Bright autumn weekends in North Carroll are a collage of color and scent: hot cider with cinnamon; well-seasoned hardwoods aflame; maple trees rushing to saturate the woodland with reds and gold.
Take a tour and visit two local craft-lovers' highlights. Sunswept Meadows flower farm and Springhouse Crafts will be open for the next several weekends.
You'll discover crafts for sale at reasonable prices.
Plan to browse in a neighborly way, enjoying free refreshments and friendly assistance.
Amid acres of flowers and family pets, the barn at Sunswept Meadows will welcome visitors with cider or tea around a wood stove. You'll find the barn behind 7 acres of flowers and the family pets, which include 10 cats, two horses and three dogs.
Proprietor Linda Shipley is well-known for her wreaths of flowers by the hundred, each plucked at its peak and dried to hold its brilliant color. The Shipley barn will be filled with bunches of dried flowers and herbs to purchase.
For sale, too, will be many kinds of dried flower and herb crafts by local crafts people, including wreaths, flower arrangements and herb braids.
Sunswept Meadows is at 4322 Millers Station Road, about half-a-mile beyond the four-way stop in Millers. Turn in at the gravel driveway opposite Carroll View Care Home.
Sunswept Meadows will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays from Saturday through Nov. 12.
Information: Linda Shipley, 374-4758.
To create Springhouse Crafts, co-owners Patty Knott and Sylvia Pumputis combined their creative talents with those of many friends. A small, seasonal craft store is what they decided would suit.
As you enter, camel bells ring upon the door. A Christmas tree with crocheted snowflakes is a reminder for the holidays ahead. The crafts here are varied, from home accessories to wearables, decorations to holiday gifts, bears and dolls to jewelry, silk florals, ceramics, herbal crafts and folk art.
The name comes from the flowing spring that fills a stone trough inside the shop.
To find Springhouse Crafts, at 4932 Stoney Lane: From Route 30 north, turn right on Tracey Mill Road and travel 1.6 miles, then turn left on Stoney Lane.
Springhouse Crafts is in a springhouse, a green-roofed gray outbuilding at the second farm on the left.
Springhouse Crafts is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Information: Patty Knott, 374-5378.
Hold a public Halloween party for Hampstead, and you'll start counting children -- by the hundred.
Last year's Lions Club Halloween Party, organized by the Rev. John Smaligo, was a tight fit in the cafeteria at Spring Garden Elementary School. There are, it seems, an incredible number of local children who enjoy the costumes and treats of Halloween.
This year, the Community Halloween Party moves to North Carroll High School, where it will begin at 7 p.m. Oct. 28 in the auditorium.
Magician Roger Lindsay will highlight a menu of children's entertainment. Prizes will be given, raffle-style, by drawing colors and numbers to ensure that every age group receives prizes regardless of costume.
This year's party is also geared toward a younger age group. Invited are children in third grade and younger, from the Hampstead community. Parents may accompany their children.
The Community Halloween Party is sponsored by the Hampstead Lions Club and is free.
Information: Mr. Smaligo, 374-2819.
The source of the Piney Run, we've been told, is in the pond and stream running through the Roberts Field development. To ensure the Piney Run is preserved, Mary B. Gaines of Reisterstown, and others like her, have joined the Piney Run Preservation Association.
Tonight, during The Fields Homeowners Association monthly meeting, Mrs. Gaines will offer details of the preservation efforts and how homeowners in the development can help.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Hampstead Town Office, 1034 S. Carroll St.
3' Information: Mary Landon, 239-1977.