As Johanna mentioned in an earlier post, things have been very busy here at Man the Capstan; she has been working nonstop, every day, stitching, tacking, sewing, serging, cutting, pressing and dressing. It’s more than a full time job, and she really deserves a medal for all this work. The good news, however, is that after Halloween there will be very little left to do, as 90-95% of all the costumes will be done. Behind the Uniform, Part II revealed that the Capstan crew would be heading out on the 31st of October for the first time together, in period dress. In attendance will be Shara, dressed in the English Rose, her husband Tim in his Royal Navy captain’s coat, Johanna of course, in Passage to India, her husband Steve, our Royal Marine, and myself in another Royal Navy captain’s coat. Our destination? A nice little place called the Blomidon Inn.
The Blomidon Inn resides in the university town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Wolfville, originally known as Mud Creek (which was changed hastily in light of a possible Royal visit) is home to Acadia University, where I attend classes on a full-time basis. It’s a charming little town that grows alarmingly quiet in the summer, but is a bustle with activity during the cooler seasons. The Blomidon Inn rests a few kilometres down Main Street, towards the east. The Inn gets his name from Cape Blomidon, a very well-known geographical personality in the Annapolis Valley and particularly in Wolfville, where it is easily spotted. Blomidon sits quite prominently off the coast, an irregular landmass lying on the southeast shore of the Bay of Fundy. The Cape is home to a provincial park and the mighty Glooscap, a legendary Mi’kmaq (a local aboriginal tribe) god responsible for the creation of the Annapolis Valley and the islands within the Minas Basin.
The Blomidon Inn is described as an “old sea captain’s mansion”, hosting nearly thirty guest rooms, two dining rooms, a dining terrace, and the surrounding gardens. The history of the Blomidon Inn begins in 1881, when a gentleman (a merchant) named Rufus Burgess purchased the lot for a resounding $1,400. The house and lot served as his personal residence. Mister Burgess owned shares in ships, and quickly moved to manufacturing his own. Burgess funded the construction of many tall ships, one of them the Canada (the largest tall ship built in the Dominion at the time). When Georgie, Burgess’ wife, died in 1911 (Rufus preceded her by six years) the property sold at auction. For the next seventy years the property would slip from one owner to another, often experiencing hard financial times. Before it was an Inn, it was once known as the “Blomidon Lodge”, a popular place for travelling salesmen to congregate.
In 1980 it became known as the Blomidon Inn, and in 1988 the current owners, the Laceby family, began operating it. Since then the inn has gained international acclaim as a signature inn in Nova Scotia; residents may enjoy luxurious accommodations, fine dining and a charming atmosphere—the house is beautifully decorated and the surrounding gardens secret the building away into the time period of its birth.
The Capstan Crew will be heading to the Blomidon Inn on Halloween, in period costume, for dinner. Hopefully we’ll be able to take some spectacular shots to show with you all. It will be the first time the entire crew will be in costume for a picture, so we’re all looking forward to the occasion. We plan to assume a role of sorts for the venture (I’m Captain William Marinus, RN) and have some fun to boot. I’ll have to do a bit of research on customary naval toasts (“To wives and sweethearts!”) and we’ll take a few turns at the table. At any rate, it should be a good evening spent. It also gets us in costume, and in public, which will be a first for us. Tall Ships 2009 will have us in the costumes for several hours at a time, so this outing (and hopefully more in the future) will prepare us for the eventual hangups that are bound to occur.
We’re in sore need of a “Costume Update” post, to get everyone up to speed on the current status of each project. Obviously, we’re nearing completion, but there are some critical areas we have yet to look at. I’ll leave that for another blog update, however! Also, be sure to check out Man the Capstan’s new Flickr Photostream! We’ll hopefully have it fleshed out and filled with albums and photos soon enough.