Need a fresh idea for a kid-friendly summer road trip? One that doesn't involve killer whales with killer admission fees? Consider Lily Dale, an hour south of Buffalo.
Sure, we got charming Victorian villages that aren't two hours away. But none of them are home to the world's largest center for the religion of Spiritualism.
Learn about Spiritualism by attending a public message service in Leolyn Woods, a rare old growth forest. My 12-year-old son watched with fascination as mediums received messages from visitors' deceased loved ones. He was visibly relieved when grandma didn't weigh in on the issue of whether he'd passed his math final.
Take it from my husband, you don't have to be a believer to enjoy Lily Dale. Everyone loves nature trails, right? They have one upgraded with a fairy village. Can't see that at Mendon Ponds. There's also a swimming beach that stays open all summer.
My son commented, "I liked how there wasn't much industrial stuff. And I liked the souvenirs, too." He bought Scrooge's spirit-cotton fluff in a jar --- complete with death certificate --- for $3. He really wanted Richard Nixon's spirit, but I had to throw down on that one.
Lily Dale's 2005 season runs through September 4 with daily events scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Gate fee, including daily events and parking, is $10 for adults, ages 17 and under free. For info, including a list of registered mediums, events and workshops, go to www.lilydaleassembly.com or call 716-595-8721.
--- Linda Kostin (www.junkstorecowgirl.com)
Aladdin Wed, July 13. Emerson Park, Owasco, 2 p.m. Free. www.merry-go-round.com
American Red Cross Babysitters Training Mon, July 11. Henrietta Public Library, 445 Calkins Rd, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. $30. 359-7092
Brighton Memorial Library story times: Mondays 10 a.m. (ages 3-4), 10:30 a.m. (ages 1-2.5); Thursdays 7 p.m. (families) | Thurs, July 7, Airplay, juggling, 10:30 a.m. | 2300 Elmwood Avenue. 784-5300, www.brightonlibrary.org
Family Summer Concert Series Sun, July 10. Joe Caruso Band, Total Sports Experience, 880 Elmgrove Rd, Gates, 6:30 p.m. Free. 247-6100 ext. 235
Freestyle Battle Auditions Thurs-Fri, July 14-15. ages 14-18, for Main Game Blazing Free Style Battle, Thurs: Humboldt Rec Center, 1045 Atlantic Ave, 6-8 p.m.; Fri: In-Control Center, 470 W Main St, 6-8 p.m. 428-6755, email@example.com
Henrietta Public Library Airplay Wed, July 6, family bingo, 7-8 p.m. | Wednesdays, toddler storytimes, 10:30 a.m. | Mondays, family pajama storytime, 7-7:30 p.m. | Tuesdays, jumbles, grades 1-3, 10:30-11:30 a.m. | Fridays, movies, 2 p.m. | Wed, July 13, juggling workshop, ages 10 and up, 2-3 p.m. | 455 Calkins Rd. 359-7092
Magic Show Wed, July 6. Arnett Branch Library, 310 Arnett Blvd, 2 p.m. 428-8214
Seneca Park Zoo Fri-Sat, July 9-10, family bunk with the beasts, 5:30 p.m.-9 a.m. $15-$25. Pre-register. | Wed, July 13, family fun night, Native America, 6-8 p.m. $8.75. Pre-register. | 2222 St Paul St, 336-7213, www.senecazoo.org
Sonnenberg Mansion & Gardens Story Time Sundays. 151 Charlotte St, Canandaigua, 2 p.m. Free with admission. 394-4922
Summer Food Program through Aug 26. Breakfast and lunch served to people 18 years and younger, at sites throughout Rochester. Free. 428-6896, 325-1440
Summer Fun for Kids Open House Sat, July 9. 630 Crowley Rd, Farmington, 4 p.m. 398-0220
Summer History Read Wednesdays. Grades 4-5, Ontario County Historical Museum, 55 N Main St, Canandaigua, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. 394-4975S
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen. --- Hebrews 11:1
I once took a group to a ropes course. My co-leader, a woman deathly afraid of heights, made her way step-by-agonizing-step along narrow cables and swinging ropes 30 feet above the ground until she found herself on a small platform looking out over a vast expanse to a trapeze bar well out of her reach. Our goal that day was to find our personal limit... and then take just one more step. But Karen's finish line required so much more than she had already given of herself. We all stopped wherever we were on the course and focused on her, with her toes dangling out into space and her eyes locked reluctantly on that goal, so far beyond her...
Our whole group saw and believed when Karen suddenly threw herself into the air toward things hoped for but previously unseen. That day, fear was betrayed as nothing more than a temporary nuisance.
Our imperfect religions often seem intent on stoking fear, while genuine faith liberates us from our own shortsighted self-limitations. Even as faith comforts, at its best it calls us out of our comfort zone. A healthy, challenging faith is one of the most powerful and lasting gifts you can give your children, carrying them to the very limit of all they can do, believe and become --- a blessed point where one more step shatters barriers and opens new possibilities.
--- Rev. Corey Keyes