Downton Abbey, Southern Style

love-opera-victoria-bakerDownton Abbey is my favorite T.V series ever. I’m in love with the characters, the house, the glamour, the drama.I simply can’t get enough.

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I admit I’m even one of those super obsessed fans who buy and drink the outrageously overpriced Downton Abbey tea while watching the show. But who cares, an hour of Downton Abbey is a Country manor experience and it’s no time to count pennies!

I used to have a major TV crush on Matthew Crawley’s character, the dashing yet reluctant soon-to-be Lord of the Manor but when he left the show I transferred my affections to Branson’s character: the once political Irish chauffeur who marries into the family, forgets all about his proletariat beginnings and becomes a mainstay of the Downton Abbey ‘upstairs’ crowd.

So you can imagine my elation when I read that Allen Leach aka Tom Branson himself, was coming to the US with Julian Fellowes’ niece for a Downton Abbey weekend which consisted of a dinner, cocktail party, costume ball and screening of a new episode this past January.

And where was he coming? None other than my all-time favorite Sea Island Resort in Georgia at That’s my dream weekend.

Whilst I was perusing the CondeNast Traveler Magazine I read a blurb stating that while most Downton purists might rather visit Highclere Castle itself (the brick and mortar Castle upon which the Downton Story is based) a jaunt at Sea Island was worth the detour.

I disagree though. I’d choose Sea Island over Highclere Castle any day, walking around a big castle with a load of tourists is not my idea of fun. I’d much rather go to Sea Island, be as pampered as Lady Crawley herself and live my own brief but beautiful Lady of the Manor moment.

Ah…Sea Island…the elegant ambience, the refined service, the Old World beauty of the surroundings. If it wasn’t in the South it would be the ideal setting for Downton Abbey.

I’ll never forget my stay there two years ago. It was heaven on Earth, the garden of Eden and all these superlatives will never truly encapsulate the magic of the place. It has to be experienced to be understood. The staff are like friends who genuinely care about your happiness, the food is divine and the setting sublime. Sea Island is one of those places for me that set the bar for all others.

I wasn’t able to go to the Downton weekend this past January and my 2014 resolution is to live everyday as if it’s my last. That’s alright, 2014 is only just beginning and fingers crossed I’ll get my Downton Abbey meets Sea Island fix before it’s over!


Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected]

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