STAATSBURG — On Sunday, January 19, fans of the popular PBS television series can attend a special tour at Staatsburgh, a real-life American version of Downton Abbey. The tour, entitled “America’s Elite in the Downton Abbey Era,” compares the fictional Downton Abbey to Staatsburgh, a 79-room Gilded Age mansion on the Hudson River. Admission for “America’s Elite in the Downton Abbey Era” is $10; $8 for seniors and students; and free for children age 12 and younger. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (845) 889-8851.
Downton Abbey followed the adventures of the aristocratic Crawley family in early 20th century England. The series not only illustrated the lifestyle of the British elite, but gave equal time to the dramas that unfolded in the lives of the Crawley’s servants. Just as viewers saw on Downton Abbey, Staatsburgh’s house parties featured lavish meals and entertainment, with a household staff of uniformed servants that catered to every need of the family and their guests.
Led by a costumed guide, the “America’s Elite” tour will explain how Staatsburgh functioned during a busy weekend, comparing the entertainments of the rich and the labors of the servants to what viewers saw on Downton Abbey. Even the fictionalized romances of Downton Abbey had their historical counterparts at Staatsburgh: Downton’s American heiress Cora married the fictional Earl of Grantham; Staatsburgh’s Beatrice Mills married the real Earl of Granard.
Staatsburgh State Historic Site and the Ogden Mills & Ruth Livingston Mills Memorial State Park are located on Old Post Road in Staatsburg, off Route 9 between Rhinebeck and Hyde Park. The historic site is one of 6 sites and 15 parks administered by the Taconic Region of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. For more information, call 845-889-8851, or visit Staatsburgh’s website, Facebook, or Blogger.