Falmouth’s Highfield Hall has repeated its wildly successful 2013 outdoor Falmouth fairy house exhibit. We were fortunate to have our five-year old granddaughter visiting on the day of the opening. As we followed the colorful map through the gardens Delaney was completely enchanted. When we returned to the Palmer House, we set about collecting items from our attics and basements. She and her mom set up the table in the cottage where they were staying and created a fairy house of their own. The following morning we placed the house in our gardens. Delaney had chosen the perfect spot. The previous day I had shown her some shamrocks at the foot of a tree that had grown from seed. I had told her that I had bought them for St Patrick’s Day.
As we carried the house into the garden she said, “I want the house to be with the St. Patrick plants. She placed the house among the plants and arranged other items around the upside down flowerpot house. She checked the house several times that day making slight changes. The following day, before we left for the airport, to meet her mom who had been working in Boston, she checked the fairy house one last time. She was delighted to tell me that she knew the fairies had been there during the night because the furniture in the house had been moved. During her visit with us there were many wonderful moments but that discovery has to be the high point of the visit.
The exhibit runs through July and August. Sally Mavor is the curator. She was inspired by an exhibit at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lime Connecticut. The houses were created by a number of artists. There were a few requirements for the fairy house creators. She said,” The houses could be etherial or grounded in reality; they could be ephemeral. I wanted people to understand that this was a happening, an experience, not a permanent exhibit and one that worked best as a collection of homes.”
The houses are all constructed of natural materials, found items and things found in nature. Mavor stressed that fairies do not like plastic. Another requirement was that the fairies not be at home. The goal of the exhibit is to spark the imagination. One of the things that I delighted in seeing is how much the grown-ups enjoyed experiencing the houses as much as the children. The adults notice the intricate detail and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into each structures.
Following the map and discovering the houses are almost as much fun as viewing them. They are sited among tree roots and nestled in the forks of trees or sheltered among rocks.
One local artist who created an entire ceramic fairy village that is on display is Tessa Morgan of the Flying Pig Pottery in Woods Hole. The floors of the cottages are wood and the ladders are made of vines. She was able to use a teapot that had a broken spout. Then she cut holes in some pots for windows and doors.
I recommend this exhibit to all of our guests this summer. Just to think, it is only a short stroll from the inn.
While all of the bedchambers at the Palmer House have their own romantic charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of exploring Cape Cod’s gardens, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs for a relaxing stay before and after your day.