For some fans, saying goodbye to “Downton Abbey” feels like losing a friend. You know, that tuxedo or gown-wearing, drama-filled friend who happens to be near-British royalty in the 1920s.
The PBS show, which signs off from its six-season run on Sunday, has tugged at the British-accent-adoring hearts of many Quad-Citians.
Lori Kimmel, an elementary school teacher who lives in Eldridge, isn’t ready for the show to be over.
“It is so, so addicting,” said Kimmel, 47 and a proud Abbey-head. “You can escape into this other world, and I think that’s why it’s popular. There's not a lot of shows like it, and a lot of people will miss it."
On Sunday night, as the final credits roll, "Downton Abbey" will meet the fate of so many other TV shows that have come before it — the end. But fans don’t have to just rely on rewatching the series on Netflix to cope. Here are a few ways to keep "Downton Abbey" alive around the Quad-Cities.
1. A visit to Cafe d'Marie
“There’s something fancy about a scone or a quiche, isn’t there?” said DeAnna Walter, who owns Cafe d'Marie in Davenport. "And we all love to be fancy every now and then."
The cafe feels like an instant trip to some little European city and has the tastes to go along with it. If looking to dine as the British do, and maybe as the Crawley family does, Cafe d'Marie, 614 W. 5th St., is a top bet.
(Side note: If you're more of a coffee person, you could try Dead Poet's Espresso, 1525 3rd Ave. A, Moline, which prides itself on having "impeccable taste" and a Shakespearean feel.)
"We get a lot of comments that the cafe reminds people of the show or of a place they visited in Europe," Walter said. "And people from Europe say it’s like a home away from home."
That’s exactly how Walter wanted it. She's always dreamed of moving to France and has decorated the 1860s house-turned-restaurant to follow suit.
With an array of handmade scones, quiche, finger sandwiches and more than 20 types of specialty teas on tap, the menu has the feel of a grand "Downton Abbey" meal, too.
“I totally understand the fascination with Europe and the people who love this show,” Walter said. “I think we all want that experience, because it's different. It doesn’t really feel like the Quad-Cities in here — it's another escape."
2. Go in wardrobe
For Abbey-heads, the fashion ranks high on the reasons-to-watch list. And as it turns out, those wardrobe pieces aren't entirely limited to the characters.
Shop around at Davenport vintage clothing shops such as Trash Can Annie's, which houses clothes dating back to the 1870s. Laura Heath, who owns the shop at 418 E. 2nd St., has watched every season of the show and has rare pieces of Downton-ish clothes in her personal archives. And like many others, she's sad to say farewell to the characters.
"The show is about luxury, from the clothes to the mansion. It's a romantic idea time for a lot of people," Heath said. "It's so glamorous, and everyone wants to be a part of that."
You could also go for a custom-crafted. Lopeti Etu, who co-owns the retail shop L&D15 at 520 W. 2nd St., Davenport, has a thing for old-school (and old-World) customs. He’s a milliner, or hat-maker.
“'Downton' is a period piece, so of course, people are going to be fascinated with what they’re wearing,” Etu said.
And Etu won't judge you if you want a hat fit for a lady.
“I know what it's like to be fascinated by a show and the world created, because it’s something to look forward to after a long day,” Etu said. “It’s what keeps us sane."
3. A reading challenge
Ever wanted to obsessively follow along with what the characters on "Downton Abbey" were reading and referencing? Yes, a librarian at the University of Iowa made a collection based on that.
Peter Balestrieri, who oversees special collections at the library, created a "Downton Abbey" exhibit of books and magazines, ranging from “The Illustrated London News” to “Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management."
“If you notice a quote they say or a magazine one of the characters were reading, we hunted them down,” he said. "This show is actually a lot to do with literary culture, because that was the entertainment back then."
And in the process of making the exhibit, Balestrieri became a die-hard fan of the show. He's counting down the hours before the series finale.
“I love the show because it feels like you’re time-traveling. The way it looks, the antiques and the meals are all extravagant," he said. "We love it because we didn't get to experience that time of life or that way of life, and it's tapping into that."
4. An afternoon tea party
The Yorkshire country estate of the Crawley family doesn’t exist in real life, but you don't have to travel far to see a look-a-like. The Granger House Cultural Center and Museum in Marion, Iowa, gets the double-takes a lot, president Ann Rogers said.
"We do have a 'Downton Abbey' thing going on, and we have fun with that," Rogers said. "I think people love it because it was a time where manners mattered, and the pace was slow and everything was ornate."
When Rogers moved to the U.S. from her hometown near London, she was a on a mission to bring an English lifestyle to Iowa.
"The biggest thing I want to teach you guys is how to make a proper cup of English tea," she said. "That's the number one thing, because that's the most English thing you can do."
In honor of the last-ever "Downton Abbey" episode, she's hosting an afternoon tea party at 2 p.m. March 12 with a cost of $25.
"This house is like going back in time, and that's what the show is about," she said. "I know I'm not the only one who will dearly miss it, the characters and the drama — it's not something that comes around very much."
And Kimmel agrees. While nothing can quite replace the Downton-Abbey-shaped void in her life, the fandom will last a lifetime. She's already taken the "Which 'Downton' character are you quiz," a few too many times.
"A show like this makes you think about a different culture and time in the world, and you take some of that with you," she said. "It's like real life, but it's just different enough. So, yes, I'll be sad when it's over, just like everyone else who has gotten lost in the show. It's a piece of us now."