The great-great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens, Jane Monk, isn’t just coming to this year’s event to take in the sights and share in her heritage, she’s also there to cook up a traditional English breakfast! Join Jane and Chef Mary Bass as they prepare a one-of-a-kind experience in one of Galveston’s most beloved historic homes, the 1859 Ashton Villa. Breakfast will be held on Saturday, December 3 at 8 a.m. and Sunday, December 4 at 9:30 a.m. Reservations are required and limited to 40 guests per day.






maryChef Mary Bass is a born and raised 5th generation Galvestonian, graduating from Galveston College with high honors from the Associates of Applied Sciences program in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management. In 2009 she began teaching at Alvin Community College in the culinary arts program under Chef Leslie Bartosh teaching American Regional Cuisine, and eventually added Garde Manger and Saucier to her class lineup.

She accepted a job with Haak Vineyards and Winery in 2013 as their executive chef and completely rewrote their wedding and private events menu packages introducing fresh and from scratch recipes to the collection. In 2015 she joined the crew as Executive Sous chef for the opening of a new seafood restaurant in Galveston, BLVD Seafood. Chef Bass assisted in developing the menus and recipes, specializing in the dessert menu. In addition, she is one of the lead instructors at the Kitchen Chick, the finest boutique kitchen retail store on the Gulf Coast.

She has been featured in numerous television, print and online publications such as the Great Day Houston, Fox 26 news, Galveston Daily News, Houston Press, Houstonia Magazine, KPRC Channel 2, Coast Magazine, and the Alvin Sun. She recently came in as runner up on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen. She holds membership with the Chaine des Rotisseurs and recently was awarded by as “Best Chef Galveston, 2015”.


1859 Ashton VillaBuilt by James M. Brown, in 1859, Ashton Villa was the first of many. Not only was it the first house to ever be built on Broadway Boulevard, it was the first mansion to be built on the island and one of the first private brick residences in Galveston. Construction of the house began in 1858. It was a gift for his wife, Rebecca Ashton Stoddard. The family moved into the home on New Year’s Eve day, 1859.

Ashton Villa is an Italianate villa, with wide overhanging eaves and ornate cornice brackets. It was built with a coal burning fireplace in every room and a coal burning furnace in the above ground basement. Gas chandeliers lit each room. Marble sinks separate the bedrooms and the second floor has two indoor restrooms. The water was supplied by copper and cypress cisterns mounted on the back of the house. Gravity pulled rainwater into the pipes with the excess being piped into Mrs. Brown’s rose gardens. Ceilings on the first floor are fourteen feet, on the second: twelve and on the third, ten.

Ashton Villa was saved from demolition in 1970. Galveston Historical Foundation took charge of restoring the house, and after four years of work and research, it was opened to the public in 1974. Although it retains only a few pieces of original furnishings, her architectural details are still in tact, as well as many of the paintings executed by Mr. Brown’s daughter, Betty.

Tickets are non-refundable. The festival is open rain or shine. GHF is not responsible for independent transactions between visitors and vendors. We are committed to making Dickens on The Strand special needs accessible. If we can assist with arrangements, please contact us at 409-765-7834 in advance of your visit.
Open carry firearms, pets and ice chests are not allowed. Scooters, skateboards, rollerblades, skates, Segways and other recreational “wheels” are forbidden. Guests bringing in costume weapons and props must have them secured will be asked to go through additional screening.

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