Gunston Hall, in Virginia, will have a kite festival

March 07, 1993|By Dorothy Fleetwood | Dorothy Fleetwood,Contributing Writer

For 200 years children have enjoyed flying their kites at Gunston Hall in Lorton, Va. It began with the nine children of George Mason, who built the mansion in 1755. Mason was a framer of the Constitution and author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Of the plantation's original 5,000 acres, only 550 remain, but the house and grounds look much as they did when the Mason family lived there.

The annual Gunston Hall Kite Festival will take place next Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The sheep will be moved to the smaller pasture, leaving lots of room for kite flying. Simple kites will be for sale at Gunston's museum shop. Children will also learn about life in Colonial times through hands-on activities scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. They will write with a quill pen, make herb bags and learn the many uses for herbs in the 18th century, make designs using quilt papers and assist with food preservation and wool carding. In the old schoolhouse, an interpreter will portray one of Mason's children and reminisce about his school days on the plantation.

The Bob Brown Puppets will present marionette shows in the Visitor Center at 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. You can buy popcorn from an antique popcorn wagon; other food will also be available.

Children under 15 are admitted free on Kite Day. Adults pay the regular $5 admission, which includes a house-and-grounds tour and the day's activities.

Gunston Hall is 20 miles south of Washington and can be reached by Interstate 95 or U.S. Route 1 to the Lorton Exit. For information, call (703) 550-9220.

Bed-and-breakfast inns

St. Michaels Community Center is sponsoring a tour of 12 prominent area bed-and-breakfast inns on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On tour are Ashby, the Pasadena Inn at Royal Oak, the Kemp House Inn, the Hambleton Inn, the Parsonage Inn, the Inn at Perry Cabin (open until 1:30 p.m.), Wades Point Inn on the Bay and the Inn at Christmas Farm. On Tilghman Island you can visit the Wood Duck Inn, the Lazy Jack Inn, Black Walnut Point Inn and the Tilghman Island Inn.

The $20 admission includes a light brunch reception at the Inn at Perry Cabin from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and a dessert sampler at Tilghman Island Inn from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Proceeds will benefit St. Michaels Community Center. Ticket sales are limited, and advance reservations are necessary. No tickets will be sold on tour day. For information, call (410) 745-6073.

Auction and sale

The Gordonville Fire Company's Auction and Spring Sale celebrates its 25th year on Saturday in the Lancaster County town of Gordonville, Pa. Reported to be the biggest firefighters' auction on the East Coast, the event has a large following.

The bidding starts at 8:30 a.m. and continues all day. Often more than 40 auctioneers are simultaneously selling everything from quilts to Amish courting carriages to antique furniture. There are usually 500 to 600 quilts in the auction, along with farm equipment and all kinds of household goods. Admission is free.

Gordonville is just south of Intercourse. From state Route 340 turn south on Leacock Road. Call (717) 768-3869 or (800) 735-2629, Ext. 2309.

Highland Maple Festival

Over the next two weekends visitors will descend upon the small communities of Highland County, Va. The attraction is the 35th annual Highland Maple Festival, the southernmost maple festival the United States, Saturday and next Sunday and March 20 and 21.

Thousands of people come each year to tour the maple camps, to enjoy pancakes with freshly made syrup, Allegheny mountain trout dinners (another county specialty), the crafts and entertainment.

Sugar camps in the area all offer free tours to see the syrup-making process. One of the camps, Eagle's Sugar Camp, located just north of

McDowell on state Route 624, has been producing syrup for over 200 years, and here you can still see the old-fashioned method of production. Compare it with the high-tech production at the Sugar Tree Country Store in McDowell. You'll find two more camps on state Route 637: Rexrode Sugar Orchard demonstrates the old method, while Puffenbarger Sugar Camp shows the newer technology. Another attraction is the Maple Museum on U.S. Route 220, just south of Monterey, a replica of an old sugar house. Admission is also free.

Antiques, crafts and craft demonstrations can be found in schools, firehouses, shops and Ruritan Club buildings in Monterey and McDowell. There will be clogging, storytelling, juggling, bluegrass and country music and more crafts demonstrations at the Stonewall Ruritan Building in McDowell, and the courthouse area in Monterey and Ruritan clubs will hold square dances both weekends. An information booth will be set up in the main hall of the Highland County Courthouse in Monterey on U.S. Route 250.

Except for the food and evening dances, all festival activities are free. For information, call (703) 468-2550.

Maryland maple sugar

It's also "maple sugarin' time" in Maryland, and here are some places to find it:

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