Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Downton Abbey Mania

I never watch daytime soap operas, but I thoroughly enjoy watching the British period drama, Downton Abbey - along with multitudes of other fans on both sides of the pond.  I enjoy seeing the aristocratic lifestyle of the Crawley family, the work-a-day world of the "below stairs" residents, the costumes of the post Edwardian era [1912-1923], and, of course, the many tea scenes that are a part of every episode. 

Downton Abbey has not only become a hugely successful TV series, but it's entered the retail world as well.  Barnes & Noble sells several Downton Abbey books. 

Magazines feature Downton Abbey.

While recently reading Tea in Texas magazine, I was fascinated by their article about the Downton Abbey mobile tea truck PBS sent to the streets of New York City as a marketing stunt to promote the opening episode of Season IV.  [Unfortunately NYC was the only US city it visited.]

[Photo courtesy of PBS]

Costumed maids served free hot tea [to be accurate it was a tisane] and biscuits, and Downton Abbey fans were able to have their picture taken with the maids and/or the Downton Abbey mobile tea truck with the backdrop of Highclere Castle.  

[PBS Maids]

How about a Downton Abbey t-shirt?

The Republic of Tea came out with two Downton Abbey teas that can be purchased from their website - English Rose Tea [pictured on the far right], which is a caffeine-free tisane of rose and hibiscus blossoms and raspberries.  It is the beverage that was said to have been served to passersby from the Downton Abbey mobile tea truck.   The other tea available from Republic of Tea is pictured on the far left - Grantham Breakfast Blend, an organic Assam black tea with ginger.   

Republic of Tea also blended a tea exclusively Cost Plus World Market that is called the Downton Estate Blend, a classic Earl Grey black tea with vanilla.  I have all three and am saving them for a Downton Abbey tea.

Last year, on black Friday weekend [following Thanksgiving], Cost Plus World Market  launched a Downton Abbey Tea Party where several Downton Abbey products were sold - Plum Pudding, Mincemeat Tarts, Shortbread Cookies, Bordeuex Wine, Christmas Crackers, and a Tea Set. Unfortunately, I learned about it too late, and was only able to purchase a tin of tea and shortbread cookies. At the same time, the company sponsored a Sweepstakes that included a trip to London, a private tour of Highclere Castle, and a visit to the set of Downton Abbey.  I can only imagine how wonderful that would be!

[Internet Photos]

The real china used on the set of Downton Abbey is Spode Stafford White bone china.  The teapot is on sale right now for $882 [down from $1,102.50], while a teacup's sale price is a mere $205.80!  

[Pinterest Photo]

Macy's came out with a line of Downton Abbey jewelry that's reasonably priced, and I'm sure there are other companies sponsoring Downton Abbey promotionals that I'm unaware of.

I'm excited to tell you about a local Downton Abbey promotional that my girlfriend and I will attending tomorrow - and you can be sure I'll blog all about it.

Meadow Brook Hall - the historic home of one of automotive aristocracy's most remarkable women, Matilda Dodge-Wilson, is sponsoring "Downton Days" Thursday thru Sunday this week.

Meadow Brook Hall is an old English Country Style Tudor, built in 1929.  With 88,000 square feet and 110 bedrooms, it's the largest home in the Midwest.  Much like the Crawleys, Matilda and Alfred Wilson also had a full-time staff that lived at the home and worked for them. Meadow Brook is giving the public an opportunity to experience what life was like for a Lord and Lady at the time, as well as servants.

Our tickets have been purchased for a 12:30 p.m. lecture telling us what life was like at Meadow Brook in the 1920's-30's, and comparing it to life depicted at Downton Abbey.  We'll have lunch in the Christopher Wren Dining Room, and afterward put everything we've learned into visual context with a tour of the mansion.   I'm not sure if photographs will be allowed, but if permitted I'll take photos and share them on my blog.  Stay tuned...


  1. I don't think the creators of DA had any idea how huge a success it would become. I saw the jewelry in Macy's and it's nice but I would have loved to see the fee tea truck outside.
    It sounds like another interesting tea you'll attend and I do hope they allow some photos inside for you to share.

  2. I didn't expect to fall for this series, but I have!

  3. Oh, I will indeed be looking forward to your report! And I am going to borrow my friend's "Downton Abbey" DVD's so I can get acquainted with a show you have convinced me I will LOVE!


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