Sunday, December 27, 2015

...partying like it's 1893...

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. While our Christmas was a bit hectic traveling around town and visiting with family, Christmasing together this season has been our respite! Even when our lives are hectic with work, we're still finding time to spend together. 

In this post, I'm going to go back in time a bit to share some of our adventures. This event actually took us back in time 122 years!

On Friday, December 18th my fella and I attended one of Maymont’s Victorian Holidays events-- Maymont by Moonlight. As I noted in my “yester gothidays... how the Victorians Christmased...” post, Maymont is a 100-acre Victorian estate that was left to the people of Richmond. 
Our evening began on a cold evening. It’s hard to even remember that because the days before and the days after have been in the 70s. I'm writing this while in shorts with the air conditioner on (mostly for the humidity). It’s been a rather warm Christmas season. 

That one evening, we dipped into the 40s and were actually wearing coats and gloves! The evening began at the historic estate entrance. There we were greeted and then escorted to horse-drawn carriages that carried us under a starry evening down a path with lanterns to a bonfire where carolers were dressed in period clothing. 


If this reads like an advertisement, it actually is what they promised; and, it all came to fruition. It was the perfect evening for a ride which led us to a bonfire where we would then walk to the Maymont Mansion to begin our Christmas 1893 experience. 

From the moment we reached the bonfire, costumed Victorian ladies and gentlemen welcomed us to the home of Major and Mrs. James H. Dooley who were experiencing their first Christmas (in 1893) at their new estate. The actors played the parts of the Dooley’s domestic staff, family friends, and family members. Unfortunately, we were told by other family members (actors) that Major and Mrs. James H. Dooley were not present because they were at the orphanage being charitable (if I remember correctly). We were *the guests* who were dropping by for a visit right before a magnificent ball. We were even given calling cards to use as our *tickets* to the event. 

As we walked through the rooms of the mansion, there were scenes where we *the guests* were included. Some actors spoke directly to us about what we were witnessing while sneaking in costumes of the day.  Some of the family members were preparing for that night's ball; others were getting ready for Christmas day. The children were even making up songs and playing games in preparation. 

At the end of the evening, we were served hot cider with rum which was tart and delicious. 

It was one of the best events I’ve attended at Maymont, which says a great deal since I’ve been frequently this place since the early 1990s. While I’ve walked through the mansion dozens of times on tours, the Maymont staff did an excellent job transforming the very event into something unique and new. The acting scenes and all the little touches of decorations made the event one to remember, as I'm sure the actual Christmas was 1893 was one the Dooley family cherished all of their lives.  


  1. A Victorian Christmas is one of my ultimate goals! We don't have them in Australia at all!