“June is bustin’ out all over!” to steal a line from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel! And is June ever bustin’ out at Topsmead! The gardens are fairly leapin’ out of the ground, and the hay fields are reachin’ towards the sky to protect their bob-o-link family nests. And as we emerge from the tight restrictions of the pandemic, activities at Topsmead are rampin’ up.
A very special happening on Memorial Day Weekend provided the energy for June to begin bustin’ out. The Ballet Theatre Company from West Hartford was on the grounds at the back of the cottage and in the gardens as they filmed scenes for their rendition of the ballet Snow White. I found out that Topsmead is the perfect setting for a ballet production because Lucia Chase, Miss Edith’s first cousin, was not only a ballet dancer herself, but she also the founder of what came to be the American Ballet Theater.
The next infusion of energy came from a group of high school students who chose Topsmead as the setting to begin their prom evening, so grateful were they to be able to bust out of the pandemic’s cancellation of last year’s prom season. I was walking up the road to the cottage on a beautiful afternoon in early June and was met by the couples walking down from the cottage back toward the parking area. They were so elegantly happy in their gowns and tuxedos; some had even coordinated the colors of their formal attire.
People have also begun to take advantage of the half hour tours of Miss Edith’s Cotswald cottage that are on the second and fourth weekends of each month, June through October. First tour starts at noon and last tour at 4:30pm. A newly trained staff of docents, soon to be attired in sharp-looking, red polo shirts monogramed with their names and the Topsmead lion logo, is at the ready to introduce you to Miss Edith and her cottage. Please note that there are some restrictions in place because of Covid: tours only of the first floor, masks required, and group size limited to six.
For those who have already toured the cottage, if you look closely on the Friends of Topsmead website, you will see a few weekends throughout the summer when Jerry Geci, docent par excellence, will be giving special “Behind the Scenes” tours that are chock-a-block with fascinating tidbits about Miss Edith and life at Topsmead. Be sure to RSVP on the website for those tours. And keep checking the website for the “Lectures on the Lawn” series with its focus on local animal life as well as scheduled tours of the Songbird Trail.
All of these free and open-to-the-public activities are made possible by Friends of Topsmead volunteers working. So if Topsmead is helping you to bust out of the pandemic, why not go to the website and make a donation and/or join the Friends of Topsmead?
In closing and in the midst of all of this June energy, I took a moment to reflect on the the weekend trifecta of the Summer Solstice, Father’s Day, and the brand new federal holiday of Juneteenth, all three occurring on the same weekend and all three marking pauses, celebrations, and possible redirections in the forward momentum of nature and of humanity.