Spotlight: Summer, Downton Abbey-Style
Summer has officially begun! What are you planning to do with you long lazy days and warm summer nights? Whatever your plans, keep cool—and elegant—when you do them Downton Abbey style!
Recreation: …because you can't have foxhunts year-round!
Cricket: You may be hard pressed to find a cricket match stateside, but our national pastime beckons you with the promise of a (superficially) similar sport—both are bat/ball/field games—and some decidedly un-Downton fare in the form of hot dogs, peanuts, and cold beer!
The County Fair: Sure, it's hot and sticky, and may end in tears for the over-stimulated, over-sugared, under-8 set, but this tried and true summer tradition keeps us coming back every year. Essentially unchanged from the days of Downton (substitute pina colada Slurpees for pies), the county fair's rides, games, and attractions won't disappoint—or break the bank.
The Beach: For some fun in the sun, there's no need to don a woolen "swimming costume" when you take a cue from Downton's servants and head to the beach this summer!
Fishing: Whether you're fishing in a Scottish loch or a local hole, cast away! Do some bro-bonding (or the female equivalent) like Matthew and Gregson, or go solitary—either way, fishing's unplugged union of nature and sport will surely immerse you in Downtonesque simplicity.
Entertaining: Make Dukes and Duchesses feel right at home.
The Garden Party: You've mowed the grass and pulled the weeds, so why not share the beauty of a garden in bloom with those near and dear? Go Downton traditional with tea, croquet and sack races or go American with a cook-out, horseshoes and cornhole. Just hope that no one puts an end to the fun with a modern day telegram equivalent announcing the start of war!
Al Fresco Dining: Ah, the joys of dining al fresco, even without a team of footmen serving you! Whether patio, gazebo, cabana, or riverbank, figure out your table and seating; gather your linens, place-settings, and copious insect deterrents; and serve your guests in the fresh, open air!
Staycation: Spending the summer on castle grounds? You don't have to leave the estate to enjoy the season!
Gardening: To keep centered and connected to nature, take a cue from Downton Abbey's stealth gardener and get out amidst the blooms and the soil.
Picnics: Even without rugs, pillows, and a hamper packed with Mrs. Patmore's fish mousse and pâté, a picnic is a delightful way to make a staycation special. As (I'd like to imagine) Lady Cora might say, "I'm an American. Have picnic basket, will travel."
Ice cream: Take a break from the aspic, jellies, and sponges of the dining room with ice cream: it's the perfect summer treat whether you're at the beach, the boardwalk, or the back yard.
Convertibles: Put the top down, feel the wind in your hair, and beware milk trucks as you hit the open road beneath the sunshine or the stars! Don't have access to one? Lady Mary knows someone who can make you a deal…
Style: Miss the London fashion shows? Stay cool in Downton Abbey style.
Haircuts: Summer is a great time to try a new coif, trading heavy hot styles for chic wash-and-go looks. And if you end up looking like a "bald monkey," take heart—hair grows more quickly in the summer.
Parasols: Protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun in true Dowager style with a parasol, a genius accessory that both creates shade and looks good while you're throwing it (in the form of zingers).
Dresses: To get the summer tea dress look, don stripes, simple prints and white lace in cottons and linens that stand out against the emerald lawns you're certain to be strolling as you flit from garden party to house party all summer long!
Hats: From the cricket pitch to the cookout, a classic Panama Optimo hat of finely woven straw will keep the gents cool and classy until the sun sets on Labor Day.