If you admired the Emmy Award-winning PBS alternation “Downton Abbey,” get yourself to St. Augustine, Florida, afore Jan. 7.
The celebrated littoral burghal is the aftermost stop on a nine-city bout for the accumulating of elegant, best apparel billed as “Dressing Downton: Changing Fashions for Changing Times.” It runs through the alpha of the new year and brings the Gilded Age — the end of the Civil War to the Stock Market blast in 1929 — into aciculate relief.
The display lives on the third-floor Ballroom Gallery in the celebrated city’s Lightner Museum, area 36 apparel array mannequins staged in “rooms” busy with active Asian rugs and turn-of-the-20th-century accomplished art and appliance from the museum’s collection.
In a mockup of an aboriginal 1910s aeon allowance — one of 16 vignettes — a amber table from the Blackstone abode in Chicago is set with Royal Crown Derby ceramics and white, bittersweet linen “lapkins.” Mannequins dressed as Lord and Lady Grantham are airish as if anticipating the accession of banquet companions.
Nearby, the array and alternation of a blooming cottony dress with beaded atramentous net bury beat by Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) in the show’s aboriginal division can be accepted in a bedchamber setting. It’s as if Dockery is advancing for her alarm to dinner.
The display goes aloft t and beads, aloft array and breeding to explain contextual acceptation of affluent British attire. For example, Mary’s 1913 dress isn’t artlessly admirable apparel but a representation of cultural shifts.
The curator’s note:
“The appearance of this dress reflects the affluence of the pre-war aeon and the absorption in Orientalism, partly sparked by the achievement of ‘Scheherazade’ in 1911 by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The absurd hem with beaded binding is a about alien flourish. By 1912, dresses were acceptable looser and beneath with aerial waists, attenuate belts and attenuated skirts.”
This new appearance is alike “boyish” in appearance and liberates the wearer from the corsets of antecedent years. It may be allegorical of abatement civic restrictions. Still, this allotment and others with the aforementioned contour are well-embellished and advance abounding femininity.
When reserving timed tickets for the exhibit, visitors should defended a tea catch in the museum’s Cafe Alcazar. It’s both an architectural and comestible delight.
First, the architecture: The Lightner Architectonics was already the Alcazar Hotel, congenital in the backward 1880s by Northern baron Henry Flagler. (Flagler, by the way, was John D. Rockefeller’s accomplice in Standard Oil.) And the café is snugged in the now-empty calm pool.
Tea ($55) is four courses fabricated centralized with bounded ingredients. Dining begins with bright-red algid bang tea and served with soup or salad. Guests again baddest white, green, atramentous or herbal for a additional cuppa. One best is abnormally interesting. The aphotic tea — yaupon — is fabricated not from the frequently alien Camellia Sinensis tea shrub, but from a built-in holly brier with artlessly occurring caffeine content. Hardly sweet, it’s abundant like the aggressive acceptable tea.
The aing courses are served accompanying on a triple-tiered tray — crustless sandwiches, aerial scones and alluringly miniature tarts and cookies. For a accurate British influence, it arrives with clotted chrism and raspberry jelly.
If you’ve fabricated the flight from Cleveland to Florida’s northeast corner, break with the Gilded Age affair and analysis out St. Augustine’s accompanying architectonics begin in barrio a the Lightner Museum.
You may charge a additional day for a 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. bout of Flagler College, aloof adverse the museum. Housed in the aloft Ponce de Leon Hotel, the Spanish Renaissance architectonics has retained Gilded Age elegance. An hourlong bout shares how Flagler, both agent and egoist, congenital the four-story, 540-room auberge in aloof 18 months from 1887 to 1888. Observe abundant architectural capacity from George Willoughby Maynard beam murals to the better clandestine accumulating of Tiffany bottle in the world. The Ponce was one of the nation’s aboriginal electrified buildings, four years afore the White House was wired.
(Interesting tidbit: Guests were so afraid about electricity that Flagler assassin adolescent men to accomplish ablaze switches for them.)
Flagler’s ambition of alluring his accompany and added affluent association to winter in St. Augustine — $4,000 for three months in the backward 19th aeon (about $100,000 in today’s dollars) — was so acknowledged that he had to body a additional auberge a year afterwards to handle overflow. That was the ahead mentioned Alcazar Hotel, today’s Lightner Museum.
The Alcazar was hardly beneath comfortable but brought new amenities such as a spa, a pond pool, bowling and tennis to guests of both hotels. With accurate planning, you can clasp in the new “Upstairs, Downstairs” bout of the Alcazar into your schedule.
For this visit, you’ll aberrate up and bottomward accomplish to see aforetime admirable amenities — the marble beef allowance and a active shower-massage contraption, for example. Then, you’ll ascertain the fourth floor, area agents had gender-segregated active quarters, like archaic versions of today’s academy dorms with bound bath facilities. Social stratification is laid bald aback you accede the affairs differences amid admiral and downstairs.
If you still accept time and energy, airing about the bend to Memorial Presbyterian Church, congenital by Flagler in 1890 to account his babe Jennie Louise. Jenny, who died from complications from childbirth, is entombed there with her baby babe in her arms. Flagler and his aboriginal wife of three wives are additionally entombed there.
Church architectonics is dramatic, aggressive by St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Materials are local, though, builders application the aforementioned architecture adjustment as both The Ponce De Leon and Alcazar hotels — caked accurate alloyed with ashamed coquina bean mined aloof alfresco the city. Stained-glass windows and the attic circuitous are treasures of the church.
By now, you should be annoyed with celebrated information. And you haven’t alike affected bank beach or broke the Spanish ancestry that alcove aback into the 16th aeon in America’s oldest city. That will crave accession cruise to St. Augustine.
To get there, fly into Jacksonville, Florida. St. Augustine is an hour ride by rental car or shuttle. Burghal attractions are amassed calm authoritative it an accessible to airing from abode to place. Tired afterwards dinner? Arrange a carrying ride by calling 904-826-1982 and adore a celebrated tour.
Flagler College: 74 King St., St. Augustine, 904-829-6481 or 800-304-4208, flagler.edu
Lightner Museum: 75 King St., St. Augustine, 904-824-2874, lightnermuseum.org
Memorial Presbyterian Church: 32 Sevilla St., St. Augustine, 904-829-6451, memorialpcusa.org
In accession to an celebrated four-star hotel, Casa Monica Resort & Spa, the old burghal of St. Augustine is home to 25 bed-and-breakfast operations. They absorb celebrated houses, a aloft burial home or branch aloft anew congenital retail. The ambiance is irresistible. Two possibilities include:
Casa de Suenos: 20 Cordova St., St. Augustine, 904-824-0887, www.casadesuenos.com
St. George Inn: 4 St. George St., St. Augustine, 904-827-5740 or 888-827-5740, www.stgeorge-inn.com
The afterward venues represent some of the best absorbing in a vibrant, city-wide comestible scene.
Café Alcazar: 25 Granada Street, St. Augustine, 904-825-9948, lightnermuseum.org/cafe
Columbia Restaurant: 98 St. George St., St. Augustine, 904-824-3341, columbiarestaurant.com
The Floridian: 72 Spanish St., St. Augustine, 904-829-0655, thefloridianstaug.com
Hot Shot Bakery & Café: 47 Cordova, St. Augustine, 904-824-7898, hotshotcafe.com
The Ice Plant Bar: 110 Riberia St., St. Augustine, 904-829-6553, iceplantbar.com
St. Augustine Distillery: 112 Riberia St., St. Augustine, Gift Shop — 904-825-4963, appointment — 904-825-4962, staugustinedistillery.com
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