Monday, September 3, 2012

Guest Blogger- Evan: A Night At A Castle!!

File:Henderson Castle, Kalamazoo, Michigan.jpg

Hello again! I left you folks at my last blog, finishing up our day at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. (For those of you who haven't seen the last couple of blogs, this has been a long awaited train trip from Ann Arbor to Kalamazoo, and a visit to the museum.)

Nonna (grandma) Marcy made all the plans for a great adventure, including staying the night at a castle!! Too cool!

Nonna was told that if we called the castle at 4:00 p.m., someone would come pick us up from the museum. We waited a little while, and sure enough, a man pulled up in a Navigator to give us a ride. He spoke with a French accent, which I thought was really neat. I got really excited when I saw the castle. Nonna told me it was built as a private home, by Mr. Henderson in 1895. Wow! That's really old!  Now it's a "Bed and Breakfast", and an awesome old place!

Nonna signed in, and was surprised to find out that the man who picked us up from the museum was actually the owner! His name is Francois Moyet! (pronounced Frah-n-zwah) He's originally from Cognac, France!

We were assigned the "Victorian room", and went upstairs to unpack and rest a bit. The room had all sorts of cool old furniture, a closet with many drawers built in, and a fireplace!

After a little rest I wanted to go exploring! This place was too awesome!

The first floor had this fire place, a little sitting area, a nook of a room with a piano, a couple of big dinning rooms, a kitchen with butler's pantry, and another few rooms that were closed.

Going up the large staircase, there's this beautiful stained glass window at the landing! Too awesome!

We were in one of the bedrooms on the second floor. There's a smaller staircase that goes to the third floor. On this floor there is a huge ball room, a sauna and steam room, and an area for massage. and a big sitting area!

Then this place gets even more cool! You can take another stairway to the roof! The scenery is fantastic! You can see all of Kalamazoo- or it at least seemed like it! And there's an outdoor jacuzzi on the roof! Nonna Marcy and I felt sad that we didn't bring bathing suits. But Nonna said something that made me so happy. She said "Next time!"-- which means there will be a next time!!

We were really hungry. When we looked at the menu, it was one price for a three course meal. Nonna thought it might be a bit expensive, since I'm still a bit picky about what I eat. Franciois overheard us talking about this and told us kids meals are half off. So we made reservations to eat right there at the castle! Nonna saw Franciois in a chef's outfit! "Are you also the chef?!" she asked. Franciois smiled and said "Of course!" Wow! This man does all kinds of things!

As we went past a little nook of a room (just off the dinning room) that held a piano, Nonna Marcy noticed another instrument- one that looked like a violin, but a bit larger. Nonna said it was a viola- an instrument she use to play for years!

A young man named Josh greeted us and said he'd be our waiter for the evening. The meal was to be soup or salad, hard rolls, something called Chicken Marsala, and dessert. I wasn't sure about the mushroom sauce on the chicken, but Josh said the sauce could be put on the side, so that was o.k.

This is me in the dinning room- tired, hungry, but happy!

I asked for salad, but when it came it had more dressing on it then I like. (I didn't say much because I didn't want to seem like a picky kid)

Nonna Marcy noticed there was a lot more dressing on my salad than hers and asked Josh if we could possibly have another one with less dressing. (She asked nicely, of course)  Josh suggested the home made Tomato Basil soup instead. When it came, I carefully took a taste.  Nonna said my eyes got big- I've never tasted soup that good! Nonna took a taste, and said  it was delicious!

This picture doesn't show how pretty it was, and not how GREAT it tasted!

Our main meal came. The Chicken Marsala was on a bed of greens, along with cherry tomatoes, all home grown in their garden! Along with the chicken, there was sauteed cucumber! I had never had cooked cucumber, and neither had Nonna. It all was delicious!!

Then something unexpected happened. Josh came into the dinning room with the viola in his hand and announced he was going to play a few pieces of music for us! It was so special for Nonna, who loves music and misses playing the viola. The music was wonderful! I think I even saw Nonna Marcy wipe her eyes a couple of times! It made me happy that she had such a nice surprise, because she has made sure my trip was so special for me!

We finished the meal with a chocolate dessert that was so yummy!

We decided to explore outside while it was still light, then go back up to the roof to see the lights of Kalamazoo at night.

The outside has a wonderful wrap around porch with hanging flowers and little tables. The house is surrounded by statues, flower and vegetable gardens, and even a vineyard- all on this hill top.

There even is a place where weddings and ceremony's can be held.

We wandered through a flowered covered arch way to where the vegetable garden was. We saw a little pond with fish in it. Nonna took my picture, with me pointing at the fish. This is where the mystery starts.

Nonna looked at the picture and said something like- "What the heck!!" I looked at the picture, and felt a little nervous. We tried every way we could to figure out what happened in this picture.

Nonna took another right away, of just the fountain pond. It was normal. I thought it might be a ghost or two. I asked Nonna what she thought. She said that anything was possible. We still were looking for logical possibilities, but not the sunlight nor anything else seemed to have caused this.

We decided to show the owner- Franciois. When we found him, we asked if we could show him something. Without even blinking he said "You saw a ghost!" Nonna asked why he said that, and he said "Look across the street. There's a cemetery there. It's logical." And so it was. Being who Nonna is, she looked up "Ghosts at Henderson Castle" on the Internet. She likes to research stuff like this, which helped me not be freaked out.

There have been paranormal investigators look into this castle, and believe there are indeed ghosts here- one being a little girl. But they also report that there is nothing frightening, mean, or scary here. So- I guess they are friendly ghosts. Nonna said maybe  the little girl ghost was happy to see a kid there!

We went to the roof to see the lights- which were awesome!

Nonna and I talked for a long time about what happened in the garden. I told her I wanted to call it my "Sacred garden" I didn't feel frightened at all. So- maybe that little girl ghost just wanted to say hello. It is a mystery. Why me?

What do you think?

(From Marcy) I'm happy to report that in spite of both of us being a bit shocked by that photo- and what it implies, we decided it only enhanced the experience and made the adventure even more fun! We both slept happy and sound that night! Next time will be Evan's final blog on our adventure! Please check back with us!

Life is a wonderful adventure, even when mysterious mists are about!

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