Saturday, June 23, 2007
Blue Willow Inn & the Blue Willow Pattern
Yesterday's visit to the Blue Willow Inn in Social Circle, Ga. with my friend Beth has set me to revisiting the legend of the famous Blue Willow pattern. Interestingly enough, the pattern seems to have originated in England, not China, although a Chinese legend is certainly at the heart of the story, a sort of Chinese Romeo-and-Juliet tale in which lovers are forbidden to marry and turn into the doves depicted in the pattern. The pattern also includes a pagoda, a willow tree, and three men on a bridge. (I love that the three men have been referred to as "The Socialists" because they are always leaning to the left!)
The Blue Willow Inn is a Southern country cooking sort of restaurant, not a tearoom, by the way, although their sweet tea was mighty good, and Beth and I wouldn't have dreamed of having anything else to wash down all those delicious fried green tomatoes we ate. As luck would have it, she and I were seated in the "Tea Room" upstairs at the inn, where tea accoutrements and artwork adorn the walls. How perfect! They also had a wonderful gift shop where I found a cute Blue Willow teabag holder and loose tea measuring spoon to add to my collection of souvenir tea goodies.
This morning I happened to be reading the June 1995 issue of Victoria Magazine (I re-read these magazines in the month they originally debuted), and "Blue and White" is a theme, along with a nice story about Spode and Blue Willow. (Why am I suddenly hankering for that pretty blue and white living room with blue and white striped camelback sofas and white built-ins laden with Blue Willow china?) I'm very curious to see if the newly-revived Victoria, coming this fall, will revisit the annual themes that once made this magazine so popular. I certainly hope so!