Sunday, January 29, 2012

Downton Abbey Frenzy

We're all in a frenzy over Downton Abbey on Masterpiece Theatre.  The 20 room mansion in the series has attracted almost as much interest as the vivid personalities who inhabit it.  Highclere Castle, in Hampshire England, is the real grand house where the show is filmed.  According to the New Yorker it's a house museum open to the public in the warmer months of the year.  The current Earl and Countess live on the estate in a smaller home.

To quote Yogi Berra  it's deja vu all over again!  In my post of July 3, 2011 I talked about the 1960 Hollywood movie "The Grass is Greener".  It's a movie about the earl and countess of a English stately house, or house museum, that is giving tours to the public in order to pay the bills.

There are over 500 stately houses in England.  I can't think of a better vacation than leisurely driving the English countryside and visiting a different stately home each day.  However, having driven on the left side of the road in England before, I now know we'd need a chauffeur for the trip.  A very stately idea indeed!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ventford Hall and the Mount in the News

The Mount
Today's New York Times  Travel Section has an article on the winter season in the Berkshires. It's a nice tour of cultural activities in Western Massachusetts.

Ventford Hall and The Mount, two of the first house museum posts on this blog, are mentioned.  I liked reading once more about the interesting history of each and was reminded again of how many important historical homes come close to demolition.

Ventford Hall
The author and I did disagree on Ventford Hall.  It's way down on my list of beautiful house museums.  Perhaps in the last three years they've done a lot to restore it's original luster or based on his wintry night dance soiree images, Id say the author has a great imagination.

Thanks to the article I've added another museum in the area to my long list of Massachusetts house museums :  Arrowhead, Herman Melville's home in Pittsfield.