Hyde Park circa 1813

It’s August, the time when people around the village of Hyde Park start again mentioning to me that they have noticed ladies in long dresses wandering around the grounds of the Governor’s House, playing croquet or carefully holding their parasols to protect them from the sun. Period dress is always optional, but many guests enjoy the chance to dress in the beautiful clothes of the Regency period, especially during the character weekend when they each choose one of Austen’s characters to roll-play and then they interact as they think those characters would. Some guests choose quiet characters, but some like Augusta Hawkins or Miss Bates really get into the parts and enjoy having a lot to say.

The second Jane Austen weekend in series 6 took place this past weekend with Pride and Prejudice as its theme, a given with the book celebrating its 200th birthday this year. As the saying goes, a good time was had by all. We tried out a new Jane Austen game. I really created it for next weekend, but not unlike my mother who once was so pleased with a Christmas present she had found for me several months before Christmas that she gave it to me in September, I couldn’t wait and we played it after dinner on Saturday. It was a little hard at first, especially for the guests less familiar with all Jane Austen’s characters, but soon we were all enjoying it hugely and laughing very hard. I am hoping to make the game available on line on the Jane Austen weekends page of the website.

Next weekend, August 9 – 11, will be the annual in character weekend. After this rainy summer, I still have my fingers crossed for the weather so the weekend schedule is not finalized. But people in the early eighteen hundreds found many delightful ways to amuse themselves on rainy days and evenings and I have a stock of their good ideas so I am, like Captain Wentworth, prepared for any weather. Carriage rides, archery, croquet, and fencing lessons are planned as well as workshops with Hope Greenberg on making a turban or reticule. Tess Quinn will read from her newly-published Pride Revisited, a selection of “interludes”, delightful scenes that can be inserted into the original without changing the original events. We will, after a fashion, keep Regency period hours with very light fare midday and an early dinner on Saturday, followed by tea in the evening and English country dancing. And on Sunday, there will be a picnic without Colonel Brandon and, I hope, without the rain that once brought a hasty finish to our lovely picnic spread overlooking the river. There is still room to join some of the weekend’s activities, but do reserve in advance if you are interested.

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