alluring.

Good Luck Interior 01

Another symbol of good luck is the paper lantern.   They attract positive energy, and conjure a festive and lively atmosphere.   Paper Lantern LampThey are also commonly seen during celebrations, such as the Chinese New Year.   In feng shui folklore, is it believed that two red paper lanterns on either side of the bed can increase fertility for a married couple.  Now, while I am a strong advocate of having two light sources on either side of a bed, they do not have to be red paper lanterns.  One common trait in the San Francisco area is to use paper lanterns as shades for ceiling or wall sconces.  Inspired by this, I refurbished an old lamp, whose glass shade had long since perished.  Using a paper shade from IKEA, I affixed it to the top of the lamp, held in place with decorative twine and the lamp’s original hardware.  A very nice “IKEA Hack” if I do say so myself.

Good Luck Interor 04

There are many ways to incorporate red into one’s environment.  For my clients, I always suggest having some red in the bedroom. The shade in this room will attract more passion and zest to one’s romantic life.  Try sensual red curtains,  a down comforter, or a cozy pillow in red hues.  A romantic painting with red as a dominant color can also improve the intimate atmosphere.    The important things to remember when looking for red objects for the bedchamber are:

  • One must like the object.
  • The object should blend in with the other possessions and decor of the room.
  • One should consider the object to be romantic and/or sensual in nature.

There are many possibilities, and any shade of red can work – from brick to ruby to cranberry.

Good Luck Booth 02

Another highly beneficial way to add more red to one’s life is by wearing the color.  In an article by Dr. Melissa Burkley, a social psychology professor at the University of Oklahoma, she discusses the direct and yet subconscious connection to red and sexual attraction.  The article mentions studies that were conducted on how red in Western cultures signifies sex.  It states that men who wear red are perceived to be more dominant and of higher status that men not wearing the shade.  Women wearing red were perceived to be more sexually alluring than those not clad in cardinal.  This is completely supported from a feng shui standpoint because red is representative of fame, prosperity, passion and sexuality.   The complete article can be found here:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-social-thinker/201008/seeing-red-does-wearing-red-make-you-sexy  Because of this, any shade of red is excellent to wear on dates (for added romance), for business interviews (for greater success), and for festive occasions (happiness and abundance).  One can wear either a lot or a little red, depending on their mood and personal style.

Good Luck Interior 05

Sometimes the color red gets the short end of the stick – such as with automobile color.  Although it is a complete urban myth that red cars cost more to insure, they do cost more to purchase.  Because of the positive connotations of the color red and the wonderful yang energy the color encompasses, the price of red cars never decreases.  It is also an urban myth that drivers of red cars get more tickets, and that red autos are stolen more frequently.   Drivers of sports cars do get pulled over more so, and many of these happen to be red; hence the negative connotation.

Good Luck Interior 03

I usually come to the lounge on the weekend.  On Fridays and Saturdays, the bar is packed with swanky patrons, while Sunday nights offer a more subdued crowd.  The service here is fast and excellent.  In addition to a stellar drink menu and full bar, daily specials are also available.  Rumor has it there is also a hidden drink menu, but I’ve yet to explore this personally.  For a powerful beverage in a highly auspicious setting, I suggest the red-hued environment of Good Luck Bar.

Good Luck BarGood Luck Asian Lamp

1514 Hillhurst Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027

323 666-3524

Hours:  Monday – Friday 7:00 pm – 2:00 am,   Saturday – Sunday  8:00 pm – 2:00 am

http://www.goodluckbarla.com/