While "March Madness" is a phrase long associated with college basketball, I'm adopting the nickname to describe this month's jam-packed antiques calendar.

At Mountain View's Rengstorff House -- a fully restored, Italianate-style residence built in 1867 -- an exhibit on Victorian-era photography runs through most of the month, and the Friends of R-House will host a restful Victorian tea March 22. Once you savor your refreshments and partake in a silent auction, wander about the well-appointed manse to ogle a display of Victorian-era fashions.

To reserve your space (seating is limited), call Maryanne Roger at 650-868-7708, or go to www.r-house.org. Time: 1-4 p.m. Cost: $30, plus a small processing fee.

While at the historic home, catch the latest exhibit, "Images in Time: Victorian Photography." Viewers will be able to study a batch of daguerreotypes and stereo views featuring intriguing images from the 1800s. The exhibition runs through March 23.

You can tour the house and see the exhibit from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays.

Rengstorff House is located (off Highway 101) at 3070 N. Shoreline Blvd. It's a fun place where history comes to life through school tours, student internships and even the rental of the site for special celebrations.

Anglophile alert

Architecture lovers and "Downton Abbey" devotees will not want to miss the March 19 presentation at Filoli, the 654-acre, neo-Georgian estate in Woodside. The lush topic -- "From Fish to Fowl: Sporting Life at the English Country House" -- promises to be splendid.

Speaker Jeremy Musson will regale attendees with tales of many of the grand English country houses. Musson, a writer, architectural historian and broadcaster, has an extensive background in topics that serious Anglophiles want to absorb.

The hourlong lecture, co-sponsored by the Royal Oak Foundation, begins at 2 p.m. A reception follows. Cost: $25 for Filoli members, $35 for nonmembers. You may register online (www.filoli.org), or call Filoli weekdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at 650-364-8300, ext. 508.

Toys aplenty

The Newark Pavilion is going to be the spot to explore for vintage toys March 16 when promoter Dave "The Toyman" Fulkerson hosts another of his popular shows.

Expect a slew of trains, dolls, robots, cap guns, cars and trucks. Hobbyists can scour for Disney memorabilia, model kits, even Pez containers and comic books.

The fun occurs at the Newark Pavilion, 6430 Thornton Ave., Newark. Hours: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission: $5. If you want first dibs on the goodies, there's an early admission at 8 a.m. that costs $15. Parking is free. Details: 510-886-3195, www.toyshowhaywardca.com.

Airline show

The Spring San Francisco Airline Memorabilia Show and Sale happens today.

Aviation aficionados search high and low at this show for advertising paraphernalia, posters, playing cards, timetables, pamphlets, postcards, china, flatware and pins.

The fun takes place at the Grosvenor Best Western, 380 S. Airport Blvd. in South San Francisco. Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission: $5. Details: 408-504-8345.

Art sale

The sixth annual art sale at the Thrift Box in San Jose supporting the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital began this week. Savvy shoppers and interior designers always make it a point to head to this clearance for buys.

Look for original oil paintings and watercolors, along with lithographs and posters. I've been told there's a big group of vintage prints from the 1920s to the '40s amid an overflow of treasures.

Discover the Thrift Box at 1362 Lincoln Ave. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, through March 15. For details, call 408-294-4490.

Another worthy sale

The Preservation Action Council of San Jose will have its first garage/salvage sale of the year March 13-15.

The industrious organizers have been gathering tons of interesting trinkets for this affair. Some of the items up for grabs include a neat vintage pinball machine, a Japanese warrior helmet, quilts, architectural elements such as old doors and slabs of marble, along with books and records, crystal, collectible hats and bric-a-brac.

The sale occurs at 260 S. 13th St. Hours: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. March 13-14, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. March 15. Donations are still welcome. Call Patt Curia at 408-294-3599, or email donations@preservation.org.

Profits help the nonprofit, founded in 1990, preserve and promote San Jose's historic past.

A fun book

I've had New Orleans on my mind since Fat Tuesday and the beginning of the Lenten season. So allow me to tell you about a newly published book for anyone young of heart: "The Runaway Beignet" by Connie Collins Morgan (Pelican, $16.99).

Beignets, as many of you know, are those tasty fried rectangular-shaped doughnuts associated as much with the Big Easy as jazz.

The book reminds me of one I read as a child about a runaway pancake. This tale, gloriously illustrated by Herb Leonhard, is sort of an update on that favorite.

I'm still on the lookout for an old copy of that book at vintage bookstores everywhere. If you ever see one, please let me know.

Thanks to a mentor

Last week, I received news that Marilyn Weckstein, one of my mentors, passed away at age 80.

I met her in the early 1970s in the upstate New York village of Manlius at her well-stocked shop "The Quadrangle." She nurtured my budding curiosity in the decorative arts, and continued to take interest in me long after I moved to California. I will always be very grateful for her enduring friendship.

Contact Steven Yvaska at steve.yvaska@sbcglobal.net.