By: Sharol Yeatman, Historic St. Mary’s City

Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC) invites you to welcome the holiday season with feasting, firelight, and beautiful music in the lavishly decorated reconstructed State House of 1676 with their annual Madrigal Dinners. The dinners are to be held on the first two Friday and Saturdays in December, December 6 and 7, and December 13 and 14, all beginning at 6 p.m.

Holiday revelers have feasted through the ages. In seventeenth-century Maryland, delicacies arrived with the tobacco fleet towards the end of the year, and the cool weather signaled the time for butchering meat and decanting beverages that had fermented since the harvest. The notion of adding music to the meal was introduced to England from Italy when the lords and ladies of the land enjoyed great madrigal feasts. The burning of a Yule log, a common practice by the Middle Ages, was thought to bring good luck in the New Year. Plants that magically remained green through the bleakest times have held a special significance for centuries.

Today, Historic St. Mary’s City celebrates these traditions and more with the annual Madrigal Dinners. Started in the 1970s as a fundraiser for the museum, the Madrigal Dinners have become the museum’s own long-standing tradition for many as a semi-formal evening during the holidays. Guests are treated to delectable fare with a local flair following wassail (hot mulled cider) and appetizers above stairs; the meal will commence in the first floor, Great Hall. Along with the food, wassail, candlelight, and good company, during dinner guests are serenaded with the lush sounds of St. Maries Musica.

The cost is $95 per person, with a discount for museum Friends members. Food, beverage, and entertainment are included in the cost. Proceeds for Madrigal Dinners will benefit the museum’s education and research programs.

Reservations are required and are now being accepted. For more information or to make a reservation, please contact Mary Bohanan at MaryB@DigsHistory.org or call 240-895-4991


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...