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更新时间:2014/5/23 13:24:18 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Echoes of ‘Downton Abbey’ on Vacation in England

“Look down there,” my 22-year-old daughter, Harriet, said to me pointing to a window beside us. We were approaching the south terrace of Cliveden House, an estate in Buckinghamshire, England, that for more than 300 years has been the home of dukes, earls, viscounts and, for a short period in the 1700s, Frederick, the Prince of Wales. I turned and caught the quick flash of a knife in the basement kitchen and watched as a young man wearing a navy apron and white uniform expertly peeled shells off langoustines.

“看那里!”22岁的女儿哈丽雅特指着我们身边的一扇窗户对我说。当时,我们正向克莱夫登庄园(Cliveden House)酒店的南侧平台走过来。克莱夫登庄园是英格兰白金汉郡的一座庄园,在过去的300多年中,曾是许多公爵、伯爵、子爵的府邸,18世纪,威尔士王子弗雷德里克(Frederick)也曾经短期住在这里。我转过身,见地下室的厨房里有刀光闪过,仔细一看,一名穿着深蓝围裙与白色制服的年轻男子正娴熟地剥着海鳌虾的皮。

Cliveden House is situated west of London, less than an hour's drive from the capital.

Through a terrace window we next saw a waiter seating an elegantly dressed couple in a very formal dining room. Crystal, china and silver sparkled, as did the elaborate chandeliers.


“It’s like a real-life upstairs-downstairs scene from ‘Downton Abbey,’ ” Harriet said as we looked out over acres of trimmed hedges and an endless horizon of green countryside, half expecting to see Lady Mary Crawley riding sidesaddle. “All that is missing is Maggie Smith,” she said, adjusting her wool scarf against the February wind.

“简直像《唐顿庄园》(Downton Abbey)里‘楼上-楼下’的场景!”哈丽雅特说。我们眺望着远处连绵若干公顷的整齐树篱与一望无际的翠绿乡村,心里暗暗期待能见到剧中人玛丽·克劳利小姐横座马鞍,款款而来。“可惜玛姬·史密斯(演员Maggie Smith,饰演《唐顿庄园》里老伯爵的遗孀)不在这里。”说着,她紧了紧羊毛围巾,抵挡2月的寒风。

“And our own personal Carson,” I joked, referring to the butler in charge of the household staff on “Downton Abbey,” PBS’s British drama set in the post-Edwardian period. We had come to Cliveden, an estate run by the National Trust, a British conservation charity, for exactly this: an old-fashioned “Downton Abbey”-type of vacation, complete with grandiose architecture and brisk parkland walks. Given that Highclere Castle (the real-life setting of “Downton Abbey”) is open only on certain days in the spring and summer, and does not have a residential option, Cliveden — 46 miles away, and with its own dramatic past — was the next best thing.


Had we actually been staying at the stately Cliveden House, which is now a luxury five-star hotel leased out by the National Trust, we would have indeed been met by a butler, just as three generations of Astors, who resided there from 1893 to 1966, were greeted when pulling up to the Italianate mansion. But instead of paying a minimum of £252 ($410) a night for one of the double rooms overlooking the walled courtyard (some of which had been servants’ rooms) or the staggering top price of £1,572 ($2,555) per night for Lady Astor’s former bedroom (a suite with enough space for a wedding of 60 to legally take place), we had decided instead on the more economical “downstairs” option of the Ferry Cottage, one of two National Trust rental properties on the Cliveden estate.


Thanks to Waldorf and Nancy Astor, who gave Cliveden to the National Trust in 1942 (though the Trust didn’t actually take possession of it until the death of the third Viscount Astor in 1966), the 376-acre property has been lovingly preserved.

感谢沃尔道夫(Waldorf Astor)与南希·阿斯特(Nancy Astor)夫妇,1942年,他们将自己的家园克莱夫登庄园赠给了国家信托基金会。但直到1966年,第三代阿斯特子爵去世之后,国家信托才真正拥有这座城堡,并将这片376公顷的地产维护得秀丽宜人。

The Ferry Cottage and neighboring New Cottage at Cliveden, which each sleeps four people, are both situated on the banks of the Thames. Both are available, like most National Trust properties, for short- and long-term rentals. Once the home of a boatman who ran a ferry service from there, the two-bedroom Ferry Cottage cost us just £658 ($1,070) for three nights. And while it was charmingly decorated with antiques and old books, it also had most modern conveniences (flat-screen TV, dishwasher, microwave), everything except Wi-Fi, forcing us into a nondigital parlor-room past of conversation and cards.


Upon our arrival at the cottage, we were greeted warmly, not just by a welcome note and a tea tray complete with chocolate cookies (we immediately pictured a Mrs. Hughes-type of housekeeper delivering both), but also a coal fire, in need of nothing more than a match.


We were only a 10-minute walk from Cliveden House. There we could easily take advantage of the hotel’s afternoon tea service, as well as the day spa, with both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool. Additionally, the National Trust runs a cafe on the estate that offers hearty lunch dishes (pork sausage and mash with onion gravy), along with tempting desserts (apple tart, coffee and walnut cake and the requisite scones). In the shop, which sold, among other things, cute gardening gadgets and tea towels, I bought a copy of the book “The Lady’s Maid: My Life in Service,” written by Nancy Astor’s personal maid about her years at Cliveden, just to add to the “Downton”-esque nostalgia.

此地距离克莱夫登庄园只有10分钟的步程,我们可以轻而易举地享受酒店的各种服务——下午茶、日间水疗中心的室内与室外泳池。此外,国家信托基金会还在庄园内开了一家咖啡馆,供应丰盛的午餐(香肠、土豆泥与洋葱肉汤)和诱人的甜点(苹果馅饼、咖啡、胡桃蛋糕和必不可少的司康饼)。商店里出售可爱的园艺工具和茶巾,我买了一本《贵妇的女佣:我的服侍生涯》(The Lady’s Maid: My Life in Service),作者是南希·阿斯特夫人的私人女佣。阅读她在克莱夫登的岁月,可为你平添一分唐顿式的乡愁。

Indeed, much of Cliveden’s storied past offers the same dramatic intensity as the “Downton Abbey” fictional plotline does.


Like Cora Crawley, Nancy Astor was an American expatriate (as well as the first female member of Parliament), and her home at Cliveden in the early 1900s through the ’30s was the center of European political and literary life. Everyone from Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin and George Bernard Shaw to Gandhi, to name just a few, enjoyed the lavish parties she held in the house and gardens. Later, in the ’60s, Cliveden once again became famous as the setting of the notorious Profumo Affair, where Christine Keeler, a call girl involved with a Soviet naval attaché, apparently met and started a relationship with John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War in Britain, in 1961. Their affair set off a national crisis that contributed to the resignation of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, and the making of a 1989 film on the subject called “Scandal.”

像剧中的伯爵夫人考拉·克劳利(Cora Crawley)一样,南希·阿斯特也是一名来到英国的美国人(她是英国首位女性国会议员),从20世纪初到20世纪30年代,她在克莱夫登庄园的住所堪称欧洲政治与文学圈的中心。每个人(仅举几例:温斯顿·丘吉尔、查理·卓别林、萧伯纳、甘地)都很享受她在这座庄园及花园里举办的奢华派对。到了60年代,克莱夫登庄园因发生声名狼藉的普罗夫富事件而变得远近皆知,1961年,英国陆军大臣约翰·普罗夫莫(John Profumo)被曝与妓女克里斯汀·基勒(Christine Keeler)在克莱夫登庄园幽会,而后者又与苏联海军间谍有染。这场绯闻掀起了一场国内危机,导致首相哈罗德·麦克米伦(Harold Macmillan)的辞职,1989年,人们又拍摄了一部以此为主题的电影——《丑闻》(Scandal)。

Apparently, Harriet’s and my desire to recreate an era we had seen on “Masterpiece Theater” was not as original as I thought. “In the last couple of years, bookings for our holiday cottages from the U.S. have gone up and up,” said Laura Gibbs, product manager for National Trust Holidays. “The notion of the ‘set-jetting’ tourists visiting places they have seen on the big and small screen has definitely boosted numbers. And our places which offer the chance to stay within a historic house or in the grounds of a stately home are proving popular with ‘Downton’ fans.” To that end, I tracked down some fellow Americans who, like us, had recently stayed at a National Trust vacation home.

哈丽雅特和我十分渴望亲眼见到《经典剧场》(Masterpiece Theater)节目中展现的那个时代,但显然,这个愿望并不如我们想象的那样独特。“在过去的两三年里,预订我们度假别墅的美国人越来越多了。”国家信托度假项目的产品经理劳拉·吉布斯(Laura Gibbs)说道。“当然,‘影视主题旅游’的理念带来了游客人数的暴增,他们都想亲临其境,到大屏幕和小屏幕上展现过的地方去看看。事实证明,我们让游客有机会在历史悠久的庄园中住宿,在豪华的古宅中游览,这些项目特别受《唐顿庄园》粉丝的欢迎。”为了追踪这个话题,我采访了几个与我们一样曾在国家信托度假酒店里住宿的美国游客。

“Our experience exceeded all expectations,” said Clare McMillan, an assistant dean at Cornell University, who last summer spent eight weeks in two properties in Cornwall, along with her husband, also a professor at Cornell, who was writing a book. Avid hikers, they stayed in two one-bedroom places (a converted barn for the first two weeks and a 19th-century miner’s cottage for the next six weeks) that were close to coastal paths so they could hike daily (the cottage provided trail maps), as well as near villages for shopping. “It could easily have taken place in the house where we were staying,” said her husband, Karl Pillemer, who ended up reading a historical fiction series about Cornwall while they were there. “There is something so special about being in a place with so much history.”

“这场体验带给了我们太多意外的惊奇。”康奈尔大学的一名副院长克莱尔·麦克米兰(Clare McMillan)说,去年夏天,她与丈夫(也是康奈尔大学的教授,当时正在撰写一本书)在康沃尔的两座房屋内度过了八个星期。夫妇俩都是徒步发烧友,因此,他们的住处虽然都只有一间卧室(最初两个星期住的是谷仓改建的客栈,后面的六个星期则是19世纪矿工的小屋),但距离海滩步道很近,可以每天徒步旅行(客栈提供步道旅行图),距离村庄也不远,购物很方便。“我们的住处在历史上曾发生过很多事件。”她的丈夫卡尔·佩雷莫(Karl Pillemer)说,“住在一个充满传奇的地方,感觉太独特了。”然后他就如醉如痴地开始读一本关于康沃尔往事的系列历史小说。

Dorothea Anderson from St. Paul, also stayed in two National Trust houses last summer, with her family. They first spent three nights at Fountains Cottage in Yorkshire, a stone cottage that sleeps eight and is only steps away from a 12th-century Cistercian abbey that is now a World Heritage site. The next three nights they stayed at the Keeper’s Cottage, a Victorian farmhouse on the 1,800-acre Ickworth estate in Suffolk, site of the historic Ickworth House, famous for its central rotunda, and surrounded by hiking, running and cycling trails. “What is amazing is how the National Trust has managed to preserve these houses so that they feel untouched yet are still so comfortable” Ms. Anderson said.

去年夏天,来自圣保罗的多萝西娅·安德森(Dorothea Anderson)与家人也在英国国家信托基金会管理的两座酒店中度过。他们最初在约克郡的喷泉别墅(Fountains Cottage)住了三个晚上,那座石屋可容纳八人住宿,几步之外就是12世纪的西多会修道院,而今也是世界遗产名单中的一处古迹。接下来的三个夜晚,他们住进守门人的小屋,那座维多利亚风格的农舍位于萨福克1800公顷的艾科沃斯地产内。历史悠久的艾科沃斯庄园因中心圆形大厅而闻名遐迩,周围遍布着徒步、长跑及骑行小路。“最迷人的是,国家信托基金会成功地保留了这些房屋,感觉它们从没受到损坏,依然舒适安逸,”安德森女士说。

But it was my conversation with John Struthers, a doctor living in Sacramento, that most resonated. Like us, he and his family stayed at the Ferry Cottage at Cliveden, though in his case, multiple times, including last summer when they rented both riverbank cottages and were joined by another family. For Dr. Struthers, Cliveden is part of his own personal legacy. He first saw his future wife, Jean, coming down the grand staircase at Cliveden House in the summer of 1980 when they were both attending a Stanford summer program (between 1969 and 1983 the National Trust, in accordance with the Astors’ wishes, leased the home to the university). “The first time we went back was in 2000, when we stayed in the hotel for our 20th anniversary,” he said. They have returned many times since.

但是时常在在我脑海里回荡的,是我与约翰·斯特拉瑟斯(John Struthers)医生的对话。他来自萨克拉门托,和我们一样,与家人一起住进了克莱夫登庄园酒店的摆渡别墅,但他们已经来过好几次。去年夏天,他们租下了河岸两侧的别墅,后来另一家人也住了进来。在斯特拉瑟斯医生看来,克莱夫登庄园是他私人珍藏的一部分。他与未来的妻子珍妮初次邂逅,就是在这里。1980年的一个夏日,他看见珍妮从克莱夫登庄园的华丽的楼梯上款款走下来。当时,他俩都参加了斯坦福夏季课程(1969年至1983年,英国国家信托基金会根据阿斯特家族的遗嘱,将这座庄园租给了斯坦福大学。)“我们第一次回到这里,是在2000年,在庄园里庆祝我们相遇20周年纪念日。”他说。从那以后,他们又多次回到这里。

“I think we love the Cliveden cottages because it just feels more authentically British than anything else we could ever do — the heritage, the countryside walks, the sitting in the garden and hanging out on the patio by the riverbank,” he said. “It just captures our heart, again and again.” But he also remembers a particularly charming “downstairs” moment at Cliveden: “One late night I ended up hanging out with the hotel staff as they relaxed in the driveway,” he said. “I was accessing the Wi-Fi bleeding through the hotel walls. It was one of my best times there ever, just sharing stories with them.”


For my daughter and me, most memorable was a distinctly “upstairs” scene. Sitting in the Great Hall of Cliveden House, we took in the ornate oak paneling, Belgian wall tapestries and the 16th-century stone chimney piece, sheltering a roaring fire. Staring down at us was a portrait of Nancy Astor, painted by John Singer Sargent in 1908. “It doesn’t get much more ‘Downton’ than this,” said Harriet, as a butler poured tea into porcelain cups and refreshed our tiered tray with delicate finger sandwiches, fruit tarts and cream cakes. “No, it doesn’t,” I said.

对于我和女儿,最难忘的是一个明显的“楼上”画面。我们坐在克莱夫登庄园酒店的大堂里,欣赏着华丽的橡木镶板、比利时壁毯和16世纪的石质壁炉架,壁炉里火焰在燃烧。墙上画像里的南希·阿斯特(Nancy Astor)夫人深深地凝视着我们。那是是画家约翰·辛格·萨金特(John Singer Sargent)1908年的作品。“没有什么比这更像唐顿庄园了。”哈丽雅特说,这时,管家在我们的瓷杯里斟满了茶,分层托盘里装满了精美的手指三明治、水果蛋挞和奶油蛋糕。“是的,没错。”我说。

Mission accomplished.