At Home in the Woods

 

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Yesterday we ventured off as a family to our favorite nearby park, Vaughan Woods State Park in South Berwick, Maine. We have visited this park so many times that it almost feels like home. Sometimes we take long, meandering hikes through the woods and along the river. Sometimes we get 300 feet down the first trail and stop to build a fairy house, spending hours searching for perfect stones and acorn caps. Often we make the muddy trek up to Hamilton House to enjoy the GORGEOUS gardens, sensational views and multitude of idyllic picnic spots. Down on a grassy bank of the river, one can also find a perfect site for skipping stones and wading in the cool water. This is just one tiny beautiful piece of our world but the familiarity of it makes it extra special.

I grew up in a woodsy neighborhood, playing sardines*, endless capture the flag and  pretend army missions and of course building awe-inspiring forts that we would of course have to live in if a meteor ever struck the neighborhood and we were all rendered homeless. No perfect childhood is complete without lots and lots of forest and free play. Our property boasts just four trees, five if you count the tiny peach tree that we planted three years ago. So we have adopted Vaughan Woods as our woods-away-from-home and we can’t wait to return soon!

*Ever played Sardines? In my experience, most have not so here’s the 411: Sardines is basically reverse Hide and Seek. In a group of people, preferrably with lots of space to roam, one person is chosen to hide while the rest become seekers. Usually you will need to count well past 10, 30-60 seconds is best. When a seeker finds the hider, that seeker then becomes a hider and joins the original hider in their secret spot. One by one, the hiding crowd gets larger until only one seeker remains. When that person finally finds the group, they become the next hider! Ideal hiding spots become secluded spaces that are quite spacious like a ditch or the hollow of a large tree. Play it with your kids in the woods today!

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