Guest Post ~ “Encountering Jane Austen…”

Governors house

My friend Suzanne is the Innkeeper at the Governor’s House in Hyde Park, Vermont, where she four times a year holds Jane Austen Weekends for those of us who like to retreat into the early 19th century for a few days. She also offers an annual In-Character Weekend, where all manner of various Austen characters people the Inn and where one must remain in character for the whole time or risk being evicted… it is all in good fun, what with archery, and fencing, and quill-making and dancing and efforts to make bonnets and turbans , one easily forgets the call of the internet or the chatter of cell phones, and as long as a resident Lady Catherine or Mr. Collins, or a grave General Tilney do not ruin the festivities, one can really get quite lost in it all. One such weekend is coming up August 7-9, 2015 and you can read all about it here: Governor’s House-JA weekends.

But I write here today about Suzanne’s and my Love of London, discovered several years ago, and about which we have yet to stop talking… We have been there together, and alas! separately, and as she was in the UK this spring without me (I am struggling to forgive her…), I here offer a post that Suzanne wrote on her Innkeeper’s blog a few weeks ago about her latest trip and the rather alarming number of encounters she had with Jane Austen! – here is the first paragraph with a link to the rest of the post … a perfect trip for armchair travelers!


Encountering Jane Austen

After a tough Vermont winter and a serious bout of flu what form of R and R would be good before getting back to the 24/7 business of running a small inn? As is so often the case, a little Jane Austen seemed like a good plan. I’d been noticing how amazingly often JA is mentioned in whatever I’m reading, from Mr. Churchill’s Secretary to a serious article in the Economist just last week. So I wondered how many encounters there might be as I did some walking in her part of England and decided to chronicle my adventures. And all I can say now is that it is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen truly is everywhere!

Day 1


Arriving in London after an overnight flight, I immediately set out for a walk. First stop was Hatchard’s, England’s oldest bookshop founded in 1797. JA’s writings were well represented and it’s always a great place to look for guides to Regency London and places with literary ties, but the appeal for me is the list of authors who were also customers. Next stop was the National Portrait Gallery for “Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends”, John Singer Sargent’s striking portraits of Monet, Rodin, Robert Louis Stevenson and others, but certainly not JA who’d lived a century earlier. But returning the long way down from the third floor ladies, I came to this wall of JA’s contemporaries surrounding the tiny portrait of her we know so well.

Day 2… Continue reading at Suzanne’s blog here:


You can read more about the In Character Jane Austen Weekend for August 7-9, 2015 here: – it is not too late to sign up to give the performance of your life, Mr. Collins anyone?? and all you closet Mrs. Allens (dare I say Mrs. Norris??) can come and rave about your fashions to your heart’s content…

Showing off the Regency style turbans they made that afternoon in Hope Greenberg’s workshop

Showing off the Regency style turbans they made that afternoon in Hope Greenberg’s workshop


On another note of interest to members of JASNA-Vermont – Suzanne is hosting us at the Governor’s House for an Afternoon Tea on July 26, 2015, from 2-4, where we will hear my good friend Ingrid Graff speak on “A Home of Her Own: Space and Synthesis in Sense and Sensibility.” As a member of JASNA, Suzanne is offering us this Tea at minimal cost to us, $8. / per person – reservations are required, so please email or call – invitations are being emailed later today to all on our JASNA-Vermont mailing list. Hope to see many of you there!

[Images courtesy of Suzanne B. from her Governor’s House website]

c2015 Jane Austen in Vermont

5 thoughts on “Guest Post ~ “Encountering Jane Austen…”

  1. The writers surrounding Cassandras picture of Jane are Walter Scott, Southey, Burns, Keats and Coleridge. Scott is the only one not a poet. Interestingly the space on the wall behind the plinth that contains Jane’s portrait is blank. It is almost as though the curators want her to be seen with that halo of great writers.Unfortunately the portrait of Jane is not very good, a
    mateurish, to say the least.


    • Well Tony, though the portrait by Cassandra is “amateurish,” it is the only one we have, so it is to be treasured and given a prime place in any museum lucky to have it!

      And not sure what Scott would have to say about you slighting him as not being a poet – he was indeed a poet, over 150 poems I believe, and why Jane Austen is at first appalled that he decided to write novels – she wrote the following to her niece Anna Austen on 28 Sept. 1814: ‘Walter Scott has no business to write novels, especially good ones. — It is not fair. He has Fame and Profit enough as a Poet, and should not be taking the bread out of other people’s mouths.– I do not like him, and do not mean to like Waverley if I can help it — but fear I must’…


  2. Ha ! ha! of course you are right, Deb, about Scott being a poet. I am an ignoramus at times, well a lot of the time actually!!. When I was in Edinburgh last year, apart from seeing Scotts memorial in Princes Street I took a tour of Edinburgh Castle and learned all about his discovery of the Scottish crown jewels that had been hidden away in the depths of Edinburgh Castle during the Protectorate. I read Quentin Durward when i was 13. I read it for a bet. florid, romantic stuff from what i remember. i have never read any more of Scotts stuff. hence my ignorance about his poetic output.
    Have you ever been to Edinburgh? I was totally taken by the place and ended up writing three long blogs!!!!Ha! ha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha Tony! we all have our ignoramus side! – sorry to point it out so publicly! Yes, I’ve been to Edinburgh a few times – love the place – was even there one year for the Tattoo – have been obsessed with Mary Queen of Scots for years – love St. Margaret’s Chapel – one visit I lost my wallet in Edinburgh, and a gentleman thief returned it to the police – all credit cards intact _and_ my American $, only the Scottish pounds were taken – the police sent it back to my home in Vermont without asking for compensation – have loved Scotland even more than I ever did after that lovely encounter!


  3. Deb, I don’t mind you pointing out my ignorance at all!!! Ha! ha! Couldn’t be done by a nicer person.
    I am glad you had such a positive experience in Edinburgh, although having your purse taken in the first place couldn’t have been pleasant.
    I must admit until last year I had never been across the border into Scotland and me with a surname from the Scottish Highlands!!!.
    I want to go up for the Edinburgh Festival one year.


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