September 20, 2010

Sands Point Medieval Festival

Yesterday, I took a ride out to Sands Point Preserve in Port Washington to attend their annual Medieval Festival.

Sands Point is a 162-acre preserve that features two structures: the Castle Gould and the Hempstead House. Castle Gould is a beautiful limestone residence with an enchanting clock face built into its facade. Interestingly, Castle Gould was constructed to be the main home of the Goulds, however, upon its completion in 1904, Mrs. Gould decided that she didn't like the castle so the Hempstead House was erected. Castle Gould was relegated to being a stable and servants’ quarters. Today, it houses a museum that often showcases dinosaur and insect exhibits.

The Hempstead house is an opulent Tudor-style Manor that was completed in 1912. This massive structure has 3 floors, 40 rooms, and an 80-foot tower.

The grassy field that separates the two buildings made up the Medieval Festival grounds. As I strolled around, I was entertained by a labyrinth of puppetry theatres, archery competitions, wandering minstrels playing Renaissance songs on lutes and pipes, jesters juggling pins and spinning plates, jousting tournaments, fashion shows, Maypole dances, royal court proceedings, blacksmith shops displaying ornate swords and armor, dueling knights, and various crafters and merchants dealing floral garlands, pewter, jewelry, tapestries, and leather goods.

The preserve itself consists of several marked hiking trails spanning quite a few different types of habitats: forests, lawns, meadows and young woodlands, a freshwater pond, and a shoreline with high cliffs. The beach is beautiful with its wooden pylons jutting from the Long Island Sound. A very peaceful location, the vistas that it offers are very soothing to the spirit. The hiking trails already exude the feeling of a medieval forest; with stone bridges and unusual rock and tree formations, one half expects a procession of Lords & Ladies to ride out of the woods on horseback. I spent the entire afternoon at Sands Point Preserve, steeping myself in all things Renaissance, and enjoying every moment of the last weekend of Summer 2010.

Today, may your heart feel chivalrous and noble! Cheers!

"The Lord is my light and my salvation--
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life--
of whom shall I be afraid?"

~Psalm 27:1