Monday, October 26, 2015

Fall Fun: A Mystical, Magical Weekend, Part I

What a weekend we had!  I'm going to post in two parts, as it is very dense with photos and texts and fun.

On Friday evening, our school hosted it's annual Halloween festivities, this year outside as "Trunk or Treat."  Various parents volunteer to decorate their cars and pass out candy; there are also games and a bake sale.  We were there right at opening time--Sis as Black Widow and Bud as Link  (from videogame Zelda)--because experience has taught us that the check-in line gets long quickly.  The kids had 30 tickets for visiting the cars (this prevents multiple visits and un-registered visitors) and some tickets for games and such.  And I let them go . . . . they wandered around the school parking lot with friends, while I wandered around with the other adults.  It was chilly but not the worst we've had (one year it was cold AND so windy that we lasted about 15 minutes, enough time for the kids to make one circuit.)  There were lots of cool costumes--'50s waitresses, (too many) zombies, Katniss, various witches and princesses, a cute Barney, a chunky mouse, My Little Pony.   It was a great way to kick off our Halloween season.  Only one more year of this--I'm going to miss it.

Saturday, through the afternoon:
After our usual kung fu and ice skating, we took off for annual visit to the faerie houses at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme (see 2014, 2013, 2012, 20112009.  We've gone every year (except when they took a hiatus for a scarecrow exhibition, 2010) since it began.  It's one of our favorite family traditions and permeates our fall and spring as we make our own faerie houses.  This year the theme was Whimsical Castles.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Merida's castle tower and standing stones, one of my favorites.

Hagrid's hut

Hobbit hole

Not a faerie house, obviously, just a colorful handprint on a tree from some other program.

As usual, I like doors and gateways, especially those set in trees.



And I preferred the more natural-looking houses to the ones made of painted plywood, found objects,  etc.  In fact, the bright green Oz and gold Thai palace, among others, seemed out of place.  


 As usual, the kids' favorite part was finding the hidden object in each castle--Merida's quiver (or was it her bow?), the Sword in the Stone, the little bear--some were much easier than others.  (But at least they were all there; one year, we looked and looked for a hidden object, only to learn later that i had been missing for days!)  It wasn't too crowded and the people there were friendly and well-behaved (one year, we kept coming across children who were touching and moving and even breaking things, without any hindrance from parents.  This drives me to distraction.)  It was another great faerie house year.

We had a little time before our dinner reservations so we took the kiddos to the Stonington Lighthouse Museum.  It's a mid-19th-century stone house light, with an easy 29-spiral step tower.  I think it was the kiddos first lighthouse climb!  And they really enjoyed the visit.  Besides the tower, we looked at the various exhibits, including the cistern uncovered below (visible through glass in the floor), antique doll's house, map of lights on Long Island Sound, and other local historical objects.    There was also a fourth-order Fresnel lens, like the one which would have been in the tower.  The kids were pretty amazed that the lighthouse keeper would've climbed the spiral steps and even gone out on the ledge around the light to clean the windows--it was high and narrow, without much of a rail.  Even though you can't even go out on the ledge anymore, I went downstairs before everyone else, a little nervous for the height.

After the museum, we headed for dinner in Mystic, to a seafood place on the river.   The view (nothing like fall colors and white houses lining the water, typical New England) was great, the food just as good.   We could even see the ship where we were having our Girl Scout overnight in the distance.  We supped on pumpkin soup, clam chowder, a seafood pasta, buttered fish, and oysters, with a delicious tres leche cake for dessert.  I was a little edgy--having been the person to organize the trip and the responsible person during the overnight--and kept checking the time (besides, I'm recognizing how anxious I am on a regular basis, but that's another post.)  I couldn't be late after I emailed the troop to be on time!  But we managed to finish dinner and even take a few pictures along the river before heading a few miles down the road to Mystic Seaport . . . .  and then it was time for the big part of our weekend to start.

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