Victorian Gala

Editor’s Note: Meg, our regular blogger, is also a mountain bike guide.  She started her day on August 6 guiding a group of teenage riders who she would be with for the next 5 days – but since they were camping that evening on the fields at Great Glen Trails, she was able to participate in our Gala celebration – read on…

The transformation from Mountain Bike Guiding with 8 boys to dressing in a Victorian gown is quite the process, but very fun none the less. Saturday August 6, 2011 we celebrated our 150th Anniversary with a Victorian Gala and I was just starting a 5 Day Mountain Bike Camp.

Many of the women on the staff met in the lodge to get ready for the elegant occasion. Curling irons, makeup, bobby pins, dresses, shoes, hoop skirts and jewelry decorated the Libby Room. When it came time, the nine of us made our way from the lodge to the tent at the base of the Auto Road on foot, stopping for photos along the way.

Halfway down the access road little drops of water fell from the sky threatening to ruin our hair and makeup. We had no choice but to run. Let me tell you it’s not easy running in a hoop skirt dress that weights 20 lbs!

It was only a brief rain shower and we didn’t melt.

Our wonderful guests were greeted by Kelly and Jackie with commemorative tickets, a dance card for the ladies, and a wood handled fan with the evenings’ program printed on it. The sound of the violin, flute and piano of Spare Parts from the Berkshires, filled the tent and our two Victorian dancers were offering their guidance to anyone who wanted to waltz.

Regina stepped right in and showed us all how it’s done.

The menu,  based on one from the 1890 Glen House, began with hors d oeuvres of lamb with mint sauce, stewed lobster a la newburg, and asparagus a la flamonde. Dinner was a choice of Beef Burgundy, Chicken Fricassee and Roasted Haddock. Our very own white wine was at every table and served in a take home commemorative glass.

I was amazed when I saw the butter at the tables, it had our logo imprinted on it!

President Sam Appleton opened the evening by recognizing current staff as family and thanking General Manager Howie Wemyss for keeping the Auto Road the same as the late Doug Philbrook, former President and General Manager would have wanted it.

Throughout the evening our 1918 Pierce Arrow made the perfect background for photos.

After dinner, Darby Field made an appearance from the mist in the night and told us the story of how the Mount Washington Carriage Road got here.

Along with having conversations with voices of the past, John Muir, Thomas Star King, Mary Langdon, Freelan Stanley, Julius Ward and an unknown New York Times correspondent, Darby also welcomed a horse drawn surry and our1899 Stanley Locomobile driven by folks from The Stanley Museum in Kingfield, Me, which made the living history presentation really come to life.

Three cakes were on display representing our 1918 Pierce Arrow, 1938 Ford Woodie,  and the 12 Passenger Mountain Wagon we have on display in our Red Barn Museum.

While the cake was served, the band Center Stage began playing some great music and the dance floor was hoppin’.

The fireworks display by Atlas started at 10pm and ended up being the best fireworks display I have ever seen. The show lasted about 45 minutes and had at least three grand finales. They weren’t just being blasted up high either, brilliant displays went off that sprayed smaller fireworks at ground level. Incredible doesn’t begin to describe the show.

The night finished off with more dancing.

The event was all the talk of the town for the next week. Me, I was back in the woods getting dirty on the trails riding my bike and loving it.

Thanks to all who participated! – Meg

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