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Monday, October 25, 2010

A Simpler Time

I was watching Castle the other night and there was a place for people to go, dress and have fun in the late Victorian Era (1890s). They are romantics and are drawn to the simpler times. I thought the idea of the club (minus the murdering) was wonderful and would love to visit a place like that. The only thing similar I have ever participated in were the Madrigal Dinners in high school (where I was a wench and served the lords and ladies at my table). I attended in later years.

I've been to a couple of different Madrigal Dinners but none of them do it up like my former high school Well, at least not locally. From the moment you step out of your car you are transported. Street urchins with candles or lamps lead you through the back halls of the school, darkened and decorated. There is hay on the floor with the poor in sack cloth begging as you go. Once you enter the "castle" you are greeted by a chancellor and are left to wait until the hall is ready. The entire place is decorated with candles, greenery, and banners. As we make our way to the hall we pause to listen to the woodwinds.

We know ahead of time the name of our table and are led there by another wench or page. On each plate is the program. And for each table is the list of attendees. However, it is not your normal name. You could be a Countess, Princess, etc. with your name. It is great fun to find who you can pretend to be for the evening, and who outranks who.

The food is always delicious from the Wassail and fresh bread, barley soup, to the beef and potatoes, then Cornish hens, fruit and finally a rum cake. And between courses the Madrigals sing, jesters perform and the king makes his rounds. All in all it is a wonderful evening. This dinner is so popular that when the tickets go on sale for the 3 (maybe it is 4now) nights, they are sold out by 1:00 p.m. that day.

It is always fun to escape and be entertained at the same time, much like the club in Castle.

I've heard of Jane Austin societies having balls and soirées, but have never had a chance to attend one. I would participate in something like that in a heartbeat since the Regency Period is one of my favorite eras.

I have attended the Old English Fare and enjoyed the meat pies and watching the entertainment, but I don't really escape into the past. And, I haven't had a chance to participate or watch historical reenactments.

Have you have had the opportunity to attend an event that takes you to a different place and they do it so well you forget about the present world? If you had a chance to visit a club or event, which era in history would you like to escape to?


  1. Amy,

    That does sound like fun. I've never been to any type of reenactment or Madrigal dinner. The only things that I've been to that have made me feel like I stepped back in time are museum exhibits.

    We saw The Titanic exhibit in St. Paul, and as we entered, we were issued tickets with a real passenger's name. At the end, you could check to see if your passenger survived. It was very poignant. Our family was issued tickets of an actual family on that voyage.

    In the end, my daughter, son and I survived, but my husband perished. It made their experience real to me.

    However, I would not classify that as fun. Nothing like a Regency ball would be. :)

  2. Amy, I would love to go to something like this. I attended a Renaissance fair once that was similar. We had a good time, but the boys- who were very small- were terrified by a staged knife fight.

  3. Samantha, I've heard the Titanic Exhibit is great. I hope to see it one day.

    Clarissa, hopefully you will get a chance to go back because the boys would probably enjoy the fight now.

  4. Oh I love stuff like this!Hubby was a member of SCA which is Society for Creative
    Anachronism and does the Renaissance fairs and such. We've been talking about rejoining. I've never done it myself but I'd love to try it out.

    We also went to Medieval times in Myrtle Beach SC several years ago for my oldest son's sixtenth birthday and had a blast. It was sooo much fun. We also go to the Renaissance faire's here every year. In fact the faire is here until late November now. We're planning to go after Halloween sometime. There are also several tourist attractions down here that dress up like Old Salem, several forts reenact civil war battles and such. We've been to most everything down over the years. Lots of fun.

    Maybe I'll convince hubby to finally rejoin SCA so we can experience it together this time. Great post, Amy! I love this kind of stuff!

  5. I'm so jealous. It sounds so wonderful. I'd love to attend one and dress accordingly of course. :O)

  6. I've never been to any sort of reenactment, but I'd love to. It's definitely on my list of things to do. Probably the closest I've come is going to various museums. One in particular that makes me feel like I'm in that particular point in time is the 6th Floor Museum in Dallas, in the old book suppository building where Lee Harvey Oswald hid to assassinate JFK. Not a particularly pleasant experience, but definitely fascinating. I could easily spend hours there and not tire of walking through the museum.

  7. This sounds like SOOOO much fun, Amy! I'm always disappointed when a theme isn't taken to the max and it sounds like your high school really took it there! I would love to be a part of that. My husband and I have always talked about opening a Regency House one day where we would host weekend-long house parties, immersing the guests in the era. No cell phones, no computers, no electricity! And period clothing would be provided. Maybe one day we'll get around to it - I think we need more opportunities like this to immerse ourselves in the past!

  8. That sounds like so much fun! I'm jealous! LOL And Jerrica, put me down as your first guest when you open Regency House. :) I can't wait for that.

    This summer I went to a Redcoats and Rebels re-enactment here in MA and I really enjoyed it, and learned lots. I didn't exactly feel like I was back in time, but I have to admit to nearly swooning every time I saw the men in breeches and tall boots. LOL

  9. I've not been to a fancy dress party for ages but its funny, yesterday my DH and I were discussing how a lot of dress up functions are tied to charity causes. Is it wrong to have a ball just for the hell of it?

    That discussion morphed into how to set up a 19th Century themed ball here in Sydney. HE thinks it would be easy, but then again he has organised balls before. All I need to do is find a gown. LOL

  10. Wow, Amy! That sounds amazing. I've never even seen anything like it. But I'm sure I'd enjoy it. (As long as I was a Lady - being a wench doesn't appeal to me. LOL)