Sunday, September 30, 2012

Downton Abbey Kitchen: Classic British Pudding

Downton Abbey fans beware! The third episode of Downton Abbey season 3 airs on the other side of the pond tonight at 9 p.m. GMT, or 4 p.m. EST. At this time, viewers in the U.K. will likely take to the web to dish out spoilers about the new episode.

Meanwhile, stateside fans will have to find a way to avoid the online chatter and will be attempting to fill the void to tide them over until January, 2013, when the season 3 premieres in America.

Luckily, here at VPT we're cooking up new ways to bring the Downton Abbey experience to the states. This week we would like to offer you a classic British recipe to bring the tastes and smells of old England into your home.

Are you a better cook than Sibyl?
The Brits love most any type of pudding, and the Dowton Abbey characters are no exception. When we think of pudding in American, we envision chocolate, vanilla, or tapioca desserts, but for the Brits, pudding can be a staple for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
A traditional English Christmas Pudding contains mulberries, apples, almonds, rum and more!
From Blood Pudding, to Yorkshire pudding, the dish can contain a wide variety of ingredients, including fruit, meat, or brandy.

One of the most intriguing puddings that we've come across is a British favorite called Spotted Dick. The recipe calls for a sweet and simple mixture of fruit, sugar, and flour. The surprise ingredient is something called Suet, which turns out to be animal fat used for baking.

Does the name 'Spotted Dick' put you off the pudding?
While the first few elements sounded good to us, we were a little hesitant about the animal fat, so we decided to make the Vermont version, a vegetarian Spotted Dick. Our replacement is grated frozen butter.

There are many variation the the recipe, but we found the simplest on We made a few alterations to cater to the American household, but the dish should nonetheless help you channel Mrs. Patmore.


1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup currants
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 Lemon to make zest
1 cup self-raising flour
4 oz/ 1/2 cup grated frozen butter
1/4 cup milk


1. In a small bowl mix the raisins, currants, sugar and lemon rind for the filling.

2. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl; add the grated butter and the salt and rub together to combine.

3. Add a little milk and using a knife cut through the mixture, adding more milk little by little until it comes together. Finally use your hands to combine into a soft, elastic dough. Add more milk if necessary.

4. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle approx 8 x 12 inches.

5. Evenly spread the pudding filling mixture over the dough leaving a 1 cm / 1/2 inch border. Paint the border with a little cold water. Roll up carefully from the narrow end.

6. Wrap the pudding roll in foil and bake in a hot oven at 400ºF for 1 hour 30 minutes. Unwrap immediately, cut into thick slices and serve in warmed bowls with lashings of custard (or ice cream).

If this seems a bit ambitious for a Sunday afternoon, fear not. You can find Spotted Dick in a can at your local supermarket. We located one this morning in the British food section at our local Shaws. 

If you'd rather leave the culinary masterpieces to the professionals, we invite you to join us at VPT's Experience inspired by Downton Abbey on January 5th and 6th at The Essex Resort & Spa in Essex Junction, Vermont. The food promises to surpass anything found in a can! Get your tickets today and make sure you don't miss out on the amazing 6-course formal dining experience before the Season 3 premiere episode public screening. Visit for more information.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Downton Abbey Prequel: Julian Fellowes Announces Plans

American Downton Abbey viewers are sure to notice that one character sounds more familiar than the rest. Lady Cora Crawley provides a rather posh but nonetheless American accent among a see of British. Fans may wonder how this woman found herself among the ranks of British aristocracy.

Dedicated fans know that it is in fact Cora's fortune that provides wealth beyond what the house itself offers, but we are left wondering how this union came to be. In season one, the Earl admitted to falling in love with Cora only after their marriage, but how exactly did he feel about her before?

Downton Abbey Prequel Plans Cora Robert Crawley Lord Grantham
Is it true love?
How did the Earl of Grantham come to marry an American heiress? Was their marriage one of convenience, as the one between Mary and Richard Carlisle would have been? Was it a coincidence that Cora came with enough money to make a great house flourish? Could any of us American girls marry an Earl? The questions are endless.

Luckily, the creator of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes, plans to answer our burning questions and many more with his newly announced prequel to Downton Abbey.

Downton Abbey creator, Julian Fellowes
The story of Downton Abbey, is based on historically accurate affairs that marked British high society in the late 19th and early 20th century. An article in the Telegraph speaks to Fellowes' desire to get the facts right, "If you get the details of something right, even for people who know nothing about it, it takes on a kind of credibility," he said.

The marriage between an American heiress and a British lord was not a rare occurrence. In fact, as Fellowes shared in an interview at the Bafta Screenwriters' Lecture series, many heiresses arrived in London in search of a royal family to wed into.

In a recent BBC article, Fellowes confirmed that the love story between Lord Grantham and Cora started out as less than ideal. "They had a slightly troubled courtship, because she was in love with him before they married, as we know, and he married her entirely for her money," he said.

Lord Grantham and Cora
Fans will have to wait to hear the rest of the story; Fellowes said that the prequel couldn't succeed so long as the current Downton Abbey story is still being told. The anticipation may be worthwhile for American fans; The Hollywood Reporter revealed that part of the set could make its way across the pond to tell the story of Cora's pre-Downton life! But, don't expect to see Elizabeth McGovern walking the streets of Manhattan, the prequel will replace the current Crawleys with younger counterparts.

We can't wait to see who could play a young Cora. Until then, we hope you'll do your best impressions at the VPT's Experience inspired by Downton Abbey this January!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

VPT's Antiques & Collectibles Appraisal

Bring your favorite old portable item to VPT's Antiques & Collectibles Appraisal, part of the Fall Antique Expo & Sale at the Champlain Valley Expo on Sunday, October 28, 2012 and let an expert tell you what it's worth.

That whatnot you've been using as a doorstop may be worth something!

Vermont Antiques & Collectibles Appraisal Fall Antique Expo Sale Champlain Valley Expo
VPT's Antiques & Collectibles Appraisal on Sunday, October 28, 2012
Pre-registration for an item appraisal is required, you can bring up to 3 items. Once you've registered, a specific 10-minute time block for your appraisal will be assigned and sent in the mail with your tickets.

The appraisal registration fee includes entry for one to the full Expo. Additional entry tickets will be available at the door for $8 per person.

This appraisal event brings together experts in antiques, coins, jewelry, artwork, textiles and more!

So what are you waiting for? Get your tickets today! Visit to pre-register, or call 802-654-3664 during regular business hours.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Downton Abbey Series 3 Preview Party!

We will be kicking off Downton Abbey's third series with a special preview, festive culinary celebration and an exciting social event.

The television phenomenon that is Downton Abbey on PBS Masterpiece has viewers relishing the Dowager Countess's every barb, worrying about the future of Anna and Bates, and anticipating fireworks when Shirley MacLaine joins the cast in Season 3.  On the eve of the new season, Vermont Public Television will hold a festive event at The Essex Resort & Spa in Essex, Vt., on Saturday, Jan. 5, and Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, for fans of all things "Downton."

Downton Abbey Experience VPT Party Series 3 Season Three Vermont Preview
“Downton Abbey” fans get in the mood for VPT’s event
celebrating the popular PBS series on “Masterpiece.”
(VPT illustration.)
Guests of VPT's Experience inspired by "Downton Abbey" will enjoy a culinary, cultural and social event at the resort, with the flavor of England in the Roaring '20s, the period in which the next season takes place.  Funds raised from the event will help VPT continue to broadcast "Masterpiece" and all the programs and services viewers enjoy.

All ticket packages include a reception and advance public screening of the Season 3 premiere at the nearby T-Rex theater at Essex Cinemas.  Most packages include access to a Downton-era arcade featuring food, games, prizes, music and history.  Some packages include accommodations, a period full-service six-course dinner, a customized pair of Simon Pearce's Royalton Optic Flutes and even a personal footman.  Guests may attend at either matinee or evening hours.

The Essex Resort & Spa's European master chef Arnd Sievers and executive chef Shawn Calley will create the period menu for the dinner, as well as array of refreshments.  "Our standing as Vermont's Culinary Resort ensures that this will be a feast for the palate as well as the eyes.  Mrs. Patmore (the Abbey's fictional cook) would be proud," said Jim Glanville, general manager of The Essex Resort & Spa.  "We're excited to be hosting this amazing fundraising effort for our friends at Vermont Public Television."

VPT's Experience inspired by "Downton Abbey" The Essex Resort & Spa on January 5 & 6, 2013.
VPT's Experience inspired by "Downton Abbey" will be held at
The Essex Resort & Spa on January 5 & 6, 2013.
An arcade within The Essex will feature entertainment options such as a green-screen photography studio, a "casting call," etiquette and table-setting games, live music, ballroom dancing and more - all happening simultaneously throughout the event.  In keeping with VPT's educational mission, there will also be exhibits created by the University of Vermont's Department of History.

Shaping up to be the biggest Downton-inspired theme party in the region, the event is produced by Eons Creative.  Tickets and more information are available at and on Facebook at

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Go Outside

John Muir Autumn Mountains

Get Married at Highclere Castle

If Matthew and Mary's romantic union sounds like a dream wedding to you, you might also be interested to know that a Downton style wedding doesn't have to be a dream. Highclere Castle, the set for Downton Abbey, offers wedding packages for brides who fancy themselves a modern day Lady Mary.

Highclere Castle Wedding Downton Abbey Matthew Mary Crawley VPT Experience
Highclere Castle Weddings
 For a minimum of 12,000 pounds, you and 100 of you closest friends can take advantage of the awe-inspiring castle.

Highclere Castle Wedding Downton Abbey Matthew Mary Crawley VPT Experience
1,000 acres are available for weddings, including
the East Lawns, South Lawns and Ornamental Gardens
You will walk down the aisle in the great hall, host your reception one of the state rooms, and have access to the house's exclusive staff.

Highclere Castle Wedding Downton Abbey Matthew Mary Crawley VPT Experience
A wedding cake displayed in the Saloon
If the price tag for the whole castle is out of reach, you can still bring Downton-esque elements to your special day.

Patricia Camp, a London native created Downton Abbey Weddings, a company that makes a couples dreams come true in true Edwardian fashion. From gold satin chairs to distinctive glass table settings, Camp's specialized wedding packages have everything you need to create a truly elegant ceremony and celebration.

Now if you don't have a wedding to plan, we'll do our best to bring the elegance of a castle party to you at VPT's Experience Inspired by Downton Abbey up in January. Get your tickets today!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Candidates for Governor to Debate LIVE on Oct. 4

On Thursday, October 4, from 7:30 to 9 p.m., we will present the first in a weekly series of four live candidate debates for Vermont offices, beginning with the race for governor. In keeping with our tradition, we have invited all candidates on the ballot to participate. We will broadcast the debate on air statewide, as well as live webcast it on!

The candidates and their affiliations are Randy Brock, Republican; Dave Eagle, Liberty Union; Cris Ericson, United States Marijuana; Emily Peyton, independent; and Peter Shumlin, Democratic.

VPT's Governor Candidate Debate airs live on Thursday, Oct 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Moderator Stewart Ledbetter will include selected questions from the public among those he asks.
We invite you to call (802) 655-8046 up to the day before the debate and follow the prompts to record a question. Any question must be one that can be addressed to all of the candidates for the office. We are also taking your questions by email at

VPT's Local Debate Schedule:
Governor Debate: Oct 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Lt. Governor Debate: Oct 11 at 8:00 p.m.
U.S. House Debate: Oct 18 at 7:30 p.m.
U.S. Senate Debate: Oct 25 at 7:30 p.m.

Don't miss VPT's exclusive election coverage every Thursday night this October. Our debates offer voters the opportunity to make informed decisions by seeing major party, minor party and independent candidates for the office in the same forum. Joe Merone is senior producer.

Downton Abbey's Maggie Smith Wins Emmy Award

Maggie Smith won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series for her role as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey!

Maggie Smith Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series Downton Abbey
Maggie Smith Wins an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Downton Abbey won 3 out of their 16 nominations in 14 categories last night. It also brought home Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series and Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score). Congrats!

Jim Carter Hugh Bonneville Brendan Coyle Emmy Awards Downton Abbey
Jim Carter, Hugh Bonneville and Brendan Coyle looking sharp at the Emmy Awards
Here is the list of the 14 categories Downtown Abbey received their 16 nominations in, as well as the winners from each.

Drama Series
"Boardwalk Empire" (HBO)
"Breaking Bad" (AMC)
"Downton Abbey" (PBS)
"Game of Thrones" (HBO)
WINNER "Homeland" (Showtime)
"Mad Men" (AMC)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Glenn Close as Patty Hewes in "Damages"
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in "Downton Abbey"
Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick in "The Good Wife"
Kathy Bates as Harriet Korn in "Harry's Law"
WINNER Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in "Homeland"
Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson in "Mad Men"

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson in "Boardwalk Empire"
Bryan Cranston as Walter White in "Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan in "Dexter"
Hugh Bonneville as Robert, Earl of Grantham in "Downton Abbey"
WINNER Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody in "Homeland"
Jon Hamm as Don Draper in "Mad Men"

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn as Skyler White in "Breaking Bad"
WINNER Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham in "Downton Abbey"
Joanne Froggatt as Anna in "Downton Abbey"
Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma in "The Good Wife"
Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart in "The Good Wife"
Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway Harris in "Mad Men"

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

WINNER Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in "Breaking Bad"
Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo 'Gus' Fring in "Breaking Bad"
Brendan Coyle as John Bates in "Downton Abbey"
Jim Carter as Mr. Carson in "Downton Abbey"
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in "Game of Thrones"
Jared Harris as Lane Pryce "Mad Men"

Directing for a Drama Series
WINNER Tim Van Patten, "Boardwalk Empire"
Vince Gilligan, "Breaking Bad"
Brian Percival, "Downton Abbey"
Michael Cuesta, "Homeland"
Phil Abraham, "Mad Men"

Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series
WINNER "Boardwalk Empire," Bill Groom, Adam Scher & Carol Silverman
"Downton Abbey," Donal Woods, Charmian Adams & Judy Farr
"Game of Thrones," Gemma Jackson, Frank Walsh & Tina Jones
"Justified," Dave Blass, Oana Bogdan & Shauna Aronson
"Mad Men," Dan Bishop, Christopher L. Brown & Claudette Didul

Casting for a Drama Serie
"Boardwalk Empire," Meredith Tucker
"Downton Abbey," Jill Trevellick
"Game of Thrones," Nina Gold & Robert Sterne
"The Good Wife," Mark Saks
WINNER "Homeland," Junie Lowry Johnson, Libby Goldstein, Judy Henderson, Craig Fincannon, & Lisa Mae Fincannon
"Mad Men," Laura Schiff & Carrie Audino

Costumes for a Series
"Boardwalk Empire," John Dunn, Lisa Padovani & Maria Zamansky
"The Borgias," Gabriella Pescucci & Uliva Pizzetti
"Downton Abbey," Susannah Buxton
WINNER "Game of Thrones," Michele Clapton, Alexander Fordham & Chloe Aubry
"Once Upon a Time," Eduardo Castro & Monique McRae

Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series
"Breaking Bad: End Times," Kelley Dixon
"Breaking Bad: Face Off," Skip MacDonald
"Downton Abbey," John Wilson A.C.E.
WINNER "Homeland," Jordan Goldman & David Latham
"Mad Men," Chris Gay

Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series
"Boardwalk Empire," Francesca Paris & Christine Cantrell
"The Borgias," Stefano Ceccarelli, Tahira Herold, Claudia Catini & Sevlene Roddy
WINNER "Downton Abbey," Anne "Nosh" Oldham & Christine Greenwood
"Game of Thrones," Kevin Alexander, Candice Banks, Rosalia Culora & Gary Machin
"Mad Men," Theraesa Rivers, Lucia Mace, Arturo Rojas, Maria Sandoval, David Blair

Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score)
"The Borgias," Trevor Morris
WINNER "Downton Abbey," John Lunn
"Pan Am," Blake Neely
"Smash," Marc Shaiman & Christian Bacon
"30 Rock," Jeff Richmond

Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour)
"Breaking Bad," Darryl L. Frank, Jeff Perkins & Eric Justen
"Downton Abbey," Nigel Heath, Alex Fielding, Oliver Brierley & Keith Partridge
WINNER "Game of Thrones," Matthew Waters, Onnalee Blank, Ronan Hill & Mervyn Moore
"Homeland," Larry Long, Nello Torri, Alan Decker & Larold Rebhun
"Person of Interest," Frank Morrone, Scott Weber, Keith Rogers & Noah Timan

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
"Downton Abbey," Julian Fellowes
"Mad Men," Semi Chellas, Matthew Weiner
"Mad Men," Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton
"Mad Men," Semi Chellas, Matthew Weiner
WINNER "Homeland," Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff

Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series
"Breaking Bad," Kelley Dixon
"Breaking Bad," Skip MacDonald
"Downton Abbey," John Wilson A.C.E.
"Mad Men," Christopher Gay
WINNER "Homeland," Jordan Goldman, David Latham

To see a full list of the winners and nominees from last night's Emmy Awards, visit Don't miss out on VPT's Experience inspired by Downton Abbey, coming up in January, 2013! Check out for more information.

Friday, September 21, 2012

What's in an Accent?

Any faithful Downton Abbey fan knows the difference between a member of the Crawley family and one of the many footmen, butlers, lady's maid, valets, or chauffeurs who live downstairs.

Do you know who's who?
Even someone watching the show for the first time would be able to distinguish between the two simply by what they are wearing. The upstairs characters wear elegant, colorful clothes, while the downstairs folk usually wear darker colors and drab aprons. What many American viewers may not realize is that many Brits could make the distinction between the two groups with their eyes closed. The different accents that the characters have say just as much about their status in the Downton Abbey world as their clothing.

The difference between a northern and southern British accent is as noticeably different in Great Britain as a southern accent would be to a New Englander in the States.

The "Yorkshire" accent among the staff reflects the people of Northern England, specifically Yorkshire. The small country villages of Yorkshire county are often mentioned on the show, and presumably this is where most of the staff calls home.

Where in the world is Yorkshire?
The Crawleys on the other hand, speak with the accent of aristocratic, high society folk, which is closer to what Brits from London would sound like.

The Dialect blog explains the specifics. See if you can hear the differences for yourself in this clip!

No matter what accent you may have, you are cordially invited to VPT's Experience inspired by Downton Abbey on January 5 and 6, 2013. It's your chance to catch the Season 3 premiere one day before its TV broadcast! This event really takes the biscuit, so chivvy along and get your tickets today.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Highclere Castle: The Real Downton Abbey

The great house of Downton Abbey has as much character as each of the 32 members of family, staff, and visitors who've passed through it's massive doors on the first two seasons of the hit period drama. The Abbey faces the same trials and tribulations as the Crawley family when war arrives at the doorstep, and it's fate is often just as uncertain as Mr. Bates'. The house's role is so vital to the plot line, that without it, there is no show. So, viewers may not realize that this grand building actually exists!

Highclere Castle
The Earl and Countess of Carnarvon
The Downton Abbey castle is based directly on Highclere Castle located in Newbury, England, about 60 miles west of London. It is a classic Victorian castle set on 1,000 acres of scenic parkland.

It is thought to have been built some 1300 years ago. Since 1838, the Earl of Carnarvon and his family have called Highclere home. Today, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon and his wife, the Countess occupy the castle for part of the year. During the summer months, the castle and surrounding gardens are open to the public.

The breathtaking state rooms are the same ones that we see on Downton, including the Library, Saloon, Drawing Room and Dining Room. In total, there are more that 50 bedrooms in the house, 11 of which are open to visitors.

The storyline of Downton Abbey closely mirrors the history of the home. During the early years of the twentieth century, the castle epitomized the glamor and lavishness of the Edwardian period.

However, with the onset of the First World War, Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon, transformed the Castle into a hospital, and patients began to arrive from Flanders in September 1914, just like in the television show Almina became an nurse, just as Lady Sybil in the second season of the show.

The Castle then returned to a private home and in 1922.

The Saloon
With all the similarities, there are still quite a few differences between the actual castle and the one in the show. The downstairs at Highclere Castle is very different than what we see on Downton. The great castle has a claim to fame besides giving home to the wildly popular show.

The 5th Earl of Carnarvon discovered the Tomb of the Egyptian Boy Pharaoh, also known as "King Tut" in 1922. The former staff quarters at Highclere now hold The Egyptian Exhibition, a tribute to his incredible find.

A replica of King Tutankhamun's death mask, on display at Highclere Castle
If you can't wait until next summer to hop across the pond and visit, there's good news. The Castle is currently hiring an Assistant Butler. If you think you've learned enough from Mr. Carson in seasons one and two, go ahead and apply.

If you'd rather stick to your day job, or better yet, stay close to home, we'll do our best to bring the castle and the whole Downton Abbey world to you at the Vermont Public Television Experience, Inspired by Downton Abbey coming up in January. Get your tickets today!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

251 Club of Vermont Acquires VPT's Profile Series

We just donated our full series of Profile  on VHS to The 251 Club of Vermont!

Profile is the state's longest-running TV interview series in Vermont. The Vermont Public Television produced program features in-depth conversations with some of the most influential people of our time from the realms of art, news, politics, literature, business and science.

Host Fran Stoddard introduces us to men and women who are making important contributions to our world - and helps us get to know the person behind the persona. Since the program's debut in October 2001 Stoddard has talked with such luminaries as: Molly Ivins, Bruce Cockburn, Paul Winter, E. L. Doctorow, and Howard Dean to discuss their work, their personal passions and some of the influences that have led to their successes.

Chuck Pizer 251 Club Sandra Levesque Vermont
VPT's Community Engagement Director Chuck Pizer and the 251 Club's Executive Director Sandra Levesque.
The 251 Club is an organization of Vermont enthusiasts who have taken up the quest to visit the state's 251 towns and cities.

Open to all, the club has $5 enrollment fee and a $6 annual membership fee, or or a five-year membership flat fee of $25. As a 251 Club member you get a profile on the club's web site where you can track your progress, three newsletters a year, a state map, a town checklist, and an invitation to attend the club's semiannual dinners.

When you join, you are a "Minus" member: your status being 251 minus the number of towns you have yet to visit. When you reach 251, you become a "Plus" member!

We hope the Profile series adds to your overall Vermont experience. Thanks for your support!

Vermont Fall Bucket List

There are still a number of weeks to go until we reach the peak of the fall foliage season season, but that certain autumn chill is already in the air. Colors are starting to show in higher elevations, with varying shades of orange, yellow and red boldly emerging around the Green Mountain State.

Vermont is known for its world famous foliage, but we know that there are so many other things to enjoy during the fall season. Here is our "Vermont Autumn Bucket List" to help you make your Vermont fall a great one. Check it out and check it off!

Vermont Fall Bucket List Autumn To Do

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Doggy Duds Inspired by Downton Abbey

Serena Faber Nelson over at compiled some fabulous doggy fashion pieces, all inspired by Downton Abbey

While tickets to VPT's Experience inspired by Downton Abbey come in pairs, unfortunately you won't be able to bring your canine friend as your plus one. However, don't let your pooch feel left out of the celebration! Be sure to snag a cute Doggie Bow Ties from Best in Park, even if it's just to chew on. 

Love Is An Active Noun

Love is an active noun like struggle - Mr. Rogers

Monday, September 17, 2012

Downton Abbey Weddings

The theme of weddings comes up regularly on Downton Abbey, but viewers have yet to see a proper ceremony performed. While marriages have taken place, there have been no lavish parties, flowing wedding gowns, or love laden vows.

Lady Mary has been engaged at least three times since season one, but has yet to walk down the aisle. Anna and Bates nuptials were haunted by the ex-wife and his impending trial. Ultimately, their union was performed in private. Sibyl and Branson faced a clash of cultures and classes before they could tie the knot. Their wedding occurred sometime between the end of season 2 and the Christmas special, and fans were left once again imagining what the wedding looked like.

Anna Bates Downton Abbey
Anna and Bates
Matthew and Lavinia offered a sliver of hope that we might see how the heir to the thrown would marry, that is until her tragic death.  The one wedding we have seen was usual, hopefully even in the Downton era; Daisy and William's deathbed wedding provoked the wrong kind of tears and hardly carried the elegance of a traditional wedding.

Daisy William wedding death bed Downton Abbey
Daisy and William's less than ideal wedding
Now, with anticipations of season 3, there is hope, and rumors, that we will finally see a wedding when Mary and Matthew gives fans what they've been waiting for.

So the questions remains, how would one have celebrated the union of marriage in Edwardian times?

The most important piece of the Edwardian wedding was no different from today: The dress. In the lavish, high society weddings, the dress was marked with satin and lace, and was of course white. Most dresses had long trains and a low neckline Short sleeves were unacceptable, unless the bride wore long gloves. The bride had the privilege of wearing her dress to public events for the six months following the ceremony.

The father of the Bride would drive her to the church, where the rest of the family waited. Bridesmaids would guide her down the isle to meet the groom. The couple would then kneel before the priest while her performed the ceremony.

Edwardian wedding bride and groom Matthew Mary Crawley Downton Abbey
The Bride and Groom kneeling before the Priest
Rather that a reception, the wedding party would gather at for breakfast before the ceremony. The bride and groom left promptly after the ceremony.

Patricia Camp, a London native created Downton Abbey Weddings, a company that makes a couples dreams come true in true Edwardian fashion. Her wedding packages provide wedding furnishings  to create true elegance, from gold satin chairs, to fine porcelain and distinctive glass table settings, to Edwardian music boxes.
Edwardian wedding chairs gold Downton Abbey
Gold chairs for an Edwardian Wedding
Even if you don't have a wedding to plan, plan on coming to Vermont Public Televison's Experience Inspired by Downton Abbey! This is your chance to celebrate the coming season of Downton Abbey! Tickets are on sale today!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Trisha Brown Dance Company Tickets Giveaway

We're giving away a pair of tickets to the Trisha Brown Dance Company performance at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, VT on October 5, 2012.

Neal Beasley Leah Morrison Trisha Brown Dance Company Flynn Cente Burlington Vermont

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment below this Facebook post telling us your favorite dance movie! Flashdance? Dirty Dancing? Let us know for a chance to enjoy the performance from the comfort of the beautiful Flynn Center's new seats.

For 50 years, Trisha Brown has blazed a singular path in the dance world. Known for incorporating everyday movements into her avant-garde work, she has become one of the world's most acclaimed choreographers.

In this performance, the company does excerpts of a new work, "Rogues," inspired by Brown's exploration of sculpture, calligraphy and knots, with score by composer Alvin Curran.

Trisha Brown Dance Company Flynn Cente Burlington Vermont

Ryan Wenzel, dance editor at the Brooklyn Rail ranked Trisha Brown's Rogues among the top 5 dance performances of fall 2011. "

He writes that Rogues was "one of the simplest dances at the festival but also one of the most honest and powerful. The style of movement is largely pedestrian: simple steps, twists, bending limbs. The two men dancing (Neal Beasley and Lee Serle) move at first in tandem, then without warning they break apart and echo one another. At times these divergences are beautiful, and at others they're ugly. The drastic difference in the dancers' height and physique gives the work an air of universality and a striking sense of contrast (not to mention some occasional humor). It's honest, transparent, and hypnotic.... I hope the near future affords me an opportunity to see more of her work."

Trisha Brown Dance Company Les Yeux et lâme Van Meer
Trisha Brown's "Les Yeux et lâme." Photograph by Van Meer
The giveaway ends Friday, Sept. 21, at 10 a.m. EST. The soon-to-be ticket holder will be announced via Facebook on Monday, Sept. 24.

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook

Emily Ansara Baines has cooked up a guide to feed your family like royalty. The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook feature 150 recipes, inspired by the hit show.

Downton Abbey Cookbook Patmore Kitchen
The Cover of the Unofficial DA Cookbook
While you're not likely to prepare a five course meal on a Tuesday night, your family might still enjoy having traditional English meals appear on the table.

The cookbook, set to hit shelves on the 18th of September features items like "Lady Mary's Crab Cakes" and "The Earl of Grantham's Turtle Soup".

If the fare from the upstairs world of Downton Abbey exceeds your cooking skills, you may find solace in the humble dishes in the "Sustenance for the Staff" section. These dishes reflect the classic British Pub foods, of course including fish and chips.

If come Thanksgiving, you want try your hand at a proper feast, the book is divided into seven chapters, each dedicated to a course, allowing you to plan a meal that would gain approval from Dowager Countess.

Downton Abbey Meal Dinner Dining Table
A Typical Meal at Downton Abbey
It won't be traditional turkey and potatoes on the table, but elegant dishes with names your guests probably can't pronounce. For a first course try Saxe-Coburg Soup followed by  Filet Mignon with Foie Gras and Truffle Sauce, or Pommes de Terre Sarladaise. For dessert, there's Mrs. Patmore’s Madeira Pound Cake or Anna Bates’s Chocolate Crumpets. 

Even if you botch your attempt at the classic concoctions, you can rest easy that you won't endure a scolding like Daisy, and better yet, Branson won't try to sabotage your soup with rotten milk. If anything, this Downton-inspired cookbook will help fill the void until the third season premiere in January. 

Patmore kitchen Daisy Downton Abbey Dinner
Ms. Patmore hard at work 
Better yet, it will prepare your pallet for VPT's Experience inspired by Downton Abbey! Get your tickets today.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Family Day at Montshire Museum: Saturday, Sept. 15

Join us at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont this weekend for VPT Family Day! VPT Family Club Members and their immediate family will get free admission to the Montshire Museum on Saturday, September 15, 2012.

If you're not a VPT Family Member, click here to become one today!

With more than 140 exhibits, there's something for everyone at the Montshire Museum. Kids will be able to get 'hands on' with science and nature to learn about weather, astronomy, and the environment through the interactive bubble stations, the region's largest collection of moths and butterflies, wildly creative Rube Goldberg devices, a tank where live trout swim, the topological puzzles, a colony of leaf-cutter ants, and much more.

At the Dynamic Globe, kids will be able to observe the natural changing patterns of Earth processes, such as real-time weather moving across the surface of the Earth, the progress of a season of hurricanes, and other animations projected onto the surface of a touchable 30" sphere.

Montshire Museum of Science Norwich Vermont Weather Globe Earth Kids
Dynamic Globe
 With the Air Cannon, kids can see what it feels like to be hit with a cannonball made of air.

Montshire Museum of Science Norwich Vermont Air Earth Kids
Air Cannon
The brand new sLowlife exhibit will be making its debut at the Montshire Museum on VPT Family Day! Contrary to our conscious perception, plants do it ever so slowly. This dynamic multimedia exhibition presents unusual and sometimes unnerving perspectives on how a plant reacts, both short- and long-term, to its inner and outer worlds.

slowlife Montshire Museum of Science Norwich Vermont Kids plants
sLowlife Exhibit
So don't miss out on the fun this weekend! This event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine. Click here to become a VPT Family Club Member today, and we'll see you on Saturday!

Lead the Way!

Dr. Seuss Quote Brains Head Feet Shoes Direction Choose

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Downton Abbey is for Dog Lovers

Dog lovers may have one more reason to love Downton Abbey: the Crawley family's beloved dog, Isis. While her role is subtle and infrequent, each of her scenes reflect the loyalty and loving nature that is true to the Labrador breed.

Downton Abbey Lord Grantham Crawley Dog Isis
The Crawley family dog, Isis
While her calm nature and tendency to stay at Lord Grantham's side may be wishful thinking for your Lab, most owners could see their own dog on screen when Isis magically appears in the kitchen at the drop of a crumb.

Downton Abbey Lord Grantham Crawley Dog Isis
Isis helps clean the kitchen

The dogs of Downton have a fan base as big as the some of the characters. They even have a Facebook page and multiple blogs dedicated to their appearances on the show.

Originally called the "St. John's dog," Labradors are known for their innate ability to retrieve anything on land or in the water. The skill was one they picked up while living side by side with fishermen in Newfoundland.

The first Earl of Malmesbury, James Harris, became fond of the dogs and used them as hunting companions. His son, James Edward Harris, started the first kennel to keep the Labrador tradition alive. However, by the time the third Earl reached old age in the 1880's, the breed was on the edge of extinction in England.

When a chance meeting brought two Dukes to the Malmesbury home, they observed the last remaining  St. John's dogs excel in a waterfowl shoot. The Dukes went home with two dogs that day, Ned and Avon, who are thought to be the great grandparents of all British Labs.

Downton Abbey Avon St. John Dog
Avon  the St. John's Dog 

If the Yellow Lab isn't your breed for you, stay tuned. While they may get less airtime, and have no visible fan base, the Gascon Saintongeois hunting dogs are reminiscent of many better known and beloved breed. Appearing as a mix between a Beagle and almost any hound, the hunting dogs demand attention when they make it on camera.

Hunting Downton Abbey Gascon Saintongeois
A pack of Gascon Saintongeois'
Hunting scenes are marked by the incessant barking and excitement of the Gascons, and is enough to hit home with all hound lovers.

Downton Abbey Christmas Shooting Hunting Dogs Isis
 The Downton Christmas Shooting Party - Isis is on the Left

Downton Abbey season three returns on January 6th, 2013, but you can watch the premiere before it airs! Buy your tickets now to attend the VPT Experience inspired by Downtown Abbey on Saturday, January 5th, 2013.

And after you get your tickets, check out this hilarious post over at Dogster: If the Characters in Downton Abbey Were Portrayed by Canine Actors.