Sunshine smiled on the Enchanted Forest, AKA Camp Newaygo, for at least part of last Saturday, but Sunday's downpours had fairy-folk scrambling to take shelter under toadstools. No worries, though. Quick-thinking Camp Newaygo staffers whisked gnome homes and pixie palaces out of the wet woods and into drier hiding places, where twinkly lights made fairy-house hunting just as enchanting.
The occasion was the two-day Enchanted Forest walk, a fundraiser for the independent not-for-profit camp located on 104 acres along a chain of lakes in the Manistee National Forest region of mid-western Michigan.
Last year's Enchanted Forest event was a great success, and this year's appeal to artists and craftspeople to create and donate fairy houses again yielded a fanciful assortment of tiny abodes—forty-seven in all.
It's always fun to see what imaginative people use to craft these dwellings: tree stumps, gourds, clay, copper wire, twigs, feathers, tin cans. One of this year's creations was made from a cowgirl's boot. Another had a hornet's nest worked into the design.
Ray and I got a close look at many of them when we helped hide the homes in the woods and along the Wetland Trail early Saturday morning. Then, as visitors began arriving and heading out with trail maps, we made the rounds again to watch them discover the little houses.
We had fun watching visitors' reactions to our own creations, too, both the fairy house and the story that went along with it.
"We were so excited to see families outside and enjoying the houses that were hidden on the trails," said Christa Smalligan, the camp's Events and Facilities Director. "Camp Newaygo is a great place for families to enjoy activities together. I heard many kids found some fairies in the woods."
If you missed out on the enchantment—or if you'd like a chance to relive it--here's a look at more of the fairy houses and the weekend's fun. And if you'd like a fairy house for your very own, all the houses pictured here--and more--are available for purchase on ebay through May 8. Proceeds help fund the camp's youth and family programs as well as renovations to facilities such as the Foster Arts and Crafts Lodge.
5/3/2017 07:31:13 am
My favorite blog post for the second time! It's just so 'cunning' as they used to say in the old days. This year my husband gave me some starter items to do my own fairy garden. We shall see if I can be as creative as these folks. Amazing and delightful.
5/4/2017 06:29:59 am
I'd love to see what you come up with, Linda
5/3/2017 08:49:06 am
Wow Nancy, great reading and so imaginative of all who participated. Great event to get the kiddos out from in front of TVs or computers. Loved it!
5/4/2017 06:31:36 am
Yes, it was great to see so many kids getting excited about something that wasn't electronic!
5/3/2017 12:13:12 pm
sensational pics & discriptions, Nan. an extarordinary event indeed! Thanks for your always excellent blog!
5/4/2017 06:32:19 am
I LOVED your fairy house, Valerie. So colorful and inviting.
5/3/2017 02:50:27 pm
Xaydria and I had a wonderful time in the enchanted forest .She was so excited each time she spotted a fairy's home. Thanks to all who put it together :○)
5/4/2017 06:33:22 am
That's great to hear. It was fun seeing you there. Xaydria had the fairy look down to perfection.
5/4/2017 10:45:45 am
Outstanding! What a great activity...👏
5/4/2017 04:22:34 pm
One of my favorites!
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Written from the heart,
from the heart of the woods
Read the introduction to HeartWood here.
Nan Sanders Pokerwinski, a former journalist, writes memoir and personal essays, makes collages and likes to play outside. She lives in West Michigan with her husband, Ray.