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A view of the grounds at historic Locust Grove in Louisville (Image: provided by Locust Grove)

Your Mr. Darcy Awaits at Locust Grove

It is a truth universally acknowledged that adults in possession of a free day must be in want of a destination. (Psst: Jane Austen nerd alert!)

That's where Locust Grove in Louisville, Ky. comes in. Take the hour and a half long scenic drive down I-71 and visit the 55-acre estate. It'll feel like youve stepped back to a simpler time.

Situated on rolling farmland, the three-story, 1792 mansion was originally home to William and Lucy Clark Croghan and her brother, George Rogers Clark, a Revolutionary War hero. In its long history, Locust Grove has welcomed illustrious visitors like Presidents James Monroe and Andrew Jackson, along with John James Audubon and Lewis & Clark. Not too shabby.

However, its current claim to fame is its role as a shining, historically accurate beacon to Janeites around the world. "Janeites," by the way, are faithful, slightly obsessive fans of everything that British author Jane Austen has done or said. To no surprise, these fans also happen to attend the Jane Austen Festival at Locust Grove every year. (This was my fifth year in attendance.)

Think women in empire waists and bonnets, men in breeches and knee-high boots, and an atmosphere of civility, refinement, and gentility. It's about as far away from 2014 as you can get. Just close your eyes, leave your phone at home, and sip your Earl Grey while basking in yesteryear.

Why is the festival held at Locust Grove? For those of you not in the nerdy know, the house dates to the Federalist era (1789-1801), which corresponds to the Regency era in England.

To continue our history lesson, the Regency is the famous setting for Austen's beloved novels and would have featured the same kinds of fashions and home d├ęcor as the families and homes penned in the novels of Jane Austen.

Just talking about it makes my heart flutter with joy. But if dressing in Regency/Federal clothing isn't your thing, no worries! Locust Grove is open for tours year-round for the history buff in us all.

Tour the home, which is furnished in true Federal style with elaborate wallpapers and ornate furniture, and includes not one, but TWO parlors. Afterwards, take a walk around the grounds and visit the gift shop/mini museum to learn more about its original inhabitants.

If you can't wait until next summer to don your era-appropriate clothing, (or if you just enjoy everything 18th Century -- I mean, who doesn't? #AmIRight?), check out Locust Grove's 18th Century Market Fair Oct. 25 and 26. You can enjoy mock battles for our country's independence and browse historically accurate military and household items. Then stop back on December 5 for Christmastide, a living history experience with dancing and plenty of Yuletide cheer.

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For more information, visit locustgrove.org.

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