Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Place to be a Southern Belle

Another day, another outing, another new thing for Stephanie. Those who read this blog regularly know I have a fledgling interest in Civil War history and of course the big beautiful women's gowns from that era. To recap, I have two custom made Civil War style dresses including one that is based on an encyclopedia picture from my childhood that I recently rediscovered. I even identified myself as a crossdresser to the online seamstress that made this second dress for me, and she was incredibly friendly throughout. The whole story is at My Dream Dress posted in July.

Yesterday, I made a visit to Latta Plantation north of Charlotte, NC. Latta was at it height during the early 19th century and has events based on both the Revolutionary War and Civil War. This was my first such trip en femme, and I dressed fairly casually. I wanted to inquire about which events would be appropriate to dress in period costume. After paying my $6 for the tour, I spoke with one of the ladies dressed in a 21st century tshirt and jeans. She walked me through the events that might work but seemed somewhat non-commital even saying it wasn't illegal for me to come dressed that way. I didn't get the best vibes from her, but at least she had been honest about the possibilities.

Afterwards, I walked with the tour group which included a few small children. One little blonde gal kept looking up at me like she couldn't figure me out. As the site was short of staff for the Labor Day weekend, our tour was lead by the farm manager Ken. He turned out to be very nice and also was a godsend for the young children as he extended the tour to include all the farm animals. We met all the chickens, roosters, sheep, horses, mules, donkeys, and even a pygmey hog named Fat Boy whose days were numbered. While Ken kept the tour fun for all, I was thinking I had fallen short in my quest. I had not seen anyone dressed for the 19th century.

Upon my return to the visitor center, I was greeted by a young blonde named Nicole who was dressed in a lovely simple blue colonial dress. Finally! She said I was welcome back anytime and went on to say that many regular visitors do show up dressed in costume. She went on to recommend a few more events that might work for me. I told her about my two dresses, and she seemed genuinely interested in my stories. So I have a few dates to add to my calendar when I can play southern belle for a day. I might even recruit a few fellow belles to join me.

I will continue to look for similar historical sites. Who knows? One day, I might be the one giving the tour.

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