Thursday, August 13, 2015

Visiting Park Corner (aka Silver Bush)

You'll recall that yesterday we visited the birthplace of Lucy Maud Montgomery. I mentioned that upon our arrival at this destination we found the house inundated with tourists who had arrived on two (huge!) tour buses. Clearly they were making the same stops as ourselves. On our way from the birthplace to Park Corner we passed the buses which filled my heart with a smidgeon of hope. We pulled into the parking lot at Park Corner and with a leap and a bound I exited the car so I could get inside the Silver Bush house before anyone else.

The Park Corner house was extremely significant in the life of L.M. Montgomery. It was home to members from her father's family, the Campbells. She called this place her "wonder castle" and here she enjoyed many fun visits with her cousins, one of whom was her best friend in all the world ("Frede"). This home was featured in the books Mistress Pat and Pat of Silver Bush (both linked to my reviews) making it a literary point of reference in the world of Montgomery.

Really I was quite frantic to look the place over myself before it became so crowded that it would be hard to enjoy anything. Jonathan stayed outside while I ran in, made very hasty apologies for my apparent rush, paid the fee, and asked the direction of the parlor which, if nothing else, I wanted to see in peace and quiet. Why the parlor, you ask? Because that's the room where Lucy Maud Montgomery married Ewan Macdonald on July 5, 1911.

Before I show pictures I have to tell you that this place is pure magic. It's run as a museum but there were no ropes keeping visitors out of rooms. You were able to wonder freely and touch things up close and personal. Because of the freedoms allowed to guests, you are able to feel the magic that exists inside of this house and are better able to understand what Montgomery would have loved about it. If I were to have had a "holy moment" when it came to encountering Montgomery or her past, I would have to say it happened at Park Corner.

As I was saying, I rushed to the parlor first, desperate for a private glimpse. Gratefully, the tourist bus occupants decided to visit the little shop outside of the house before they came in, so I had plenty of time to just stand still in the parlor, walk slowly around the perimeter and drink it in.

It's so very amazing to think that Montgomery stood in this room. She married here, right in front of the fireplace. (Yes I did touch the mantel! Feeling like it was a safe bet that she had touched it herself, I had to also.)

The very same organ that was played on Montgomery's wedding day is still in the room and is occasionally played during wedding ceremonies of Japanese tourists who make a frequently habit of flying to PEI for the specific purpose of getting married in the same parlor. The furniture in this room is also the same as it was in Montgomery's day.

The most exciting piece of furniture (for me) was "Anne's Enchanted Bookcase." Here is the little sign that is resting up against the glass on the bookshelf:

I found my own Katie Maurice and then walked back to stand in the doorway and just imagined a young Lucy Maud running into the room and waving to her imaginary friend.

Honestly I didn't really want to leave that room. There was just something about having the liberty to walk where she walked and be where she loved to be. The room was mine for a little while and I can safely assure you that I enjoyed each moment.

Facts being what they are, I still had a tourist bus to beat upstairs so I made my way up the staircase. At the top was a mirror from her Grandfather MacNeill's home. Little Lucy Maud would look into it and check her appearance before hurrying off to school in the morning. It was moved to the Park Corner house and, well, here I am squinting into it.

Just below the mirror is a little nob sticking out from the wall. Montgomery used to measure her height by that nob on the staircase. Again, you could just feel her running about, loving the knooks and crannies of this home full of cousins and laughter. Knowing how hard various aspects of her life were, I think I just enjoyed being in a place where I knew that she was truly happy and had good friends. Everyone needs a good friend in life and this is where Montgomery's lived. It's a special place.

At the top of the stairs on the left is the bedroom where Montgomery stayed when she was visiting the family.

I was blissfully happy to be left alone in here as well. Again, there are no ropes holding you back from anything. You can stand right next to the bed where she slept, or glance out the window and take in the view just as she would have done. If any tourist ever acts stupidly and does something to hurt this house, steals from it, or in any way causes people to feel that they ought to rope things off I say 'a pox upon them!' It is so lovely to be so trusted to respectfully visit this home. I hardly have words to describe it. I'm so GLAD for the opportunity to have seen it all in the manner that I did. I felt like the owners of the house understand that people love Montgomery and that they not only allow for it, but encourage us to go on doing it. That's a gift, that's what!

One exciting footnote, of sorts, was this dress which is kept in a glass case in the corner of Montgomery's bedroom. This'll give a few people a thrill, I know:

At this point I could hear a throng of footsteps approaching so I took a lovely last gaze around the room and excused myself to look quickly down the hall. A few more items of note:

By the time I was at the end of the short hallway, footsteps were headed up the stairs and I literally squeezed myself back outside and found Jonathan. He spent his time out-of-doors photographing the house, the Lake of Shining Waters, and a horse. I'm so glad I have a husband who understands my obsessions so well and was happy to let me revel in happiness indoors and wait for me patiently (and so productively too!) outdoors. He made time for what I love. That's so kind.

The Lake of Shining Waters

Truly, it was a wonderful stop.

Tomorrow I'll take you to the Lower Bedeque Schoolhouse where Montgomery taught school, but if you are interested in hearing a little bit more about Anne's World today, then head over and check out this post wherein I wrote up our experience visiting Orwell Corner Historic Village over at our family's travel blog, (Hint: fans of the Road to Avonlea television series will be intrigued.)

Until tomorrow then . . .


Shonya said...

:D I can just imagine you running upstairs, ahead of the rush, gleefully enjoying your time. So glad you got to do this!

Barbara H. said...

What a treasury of moments! Funny about Japanese people coming there to be married - didn't know LMM was so popular over there!

Annette Whipple said...

The Pat books resonated with me. I wondered how you managed to see the inside by yourself... Have you contacted all the places you are highlighting to share your posts with them? You should!

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