“WHAT… IS A WEE-KEND?”
I love the expression and tone of voice used by Violet, the Dowager Duchess of Grantham, when she asks this question in the hit series, Downton Abbey. (Maggie Smith is pitch perfect in that role!) And I’m certain that, to a privileged woman who may be at her leisure nearly every day of the year, the distinction may well be an alien concept. But for most of us in this century, our ‘wee-kends’ are precious to us! And opportunities to plan activities of note to fill them definitely occupy our interest.
So, what does an opening quotation from a fictional Edwardian Countess have to do with a blog inspired by Jane Austen – firmly of the late Georgian/Regency periods – or a 21st century Austen-based author, and a summer weekend? I’m glad you asked!
We are afforded a wonderful opportunity to immerse ourselves in the Regency and Jane Austen by participating in a ‘Special Jane Austen Character Weekend’ – wherein I have been invited to offer one of the planned period-appropriate activities.
It may seem premature to think about mid-summer weekends, when we’ve only just turned the calendar to Spring and the weather doesn’t even seem to have caught up with that transition yet. But at my office we were asked to submit our leave (military-speak for vacation) plans for the summer, and it made me realize that, as quickly as time passes by, it truly is not too soon to think about getting away from it all.
For a wonderful weekend break – with the added bonus that you can travel back in time and literature too – why not consider the Special Jane Austen Character Weekend at the Governor’s House in Hyde Park? Mark your calendars for 9-11 August, 2013 – pick your favorite Austen character to inhabit for a few days – and point your carriages towards Hyde Park, Vermont to join other beloved (or not so) characters for a weekend house party!!!
Jane Austen themed weekends have been on offer at the Governor’s House B&B for a few years, and I have had the pleasure to attend a few of them over the past two. Some are book-themed and feature discussions relevant to the selected book. But my favorites are the Character Weekends. The activities are fun, and as energetic or relaxed as you choose; the fashions lovely; refreshments delicious; and the company delightful and oh-so interesting. And… you get to play “dress up” if you are so inclined!!! What could be better?
This August, I have been asked to lead an evening (or afternoon or morning) of reading aloud, much as Jane Austen and her family or, indeed, her characters’ families, would have done of an evening. I will be reading selections from my recent collection of short stories, Pride Revisited; and/or possibly even a sneak preview of my novel that will be published in the coming year. (We’re all in the planning stages at this point, so I may leave some of these decisions up to the participants based on interest.)
More info will be forthcoming, but in the meantime, check out this link to the Governor’s House B&B for more information, mark it on your schedulers, and start reading your favourite Austen novel again to bone up on your chosen character! I look forward to seeing you there! (Except that it won’t be me… but I will not divulge who it is that will be reading my stories, except to suggest she is someone from my favourite book.)
(For a teaser, here is a video of highlights from the first character weekend I attended in 2011. Since that first one, they have added horseback riding, fencing, tatting and other activities!)