Monday, April 25, 2016

Regency Weekend

Last weekend I took a break from frantic 18th century sewing to attend the Regency Weekend held by the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers in Salem, MA. Salem was a bustling industry hub and shipping capitol during the early 19th century, and one of the largest cities in the country. Thus, the city (which retains many of the buildings from this period) is a perfect setting for time travel to the Regency era!

strolling by the warf
This event is one of my favorite of the year, because it really does feel like stepping back in time. Over the course of the weekend, you get to know the other attendees in a really special way, so by the time the Grand Ball begins on Sunday night it feels like attending a neighborhood party with friends. Plus, as everyone has been working hard on their dancing all weekend, there's no teaching at the ball--everyone just gets up and goes! It's a truly wonderful experience, and very unique.

There are three costumed events during the weekend: two balls and one afternoon tea. I didn't have time to sew anything new, but as I'm wearing a lot of rather old dresses at this point I wanted something exciting and fresh. I decided to focus on the afternoon. I made a chemisette and finished a bonnet I'd started for last year (I ended up unable to attend the weekend due to a family emergency). I also brought some extra feathers for my hair, and wore the new jewelry I recently acquired for my francaise ensemble. Having new accessories definitely made a difference, and it was nice to feel new and exciting even in old clothes!

This event is really magical, and I had a wonderful time. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves without too much commentary.

dancing at the Saturday evening ball

a champagne jelly at the Saturday ball

A friend and I stayed in Salem for the weekend rather than driving back and forth from Boston. Our hotel, The Merchant, is in a historic house in downtown Salem. It was perfect for us, and so much fun! We took photos in the parlor windows before tea.
this series of window photos I took are some of my favorites from the weekend

I made chicken mousse for tea! It's molded into the shape of  a duck on water

period-style playing cards, from some lighthearted gambling at tea. Commerce is our favorite Regency card game--it's sort of a cross between Poker and Go Fish.

at the warf, part of the Salem Maritime NHS

assembling for the opening minuet--dancing teachers continued to push the minuet into the early 19th century, and it sometimes was used as the opening dance of the evening. We learn a basic minuet choreography in class, and then perform it as the opening dance for the Grand Ball on Sunday evening

serious minuet faces

a country dance

eating refreshments and playing cards in the supper room, adjacent to the ballroom
refreshments in the supper room adjacent to the ballroom. In keeping with Regency menus, we served a variety of jellies, cakes, fruit, and syllabub with cookies
 Such fun!

1 comment:

  1. A lovely all-encompassing recap of the weekend. :) I loved the window photos, too!