Nestled in the New Brighton neighborhood of Staten Island are a small number of quaint, Victorian cottages, vestiges of one of America’s earliest suburban developments. Eleven of the original houses still stand. One beautiful Saturday in September I did a walking tour with Victorian Society in America and got to see these beautiful houses in person. I even got to tour three of them!
One recent evening I attended a Baroque concert and was rewarded with not simply music, but a beautiful, celestial experience. “Wild Cosmos Baroque Salon,” presented by Atlas Obscura, wonderfully connected past and present in a modern interpretation of the salons of old.
“We bought an 1888 house in Port Townsend (Washington’s Victorian seaport and long our favorite place) and proceeded to see how Victorian a life we could truly carve out for ourselves in the twenty-first century world.”
It’s all too easy to romanticize the past, and that is exactly what Sarah and Gabriel Chrisman make their life doing.
Singer Castle on Dark Island of the Thousand Islands is a marvel straight out of a storybook. Literally! The architect, Ernest Flagg (1857-1947), based his design around the medieval castle depicted in Sir Walter Scott’s 1832 novel Woodstock.
In Sex with Kings: Five Hundred Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge, Eleanor Herman pens quite a romp through some of history’s most scandalizing pages. Divided into twelve chapters, the book explores the history of royal mistresses and details the art of pleasing a king (er…beyond the bedchamber), rivalry, jealous husbands, royal bastards, and more.
The Thousand Islands are a wonder in their own right. But two majestic architectural specimens residing within them deserve special attention: Boldt and Singer castles. In the Gilded Age the nation’s wealthiest flocked to the Thousand Islands for their summer retreats. Boldt Castle and Singer Castle are what remain of this era. Each, in its own way, is straight out of a fairytale. This first of two posts concerns Boldt Castle.
On Pollepel Island in Fishkill, NY stands a decaying wonder of the Gilded Age: Bannerman Castle. Not much remains of the once grand architectural complex, now merely a ghost of its grand predecessor, as an explosion, fire, vandalism, and natural disaster reduced it to its current fragile bones.
I very much enjoyed reading Ruth Goodman’s How to be a Victorian and no, I definitely do not want to be one.
When Sarah Chrisman’s husband gave her a corset for her 29th birthday, little did she know how much it would change her life.