Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to the Fort Niagara historic site and stay in the French Castle. There were 12 or 14 of us, a couple coming and going at times throughout the weekend. The weather was pretty brutal. I don't know how cold it got, but the wind was intense and the snow came through the window casings in tiny flecks. The second night we figured a way to sew tabs to wool blankets and close them in the windows. It really kept the drafts down but darkened the hall we were staying in considerably.
One of the beautiful things about the French Castle besides its fantastic history and fantasmic ghost stories, is the incredible ironwork. Throughout the castle are original and reproduction hinges, and other ironwork that is just gorgeous.
The nights were pretty cold, but gathering around the fire at one end of the hall, passing around the hot soapstone, and bundling up in wool clothes and wool blankets kept us all warm and cozy. We talked til late in the night; laughing and mulling over the mysteries of life, aspects of re-enacting, politics, religion and all the other topics you mustn't discuss in polite company. Methinks it was the lack of polite company that made our fellowship so enriching! (JK!)
Perhaps one of the greatest joys of reenacting are the quiet unexpected simplicities of the site... a campfire, a field, a stand of woods, an old farmhouse or fort, a lake, a cornfield, a hilltop, a museum, a full moon. Some of my favorite places blend in with some of my favorite people.
So, here's to the new friends from Fort Niagara, and to the old reenacting friends who remain special and loved; those memories a shared joy for the rest of time.