A stroll through magical fairyland
15.04.2013 82 °F
When we first moved to Arizona, I spent some time looking at what there is to do in this sleepy, dusty town. I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of fun and interesting events and places to visit nearby. One place that piqued my interest was The Valley of the Moon. It is called a "whimsical fairy-tale garden," a corner of the world for childlike fantasy and wonder to revive and thrive.
It is on the National Register of Historical Places under two criteria: It is "a unique expression" of the Modern Spiritualism movement of the early twentieth century, and it is particularly notable for its fairy tale motifs. It was built when "fairies" were being photographed in England, and fairy tale culture flourished. Kind of like Vampires and Zombies these days. The second qualifying trait of The Valley of the Moon is, according to the National Register of Historical Places, "distinctive characteristics of a type, romantic folly and a unique example of “Storybook” garden architecture."
Fun! I thought to myself. Whimsical and fantastical! I decided to take The Kid. I called them up and got a message. The message said to leave a message and someone would call when they got a chance. Turns out, this childhood fantasy land is run completely by volunteers and not open all that often. Makes sense. I didn't call back and it went to the back of my mind.
Then last week I saw that The Valley of the Moon is conducting one of its twice a year fundraisers. Starting at 6:30 p.m. for three nights in a row on two weekends in a row, you can come and take a tour led by the volunteers through the "crossroads." The Crossroads is where all the gateways to all the fantasy lands meet...Narnia, Middle Earth, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Wonderland, Oz, etc. And, Sunday was Food Bank Day. Half off admission with two cans of food.
We decided to go.
The Valley of the Moon is tucked away in a residential area. It seemed like we couldn't possibly be in the right place. But when we reached the gates and saw The Green Man dressed like a tree and strumming his guitar, we knew we had arrived.
We sang songs with The Green Man until Sam, the Daughter of The Gatekeeper, came to tell us the news that her father had been kidnapped by Zogog, The Evil One and all the worlds are in danger! She led us through the gardens and all the gates and the well-mown lawn which was The Void. We met Legolas, Hermione, Oz the Great and Powerful, the Mad Hatter and The White Queen along the way.
There was a final battle in which all the warriors teamed up to defeat The Evil One and save the Crossroads. One little girl, she was probably three years old, yelled, "Kick him in the face!" Funny. One little girl, she was probably one and a half, cried. Not as funny. But a little.
As we were leaving, the volunteers informed us that they are open the first Saturday of every month, twice a year for the big fundraiser, and available for private events.
The Kid said, "That was so awesome. I'm totally coming back every first Saturday of the month!"
Success. Childlike whimsy and fantasy are alive and well.