Monday, September 21, 2009
Saturday dawned cloudy and rain- threatened. C and I left for Winston-Salem from home, while the three vans left from the college. We drove into dense, misty fog, in some places as thick as pea soup.
After picking up another Arboretum guest, we met up with the vans on time, despite the fog. As we drove westward, the weather improved, though the clouds and grey day remained.
We wended our way to Bethabara Park and found the parking area we were looking for that was located close to the historic gardens so our guests, especially those with trouble walking, wouldn't have very far to walk.
We were just getting out of the car and vans when we were met but a garden volunteer who shocked us all -- "The Festival was canceled," he told us. "There had been so much rain in the area, that they were unable to put up the necessary tents, and since more rain threatened, the festival was canceled."
Imagine our shock - 45 people all geared up to enjoy the music, crafts, gardens, history and tours! YIKES! He was incredibly nice and apologic, and volunteered to give our group a guided tour of the gardens and to answer any questions. We took him up on it, and really got to know more about these beautiful community gardens, the history of the first gardens at Bethabara, and more.
While we were touring, the director of the park came by as well to apologize for the cancellation. We could see the decision was so very troubling for her -- and having been in that spot so many times myself, we all did understand.
But then she did something so very extraordinarily gracious --- she, knowing we were coming, but since she couldn't reach us, arranged for a free showing of the film explaining the history of Bethabara, apples and cookies for the entire group, AND a concert performed in one of the historic churches -- just for us!
To say we were overwhelmed by such generous kindness and consideration was an understatement. The film was delightful and helped us understand this first Moravian settlement, the gardens, the buildings. And the concert - a trio on violin, antique organ and, I am unsure of a flute, oboe, or other wind instrument - was incredibly moving. They performed from the balcony of the church with over 100 year-old accoustics - with music, from Bach, Handel, and others of that era. EXCEPTIONAL! and so deeply moving! What a time!
We left the park following the concert for a buffet lunch at a nearby restaurant, and then continued with our plans to Old Salem and some of their restored gardens. Wonderful gardens filled with fall vegetables and crops that included some 'cover plantings' such as Crimson clover and buckwheat that will be tilled under as 'green manure' this spring.
We added an impromptu stop at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market so folks who were hoping to purchase some apples at the Festival could do so here.
All in all, it was a great time ....and the graciousness of the Park's Director was certainly above and beyond. We took a vote to return to the festival NEXT year - fingers crossed for sunshine - and yet the Park, its volunteers and employees, the history, the gardens, the absolute beauty of the place, will have us returning no matter the weather!
PS - Thank you all for your most generous comments and anniversary well wishes yesterday!