Posted by: beachchairandabook | November 7, 2014

Downton Abbey in Delaware

After two days of  the Riches, a cancelled FX series about the scams and seat -of- the- pants escapes of the Irish Traveler Malloy family, I made a 360 degree turn to the genteel lords and ladies of Downton Abbey. Although my viewing preference is action, adventure, intrigue and horror, I decided to see what all the Downton Abbey fuss was about. I was certain one bland, boring episode would be quite enough and I’d be back to the spooky, violent, thieving, heroic, flawed and honorable characters on the shows I love (think Game of Thrones and Banshee).  I was so wrong!  My DA viewing  binge reminded me of the Lay’s potato chip boast: I couldn’t watch just one. I blazed through Seasons One and Two, fully expecting to find Season Three available on Hulu. No such luck. I, however, took my fanhood seriously. When all else failed I forked over Amazon’s asking price and consumed Season Three in two days. Like all Downton Abbey fanatics, I couldn’t wait for Season Four to begin.

I became fully invested in the lives of Lord and Lady Grantham, Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley, Lady Sybil and Tom Branson, Mr. Bates, Anna, Mrs. Patmore, Mrs. Hughes and “old Lady Crawley” as one of my fellow fans refers to the Dowager Countess. I loved the rooms and grounds of the estate – it reminded me of the House and Garden tours I took with my mother many years ago.  I loved the elegance and glamour of the clothing  and accessories worn effortlessly by the Downton Abbey gentry.

Who knew that I’d get to experience some of that glamour up close? Last August a friend gave me the gift of a day trip to Winterthur, an American Downton Abbey if there ever was one. (There are in fact, similar estates throughout the country but this one is a little more than an hour up the road in Delaware’s Brandywine Valley). The DuPont family’s ancestral American home is now open to public as the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library. Since last March it has been home to the exhibit Costumes of Downton Abbey. I circled the entire exhibit two times. For those of you who love the show as  I do, here’s as much up close magnificence as I can offer. If you’re nearby, check the Museum’s site for ticket information. The exhibit ends on January 5, 2015 and some dates are sold out. Is there any wonder?

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