It's not just for little folks
Painting #52 - Common Raven Flying Over a Pumpkin - redandthepeanut.blogspot
Yes, they are very cute and their excitement is infectious.
But there are plenty of aspects of this spookiest of holidays for all of us to enjoy.
The night before All Saints Day, a carry over from the pagan Samhain, the night when the veil between the living and the dead is lifted.
Most of us enjoy a little scare, a little voyage into the realm of the unknown. So venture no further. Here are a few of my favorite frights.
We may be small, but our state has an abundance of locations that are thought to be haunted. If you're up for adventure, why not visit these sites.
Pea Patch Island, Delaware City
Located on Pea Patch Island in the middle of the Delaware River, Fort Delaware served as a prison for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.
Full bodied apparitions, rattling chains and a cook who can't seem to leave her kitchen have all been experienced here.
My first visit there was with my Dad and brother's Boy Scout troop, back in the days before liability concerns. We roamed the fort unfettered and I can assure you, there are definitely areas that will give you the willies.
Delaware City Hotel
While you wait for the ferry to Pea Patch Island, stop in at Crabby Dicks in the Delaware City Hotel. Their crab cakes are award winning and the hotel is allegedly haunted by a former owner's wife.
Old New Castle
No Delaware ghost hunt would be complete without a stop in Old New Castle. The superabundance of activity in this village warrants a visit for ghost hunters.
Historic New Castle Ghost Tour
I fell in love with this house when I was an art history student tasked with writing a paper on the vernacular interpretation of Georgian style by "gentlemen builders". Dr. Finney's work has stood the test of time, so much so that some of the residence don't seem to want to leave. The Lady in Blue has made her presence known to many.
The Kensey Johns Jr. House
Across the street is the Keensey John Jr. House, the site of the 2015 Designer Showhouse.
We were warned, tongue in check, not to go into the basement alone. Former owners had been locked in, while alone in the house. Fortunately, I had no ghostly encounters, but mirrors did fall off walls unexpectedly and one designer's foot was broken with no rational explanation..... just saying.
The Deer Park Tavern
A Fixture for most Delawareans and the scene of many of our rites of passage, there has been a structure on this site for more than 250 years.
Originally St Patrick's Inn, frequented by George Washington, and surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, of Mason-Dixon Line fame, perhaps it's most intriguing guest was Edgar Allen Poe.
It has been said, that Poe penned his famous poem, The Raven here. According to local lore, Poe tripped when exiting his carriage in front of the building and cursed the inn.
Flying bar stools, strange voices and "creepy feelings" have been reported by many.
I first worked at Bellevue as a design intern from Delaware College of Art and Design. Later, I served as a special events coordinator.
(Wedding planner stories reserved for another post.)
The house has many stories to tell. Hidden panels in the library to a secret billiards room in the basement, secret escape route in the cupboard of the child's bedroom and an underground tunnel from the main house to the tennis pavilion.
There are reports of activity on the upper floors and furniture inexplicably moved. I never encountered them.
I spent many hours in the house alone undisturbed. Until the afternoon I was in the basement alone......
Get in the Mood
There's nothing like a scary read to get you in the mood for the holiday. Here are a few classics worth revisiting.
No girl from the Hudson Valley can bypass this classic. Sometimes trivialized and softened up, this is really a pretty frightening tale.
Why not mix up one of these lethal libations while you ponder Ickabod and Katrina's fate.
Sleepy Hollow Cocktail
Another fright inducing yarn
Creepy Miles, little Flora, the mysterious Miss Jessel and evil Quint are one scary quartet.
Enjoy your read with this whistle wetter.
And my all time favorite
Basil Rathbone - reading The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe
And while you "ponder weak and weary"
sip on this pretty refresher.
My favorite reset button
This afternoon the universe gave me a gift; an unexpected free afternoon, perfect weather and close proximity to one of my "happy places", Hopewell Lake outside of Morgantown, PA.
I've been traversing the trails around this lake since I was a babe in arms and have carried my own babies on these same trails.
There is something special about having an intimate relationship with such a beautiful place. I have circled the lake in knee high snow, through Springtime's budding green and Summer's lush warmth. But if I am truthful, I love it best in Autumn.
As I walked the familiar path, it struck me that it was the perfect metaphor for life. Sometimes easy, sometimes challenging, sometime clear, and yes, sometimes obscure and a little scary. But the path is always there and no matter what your thoughts are on the divine, it is an excellent place to
" Be still and know that I am God."
I am so very lucky to have parents that understood the importance of nature to the nurturing of your soul. As a family, we've camped from coast to coast and all through Canada,
(with pressed clothes and tablecloths). We do have standards.
The gift is priceless and reminds me of a wonderful book that every parent and grandparent should read and take to heart.
The Last Child in the Woods
Other books on my nature reading shelf -
The Invention of Nature
And another fascinating read
Don't overlook Henry David Thoreau's classic
and a few thoughts from Robert Frost
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Stopping by the Woods on a Winter Evening
What is a trip to the country without a stop off at a local farm stand? The apples were wonderful and I had to bring some home.
It was a great excuse to try out this recipe.
What a shame the recipe only called for 1/4 cup of hard cider. What to do with the rest of the bottle????
Apple Cider Donut Cake