Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas at Hillside Farms

Christmas has always been a special time for my family and I. When my brother and I were little kids, we’d open presents on Christmas Eve and then travel to my grandmother’s house on Christmas morning. Of course, now that we are adults, the holidays have changed quite a bit. He’s married with two kids of his own and I work retail, which means I’m busy with work for most of the Christmas festivities.

So, I was thrilled to spend some time my niece and nephew enjoying the holiday. They had off school this past Monday and we decided to spend the day at HillsideFarms.  Aside from seeing the animals and getting some ice cream, I wanted the kids to see the farm at Christmastime.

I knew from last year that the barns would be decorated and I was not disappointed this year. Brightly colored lights were strewn across the rafters, and Santa’s sleigh was parked amid piles of wrapped presents and decorated trees.  The baby goats were even celebrating in their tiny Christmas sweaters.  


























After visiting the animals, we ordered some ice cream from the dairy store and I found some bayberry candles in the Mercantile.  It was a wonderful, Christmassy day and it reminded me how important it is to just stop and enjoy simple holiday moments, because as Clara from Doctor Who says, “Every Christmas is Last Christmas.” 



Merry Christmas! 







Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Farwell to the Shire of Mount Hope



Another season has come and gone at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.  As usual, the season seemed to fly by, but also as usual I had an excellent time and cannot wait for next season. I attended both days of closing weekend and had a wonderful experience each time with different sets of friends. 










Saturday found me traveling to the faire with my best friend since first grade Mary, her husband, Chris, and her sister, Corrie. We arrived while King’s Court was in session and stood in the back while the All Hallows Eve version of the court was unveiled. The Sword in the Stone and Morgan LeFay made an entrance.

After that, we wondered about the shire, watching the Duo of Woo, enjoying lunch, and doing some shopping.  Mary and Corey bought enough tea to last through an extensive Doctor Who marathon and I did some Christmas shopping. We squeezed in Human Chess, which was my first time seeing it all season.  We all loved seeing the shire decked out with massive pumpkins, skeletons, and the giant pumpkin creature that makes an appearance every year. Could he be The Great Pumpkin?!

















We attended the Halloween Joust, again Morgan LeFay cast her evil spell, but was defeated by King Henry, Queen Catherine and Sir William.  The Finale in Song did not disappoint either, the songs, the confetti, the fireworks, the company; it was perfect.


The spooky fun did not end there however. The next day, I returned to Mount Hope to see my best friends Mel, and Nicole, and Nicole’s husband Tim, who’s also Mel’s brother. I met Mel’s friend, Meghan, who was a welcome addition to our group. It did end up raining, but we still saw the royal parade and The Aron Bonk show, where he juggled swords, and cracked flaming whips, all with a quirky sense of humor. We also did some shopping and sampled some fudge. 
 
Despite the rain, the final joust was still help as was Finale in Song though it was held at the smaller Swashbuckler Stage.  It was still wonderful even though there was no confetti and much less dancing. As always, the last day of the season is always bitter sweet. I miss Mount Hope, I miss the shop keepers, the Lady Mayor, Crone’s Cottage with its stray kittens and the falconer with his birds. I miss the Bee Folks and the beehive, drinking honey mead while watching a blacksmith at work. I miss the actors telling stories and asking advice as you pass them on the street. 

Most of all, I miss the warmth, the love, the fantasy, the pure joy that I encounter around every corner of the faire. If I can capture and share just some of that with my friends, my family, and my coworkers than I will have a good year. I know God led me to Mount Hope because it inspires me to be better, happier person; also I love costumes and good food. Fare the Well till next season Mount Hope!