The Game of Whist

Whist was an enormously popular pastime among ladies of the Victorian era. A predecessor to Bridge, Whist once provided hours of after-dinner entertainment. Gathered around the table, friends and family would while away the evening with this simple card game. How to Play Whist: The game is played with a 52-card deck (ace high). Four... Continue Reading →

Fern Hunts

You may wonder how the Victorians entertained themselves before the invention of radio and television. Why, fern hunting, of course! Victorians were obsessed with ferns. Up until the nineteenth century, ferns were rare in England. To the Victorians, these plants captured the mystery and majesty of another era. Naturalist Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward was the first... Continue Reading →

Merry Music Makers

The Music Box For a person of means in the Victorian era, a music box was central to the parlor. In fact, unless blessed with a musically talented family member, a household’s primary source of musical entertainment was the music box. These beautiful musical units, crafted by jewelers, were reminiscent of tinkling church bells. Unfortunately,... Continue Reading →

A Picnic in the Park

“It is to be all out of doors, a table spread in the shade, you know. Everything as natural and simple as possible.” –Jane Austen While a picnic in Jane Austen’s time may have been a simpler affair, simplicity was certainly not the Victorians’ strong point. By the late 1800s, a picnic hamper often contained... Continue Reading →

The Sands Are Alive With Sunshine

The sands are alive with sunshine, The bathers lounge and throng, And out in the bay a bugle Is lilting a gallant song. The clouds go racing eastward, The blithe wind cannot rest, And a shard on the shingle flashes Like the shining soul of a jest; While children romp in the surges, And sweethearts... Continue Reading →

A Door Step Party

No doubt, summer is the most social season the year. It is a time for block parties with the neighbors, family vacations, camping trips, evenings spent in the company of friends on the back deck. Door-step parties were a favorite summer pastime for the Victorians. The Beard sisters described such an event vividly in their... Continue Reading →

Sweet Summertime

It is official. The fireflies and frogs have announced the barefoot season. Even the Autumn lovers have succumbed to hammocks and wind chimes in wait of the eminent turn. The rhythmic hum of oscillating fans, lawn mowers, children’s clamor and gurgling fountains are the soundtrack of summer. Family potlucks and cookouts invite picnic hampers, nostalgic... Continue Reading →

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