For a few years now, Christopher has been wanting to take the kids to the Roseneath Carousel. I have never flat out said no, but it seemed like a long drive for "just a merry go round". I came up with every reason why we should not go. Last night Christopher announced that if we did not do something this week-end he would loose his mind. I recognised that crazy look in his eyes, that look I often get in the winter, cabin fever. I suggested we drive to Roseneath to see the carousel. He gave me a funny look, "But you never want to go there when I have suggested it". "Well I'm suggesting it now, do you want to go?"
This morning after we had been up for a little while, Rowan asked if we could do something fun today. We told him "yes". We loaded up three of our four children (Grace is away at my cousin's in Sudbury), and headed for Roseneath. The drive was breath-takingly beautiful. The hills rolled into each other in a blanket of green. The colours all seemed brighter than normal. In the back seat the kids kept yelling up "Give us hint, what's our surprise?" In the end I threw them a bone and told them that the surprise was in Roseneath. They were no farther ahead, but I had the joy of tormenting them.
When we pulled into Roseneath, the building that housed the carousel was deceptively unassuming. I even argued with Christopher that this couldn't be the right place. He gave me that look that one might give to a simpleton (I'm pretty sure that is not politically correct), and just kept right on driving. We parked and got out, although I was practising my version of "I told you so" in my head. It turns out my husband was correct, we were in the right place, it pained me to admit it. He was classy enough to not tell me "I told you so!"
When we got out of the car the kids practically danced up to the building. The carousel was Elly's favourite ride at Disney World. We walked up to the unassumingly bland building. As we got closer we could hear the old fashioned bright cheerful carousel's siren song. We paid $3.00 each, and walked through. It was almost like entering a time portal, and being transported back into the 1930's. For some reason I felt myself tearing up because of the beauty of it. Each horse had been lovingly restored. It was absolutely magical. The music blared right into my bones, beckoning me to jump onto one of those beautiful horses. The kids excitedly pulled us to the horse that they wanted to ride.
Riley and Elly picked gorgeous horses, while Rowan decided upon a row boat. Normally when you go on a carousel there is a bench that simply goes around in a circle, it does nothing. I thought poor Rowan had chosen poorly. Riley changed her mind about her white stallion, and decided to join Rowan in the row boat. Big mistake I thought to myself. To my and to their amazement the row boat went went up and down, like a real row boat. Their little faces beamed with delight. Being the pillar of emotional strength that I am, I began to tear up. Christopher saw me and laughed at me. I think that in reality he likes that I love our children to the depth that I tear up out of love. I just feel overwhelmed by my love, and by my own joy.
Normally when you go on a ride it takes longer to wait in line than it does to enjoy your ride, this was not the case this time. The ride length was extremely generous. When we got off, Riley was bouncing. "That was AWESOME!!!!!!" "That was such a great surprise, thank you, thank you, thank you!" Rowan looked a little green in the gills. "Do you want to ride again?" I asked. Riley and Elly were jumping up and down "YES, YES, YES!" Rowan decided that he would sit this one out.
After we had been lined up, Rowan peeked through the doors and decided that maybe he would like to take another spin. The three of them piled into a boat, smiles so wide upon their little faces.
The carousel is one of only 4 of it's kind in all of North America. It was made in Abilene, Kansas and found it's way to Mohawk Park in Brantford, Ontario. From there it was purchased by the Roseneath Agricultural Society in 1932 for $675.00. It has 40 basswood horses and two boats. The music is produced by a 1934 Wurlitzer 125 Military Band Organ with paper rolls. In 1986 the ride no longer was in line with Ontario's safety standards. Most places would just roll over, sell the antique pieces to private collectors or to museums and pocket a nice profit. Thankfully for us, they did not do this. A group of dedicated, amazing volunteers raised $400, 000 through fundraising to restore this treasure to it's former glory.
In the end, I admit it, I was wrong (you might want to write that down somewhere, because you may never see me say that again), it was worth the hour and a bit drive to Roseneath to ride the carousel. I realize it is akin to saying "it's not really worth the one hour drive to travel back in time and see something that very few people have the privilege of seeing." It was an inexpensive afternoon that was priceless for the looks on my children's little innocent faces. As we drove away the kids all asked if we could come back again this summer.
I have to tell you that it is worth your drive to go to lovely little Roseneath. It is a beautiful area in and of itself, but honestly the carousel is something you owe it to yourself to see. You can feel the love for it from the volunteers. You can feel the love emitting from the building itself.
The Roseneath Carousel is open on Sunday afternoons 1 - 3, from Victoria Day week-end until Thanksgiving week-end.