"Walking into Lady Ball's Victorian Boutique and Tea Room," wrote the Portland Press Herald 's food writer Meredith Goad in a May 2007 article, "[l]adies will feel as if they've walked into a florid romance novel. [And] Gentlemen, well, let's just say here's your opportunity to show your sensitive side."
Consider it done, Ms. Goad: I felt like I did walk into a florid romance novel and I did take advantage of my opportunity to show off my sensitive side. Which is not to say that I am a cultured hermaphodite. Just that both reactions are to be expected, regardless of gender.
Indeed, the pageantry of the place is dizzying. The scent of Yankee Candle's Home Sweet Home wafts in the air. A seemingly overflowing array of Victorian-style antiques, home decorations, furniture, jewelry, and tea accessories appear to battle for wall space. And the decor generally respects the fine line between elegance and kitsch, which gives the space a refined feel that does not sacrifice coziness at the altar of stuffiness. Also, the ubiquitous vibrancy of the colors splashed about ensure that the approximately seventy flavors of black, white, green, oolong, herbal, fruit, and decaf loose-leaf teas will not drowse you into a slumber despite how relaxed one will feel.
Owing its name to the late Irene Ball, a British emigre who was like a grandmother to owner Deb Shangraw, this ornate boutique and tea room at 752 Main Street is unlike anything I've experienced in Westbrook.
And that's a good thing.
- John C.L. Morgan
P.S. The boutique and tea room are open from 11a-5p, Monday-Friday. It can be open on Saturdays and Sundays, but only if you schedule an appointment for a group of ten or more. A 16-ounce pot of tea costs $5, and a 32-ounce pot will set you back ten greenbacks. Baked goods, cookies, and sandwiches are also available. And the outdoor deck with a capacity of twenty people will open soon.