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Author Topic: AAR: A Country Ramble  (Read 3011 times)
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BetsyConnolly
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« on: May 27, 2016, 07:49:31 AM »

For the past couple years I have been low-key planning a semi-immersion event interpreting pleasure travel at an inn in southern Wisconsin. The event happened this past weekend, and I wrote a good old AAR for it on my blog.

http://inthepastlane.blogspot.com/2016/05/aar-country-ramble.html


For those of you who were at the Symposium and listened to the talk Jess Craig and I gave about planning civilian-centered history-heavy events, I talked a little bit about the planning process for this event. It's an example of what you can do with some creativity and inspiration to create an event meant specifically for civilians to learn and grow their impressions.

As a side note, this is an invite-only private event and space is extremely limited but I am taking requests to be put on the waiting list for next year for anyone interest in extended first person interaction and high-quality impressions. Send me a private message.
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Betsy Connolly
Living History Society of Minnesota
In The Past Lane - my blog
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2016, 11:51:39 AM »

I loved reading the AAR! It's a wonderful reminder that YES, we can develop smaller, citizen focused events for ourselves and others, right close to home, and have the amazing events we WANT, without military shenanigans. Cheesy
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2016, 12:26:49 PM »

It looks lovely.   

Sad Sigh.  Missing the Midwest and your awesome civilian events right now.
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Sue Leurgans
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2016, 04:25:41 PM »

Fabulous!

I now have another idea for a immersive event.  Had forgotten about this rural B&B, that was built in the 1840's which could work!  Hadn't thought of country walking as an activity, will have to explore that possibility more.

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Sue Leurgans
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2016, 06:36:01 PM »

Go for it! This place was GREAT for rambling - right outside of a state forest with tons of hiking trails and lots of natural features, so by suspending first-person for a ten-minute car ride to the trailhead we had options.

If rambling doesn't work out, check out other tourism options! I highly recommend the book Working At Play by Cindy Aron, which inspired a lot of what we did last weekend. Tourists traveled for all sorts of reasons and did all sorts of things while they were traveling, including just resting and socializing. Several of us appreciated the opportunity for accurate naps Smiley
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Betsy Connolly
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« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2016, 08:37:36 AM »

Go for it! This place was GREAT for rambling - right outside of a state forest with tons of hiking trails and lots of natural features, so by suspending first-person for a ten-minute car ride to the trailhead we had options.

If rambling doesn't work out, check out other tourism options! I highly recommend the book Working At Play by Cindy Aron, which inspired a lot of what we did last weekend. Tourists traveled for all sorts of reasons and did all sorts of things while they were traveling, including just resting and socializing. Several of us appreciated the opportunity for accurate naps Smiley

lol

Did you have the owner dress correctly?  How did you handle meals being served?
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Sue Leurgans
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« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2016, 09:45:05 PM »

The owner didn't dress up in period clothes - she is a docent at a history museum, but her only dress is too fancy for serving food. She did say she was planning to get a wash dress made before the next time. It was one of those things we have to fudge, and for that I am fine - she's opening up her inn to us, and we have to make concessions under those circumstances. But I know she wanted to participate more, and that is pretty neat Smiley

Food turned out to take up the most consideration in planning. For lunch we did a picnic. Some people brought food, and the rest paid for me to pick up stuff at the local grocery store - cheese, sausage, pickles, preserves, etc. Dinner was tricky - bed-and-breakfasts in Wisconsin have strict regulations about what meals can be served, by whom, and how. I kicked around several ideas, including some likely restaurants nearby and even just letting people do dinner on their own. In the end, we ended up having food catered by a local restaurant. It was period-esque - ham, beans, mashed potatoes, cornbread, all foods that resemble period dishes but not cooked with period recipes - which we paid for the innkeeper to serve us. The Gentleman Friend had to go and pick it up, but he didn't mind driving "the magic carriage" (and I think he enjoyed the break, since this was his first living history experience).

For next year I'm looking into different options or ideas to see if we can . Good thing we have 12 months to think on it Smiley
« Last Edit: May 30, 2016, 03:00:37 PM by BetsyConnolly » Logged

Betsy Connolly
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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2016, 04:38:22 PM »

Those are meal planning issues! And I understand about the server not being dressed. Just pondering small issues that need to be addressed.

As this BB does weddings and did a fantastic titanic party, I think that all meals can be done from the BB's kitchen fortunately.

Funny that the food laws vary from state to state or even county. Miss the church spaghetti dinners or bake sales. The percentage of mishaps had to be minuscule.  It's too bad really. But I digress.
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Sue Leurgans
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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2016, 05:01:58 PM »

In Wisconsin, as I understand it, it's more about the tax codes. Taxes on B&Bs are less than usual hotels, so they have some interesting regulations as to what makes a B&B a B&B. The owner can't cook and serve any meal except breakfast, they have to live onsite...and then the regulations around the kitchen and who can be there (licensed caterers) and what food can be served from it (food from a licensed kitchen).

I guess the moral of the story is just to develop an open and honest line of communication with the site owner. She and I had lots of conversations that went "Can we do X? No, we can't do that. What are our options? How can we get creative?" She and I both had to be really open to different options and very creative. Thankfully she gets it, and she was super easy to work with. She never shut me down or got frustrated, and she said I was easy to work with too, so it seems like it went int both directions.
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Betsy Connolly
Living History Society of Minnesota
In The Past Lane - my blog
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