The late Victorian Era brought about greater ease in train travel, therefore more recreation and summertime holiday travel for those of the middle- and upper-class. My recent posts cover several summer pastimes: Victorians at the Seashore, Victorian Picnic Baskets (and community celebrations), and a reflection upon Pioneer Day (another look at Founders’ Day remembrances).
Victorians LOVED their summer resorts. I found far too many newspaper accounts, advertisements, personal stories and short fiction (all published in newspapers) to recount. Victorian Americans had to escape the heat of the cities somehow. Seaside, lakeside, and mountain resorts were just the thing.
ETIQUETTE AT SUMMER RESORTS
Some things never change–like young children’s behavior on vacation…and those without children upset with the noise little ones make.
It’s no surprise etiquette governed proper behavior while dining at a summertime resort. I found this article, published in Santa Cruz Sentinel, of Santa Cruz, California, on July 13, 1902 to be most informative and entertaining.
The digital images of the original newspaper (now 114 years old) are a bit difficult to read, so I’ve transcribed the article word-for-word with the historic punctuation, spellings, and the like. I’ve also included the images in case you’re curious.
ETIQUETTE AND SUMMER RESORTS.
Mrs. M.E.W. Sherwood contributes to the July Success an interesting and practical article on etiquette, which she directs to the “young woman born in the country, unused to the strict etiquette of society.” Mrs. Sherwood gives the following information on table manners:
Her napkin should be partly unfolded in her lap when the first course is served–for the napkin must not be fastened to the bodice. The first course will, perhaps, be clams, and when she has used lemon juice and seasoning, she will take the tiny fork at her left to lift the clams from their shells. The shells must lie in the crushed ice in which they were brought, being touched only by the tips of the fingers to detach them from their contents. Nor must they be piled one on another, or otherwise disturbed, when the clams are eaten. The dish in which they are served, or the plate for any course, must not be set aside; the waiter will come to remove it.
Soup, fish, an entree, a roast, a salad, dessert and coffee will follow. The three smaller forks will be used for the fish, the entree and the salad; the large knife and fork for the roast, and the extra knife may be used for the entree, if needed. The soup is served by the chaperon, one ladleful being sufficient. It is eaten with the large spoon, which is carried quietly to the mouth, nor should a hissing sound accompany the eating of soup, which is taken from the side of the partly filled spoon. Wafers or bread must not be broken in it. A piece of bread, laid by the side of the plate, may be broken in small pieces and eaten from the fingers. When the small bread-and-butter knife is used, in the other courses, the bread is never to be cut, but always broken. In finishing the soup, the plate must never be “tipped up” or “scraped” for the last drops.
Salad should be dressed before it is brought to the table. If it is not, quietly request the waiter to prepare it. Dessert and black coffee in small cups complete a dinner. Crackers and cheese should be eaten with the fingers, but a fork may be used for soft cheese.
The tips of one’s fingers should be dipped in the finger bowls, crushing the fragrant leaves or rose petals floating on the water, and then dried on the napkin which is laid beside the plate.
Ordering from a menu card is confusing to one not accustomed to it. A young woman may allow her chaperon to do this for her; but, if she does it herself, she should, order for the dishes which she can pronounce, and not try to ask for those printed in foreign languages.
The matter of eating gracefully should be cultivated at home, and not during the first visit to a watering place or to a friend’s home.
Leave the dining-room leisurely. It is always gracious to thank the waiter who opens the door or places a chair on the veranda. Indeed, a quiet expression of thanks is seldom out of place. A gracious manner shows a kind heart and self-respect.
~ Etiquette at Summer Resorts, Santa Cruz Sentinel of Santa Cruz, California, on July 13, 1902
The same article, in scanned images. Source: Newspapers.com:
(scroll down to skip the duplication and see 19TH CENTURY SUMMERTIME RESORTS, below)
POPULAR VICTORIAN AMERICAN SUMMERTIME RESORTS (just a few…many, many more existed)
On famous Mackinac Island, Michigan, Grand Hotel was built in 1886-1887. The record-breaking long front porch became a promenade for lovers, a meeting place for friends, and the place locals gathered. The iconic 1980’s film Somewhere in Time was filmed there. The movie was set in 1912 as the whole time-travel thing combined with Elise McKenna and Richard Collins meeting near the opening of the movie had to make sense. The Edwardian Era wasn’t much different than the Victorian Era, especially where conduct and etiquette were concerned.
HOTEL DEL CORONADO
Planned, developed, and built in the latter half of the 1880’s, Hotel Del Coronado was promoted as a health resort where guests would bask in refreshing, clean sea air and abundant sunshine. The hotel was built and furnished for a cool $1 million (in 1880’s dollars) and is still a fine hotel today. During construction in 1887, the very best of amenities were employed: an artificial ice machine (producing 15 tons per day) was installed; a cistern was being constructed; the electric plant and laundry machine had arrived.
Near Bolton Landing, New York, The Sagamore was built in 1882, opened in 1883, and quickly attracted a wealthy clientele. The resort is built on private Green Island in Lake George, midst the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. The structure boasts several verandas were guests may enjoy the view.
WENTWORTH BY THE SEA
Formerly Hotel Wentworth, Wentworthy by the Sea is an historic grand hotel built in 1874 in New Castle, New Hampshire.
Saltair wasn’t the first resort built on pilings (beyond the shores) of the Great Salt Lake in north-western Utah, but it was the most successful. The resort is about 15 miles west of Salt Lake City, and early dedicated trains carried passengers from the city to the resort.
Hat Etiquette of the Victorian Era Victorian Dancing Etiquette Victorian Mourning Etiquette–on Sweet Americana Sweethearts 19th Century Bathing Costumes from Harper’s Bazaar Victorians at the Seashore Etiquette of Conversation America’s Victorian Era Love Letters (Etiquette) Street Car Etiquette (1889)–on Sweet Americana Sweethearts
Copyright © 2016 Kristin Holt LC