Smithfield Christmas Parade
December 13, 2014
The RSV's second ever parade was held on a crisp, sunny day in the town of Smithfield. Our representatives marched with Historic Smithfield's 1750s Courthouse group. What a delight to walk down the streets of Smithfield in our Regency attire with friends in their colonial era garb as friendly faces in the crowd smiled and waved back at us! Be sure to look at the pictures from the parade on Facebook.
Virginia Beach "Light Up the Town" Parade
November 22, 2014
The Regency Society of Virginia participated in its first parade at the invitation of the Virginia Beach History Museums at the end of November. The "Light Up the Town" parade rang in the holiday season in Virginia Beach with an illumination of the buildings at Town Center. Our members dressed in period attire and marched as part of the History Museums' multi-era contingent whose chosen theme was "Christmas through History." We are pleased to report that period outerwear is delightfully comfortable even in the cold weather! If you missed it, check out our pictures on Facebook!
Members Only Visit to the Valentine
November 1, 2014
Despite the cold and rainy weather, a group of 20 RSV members assembled at the newly-renovated Valentine Museum in Richmond, Virginia. There, we were treated to two tours in one! We toured the Wickham House, built in 1812, which is a stunning example of the "modern" home of a wealthy Richmond family awash in neoclassical elements and period antiques that thrilled all of us. In addition to the tour of the beautiful early 19th century home, the curator of Costumes and Textiles offered us an up-close look at some of the extant garments from the Federal and Jeffersonian eras in the museum's collection. We were able to view incredible gowns, a pelisse, Spencers, as well as ladies accessories, a skeleton suit, and a gentleman's coat and chapeau bras. Many photos were taken of the clothing but can only be shared privately, alas. (RSV Members can find links to these photos on the member forum.) To see some of the other photos that we can share of our day out, be sure to visit the Valentine Museum album on Facebook!
October 4, 2014
We were pleased to welcome members and friends to the Airfield Conference Center in Wakefield, VA to a celebration of the British naval victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Our very elegantly attired guests began to arrive beginning at 5:00pm for dinner. A delicious meal of either Baked Chicken with Virginia Ham or Roast Beef was served as attendees enjoyed the company of others at their table. Of course, we were there to dance and, upon the completion of our meal, we started dancing in earnest! Ms. Mara Shea and Mr. Dean Herington provided excellent musical accompaniment throughout the night while our caller, Ms. Jenna Simpson, expertly led us through the various figures. At the interval, the traditional a toast "To the Immortal Memory" was offered and drunk in silence. The pause between halves also saw the announcements of the winners of our very popular raffles. Then it was back to dancing! We are pleased to report that nearly all of our guests found themselves upon the dancefloor at least once during the course of the evening. However, we must confess that the ball did conclude on a rather...unorthodox note. Our last dance, Duke of Kent's Waltz, was done by...Disco Ball light. Ah well... It was a successful ball judging by the smiles on the faces of our guests as they departed. Weren't able to make it? Make certain that you see the pictures on Facebook!
A Jaunt to Montpelier
September 27, 2014
A lovely early autumn day, a beautifully restored home of a former President and Founding Father (and his awesome First Lady!), and wonderful company is tough to top. Members and friends of the RSV gathered at James Madison's Montpelier for a private tour of both the house and the 200-acre old growth Landmark Forest on the grounds. We were reliably informed that we were the first group who had attended in period attire as visitors to the Madisons' home and were flattered, indeed, by the kind comments about our garments made by both staff and guests alike. We gathered at the Visitors' Center then made our way to the brick Georgian home which overlooked vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains. After a tour of interior of the house, we broke for lunch at the cafe. Our meals enjoyed, we met another guide for a walk through Montpelier's woods. We were shown the diversity of vegetation within the forest--both native and non-native species--told of the threats to the plants living there and given other interesting tidbits of information regarding the ecological make-up of the historic estate. The Big Woods Walk concluded, we strolled the grounds looking for photo ops (not difficult to find at all!) then said our good-byes. The weather was so remarkably cooperative, the company so very pleasant, and the property so beautiful and interesting, it was difficult to leave. Want to see some of our pictures? Be sure to stop by our Facebook page!
A Duel Between Gentlemen
September 20, 2014
One's honor was not held cheaply in the early 19th century. The gentlemen of the RSV put together a fantastic scenario which pit historical personages against each other in a plausible--but fictional--duel. Based on the inter-service rivalry that was exacerbated by a vote on whether or not to stand and defend Norfolk's Craney Island during the War of 1812, Lt. Col. Mason found himself squaring off against Commodore Cassin. Our duelists faced each other bravely, withstanding a nerve-wracking couple of misfires before an actual volley between them was fired. After three shots were exchanged, the gentlemen decided that honor had been satisfied and made amends with one another. Unlike during the period, our duel had plenty of witnesses and was followed with a picnic. Our tables overflowed with delicious 19th century delights which were enjoyed by all. The weather was fantastic and we were delighted to welcome several new members and first time participants to the festivities. Attendees also were able to enjoy period games and dancing as well as take tours of Bacon's Castle and walk about the grounds. Want to see pictures? You can by visiting our Facebook page!
Undaunted Weekend, Battle of Bladensburg Bicentennial
August 23, 2014
We were honored to have been invited to participate in the 200th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Bladensburg (MD). A group of a dozen dancers from the RSV provided a demonstration on period dance for the spectators. While we certainly enjoyed the day at the event, our spirits were dampened (literally) by the weather. Despite the rain, we were able to present three dances ("Ramsgate Assembly," "Duke of Kent's Waltz," and "Les Graces) before we made the decision to truncate our presentation. Many thanks to the Undaunted Weekend organizing committee and to the dancers who made the trip to the event and persevered in the face of rain!
A Regency Musical Evening
August 16, 2014
The Regency Society of Virginia was fortunate to savor the musical talents of four of our members during this night filled with the sounds of the Regency period. We were treated to a variety of pieces from the early 19th century--both classical and folk as well as vocal and instrumental. Mrs. Kathleen Kennedy delighted the company with both the Irish harp and the guitar as she sang traditional tunes (many of which gave a glimpse of the wit of the past). Miss Ginevra Bridges was the very picture of an accomplished Regency lady as she beautifully played classical pieces on her harp. Ms. Margaret Overton, accompanied on piano by Ms. Nancy Bain, offered up several operatic pieces with her lovely soprano voice! Our audience raved about all of our performers and we thank them profusely for sharing their gifts with us! We would also like to thank Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church for allowing us to hold the event in their sanctuary, thus enabling us to keep the event free for everyone! To see pictures from the Musical Evening, be sure to check out our Facebook page.
Of A Most Delicate Nature: Deportment and the Art of Becoming a Regency Lady or Gentleman - July 5, 2014
The RSV spent this rather mild July day learning precisely how one was to comport one's self during the early 19th century. Our presenter, Kimberly Costa, delighted us with her wit and charm while simultaneously teaching us the ins and outs of Regency etiquette. As we arrived, we were given our "names" for the day (and the accompanying ranks of said persona). Our first task was to line up according to rank and thus demonstrate where we were in the social order. This remarkably complex exercise was followed by a lesson in how one is to greet one's superiors (or deign to do so to one's inferiors, as the case may be) in the street. We are pleased to report that there was only one or two incidents of "cutting" yet no feelings (or reputations) were harmed in the process. We took advantage of the gorgeous day by practicing our perambulation skills out-of-doors, combining our carriage as we walked with our new-learned lessons in conversation and greeting. After retiring for refreshments, we continued our session with studies in how one is to behave at a ball and at table (in which Ms. Costa provided us a very vivid example of how NOT to behave!). Our lessons were concluded with a question and answer time and all of us agreed that our Regency personas will carry themselves in a far nobler manner than they would have before! Thanks again to Kimberly for sharing her time and knowledge with us! (Want to see pictures from the day? Visit our Facebook page. Don't worry, you don't have to have a Facebook account to access them!)
Ice Cream in the Early 19th Century - June 14, 2014
Members and guests of the RSV gathered at the Isle of Wight County Museum in mid-June to learn about that very popular summer (and beyond!) treat: ice cream! More specifically, we learned about the history of ice cream and how it was enjoyed in the early 19th century. Melissa Blank, an apprentice studying confections of the 18th century at the Colonial Williamsburg Foodways program, shared her knowledge of this delicious dessert and gave us a quick lesson in how to make it using the equipment available during the period. After her very informative program, everyone present had the opportunity to sample ice cream made from 18th and 19th century recipes. We were able to choose from vanilla, chocolate, black tea, and coffee ice cream. While they were all delicious, the black tea and coffee flavors were very highly rated by our taste testers! Thank you so much to Ms. Blank for sharing her time and knowledge with us and to the Isle of Wight County Museum for welcoming us into their facility for the presentation. Don't miss the pictures we have posted of the event on Facebook (you don't have to have a Facebook account in order to view pictures) by clicking here.
Spring Regency Picnic at Maymont - May 24, 2014
There was a time that we were unsure that we would ever have our Maymont picnic. It had originally been scheduled for the fall of 2013 and, due to adverse weather conditions, was rescheduled twice! Our patience, happily, was abundantly rewarded with a glorious late spring day. Several dozens of RSV members and friends turned out to enjoy the exquisite grounds of Maymont and, of course, the food and fellowship of fellow Regency-philes. We set ourselves up just opposite the Italian Gardens amidst the large shade trees, meaning that while we sat in comfort we gazed upon a riot of color. We very soon tucked into the vast quantities of delicious foods that were brought to share and alternately took turns about the Carriage House Lawn in a horse-drawn carriage. Our group very happily occupied itself playing games of graces, dancing, and exploring the property--taking in a Japanese Garden, touring the late 19th century Mansion, or admiring the formal Italian Gardens just next to where we were picnicking. This was a first RSV for numerous attendees and many came from rather far afield (one made the trip from upstate New York!). It was most pleasant company, to be sure! The successful nature of the day make us certain that we will be making another trip to Maymont to picnic again in the future! Enjoy some of the pictures from the day on our Facebook page by clicking here (you don't have to have a Facebook account in order to view the pictures).
Kempsville Baptist Church 200th Anniversary - April 26-27, 2014
When a congregation has lasted for two centuries, they've earned the chance to celebrate. That is just what historic Kempsville Baptist Church did when they reached that incredible milestone. To mark the occasion, the church invited several living history groups, including the Regency Society of Virginia, to provide a glimpse of what life would have been like at their congregation's founding. The RSV demonstrated and taught visitors early 19th century dances and games. It wasn't only members of KBC who came out; on Saturday, some of the area schools (who were in session due to snow make-up days) visited and members of the RSV were able to show students how people would have passed the time in the days before iPads and TV. Sunday, the church invited us to attend their worship service in our Jeffersonian era garb and share a delicious lunch with them. Afterwards, we continued with our dance and games lessons in their historic property, Pleasant Hall. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of the RSV members who volunteered and helped to enrich the church's bicentennial. Please be sure to check out our pictures from the event on Facebook!
Luncheon at Gadsby's Tavern - April 26, 2014
One thing that we have discovered in our organization's short history is that where the RSV eats, the RSV eats well. Not only do we tend to have food in abundance, but the company is exceptional. Our luncheon at historic Gadsby's Tavern in Alexandria was no exception. Seventeen ladies and gentlemen from distances near and far gathered for our first Northern Virginia area event. We enjoyed a delicious repast of salad, Sally Lunn bread, a choice of Ale-battered cod, Monte Cristo Virginia, or Chicken salad, and dessert. Many of our number came out attired in Regency clothing. A great deal of conversation was had and new acquaintances made as we ate--we were even treated to seeing a group of 1812-era Royal Marines escort a bride and groom outside the tavern window! Here is to the future of the RSV in the NoVA area--may Gadsby's be the first of many events there! Would you like to see the pictures that were taken during the Gadsby's event? Be sure to check them out on our Facebook page! (You don't need a Facebook account to view the album.)
Soft Crown Bonnet Workshop - March 22, 2014
Participants assembled at the Constantia House in Suffolk, Virginia on a beautiful Saturday morning eager to craft their Regency bonnets. Mrs. Dannielle Perry of Timely Tresses was on hand to assist the ladies in constructing their bonnets...as well as tempt us with all manner of beautiful silks, ribbons, and trims. Mrs. Perry very kindly brought along several extant bonnets from her own collection for us to ogle and be inspired by. Those in attendance were able to devote the full day to putting their bonnets together while learning from our instructor and each other. No little amount of pleasant chatter helped the creative process (and the day!) speed by. Several of the participants were able to get their bonnets very close to finished and others went home with their bonnets well on their way to being done. We can't wait to see these creations at costumed events in the near future! If you'd like to see some of the fun that we had, be sure to check out our photos on Facebook!
Valentine's Tea at Bacon's Castle - February 15, 2014
We wish to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers from the RSV who came out to help make our second annual tea to support Preservation Virginia's Bacon's Castle a success. Our ladies (and gentleman!) played hostess to a gathering of guests who enjoyed a delicious repast and (of course!) bottomless cups of tea. We gave a presentation on Valentine's Day through history and taught those present how to fold a "puzzle purse" Valentine, which was very popular in the early 19th century. Afterwards, our guests enjoyed a tour of the 17th century manor house. We would not have been able to do this event without the hard work and gracious smiles of those who took time out of their weekend to give back to a historic property that has been so generous to our own organization. We look forward to next year's tea. Can't wait for that one? See what we did at this year's tea on Facebook!
Valentine's Day Social at Riddick's Folly - February 9, 2014
Several members of the RSV gathered at the historic home of the Riddick family in historic downtown Suffolk in early February in celebration of St. Valentine's Day. While the home was slightly "newer" than our time period, the Greek Revival town home's staff was so welcoming to us! We were able to sit upon the sofas, play card games around the tables and admire family portraiture which dated c. 1805. Our members chatted, played games, listened to the melodious strains coming from the Irish harp owned and played by another of our talented members, sewed, and danced! One rather large group of visitors joined us in "Comical Fellow" and asked many questions about life in the early 19th century. We are looking forward to another visit to this marvelous home very soon! Did you miss it? See our pictures on Facebook!
Twelfth Night Dinner at Shields Tavern - January 4, 2014
Two dozen RSV members and friends met at Colonial Williamsburg's Sheilds Tavern for a meal in honor of Twelfth Night. A small party of us braved the cold to promenade in our 19th century duds from Bruton Parish Church to the Tavern. The remainder of our party joined us at our destination and we sat in a room all to ourselves and began with our choice of "Mrs. Shield's Salat" or Peanut Soup, accompanied by a basket full of delectable breads and muffins. This was deliciously followed by a plate of chicken fricassee over rice with vegetables. Our meal concluded with a dish of apple cobbler with custard sauce. Wonderful as the food was, however, it was nothing in comparison to the enjoyable company--and how elegantly everyone was attired! It was agreed that this should become an annual event. We shall look forward to next year's celebrations! Looking for photos of the event? See 'em on Facebook!