The Fairies Are Clapping For YOU!

All of us at The Nature Museum want to thank you for your tremendous support during our 9th Annual Fairy House Festival.  The portal to the fairy world only opens in Grafton for one weekend a year and this year 1100 fairy friends walked through the portal and into the magic of our most fun-filled way of getting all ages closer to nature. 

Hats off to the Volunteers! The parking folks, the ice cream scoopers, the craft helpers, museum docents, set-up and clean-up crew, trail-tenders, fairy-foragers, face-painters, hula-hoopers, bubble wizards, the Royalty of Retail, John the raffle master, magician Em with hair feathers, and a special thanks to the many fairy house architects who have raised the creative and imaginative bar higher each year.  From children to seniors everyone pitched in and worked joyfully in spite of the heat to bring fairy good fortune to the event.

Thank you to our generous donors and local businesses who all help support this unique event. We especially want to thank Helga and Mark Piel and Mary Hudson on whose woodland paths the fairy village magically arrives each year and the Windham Foundation for allowing us to use all their available parking. Thanks to MKT who sold out on Saturday and then worked through the night to bring us another day of delicious food. 

I hope you click on this link to the photo album from this year’s festival and recapture the magic. Check out the 2017 Fairy House Festival program (attached to this email) to get the whole scoop on the festival. This weekend event was such a huge hit and quite a successful fundraiser and so much of the thanks is due to you.

Even before the present year’s festival is over we are already thinking and planning for the next one.  2018 will be our 10th Anniversary!  Each year we work to make improvements in our process, structure, and communications with everyone involved in making this event a success. 

We would LOVE to have your feedback of what worked and what could be improved and perhaps your ideas on how we could make the festival even better for you.  Please take a few minutes to answer after clicking on this link to our easy feedback form.  We would greatly appreciate it.

Bravo to YOU who helped make Fairy House Festival 2017 such a wonderful community event! 

All the best,

Carrie Roy King, Executive Director

Up your family camping game and go backpacking!

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Have you ever considered backpacking with your family? There are many reasons it could be a good fit for you. It’s relatively cheap (once everyone is geared up, there’s not much cost) and there are many beautiful, remote places close by. Getting outdoors and exercising is healthy and feels great, even thrilling. Perhaps my favorite thing is that there are so many things a child - as well as the entire family - can learn while backpacking.

Here’s how I’ve introduced backpacking to my family…

Before living in Vermont, my husband Hans and I lived in the remote Upper Peninsula of Michigan and spent much of our free time backpacking and kayak camping. We loved to venture deep into the Michigan wilderness where we got to experience places and see wild animals few others get to see.

We took a hiatus from backpacking when we started our family nearly 8 years ago. We just couldn’t see the magic in carrying all that “baby stuff” and a baby and leave-no-trace diaper style would have been a stinky drag. We stuck to day hikes and car camping. Hans and I didn't love this type of camping, but we knew that we were planting a seed that would grow into future adventures when our children were the right age.

A year ago this October when the kids were ages 4 and 6, we went on our first family backpacking trip. We dusted off and tested our old gear and cobbled together additional items for the kids. Other than a good pair of woolen long johns and puffy coats, there was truly nothing special or technical to the kids’ gear. They even used their school backpacks! We made sure to save the heavy stuff for us and to keep the kids backpacks light and fun. I had scoped a sweet spot with a beautiful shelter on the Long Trail just over a two mile hike from a parking area. The fact that Hans and I had tremendously heavy packs wasn't a huge deal - we could manage the weight fine for a few miles hiking at kid-pace. Once we all arrived in camp, we fished, hiked along the lake, cooked dinner, had a fire, and fell asleep listening to sounds of the nighttime forest. The morning was just as simple and lovely, and we chose to hike the long way out to enjoy lunch at a viewpoint. The trip was a huge success and the kids were hooked!

Our family has gone on two more trips, one to Merck Forest in January and another back to the Long Trail this past summer. Feeling pretty confident about my children's abilities, I even took them backpacking on my own twice this summer during the workweek to avoid the crowds. Backpacking solo with my kids has been among the most rewarding moments of my motherhood. Laying in my tent at night with a kid at each side, planted among the peaceful Green Mountains, I experienced a whole new dimension and richness of the sport I love. I am thrilled to be sharing the joy of backpacking with my kids.

We've learned a few tricks which make our family backpacking trips a bit easier and lots more fun. We load up on what I call “sneaky treats”. Chocolate covered almonds, coconut clusters, instant oatmeal packs, and cured sausage keep the energy coming and the joy factor high. My kids have a brand of tea they love (Good Earth Tea), which has been vital to boost moods and hydrate on chilly mornings. Both kids received light-weight hammocks for their birthdays and I carry these for them as luxury items while in camp. Each child chooses a special place to hang a hammock for his/her own chill-out spot. We've found that the most important factor to prevent the trip from becoming a slog is to hike-in no more than 3 miles to camp. Even then, I can end up carrying my five-year old's pack clipped onto mine with carabiners. It's also important not to hike to new places, but to have scoped the site out ahead of time. We choose destinations which amplify the joy of being on the trail and minimize the work for kids and ourselves.

So does backpacking sound like an activity you might want to try out with your family??

If you and your family have basic camping skills and experience, consider upping your camping game and taking your crew on a backpacking trip. Do your research, find out a sweet and easy spot, borrow or rent whatever gear you are missing (or ask for it as a holiday/birthday gift from the grandparents!), and go for it. Hopefully more young families will set out on backpacking adventures right here in our own Green Mountains. Sharing such experiences brings us not only closer to the natural world, but also to each other. Give backpacking with kids a try!

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Bee sure to check out our upgraded hive this weekend at the Fairy House Festival!

Tom Goldschmid and Kathy Leo, our volunteer beekeeping couple, stopped by today to check out our observational bee hive. The bees are still working hard bringing in pollen, making honey and keeping the hive cool on this hot day. This colony is thriving! Stop by to take a look during the Fairy House Festival!

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Which raffle basket will you try to snag at the Fairy House Festival?

This year, the Nature Museum is raffling off seven baskets brimming with local gifts and food items. Visit "The Second Nature Shop" next to the Arts & Crafts tent during the Fairy House Festival to see these overflowing prizes and buy raffle tickets for your chance to win one of these themed baskets. All proceeds directly benefit the museum's mission to connect people to nature. Raffle tickets will be sold on Saturday and Sunday throughout the Festival. 

Raffle ticket prices are 1 for $2, 3 for $5, and 7 for $10. Raffle winners do not need to be present at the drawing to win, but will need to make their own arrangements to return and pick up their winning basket at The Nature Museum. Drawings for raffle winners will be held on Sunday, September 24th at 4:15 p.m at the Fairy Shoppe.

Fairy House Basket

Our Fairy House Basket is filled with everything you need to create your own fairy magic at home.  The basket includes a set of fairy wings and glitter fairy tattoos, four fairy-themed books—"Fairy Animals", "Fairy Flight", and "The Fairy House Handbook", and "Fairy Bible", and fairy wind chimes and three sweet fairy figurines for your home or garden. 

Nature Basket

Get out and reconnect with the natural world with our nature basket!  Enjoy a variety of nature-themed books—including Beekeeping for DummiesConservancy by Richard Brewer, Aviary Wonders, A Mammal Tracks and Scat Guide, a Mushroom identification guide— plus a decomposition notebook, bird mazes, an eco-friendly mosquito repellent bracelet, a wooden owl pen, Sunflower garden seeds, bug goggles, and a gift certificate to Erskines!

Seventh Generation Baskets

Earth lovers will also love our two Seventh Generation baskets, which offers a variety of eco-friendly cleaning and household supplies.

Cheese Basket

For the cheese lover, our cheese basket offers a variety of cheeses from Grafton Village Cheese Company, featuring truffle cheddar, maple smoked cheddar, and smoked-chili cheddar cheeses, among others.

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Local Meat Basket

Thank you to Black River Produce for their donation of locally raised steaks and burgers for our local meat basket. Selections include ground beef patties and NY Strip Steak.

Local Foods Basket

Explore a variety of local food venues and tasty treats in our local foods basket which includes gift certificates to Shona's Grill and the Flat Iron Exchange, local goodies from the MKT: Grafton, and jams and chutneys from Blake Hill Preserves.

Vendors Ramp Up for Another Exciting Fairy House Fest!

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We are delighted to have several vendors participating in the the Fairy House Festival taking place NEXT weekend, September 23rd-24th. 

With the fairy trail and all of the other activities and excitement of the festival, it's very easy to build up an appetite. While we welcome folks to pack a picnic lunch, you may wish to save room instead for the fresh fare on offer from two special locally-based food vendors participating in the festival.

As a big believer in magic, our store is thrilled to be serving up goodness at the Fairy House Festival! The festival weekend turns our little town into a whimsical, wonderful adventure and is one of our team’s favorite events of the year!
— Ali Hartman, Owner, MKT:Grafton

It doesn't get more local than MKT: Grafton.  The modern general store, located on Grafton's Main Street, will be selling an assortment of delicious fare at the festival this year. Lunch will be served both days from 11am-3pm at their festival booth.

Returning vendor Jamaican Jewelz Catering, based out of Rockingham, will be serving a selection of freshly prepared plates, including jerk chicken and other Jamaican cuisine favorites. 

And stop by our own refreshments tent where we will be selling fresh popped popcorn, cold seltzer water, and delicious locally made ice cream sourced by Rushton Farms, Grafton, VT. 

In addition to all the tasty fare that will be available at the festival, we are excited to welcome back two talented art-minded vendors. Body artist and face painter extraordinaire Mona Frye of Handpainted By Mona of Springfield will be back to bring joy to the faces of festival-goers. Chester favorite, Community Art Garden, will be back; owner Emily Burkland will be offering her signature hair feathers. 

Festival tickets are on sale now; take advantage of our reduced advanced tickets and save! Have questions about the fest? Check out our FAQ page. 

The Nature Museum and our vendors can't wait to welcome you to the fest! See you soon!

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We are still on the lookout for Fairy House Festival volunteers for Sunday, September 24th!

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We asked for volunteers for this year's fest and you all came through! Thank you! We are still on the lookout for a few more helpful folks for Sunday, September 24th. Are you available to help us?

Volunteers receive a free Fairy House t-shirt and entrance ticket! 

A few quick things we should note:

  • Do you have any special requests to work in a specific Fairy Department? Tell us in the comments on your application. Volunteers work in the Arts & Crafts tent, serving refreshments and behind the scenes. 
  • We do consider special requests for job assignments but placement is not guaranteed. Positions are filled according to the discretion of the Volunteer Crew Leader. Volunteers should be flexible and open to unpredictable changes that often arise despite well laid plans.
  • Volunteers are trained in their specific job duties when you arrive at your work station.
  • Please check-in 15 minutes early for your shift to check in at the Front Desk of The Nature Museum and change into your blue volunteer Fairy House Festival t-shirt. You may use your free admission to enter the festival on the day that you are volunteering either before or after your work shift.

Thank you so much for your interest in volunteering with The Fairy House Festival. Staff will contact you by email or telephone to confirm your volunteer job and your specific work shift as soon as possible prior to the festival. Please let us know if you're available to volunteer Sunday by filling out the form below. Thanks in advance!

Purchase Your Fairy House Festival Tickets Online in Advance and Save!

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The 2017 Fairy House Festival is rapidly approaching and we are busy pulling it all together! We couldn't do it without all of the hard work from our staff and the volunteers who come out of the woodwork to help us pull off our largest fundraiser of the year. We are expecting over 1,500 visitors to our corner of Grafton on Saturday, September 23rd and Sunday, September 24th. 

This is truly an all ages event; small children will enjoy the massive bubble blowing in the meadow and having their face painted. Older kids can tackle a craft or two and even build their own impromptu fairy house from materials we provide. And of course, there are the fairy houses; they are placed throughout the woods on a gentle path and their creativity will blow you away. 

It's such a special positive day for kids and adults alike; we really hope you can make it. As a non-profit, we rely heavily on funds raised from events like the Fairy House Festival to continue our work bringing nature education to the larger community that we serve. 

So make a day of it! We will have a select group of food vendors, but you are also welcome to pack a picnic lunch and make use of our picnic tables or spread out a blanket. 

Ticket prices are as follows; note that a family of four saves $6 when they purchase their tickets in advance online. 

Advanced ticket prices: $10 adults, $8 seniors, (64+) $4 children (3-17), under 2 free
Day-of, at the gate: $12 adults, $10 seniors (64+), $5 children (3-17), under 2 free

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