Labor Day is behind us, the first Gaslight News after the summer break is in the mail, and here is news of the first of three upcoming events you may want to get in on.
We open with a HSR sponsored Downton Abbey Inspired Tea at The New Leaf Tearoom Sunday, Sept. 28. The captivating Alisa DuPuy returns to regale Downton Abbey fans with a Dowager Countess’ perspective on life in the manor house.
Downton buff Phyllis Rodgers tests guests’ knowledge of the show with trivia games, prizes, and surprises as they enjoy array of sandwiches, savories, scones, and desserts served to you by the attentive staff.
Your choice of two brewed teas accompany menu items such as Matthew Crawley’s “Death by Chocolate “ Cake, imaginatively named after cast characters to add to the fun.
Some South Jersey Downton Abbey devotees held on to their Season Four Finale buzz a while longer as they enjoyed afternoon tea themed to the famous British television drama series at The New Leaf in Riverton, NJ.
Proprietor Mrs. Phyllis Rodgers and Historical Society of Riverton President planned the event as a fundraiser for the Society, and it drew a capacity crowd Sunday afternoon despite the expected arrival of another winter storm later that evening.
The New Leaf’s smartly attired butler hung up guests’ coats as Lady Phyllis invited arrivals to enjoy a champagne punch. (Riverton Mayor and HSR Board Member, Mr. William C. Brown, served as stand-in for Carson.)
Lady Phyllis warmed up the crowd, literally and figuratively, with trivia questions about the PBS hit series as Mrs.Hughes (played by Vicki) helped the maids serve Cook JoAnn’s piping-hot black currant tea and freshly baked lavender and golden raisin scones served with rose preserves and Devonshire cream.
Ever-attentive wait staff delivered to each table towers of delectable sandwiches and savories, each menu item cleverly named after show characters.
The main course, however, was the grand entrance of actress/historian Alisa DuPuy as she channeled everyone’s favorite dowager countess.
In her monologue, part English history lesson, part etiquette class, part stand-up routine, Lady Violet schooled all in attendance in the fine points of the British rules of male primogeniture and the lifestyles of the various social classes.
Lady Violet presided over a bingo game and another about lines delivered by characters during the course of the series’ four season run.
Altogether it proved a pleasant fix for our Downton Sunday habit since we will probably have to wait until January 2015 for the US première of Season Five.
Lady Sybil’s death on Downton Abbey Sunday night really had us depressed. We needed some cheering up.
A few of us Anglophiles tuned in on Thursday, January 31 to a program that was being shown for one night only. And we didn’t need cable to do it.
Fifty-one intrepid history lovers from the area braved the cold damp January evening to rub elbows with royalty as Alisa DuPuy, the cultivated first-person historical interpreter, brought her program about Queen Victoria to Riverton’s New Leaf Tea Room.
There could not have been a better venue for this intimate audience with Her Highness than in the century-old Victorian building that is the home of Mrs. Phyllis Rogers’ elegant yet cozy New Leaf Tea Room.
She spoke at length about her childhood, her life at court, her romance with Albert, and each of their nine children. I describe it so, because this was no talk given in the third person but an hour-long dramatically acted one woman play.
The performer so seamlessly incorporated solid historical research into her conversation that one could easily mistake the scene for a late 19th-century lyceum lecture by a visiting head of state.
This one dressed to the nines and wore the family jewels. She brought family photos of Albert and the kids and her favorite dog. She utterly captivated everyone as she related so many dramatic stories in the life of England’s longest reigning monarch.
Find out more about Alisa DuPuy and the rest of the cast of characters that she portrays.
Check out The New Leaf Tea Room, a top-ranked tea room by teaMap.com.
A Word from Gerald Weaber, President of the Society:
Our appreciation to Phyllis Rodgers and her New Leaf Tea Room and Gift Shoppe for hosting the Historical Society’s Tea with Queen Victoria program. The Society welcomed both members and visitors for tea from Claymont, Delanco, Moorestown, Hainesport, and Laurel Springs New Jersey including Sharon Paden, Rosemary Flatley, Patricia Iannucci, Christine Maiorano, and Rosemarie Milza and friends.
Kudos to Alisa DuPuy for her flawless portrayal of Queen Victoria to the delight of the fifty-one guests at the New Leaf Tea Room. Join the Society as a member and enjoy programs like this and a subscription to the Gaslight News our fascinatingly written and illustrated newsletter by Editor John McCormick.
Annual membership is $15 per person or $20 for a household. Send your check to Nancy Hall, Historical Society of Riverton, P.O. Box #112, Riverton, NJ 08077. Thank you all for making our tea such a fun event in Riverton!
There is a photo gallery below. Please add any comments or send a photo and I’ll post it. Or, if you have a Facebook account, please”like” us and consider posting pictures and comments there.The New Leaf would welcome your shout out as well. – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor
Alisa DuPuy is a historical re-enactor and middle school French teacher who joined the HSR for an entertaining evening at the New Leaf Tea Room on Tuesday, November 30th at 7:30 PM. Channeling the carefully researched personna of a fictional survivor of the 1912 Titanic sinking, Ms. DuPuy used authentic costume and the Victorian-themed decor of the tearoom to transport the audience back to the scene of the tragic sinking.