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BIG CHANGES for the Oregon Regency Society!

Those of you who are at today’s picnic have already received our pamphlet with information on some upcoming changes.  We think these changes will excite many of our members.  We will be making the following changes that we hope will enable more of our members to participate.

First, we know that committing to events weeks or even months in advance can often be difficult.  Real life happens.  A weekend must be worked, guests drop in from out of town, and sometimes just plain exhaustion sets in.  We are thrilled to start what we are calling pop-up events.  When the fancy strikes, or when an event around the area is annoyed that could be fun, an event will be set up on short notice.  This could be a mid-afternoon tea announced on a Monday to that place that Thursday, a farmers’ market on a Saturday with a couple days of notice, a Tuesday evening dinner at a small restaurant, or any number of things.  We anticipate these to be smaller events due to the nature of not much notice, but we hope to catch our members with some free time or who are just plain wishing for something to do.  These events would be a wonderful way for new members to dip their toes in in a smaller group.

Second, our annual retreat will become a biannual retreat. These are costly affairs that require a lot of planning for leaders and attendants alike.  A retreat every other year will give us all more time to plan at a leisurely pace, more time to save up, and more time to plan.

Third, we also intend to arrange get-away weekends for small groups with different focuses.  Perhaps one could be at a beach house with a focus on sewing our wardrobes, and another could be at a rented house in Astoria learning various regency games and sipping spirits, or maybe one with a focus on reading and discussing books from the general era.  These intimate gatherings will give out members opportunities to get to know each other better while learning new skills and just plain getting away rom the hustle and bustle of daily life.

We believe this added variety of events and changing the frequent of the big retreat will enable more of our members to participate.  Our summer picnic will remain the same as always, and we will return to having a winter ball if not this year, then the following.

If you have any suggestions for events you would like to see, or if you have suggestions on how our events could be made more accessible to and inclusive of more of our members ,we beseech you to tell us.

We are also introducing a new membership program with some perks.  Membership is not required to participate in our events.  We are a not-for-profit organization run by volunteers, and have historically rarely charged more than the exact anticipated cost of events, which makes deposits for future events extremely difficult.  Memberships will help us greatly by enabling us to scramble less for cover the deposits, which need to be covered before we can offer tickets.  But again, membership is not mandatory.

Thank you so much for your support, and we sincerely hope to see you at future events!

Formally,
Lady Antoinette

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Information on our Pittock Mansion picnic

ORS pittock mansion picnicOur annual picnic will be on July 30th of this year, the last Sunday in July on the lawn at Pittock Mansion in Portland.  This picnic tends to be one of our most popular events!  We officially start at 11am in the morning, and end at 3pm.  However, guests are welcome to arrive and depart at their leisure.  This event is free to attend, and there is a bathroom near the gift shop outside.

A bit of information for our new attendants:

This event is free to attend.  However, admission to the mansion itself is separate.  If you haven’t been there yet, we highly recommend a tour.  Adult admission is $10, children 7-18 are $7, seniors 65+ are $9, and children 6 and under are free.  The museum does offer memberships as well.

Period attire is always admired, but never required at this event.  We have people don everything from incredibly accurate attire all the way through things you might see at a renaissance faire.  We do encourage keeping non-modern clothing toward the regency-inspired end, and so have attendants arrive in modern apparel as well.  Since the grounds are not closed to us, we do always have people stumble upon our event, obviously in modern things, and mill among us.  This is very fun!  So if you are just dipping your toes in right now, or want to see a casual event in action before taking the plunge and investing in any costuming pieces, do feel free to come in your jeans or whatever makes you feel comfortable.

You’ll need to bring your own picnic blankets and picnic baskets.  This event isn’t catered.  What you choose to bring is up to you.  Some of us bring cheese and crackers for the simplicity, and some of us bring tea sandwiches.  I’m fairly sure I’ve seen McDonald’s fries a time or two as well.  Most members do bring tea pots and tea in thermoses, and try to look a bit period, but we are realistic and entirely embrace that we often have fruit platters from grocery stores brought in in plastic or paper bags, especially since we do have many members come in from hours away.  So if you’ll eat it, feel free to bring it.  We do however, require that whatever is brought in is properly disposed of or packed back out.

Unfortunately, as the mansion is within the Portland Parks and Recreations system, alcohol of any sort, including wine, is not allowed without a picnic permit, and for events of over 50, insurance.  Pittock Mansion doesn’t have picnic permits available as no areas are able to be privatized for use.  So we can not condone wine.  Feel free to bring grape juice and wine glasses if you wish to feel a bit fancy.

Absolutely no tobacco products of any sort, including e-cigs, are allowed at any time.

Games on the lawn are welcome.  We frequently have games of Graces and Blind Man’s Bluff and Marco Polo, but feel free to bring other games that don’t require connecting things to trees or other structures.  If you play an instrument and would like to play for us, especially period pieces, please do!  If multiple musicians attend, please take turns.

Parking in the closest lot is limited, and is first come, first serve.  We highly recommend carpooling when possible.  On busier days, there is parking on the narrow private road beside the mansion.  If that road needs to be used, the mansion will have parking attendants guiding drivers on where to park.  Keep in mind that there may be a bit of a walk to get to the grounds.  The paths to the grounds are paved, though there are some grades that can make pushing manual chairs a bit of a challenge.  There are reserved handicap spaces available, of course.  However…

As this is a historic location with limited ability to modernize the buildings without major retrofitting such as widening doors and making other structural changes, accessibility can be somewhat limited, and is described officially as “partially wheelchair and stroller accessible.”  The mansion does have an original 1914 elevator to assist guests inside the mansion in accessing all three floors, though motorized wheelchairs and scooters may not always fit.  There are two manual wheelchairs available on a first-come-first-serve basis.  There is no accessibility in the narrow coach house, where one of the employees used to live.  If you have mobility issues, please contact the mansion at 503-823-3623 with any questions or concerns. As we are not employees of the mansion, we are not permitted to use these elevators without employees.


This is our tenth year holding our picnic at Pittock Mansion, and it has grown in popularity every year.  It has been a privilege to be allowed to organize such a large event, free of charge, which has enabled us to make this a free event.

No RSVP’ing is necessary to attend our picnic, so just show up and enjoy!

Formally,
Lady Antoinette

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The Duchess’s Dinner

Dearest lovelies,

On Saturday, we finally held our long-delayed Duchess’s Dinner.  Right before our original date in March, heavy rains and landslides made safety a big concern.  When we rescheduled to May, hoping for clear skies, we…

Well, we were reminded that we are in the Pacific Northwest, where clear skies is a four-letter word, better known as “As if.” So no, we didn’t have brilliant blue skies, though the sun managed to break through for a few minutes on a couple of occasions.  Those golden rays were quite the reprise from the relentless rain.

Jamie Molnar and Nora Azevedo, dressed in gowns by Aria Couture, observe the lower part of the falls.

We did, however, enjoy the sights or a full-bodied, majestic waterfall, and it’s thanks to all the rain we are still getting.  The dampness of the earth filled our lungs with sweet, fresh petrichor. Though we rarely have much dryness, we are always treated to that wonderful aroma.

Thanks to unexpected road construction and bridge-closures, getting to the lodge took a good deal longer than expected, which afforded our earlier arrivals the opportunity to take a stroll through the lodge and to the overlook area of the falls.  Other guests of the lodge quietly, and in some instances, not so quietly, admired ladies who seemed to have stepped out of history.  The glimmer of jewel-toned gowns and sparkle of beaded cotton was impossible to miss.

   

Above left: Jamie Molnar appears to have stepped into a time machine to join us in the modern era as we entertain fantasies about hers.
Above right: Lynelle Tarter, donning a beaded cotton frock and sumptuous knit silk gloves of her own creation, and Nora Azevedo, decked in an Aria Couture gown, and Dames a la Mode necklace, share a moment of laughter as the sun makes a quick appearance.

Oregon Regency Society members Tom and Kat, dressed in a gown of her design, are always a charming addition to any party.

Some time later, more guests had braved through the road mess and were making their way up the ninety-three-year-old stone stairs and into the lodge.  As dinner had been delayed for over an hour, our party’s charming guests, famished and about ready to faint delicately and dramatically, quickly took seats in the private dining room, complete with its own fireplace.

Breads and salads were quickly served by the attentive staff, followed by moist, freshly-caught wild Coho salmon and wonderfully-seasoned flank steak.  As the sun began to set, a moment was taken to appreciate the intimate gathering.  Members rarely stay as “just” members for longer.  Our members become our friends, whether outgoing or shy, sophisticated or awkward.  Each and every person who joins us at any of our events brings something that no one else can.  Our members, our friends, are the sweet and savory spices that make the Oregon Regency Society the treat that it is.

In time that seemed all too soon, warm dished of crème brûlée was set in front of each diner.  The soothing dessert served as a sweet nightcap before the time came to bid our enchanting guests with fondest au revoir, and regrets that our gatherings weren’t more often.

If you are one of our treasured members–no, our friends, or would like to become one, please peek at our Events page to see our upcoming events, as well as events by our sister society, the Washington Regency Society, and other local costumed organizations.  If you sign up for notifications at the bottom of this page and follow our Facebook page, you can find out about new events as soon as we’ve set them up.  We hope you will join us soon.

Formally,
Lady Antoinette

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Fun Fact Friday: Dolley Madison’s famed gown

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Dr. Lynn Uzzell is the official Dolley Madison at the Dolley Madison House.  She is shown here in a hand-sewn replica of the silk gown, commissioned from Aria Couture.

Even in the regency era, gowns may have been make from repurposed fabric, and there is no better potential example than Dolley Madison’s favorite gown.  In last week’s post, I mentioned a fire the original White House suffered.  Before the fire, Madame Madison managed to save some pricey red silk velvet drapes.  She loved those drapes so much that they were one of the few things she ordered saved before the fire destroyed her home.  Through time, the curtains are not known to have survived intact.  However, she did have a rather lovely red silk velvet gown that she cherished so dearly that she kept it until the end of her life, even though she was so poor near the end that her former servants loaned her money to survive.

Dolley Madison
The faded original gown during its final display.

As no known verified piece of the drapes have survived, it’s difficult to state conclusively that her gown is made from those drapes.  However, it would be highly coincidental for her to have had such affection for both drapes as well as a gown both made from red silk velvet when this was quite an expensive fabric, and there’s a complete lack of receipts showing fabric purchased for the gown.  A highly unusual thing to lack in the records….

My dears, if you repurpose fabric to make your gowns, rest assured that you are going what our former First Lady very most likely did for her most beloved gown.

 

Formally,
Lady Antoinette

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(aka Aria Clements)

Fun Fact Friday: The Dolley Series

Yes, this week’s post is going up on a Saturday.  We here at the ORS have bee extremely busy.

When we think of the regency era, most of us think of Jane Austen’s England of fashion-setting France.  How many of us give thought to the regency era in American?

Meet Dolley Madison.

dolley_madison

Why yes, she DOES look familiar.  We’re all seen her portrait before, but may not have given more than a passing thought as to who that woman in gold-trimmed white may be.

From 1809 through 1817, Dolley reigned the White House.  Well, specifically until 1814, George Washington.jpgwhen the British burned the building.

Your fun fact for this week:

Our own regency First Lady, Dolley herself, is credited with saving the famous 1797 portrait of President George Washington (itself a copy by the artist, Gilbert Stuart, of one of his own earlier full-bodied pieces of Washington).  While she did not personally remove the portrait, she ordered it removed, and a group of servants, including some who were slaves, under the direction of her assistant Jean Pierre Sioussat, broke it free from the screwed-to-the-wall frame.  If not for the decision by this lady, the portrait would have been destroyed.

Please enjoy this upcoming series on Dolley Madison during her time as our own regency First Lady.

Formally,
Lady Antoinette

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(aka Aria Clements)

2017 Duchess’ Dinner IMPORTANT UPDATE!

multnomah_falls_lodge_interior_-_oregonOur dinner was originally scheduled for March 25th, but due to inclement weather causing a lot of mudslides, the danger was too great to ask our members to bear.  So we have rescheduled.

This year’s Duchess’s Dinner will be held the gorgeous lodge at Multnomah Falls on May 13th, 2017, at 5pm.  Join us as we feast and enjoy called dancing.  We are very excited to crown our duchess, who will have the honor of choosing how next year’s duchess is chosen, as part of our new tradition.

We will have surf, turf, and vegetarian options.  Alcohol not included, but is available.

Lodging is available for those who wish to stay overnight instead of returning home.  Contact the lodge directly for reservations.

Ticketing for this event is as follows:
Single ticket: $75
Pair of tickets: $140 ($5 off each ticket!)
Students: $65 (student ID required)

Attendance will be capped at 20.  Student tickets will be capped at 5.  So get your tickets early!

Tickets available here: Oregon Regency Society Ticketing

As almost always, regency garb is admired, but is not required.  If you are interested in attending, but do not have a regency wardrobe yet and would like to be decked out, please click the contact button at the top of any page, and we may be able to help with some loaned wardrobe.

Formally,
Lady Antoinette

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(aka Aria Clements)

2017 Retreat at Silver Falls


The Oregon Regency Society
requests the honor of your presence
at our 2017 Annual Retreat

This year our retreat will be in the fall, the 9-12 of November.  A fall retreat is a nice change of pace and an excuse to acquire a few pieces to add to our wardrobes, and to just experience a different season that is more than just pumpkin spice and cinnamon.

Silver Falls Lodge

Our venue is one that often gets missed when searching for venues in the area.  Silver Falls Lodge and Conference Center is located at Silver Falls, just south of Silverton.  Silver Falls, folks, is simply gorgeous.  Home to more than two dozen miles of hiking trails, this gorgeous part has 18 stunning falls, including four that you can comfortably walk behind as part of your hiking experience.  These breathtaking photos are all of falls at Silver Falls.

Silver Souths Middle North Falls

Silver Falls South Fall

Silver Falls 1

Silver Falls B lodgeWe have reserved the Alder Lodge (one of four), which is ADA-accessible (similar to the lodge shown to the left, except all on one level) that will accommodate 12 people in 6-double-occupancy rooms.  By renting the entire lodge, we can decorate to our hearts’ contents, provided that nothing is done that can not be undone upon leaving.  Each room has its own lock, in addition to the lock just to get into this lodge.

A short, extremely easy and stunning hike away…

Silver Falls path

…we have a limited number of very private upper cabins that were once old Girl Scout cabins.

Silver Falls Upper CabinSilver Falls Girl Scout cabin
These are wonderful for two or three people.  The privacy they afford is both romantic and a chance for silly friends to get up to plenty of shenanigans.  We suggest finding a friend or two to book one of these together!

The Alder Lodge rooms have two large, shared bathrooms, but the Upper cabins have en-suite bathrooms.

In addition to those, we have one lower-cabin with a queen bed up for grabs.  This cabin requires two paid tickets, and, of course, will allow for both people, or one, if you so choose.

If we fill our cabins as well as the six rooms in Alder Lodge, then we can start booking in another lodge.  However, unless we fill another lodge, the other rooms can be made available to others.  The earlier you book, the better your choices.  This year, we are allowing our guests to choose their accommodations in order of booking.  If you choose to wait, you may be in the second lodge, which may or may not fill up.

We are planning several events, including archery and an auction, and will share more information as those events come together.

Of course we will have our Saturday ball.  This will be in the Big Leaf Dining Hall.  This hall has landmark status, and is simply amazing.  There is another wing not shown in the photo below.

Silver Falls Hall

Silver Falls mealThe onsite chef, Chef Kirk Veroneau, specialized in regency cuisine during his time in Boston.  This may be a first for us, having a chef who actually specialized in our era!  Our meals shall be influenced by the era, though, aside from the ball, may have a modern twist.  Our ball meal, however, will be a time for him to run wild with his regency skills.

Our pricing structure this year is as follows:

$475 early-bird special for the first 10, as well as best choice of accommodations.  This admission must be paid in full.

$525 standard rate until the 13th of September, and choice of accommodations in order of signing up.

This rate is also available as an installment plan.  It can be split into two payment of $262.50.  The balance needs to be paid by October 14th due to the date the balance of the venue needs to be paid.

$575 for stragglers from the 14th of September until the 14th of October.

After the 14th of October, contact us directly.

$75 for the ball only, on Saturday, the 11th of November, at 6pm.  (This is included in the admissions above.)

Tickets are non-refundable.  If you change your mind, or can’t attend in the end, you can transfer or sell your ticket to someone else of your choosing.  We do not have the funds to cover changed minds or other things coming up.  We still do have to pay for your spot and meals.  If we sell out of tickets and have a waiting list, then we can facilitate a transfer or sale for you.  Thank you for your understanding.

To reserve your spot, please go to our 2017 Annual Retreat at Silver Falls section in our online ticketing store.

Please contact us if you have any questions, and we will reply as soon as possible.

Formally,
Lady Antoinette

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(aka Aria Clements)

Duchess’s Dinner is coming up soon!

IMPORTANT UPDATE: DATE CHANGE

 

Time is running down to our newly-annual Duchess’s Dinner! We are a mere 20 days away. If you have not yet purchased your ticket, you will want to do so now to ensure your spot. Our duchess shall be crowned on the 20th of March, after 5pm, though we invite all to join us at 5, or even sooner if you wish to take in the views of our iconic majestic waterfall. How fortunate we are to live near such a beautiful wonder!  Yes, the photo below, taken by Paula Cobleigh, is real.  That gorgeous place is where we shall host our dinner.

multnomah_falls_lodge_by_la_vita_a_bella-d2d7j73

Our menu for this wonderful event has been finalized.  We shall begin with an assortment of imported and domestic cheeses with fig preserved and baguettes before moving on to your choice of tender, melt-in-your-mouth prime rib, slowly roasted as is best, with roasted red potatoes, fresh seasonal vegetables with au jus and a cream of horseradish, or locally-caught, fresh from the wild, coho salmon with a tangy smooth lemon-dill butter sauce, a soul-warming helping of flagrant wild rice, and grilled seasonal vegetables, or soothing vegetarian Moroccan stew made with zucchini, carrots, spinach, apricots, and almonds served over fluffy Israeli couscous with a side of spicy Harissa sauce.

All attendants will receive a souvenir ticket/place card.

For this, tickets are $75 per person, or a pair for $140.  Bring a partner or a friend.  We have a limited number of student tickets available for $65.  Your student ID card may be requested.  Please head to our ticketing page to purchase your tickets before they sell out.  We look forward to having you at our inaugural Duchess’s Dinner!

Formally,
Lady Antoinette

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(aka Aria Clements)

Persuasion! New Century Players!

Hello from Nora! I know, I haven’t added to the blog in a while, but never fear, I’m here and I have just been informed of an opportunity to dress up and go to the Theater!

The New Century Players, a local Milwuakie based troop is putting on an adaptation of Persuasion! This is Miss Austens last published story and as many of you are in love with Captain Wentworth and Miss Elliott, you won’t want to miss this!

http://www.newcenturyplayers.org/persuasion.html

persuasion_1_orig

Perhaps, if there is enough interest, we could get a group of people, ladies and gentlemen to go see this as a group. What a lovely way to support our local theater and enjoy one of her most popular works!

Happy 2 blog friday!

 

Love, Nora

Lady Jersey

Fun Fact Friday

first-edition-jane-austen-books-emma-and-mansfield-part
Coronets at the top of the spines of first editions of Emma and Mansfield Park

Jane Austen’s works experienced a resurgence in popularity during WWII.  According to novelist Rebecca West, Ms. Austen’s works  showed an“underlying faith that the survival of society was more essential to the moral purpose of the universe than the survival of the individual,” and faith that society would somehow survive was vital when war was waged on the home front, in British readers’ own very literal yards.  The fears that history may repeat itself, or that it already is, is something so many of us around the world are experiencing right now, and Ms. West’s statement about Ms Austen’s books demonstrating survival of society is something many cling to today.

One of her fans who remains well-known to this day is Winston Churchill.  According to Brian Southam in Jane Austen and the Navy, Mr. Churchill had stated, “What calm lives they had. . . . No worries about the French Revolution, or the crushing struggles of the Napoleonic wars. Only manners controlling natural passions as far as they could. . . .”  He is further rumored to have said, “antibiotics and Jane Austen got me through the war,” while others claim he stated, “antibiotics and Pride and Prejudice have cured me.”  I have not found a reputable source to back up either over the other.  However, it’s not hard to believe that something that could give one a mental reprieve would play a role in helping carry one through times of great stress.  Ms. Austen’s books were popular in the trenches of the world wars for helping transport soldiers back to simpler, more innocent times when such folderol was the height of drama.  One only had one’s heart to break, and a chance at love to lose, rather than far worse.

Perhaps these can help explain some of her enduring popularity for many of us today.  We can choose to ignore the societal issues of the regency era a lot easier than we can ignore the societal issues that pose real threats today, and in doing so, reading Ms. Austen’s works can take us to a sort of fantasy land of frolics and parties where can can consort with the busybodies or imagine being the strong lady waiting to be woo’d, while also having many peers in our modern regency societies with whom to bond over shared ideas and thoughts.  Her works have, and will continue to to be, a brief time of suspending concerns while we listen in to the gossip of another era.