Last night was a perfect summer night – cool breeze, no humidity, fluffy clouds turned rosy by the setting sun – I was very excited to be heading out to dinner on such a lovely evening. My date and I decided to take advantage of restaurant week in Baltimore County, during which restaurants usually beyond reach financially offer prix fixe, three or four course meals for only $35.12. My choice for dinner? The historic Milton Inn in Sparks, Maryland (www.miltoninn.com), a 272-year-old building with two-foot-thick fieldstone walls, long counted among Maryland’s historic treasures.
The Milton Inn started out in 1740 as a stagecoach stop for Quakers who settled the area. After a hundred years as an inn, the building was purchased by a man who transformed the structure into an exclusive boys school called the Milton Academy, named for John Milton, author of the poem Paradise Lost. Despite counting the infamous John Wilkes Booth among its students, the school thrived for fifty years, and was eventually converted to a private residence. In 1947, the school was sold again and the new buyer restored the building to a fine country inn.
|Milton Inn restaurant in Sparks, Maryland|
Through two successive owners, the latest since 1997, the Milton Inn has continued to flourish as a high-end, fine-dining establishment serving "exceptional food elegantly served in an authentic colonial atmosphere", as described in the written history provided to me by the hostess. Last night was no exception.
For this auspicious occasion, I chose a sensuous summer maxi by Bisou Bisou for JCPenney with a plunging neckline in deep sapphire, teal and black swirls, a smattering of cabochons adorning the empire sash. This is one of the few dresses I was able to keep after losing 70 pounds last year. With just a bit of lycra to give the fabric some elasticity, the gown stretched to fit me when I was heavy, yet fits me still now that I am trim. In fact, it’s one of the most comfortable dresses I’ve ever owned – and I love the rich, saturated colors. For shoes, I chose jute-wedged sandals with black canvas straps by Nine West’s Vintage America Collection, which I purchased at Macy’s last summer.
For jewelry I selected large silver hoop earrings from Claire’s, dripping with black feathers and turquoise stones, and a shimmering bracelet of teal-hued Swarovski crystals made by Lily Williams, a dear friend of mine in Cameron Park, California who teaches bead work and jewelry-making. I added a jewel-toned crystal fashion ring I found in Las Vegas last summer, a Dea Dread hair accessory in deep blues by Thea Osato of Baltimore (http://DeaDreads.etsy.com) and a simple diamond "L" initial necklace which was a gift three years ago in honor of fifteen years of service to my employer.
The meal at Milton Inn was memorable. I enjoyed steak and lobster tail superbly prepared, with exquisite Jack Tarr potatoes, heavenly hericots verts and a delightful salad of greens and strawberries with strawberry vinaigrette. I finished with a superb macadamia nut torte, and was so full that I could hardly push myself back from the table at the end of the meal.
I’ll be doing extra crunches and squats in the week ahead, but the enjoyment of such a fine meal on such a perfect summer evening was worth the caloric extravagance.