|John Wanamaker's "Crystal Tea Room"|
Like all good memories, these are gilded with warm emotions, slightly hazy details, and maybe some longing. Hardly anybody gets "dressed up" anymore - no matter the occasion, or the specialness of the event or location.
The Crystal Tea Room was an opulent and impressive room to a child - with warm dark wood paneling, linen tableclothes and napkins, china place settings, the soft murmur of conversation accompanied by the musical clink of dishes. And of course, those enormous sparkling crystal chandeliers!
We had tea or lunch, visited Santa and the toy department, and always watched the holiday show from the grand rotunda on the main floor. It included a light show narrated by John Facenda and a musical concert performed on the Wanamaker organ accompanied by dancing fountains that moved in time to the Christmas Carols being played. Magical!
Today, we take our children and grandchildren to Philadelphia to see a shortened version of the Christmas Spectacular and to enjoy a visit to the huge train display in Reading Terminal. We end the day in the Italian Market busily gathering special foods for a traditional feast and have dinner at a neighborhood restaurant.
John Wanamaker is considered a visionary by many who strive to protect and share his legacy. The opulent department store he created is a precious part of my childhood memories...and, no doubt, part of the fond recollections of many others. I hope our grandchildren have similarily warm recollections of our annual Christmas trip to Philly.
Carol & Gus, Innkeepers
an Ocean City NJ Bed and Breakfast