Over the past few years our nine-year-old grandson, Elijah, has been infatuated with the world of knights and castles. I bought him a wooden castle one year with the princess, the knights, the king and a horse or two. Then I found the mother lode of figures that you could pose into different stances. Over time we collected horses, men with crossbows, swords, and assortments of weapons and gear.
I also found a book on knights that explained all the weapons and how they worked. It showed the clothing that was worn and other details of the time period. That set off Elijah's imagination and he created his own games and role plays and would ask us all to participate.
Last year we had both grandsons for the weekend of their parents anniversary. Jim decided to take Elijah out on a hike as I stayed at home with Asher who was not feeling well. Jim came back just as excited as Elijah as he told me the story of their adventure.
They drove across the Hudson River down to Staatsburg, to Mills Mansion. They parked the car and walked down to the river and found the hiking trail that ran along the river bank. Almost immediately, Elijah went into stealth mode, hiding behind trees and using makeshift weapons to thrash his way through the dense forest. In the height of his role play, his grandfather pointed out that he had practically stepped on a snake that was sitting just off the path. That didn't stop Elijah. (Jim may have stopped him for slicing the snake to pieces, I am not sure.) He ran on ahead with Grandpa struggling to keep up. If people approached, Elijah would exclaim that the enemy was sighted and they must take cover. By this time, Grandpa was getting into character.
As ships went down the river, the two would launch the heavy artillery at them and wait to see if they sunk any of them. Then they turned a corner and Jim thought Elijah was going to pass out! A castle came into view on the other side of the river!
|Mount St. Alphonsus, Esopus, NY|
I thought it would be fun someday to take Elijah to that "castle" so he could see it up close and even walk through it. Maybe we can do that when they are in the area at Christmas time. We will have to see. For now, here are a few shots of the majestic building.
|Back side of the Mount|
The "castle" is actually Mount St. Alphonsus and I have hiked around it and through it ever since I worked in the Lutheran church and we held our planning retreats there.
If you are ever in the area, you will want to drive down the quiet driveway to the Mount and walk the grounds to the river or just meander through the beautiful building. There is a gift shop open several days during the week. It's a great place to retreat to for a quiet restoration of your soul. While this used to be a place to train new priests for the ministry, it is now open to those who find it. (And it's not hard to find!) In a later blog, I will have to share my experiences with several of the those student priests ;)! For now, I think I hear a little boy asking for a catapult for his birthday...