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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Flowing water, thriving trees, sunshine, smooth rocks, all of these are prime examples of how the elements can come together in completely harmony.
Another scenic view of the pond from the restaurant’s terrace.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Each guest was given their own strawberry shortcake parfait, completely with whip cream on top. Refreshing and ideal for the summer weather.
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.
After the rich and decadent meal, many of the guests made their way outside to feed the ducks.
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
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