"Every day's a holiday," Mae West winks at a passer-by from an old movie poster. She could be talking about the experience of shopping at the Enchanted Cottage, the exuberant shop that sells the poster (and about a thousand other delightful wares) on East Baltimore Street in Taneytown.
Both returning shoppers and first-time visitors to the Enchanted Cottage are in for a treat every time they walk down the brick pathway and into the shop tucked behind owner Bonnie Gonder's residence.
The pathway leads a visitor past gardens and birdhouses and a pond and onto a back porch adorned with the requisite rocking chairs, baskets and dried flowers. Even in the dead of February, it's a welcoming sight.
The shop, filled with country furniture, accessories and miscellany on the first floor, and Victorian-inspired goods on the second (including an antique "fainting sofa"), is something Mrs. Gonder had always wanted.
Four years ago her wish came true when husband Glenn, a contractor, built the 1,400-square-foot addition onto their house. Mrs. Gonder went to work decorating the place and buying the merchandise (most of it made in America), and then opened for business.
"This is my thing," she says of the decorating and the filling up of the shop's rooms with things people love to look at and buy. In the shop, the furniture and accessories you see and touch, and even the music and scents you experience, are the very items that turn a house into a home.
Mrs. Gonder says the shop is her justification for pursuing her favorite pastimes -- decorating and redecorating for every season, going on buying trips with her mother, getting to know people.
Personalized service is a hallmark of the store, and she says her customers usually stay for about an hour while they browse or she helps them pull together a "look" for a favorite room. She maintains a "wish list" for customers, too.
Like many Carroll residents, the Gonders moved to Taneytown 12 years ago to escape the suburbs of Montgomery County. It's been a good fit, and now that Bonnie Gonder has a shop behind the house ("I have a wicked commute!"), every day seems like a holiday, even during the hectic pre-Christmas rush, when the shop stays open seven days a week.
"It's fun! How can you not have fun doing this?" she says.
The Enchanted Cottage is at 402 E. Baltimore St. in Taneytown, open weekends only until further notice. Phone: 751-1512.
The kids at Elmer Wolfe Elementary School know about creating holidays, even when no one else is celebrating.
Last Thursday they declared a reading holiday after school hours, and 225 people celebrated. It was quite an event, says Norma Knox, reading specialist at the school for the past 11 years.
Ms. Knox and a committee of seven other teachers planned the event to culminate a month's reading activities. During January the kids were read to by no fewer than 25 guest readers, including parents, grandparents and business folks from the community, who also shared aspects of their occupations with the children.
At the Read-In last week, children and their families brought blankets, pillows and sleeping bags and got comfortable on the gym floor for two hours while they became engrossed in favorite books, magazines and newspapers.
A highlight of the evening was a performance by professional puppeteer Kathleen Jacobs, who entertained the crowd with three folk tales from Asia and Europe. Children from the audience helped act out the tales, which really brought them to life, said Ms. Knox.
At the end of the evening, principal Mary Stong presented certificates to each family that participated.
If you think the children and teachers at Elmer Wolfe are all "read out," guess again. This month they launch a "Reading is Out of This World" campaign, and the goal is for the student body to read for 174,390 minutes before the end of March. Go for it, kids!
If all this has inspired you to start your own reading program, or jump-start your kid to read during the cold nights ahead, don't forget about the Taneytown Library's offerings -- all the books you can check out, plus incentive and fun activities like the "Teddy Bears' Valentine Party" for children 3 and older, on Tuesday at 7 p.m., or "Tales of the Orient" on Wednesday for the after-school crowd. Information: 751-1980.
Don't forget about the Firemen's Breakfast this Sunday morning at the New Windsor Fire Hall. All you can eat.