One Dickens of a dinner
Looking for a bit of holiday cheer this Christmas season? Before the big family or office parties, maybe you should book a unique and memorable Christmas experience with your sweetheart. “A Taste of Dickens” at Glenlaurel (map), a Scottish-themed inn in the Hocking Hills, may be the best present that you can give — memories of Christmas past, with an event in the present that will create a future Christmas memory.
“A Taste of Dickens” pairs a leisurely six-course meal with theatrical readings from Charles Dickens’ story A Christmas Carol and other Christmas stories of note. Between each course, Hocking Hills storyteller Wes Supper, dressed in formal Victorian attire, entertains the diners with selections of Dickens from his big book.
“To set the scene, I dress in a red Victorian holiday ensemble to greet the guests, and occasionally a few couples arrive dressed in costume,” said General Manager Sabrina McCartt. Servers wear elegant tuxedo shirts crossed with various tartan plaid sashes. Bright lights twinkle on the Christmas tree and holiday décor is scattered throughout Glenlaurel’s Manor House.
Menus have a Continental flair, more in keeping with what would be found on the tables of British high society. “Our six-course meals for each Dickens night follow our usual high quality but with touches of traditional British holiday fare,” said Executive Chef Josh Truex. In the past, courses have included such delights as Beer Steamed Shrimp for a first course, a salad course with Pear and Haricot Vert Salad with English Cheshire Cheese, and Yorkshire Pudding has complemented some beef entrées. The Brits love their sweets, so look for such goodies as Steamed Date Pudding or a Pear Custard Tart.
Sunday and Wednesday evenings in December are set aside for this event. Each evening’s menu will be different. Guests with dietary needs are encouraged to call ahead to check on the evening’s offerings so the chef can adjust to personal requirements in advance of their arrival.
In the Christmas spirit of giving, Glenlaurel offers those who make reservations for “A Taste of Dickens” a special 50 percent reduction in the price of accommodations that night. You can savor the night with time to sit beside the fireplace in one of the cottages, then enjoy a full breakfast in the morning that always includes some touches of Scottish fare such as scones or a touch of creamy thick porridge flavored with lots of brown sugar — a heavenly treat at any time.
And so, as Tiny Tim observed, “God bless us, every one!”
Becky Linhardt is a freelance writer from Cincinnati.
“A Taste of Dickens” takes place on Wednesdays and Sundays in December before Christmas, on December 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18 and 22. The cost is $49 per person.