New Season and New Ideas

It’s been very busy this winter at the Governor’s House in Hyde Park with weddings, birthday parties, Downton Abbey inspired etiquette dinners, afternoon tea, a Jane Austen weekend, and celebrations of Valentine’s Day, not to mention the usual weekend getaways and cross-country skiing. But plans are now underway for next year’s schedule and a few new diversions.

An all-new Downton Abbey inspired weekend is scheduled for August 20 -22. The dinner on Saturday night will be an etiquette dinner which takes you from the dressing gong to after-dinner chocolates while everyone takes a turn at being both guest and footman and the intricacies of proper Edwardian (and modern) dinner etiquette are explained, all in a dining room that’s been the scene of elegant dinners since before the Titanic went down. There will be a proper English afternoon tea at which you may come in the “character” of any character, though dressing the part is entirely optional. Breakfast will be just what you would expect with a sideboard buffet and toast in a proper silver toast rack. Optional activities include fly fishing (even though it’s not Scotland), horseback riding as either a trail ride or lesson (sorry ladies, sidesaddle is not possible), crewel embroidery lessons, and chocolate-covered truffle making with someone much less grumpy than Mrs. Patmore. There will also be games and puzzles to enjoy throughout the weekend. Details and rates will appear shortly on the website: Join us and find the answer to everyone’s favorite question: What is a week-end?


Series 7 of the Jane Austen weekends continues with Sense and Sensibility and a Friday evening talk entitled “Making Sense of Regency England” on August 8 – 10 and September 5 – 7 this year and January 9 – 11, 2015.


There will be a special new Pride and Prejudice weekend June 27 – 29 with all the regular weekend activities plus English country dancing and the option of adding a sewing workshop with Hope Greenberg to make a turban or some Regency underclothes or caps. The Friday evening talk will be “The Look of Regency England”.


The Jane Austen “in character” weekend is scheduled for August 15 – 17. In addition to the regular activities, Hope Greenberg will again be offering two of her wonderful sewing workshops. She tells me that she has already been successfully shopping for beautiful, “period” fabric. I was quite jealous of all the beautiful turbans that were created last year and I’m hoping to find time this year to make one and be able to wear it at dinner.