Hope Plantation Christmas Open House
December 4, 20162016 marks the RSV's fourth year attending the Hope Plantation Christmas Open House and we had, perhaps, our biggest crowd of dance-observers yet! As in years past, our volunteers demonstrated a few English Country Dances from the early 19th century and explained a little about the role dancing played in society during the period. After showing the steps, we invited several of the audience members to learn a dance with us. We were so pleased with the number of visitors who took time out of touring the houses and grounds to take part in the dance program; it was standing room only! After our demonstration, we were able to spend a little time touring the grounds and houses ourselves, enjoying the company of the ladies in the kitchen (and enjoying the biscuits and honey butter they so generously offered us!) as well as taking advantage of the presence of horse-drawn carriage rides. As ever, it was a lovely way to spend an early December afternoon and we look forward to returning next year! For pictures, visit our Facebook page.
DAR Museum Visit
November 5, 2016Several members and friends of the Regency Society of Virginia met up in Our Nation's Capital to view the Daughters of the American Revolution's exhibit, "An Agreeable Tyrant: Fashion After the Revolution." This clothing exhibit featured men's and women's costume dated 1785-1825 from the museum's extensive clothing collection. Suffice it to say that we were all suitably wowed by the amazing garments and accessories displayed on three different levels of the museum. We were also delighted to have several new acquaintances join us for our visit and look forward to seeing them in the future. If you weren't able to join us, be sure to view some of the pictures from the day that we've posted on Facebook!
Second Annual Regency Ladies' Retreat
September 22-25, 2016We are very pleased to announce that our second foray into "retreating" was just as successful as our first! Fourteen ladies of the RSV gathered for an extended weekend of early 19th century-inspired living at the Eastover Manor on the James. The weather preceding the event was far wetter than we would have liked, however, it cleared up to our great satisfaction for our costumed days! We began arriving on Thursday evening and settled in (a job, considering the wardrobes that we brought!) for a casual dinner and period movie. Friday and Saturday, the ladies of the house enjoyed all manner of period entertainments--both indoors and out--and passed the time in one another's company while sewing, writing, dancing, practicing our archery, taking strolls about the grounds and down to the beach, and more! To add to our pleasure, we were once again treated to period-inspired culinary delights (Thank you, Rebecca and Kim!) the likes of which we will not see for...at least another year! We left reluctantly on Sunday determined that this event will be held again next year. Be sure to make your plans to join us if you were not able to this year; spaces will fill up quickly! If you should like to see the sorts of things that we got up to at the retreat, don't miss out on the photos that we've posted on Facebook of our arrival and first costumed day and of our second day and departure. (You needn't have a Facebook account to view them.)
An Early 19th Century Picnic
September 10, 2016While temperatures which neared the triple digits may have suppressed our numbers, several stalwarts of our happy company assembled at the lovely grounds of President and Mrs. James Monroe's home, Highland. We took advantage of the shade in the Peacock Yard beside the house and made ourselves quite comfortable under trees which might have been able to tell us stories of the Monroes' days there. Everyone who attended the picnic had the opportunity to tour the house. This proved interesting as, thanks to recent archeological discoveries, the staff at Highland has had to adjust their interpretation to accommodate the fact that what had been thought to be the Monroes' home is, in fact, the guest quarters. The original house is now outlined in stone on the lawn to allow visitors to see part of the footprint of the first building. Our tour groups being divided, we ate our midday meal between them and enjoyed a delicious array of foods brought by our members and friends. Games were played, conversations enjoyed, and the grounds were strolled throughout the rest of the day--while we all took care not to become too overheated! Thank you once more to Highland for its hospitality and be sure to take a look at the pictures from the afternoon on our Facebook page!
Turban Sewing Workshop
August 8, 2016
Several ladies of the RSV gathered in Williamsburg to learn how to conquer turban construction from Shocking Bad Hats proprietress (and RSV Vice President), Rebecca Burnham. Using her "Five Easy Pieces" formula, participants were able to transform the fabric they had brought into spectacular creations by the end of the day. In addition to having several decorative elements available for participants to use on their turbans, Rebecca also provided us with some great tips for getting feathers to their maximum fullness as well as other design and construction helps that will be very useful to know for future reference. Everyone was able to go home with at least the bare bones of a turban completed and most people in the workshop were able to take finished creations home. Thanks once again to Rebecca and Shocking Bad Hats for sharing her talent with us and thanks to everyone who came out and participated! If you weren't able to make it, do get a glimpse of the happenings by visiting our Facebook album! (You don't need an account to view it!)
An Evening With Admiral Lord Nelson
July 13, 2016
The Regency Society of Virginia teamed up once again with our friends at the Norfolk Historical Society to present a very special program for the history buffs of Hampton Roads. This particular Wednesday evening found our members mingling with those of the NHS and the public to get a glimpse into the life of Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, the renowned British naval hero of the early 19th century. Admiral Nelson was expertly brought to life by living historian and Colonial Williamsburg interpreter, Bryan Austin, in an entertaining performance. Mr. Austin very ably captured the character and charisma of the pride of the Royal Navy, thrilling the full-house crowd who had turned out to see him. He also entertained questions on the life of Nelson following his monologue and graciously posed for numerous pictures afterwards. (See video of the performance here.) The reception following saw the crowd eagerly discussing both Nelson and his time and was punctuated with a rousing chanty in the Admiral's honor. Don't miss the pictures of the evening by visiting our Facebook page!
Independence Day at Poplar Forest
July 4, 2016
The Regency Society of Virginia spent a somewhat soggy Fourth at--appropriately--one of the homes of Declaration of Independence author Thomas Jefferson. Throughout the afternoon, our volunteers demonstrated a variety of dances from the early 19th century and introduced visitors to the figures of English Country Dancing by encouraging them to join us as we danced. RSV favorite "Comical Fellow" was shown and taught as was "Physical Snob" (which seemed to be a favorite of the guests!). Of course, we could not visit Poplar Forest without dancing to the 1800 election campaign tune of "Jefferson and Liberty." At 1:00pm, all activities on the grounds of the estate ceased so that all could listen as the Declaration of Independence was read aloud. Thank you once again to Poplar Forest for inviting us once more to share in the festivities! Be sure to check out some of our pictures from the event on Facebook.
Regency Nature Hike
June 11, 2016The day might have been on the hotter side but the shining sun and the excellent company--not to mention the exquisite surroundings!--provided the Regency Society of Virginia an excellent way of spending "National Get Outdoors Day"! We gathered at Caledon State Park in King George in the morning and were led by RSV member and Park Volunteer Mike Callahan along one of the many trails at the park. As he guided us through the woods, Mr. Callahan (complete with snakeskin hat band) was every bit the early 19th century naturalist, expertly pointing out interesting vegetation and identifying birds based on their calls when they remained hidden from view. Our walk was concluded with a delightful picnic on the grounds (which had been owned by a veteran of the War of 1812) and a visit to the shores of the Potomac River which form the natural border of the park. Thank you very much to Caledon State Park for their hospitality and to Mr. Callahan for sharing his expertise with us! Get a glimpse of what we saw during our hike by visiting our album on Facebook!
"Love and Friendship" Movie Viewing
May 28, 2016The RSV hosted viewing parties of the latest Jane Austen adaptation, "Love and Friendship," in both Norfolk and Fairfax during Memorial Day weekend. Participants were invited to attend in period attire or in modern garb to enjoy the movie with fellow Regency enthusiasts. Reviews of the movie were universally positive and a delightful time was had by all in attendance. Following the Norfolk viewing, members and friends took a brief stroll to the Moses Myers house to take advantage of the Federal era home as a backdrop. Make sure you check out the pictures posted on Facebook!
Bacon' s Castle Garden Party
May 7, 2016While we had some volunteers helping Highland in Charlottesville, we had yet another contingent assisting our friends at Preservation Virginia's Bacon's Castle. To bring in the spring, Bacon's Castle hosted a garden party that gave visitors the opportunity to interact with living historians on the grounds. While RSVers set up picnic lunches and taught visitors to play a few outdoor games, they also were able to enjoy an 18th-century cricket match as played by the Capital Cricket Club. What a delight! Don't miss the pictures on Facebook!
James Monroe's Highland Girl Scout Day
May 7, 2016It was a pleasure to once again be a part of the now-annual Girl Scout Day sponsored by James Monroe's Highland! In the morning, Highland welcomed local Girl Scouts who were eager to learn about what life during the early 19th century was like for families like the Monroes. RSV volunteers taught dancing and introduced the girls to the clothing that they would have worn had they lived 200 years ago. The afternoon gave us a chance to stroll about the grounds and talk with staff about the newly discovered foundation of the original Monroe home. Want to see some of the pictures? Click here!
12th US Infantry Regiment Recruiting Rendezvous
April 30, 2016The Regency Society of Virginia joined forces with the 12th US Infantry at Harper's Ferry National Historic Site to present a program on the War of 1812 to visitors. While our hosts demonstrated infantry drill and "recruited" new soldiers from the crowds, our volunteers interacted with the public to present information on what the homefront looked like for civilians. Children were taught a few early 19th century games and we were delighted when one of our younger friends asked if she could get a picture with us so that she could show her classmates back at school. Thank you to the 12th US Infantry and to Harper's Ferry National Historic Site for a thoroughly enjoyable day at Williamson's Tavern! Check out a few of the pictures that we were able to get here.
"Let Freedom Ring" Bell Ringing Challenge
February 27, 2016First Baptist Church of Wiliamsburg houses one of the nation's oldest African-American congregations. The church's late-19th century bell was recently restored in a cooperative effort with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and, in honor of Black History Month, the church issued a challenge to the nation that the bell ring out throughout the day every day of February. Heeding the call, a band of RSV members struck out for Williamsburg to participate in this symbolic gesture of support. Each member was able to write a "Why I ring" statement and pull the cord to ring the bell. A real-time video link allowed participants to see the bell ring as the rope was pulled. After signing the register, the church hosts invited us to go to another room in which an informal exhibit on the church's history had been set up. It was a moving experience for all who took part. Be sure to see some of the moments that were captured by viewing our Facebook album from the event!
"Conway and Robinson" Exhibition Tour
February 20, 2016A small group of RSV members and friends gathered at the University of Virginia's Fralin Museum of Art for its new exhibit, "Two Extraordinary Women: The Lives and Art of Maria Cosway and Mary Darby Robinson." We were so pleased that the museum very graciously gave us the very best of guides to lead us through: the curator herself! She provided a unique perspective as we explored the variety of objects which were on display to tell the fascinating stories of the two talented women who were the focus of the exhibit. Following our tour, we dined at historic Michie Tavern for a lunch (as well as an excuse to socialize for a little longer!). Thank you once again for the hospitality shown us by the Fralin! If you missed out, you can see some of the pictures of our tour on Facebook.
January 16, 2016
Members gathered once more to discuss the state of the RSV and to discuss the future of the organization. In addition to talking about the highs and lows of 2015 (which we are pleased to report contained far more highs than lows!), the event calendar for 2016 was announced and additional events were decided upon. Watch for the list to be posted very soon! Many thanks to the folks who made the trek out to Suffolk to help us assess the group and provide insight into how it may be improved!
Twelfth Night Dinner
January 2, 2016
The Regency Society of Virginia kicked off another year with our now-traditional "Twelfth Night" dinner. Once again, our party gathered at historic Hanover Tavern, which boasts a wonderful period atmosphere and fantastic food. While this year's group was slightly smaller than the previous year's, we were delighted to welcome newcomers and old friends alike which lacked nothing in warmth and joy. We hope that this successful event will prove to be the forerunner to an equally successful year for the RSV! Were you unable to attend? Live vicarious through us by looking at our pictures on Facebook!