Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas at The Paine: Nutcracker in the Castle

My mother is 78.  The last year or so has not been heart-warming for her.  My father likes to leave the farm less and less.  My mother, although not an avid traveler, is a big fan of day-trips.  She like to go places and see things.  She talks about tucking away these special memories and taking them out to look at when she is alone.

Realizing this a couple years ago, I made her my frequent travel partner.  We have gone to watch the whistling tundra swans when 17 percent of the entire world's flock descended on the marsh outside Hortonville for a couple days.   We have picked cherries in Door County.  One of her favorite day excursions was to the Garden Door  in Door County, a beautiful little garden managed by the Master Gardener group there and filled with theme gardens, clematis, and flowering shrubs.

And then I fell.
Not only did my world shrink to the space of a bedroom; hers shrank to the size of the farm.  Those of you who have followed along, realize my recovery has not been quick.  Still, as Christmas approaches this year, I am still making strides.  In tight spaces and on uneven ground, my speed is still slow.    Less and less, though, do I realize I need to find a place to sit, now, for just a couple minutes or risk collapsing.  I can move quickly and assuredly on flat surfaces, even on a slope.  I can kick things or nudge them from behind, and lift my foot and apply pressure-- like, to the top of my shovel.  Activities like stairs and showering do not scare me.  I can sit for longer and longer periods, as in movies and road trips, without issues.  This stuff is all important and stuff we take for granted, until we can't.

So it was with great excitement for her when I suggested we visit The Paine, which is an hour away, but with Oshkosh's recently installed round-abouts (a total of 8! round trip to The Paine), it would be daunting for her.  As close as it is, she has never been there,

Also nice, as it makes it easy to share with all of you,The Paine has changed its indoor photo policy, at least for this event, which is taking place until January 5, 2015..

The entire display is The Paine is the Stahlbaum home where the Nutcracker Suite ballet takes place.  Each room depicts a part of the story with huge, antique-appearing books turned to a page and the room set for that activity.

The dinner party and opening of presents

Trumpets which are prominently displayed and have solos in various parts of the Suite.

The hall for the ballerinas of the Land of Far Away

My mother enjoyed seeing the rooms set up in the typical style of the period, each with a Christmas tree, as much as she enjoyed the theme decorations throughout.

There was even a theme alcove set up like a nutcracker wood working shop.

If you are looking for something to do over the holidays and have never been to The Paine, you might consider it a holiday destination.  Remember to come back in the warmer months for its gardens!

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