Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Seersucker Social 2012

June 9th was the Dandies & Quaintrelles annual Seersucker Social, a vintage-inspired social event held in DC. Typically my blog is more photos, less talk, but because I had yet to find a true review of the event, I figured I would write my own for anyone who is thinking about attending next year (which you should).
seersucker social
To start, the event begins with a bicycle ride around DC. You aren't required to participate in the ride - you may choose to do the social only - but the ride is half the fun, really, so don't miss it! We met in Ft. Reno Park at about a quarter to eleven Saturday morning. Check-in was a simple process: I just showed my ID and they checked me off the list. Jon and I found a shady area under a tree to park our bikes, wait, and admire the ensembles around us. Ever been on your way to a party dressed up, worried that not everyone would be as dressed up as you? That's a non-issue at the Seersucker Social. No matter how over-the-top you go in your 1920's (or 30's or 40's.. anything goes) vintage theming, someone else is dressed up more than you. Walking around the park, I actually felt like I was transported back in time, save for the carbon fiber bicycles and modern day cars parked on the street. As I overheard a woman say on the bike ride: the ladies look wonderful, but the men are the stars of the show. Dandies for sure, the outfits ran the gamut from suspenders and bow ties all the way to full-on seersucker suits.
Dapper The ride didn't start until around noon, so it was over an hour that we stood around waiting. A bell signaled the start of the long ride, which I heard was somewhere between 8-10 miles. The short ride (4 miles) took off second, and with less people in our group, once we arrived to the mansion it was empty enough to pick a nice shaded spot for our blanket. But more on that later.
seersucker social seersucker social seersucker social bike ride A few people, upon hearing about the event we were doing, asked about the ride. How, and why, would we ride upwards of four miles in dressed up clothes and for me, heeled shoes? One word: downhill. It was simple to coast down hills through shaded residential neighborhoods and wind around Rock Creek Park, even with my dress and heels. The breeze felt wonderful on an otherwise hot day, and going through the park actually felt downright cool. I made a short 1920's jazz playlist on Spotify and put my phone in my bike's cupholder, which amplified the sound for others to hear and enjoy (which they did!).

All four miles of our bike ride flew by, that is, until we reached the mansion street and driveway at the very end. The organizers warned us about the one and only uphill of the ride, and uphill it was. It was a 'get off your bike and walk' kind of hill. Unfortunately, my cruiser bike, while extremely cute and fitting for this kind of ride, is also very heavy and not meant for uphills, be it by riding or pushing. I had a hell of a time trying to push it, but Jon switched with me. I wouldn't let this deter anyone from doing the ride next year, but you do earn your cocktails, that's for certain. Once reaching the top, we were greeted with water bottles and directed to park (and lock) our bikes (bring your own lock if you want).

The lawn party was held at Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens. The gardens here are so beautiful that I told Jon we've got to go back on a normal day sometime. From their website: "Founded by American collector and heiress to the Post cereal empire Marjorie Merriweather Post, Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens is one of the premier art collector's museums in the United States." Seersucker Social guests are able to tour the gardens and museum if they wish, but Jon and I were content to just set up our picnic blanket under the shade of the Lunar Lawn and relax. Like I said, we did the short ride so we practically had first dibs on picking a spot on the grass. As the long riders arrived, because it was a bright sunny day, shady areas were hard to come by, at least on the Lunar (main) Lawn. There were plenty of other areas on the hill behind the Lunar Bar, and throughout the gardens and paths as well. From our spot on the main lawn, we had a view of the lawn games such as badminton, croquet, bocce, and hula hooping. Music provided by Dandy Wellington and His Band was performed on the mansion steps, and we were treated to a dance lesson by the Fidgety Feet Dance Troupe. Other activities included a putting green, a craft table (for adults and kids alike!), face painting, and a pop-up library. "Wandering troubadours" around the gardens provided music away from the main lawn, and DC food trucks parked behind the mansion for our food options. Drink tickets were $2 each, and were redeemed at various stations for soda (1 ticket), beer or wine (2 tickets), or cocktails (3 tickets). Jon and I had a few St. Germian Cocktails ourselves; they were so refreshing on a hot day!
seersucker social seersucker social Violin music in the garden Snapdragons gin & (a little bit of) tonic
Jon and I both had a fantastic time and can't wait to do it again next year. We're already thinking about D&Q's DC Tweed Ride in the fall, kind of like the autumn version of the Seersucker Social. Photographers were abound on Saturday, snapping pictures of everyone, and I can't wait to see them all. I brought along my camera (and an old Yashica-44, modified to fit 35mm film), but didn't do too much photography. I was just enjoying the afternoon with my dandy gentleman.
seersucker social seersucker social My dandy gentleman St. Germian cocktail seersucker social Visit dandiesandquaintrelles.com for more information, and check out Charm Photographie for more pictures of this year's social (including one of my bike with a picnic basket on the back!).

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