I’m a smitten kitten over Downton Abbey. The only things I love watching more than the actual show are interviews with and behind-the-scenes specials starring its cast members. On the show, so constantly restrained are the characters that seeing the actors relaxed and out of character in the real world totally just tickles me. (Access Hollywood recently interviewed Allen Leech, who plays Branson on the show. He could have read from a Chinese takeout menu and I would have hung on every word—never mind that he played a Downton-themed game of Who Would You Rather? with Billy Bush!) My brain almost imploded when I read that Sea Island, the luxe Georgia resort, would be hosting a Downton-inspired weekend January 29-31, with three of the show’s cast members—Laura Carmichael, who plays lonely Lady Edith; Kevin Doyle, the well-meaning Mr. Molesley; and Raquel Cassidy, who plays Phyllis Baxter, lady’s maid to Cora Crawley—on hand for a Q&A, costume party, cocktail reception, dinner, and special screening. Jessica Fellowes, author of “A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey,” and Nick Dawes, of Antiques Roadshow, will also join, with Dawes leading a lecture and presentation about the historical and storied furniture of Downton Abbey and English country manors like it. I don’t typically get too fired up over TV shows and stars, but from January 29-31, there’s no place I’d rather be. Rates for the Downton Abbey-themed events are surprisingly reasonable for what seems like the weekend of a lifetime (hello, mother/daughter trip or girlfriends’ getaway!). Nightly rates start at $395, and admission to the costume party/cocktail reception/dinner/screening is just $125/guest. Advance reservations are required for each individual event.
Which Downton cast members would you like to spend a weekend with, and what questions would you ask them?