School ended yesterday and we’ve wasted no time diving into our summer vacation rituals. Today, we indulged in our first Fun Friday of the season. (For a review of what a Fun Friday is, check this out.) Now that the kiddos are older, Fun Fridays are trickier to orchestrate. Getting everyone to agree on a destination is becoming more and more difficult. Gone are the days of care free acquiescence to any suggestion I make. Instead, everyone has an opinion and no one can agree. If today is any indication, Fun Fridays are going to offer the kids many opportunities for practicing deliberation skills, compromise, self-sacrifice, and graciousness. It took a good fifteen minutes to decide on an activity this afternoon and even then half of the participants weren’t happy about it. The plan: grab lunch from Subway and have a picnic at Lancaster County Park, then tour Rockford Plantation and wander the short Five Senses trail (which are both located in the park).
It was a gorgeous day to be outside. My Perfect Weather said it would be and he was so right! Sunny, temps in the low 80’s, light wind, and low humidity. How I wish summer would be like this every day.
[ Can you tell who isn’t happy? ]
Once we finished our sandwiches, everyone was feeling better about the plan. Food seems to have that effect on the Whimsey clan. We headed over to Rockford Plantation to take the 2:00pm tour. When we arrived there was a bustle of activity on the property. They were preparing for a big Revolutionary War enactment with over 1,000 participants going on this weekend. Why a Revolutionary War enactment? Because Edward Hand, the original owner of the home, was a general in George Washington’s army during the Revolutionary War. He sailed with Washington across the Delaware and was at Yorktown for the British surrender. He was Washington’s Adjunctive General and was awarded three stars by the time the war was over. (I learned all this today!)
Rockford is a beautifully restored example of Georgian architecture, which is recognized by symmetry and balance. The Hands built the house in the early 1790’s and lived there for less than twenty years. Because no one who owned the house after the Hands actually lived in it (it was used as housing for tenant farmers), it was never really remodeled or updated until the 20th century. Even then, just a little plumbing and electricity were added. When the house was saved from demolition in the 1940’s, all of the hardware, windows, and woodwork were original to the house. The house maintains a very authentic feel, right down to John Hand’s (a son) signature etched into one of the window panes in the dining room. I thoroughly enjoyed the one hour tour. Our tour guide was dressed in period costume and was very knowledgeable. Unfortunately, none of my photos of the interior are blog worthy. You’ll just have to take my word for it. I would have never guessed this bit of expertly restored history was so close to home.
[ Front of Rockford ]
[ Goofballs ]
Supposedly, Rockford has a strongly documented history of paranormal activity. One of the Hand sons committed suicide at Rockford in 1807 (I think) and both Edward and his wife died there earlier. This information isn’t given on the general tour, but we had a gentlemen in our group who asked several questions about the topic. For individuals who are interested (such as my daughter) Rockford offers ghost tours around Halloween. Spooky….
We finished the fun by wandering the paved Five Senses trail. It’s a short, manicured and landscaped trail that encourages the use of the different senses. Our favorite section was the Smell area, which contains several boxes filled with different aromas like sassafras and birch bark. All in all, a very pretty way to end the afternoon.