When we heard that Neil Gaiman would be doing a convention-type thingy at the House on the Rock, one of our favorite roadside attractions, we decided we must attend. When we heard that there would be a costume contest, and the winners would get to Ride The Carousel, we decided we must try. It's been my dream since I first saw that huge, bizarre, magical thing to ride it.
Well, we didn't get to ride the carousel. ( The rest of the story, with pics if LJ and Flickr play nice. )
That, and the over-long ride home, were the only disappointments of the weekend. Even John leaving his laptop's power cord at home wasn't a disaster - we found a computer place that fixed us right up. I knew we'd be okay when I saw the license plate on the SUV out front.
Our room at the House on the Rock Resort turn out to be a 2 bedroom suite. We checked in, dropped the bags, and headed to the House on the Rock.
If you've never been there, I can't possibly describe it fully. The house itself is sort of a bachelor pad built in a Frank Lloyd Wright style via the Flintstones, and filled with stained glass and Tiffany lampshades and bizarre collectibles from around the world. But that's only one part. After this crazy visionary built his house (on land he didn't even own) he started building warehouses to hold his weird collections, which include 19th century automatons, more creepy dolls than you can count, an entire street of early American shops, Burma Shave signs, lighters, ceramic and porcelain knickknacks, a multi-story mini-carousel with even more creepy dolls, two Esmerelda fortune teller machines, and I'm only scratching the surface here.
Then there's the carousel.
Friday night was a reading/Q&A by Neil, and Saturday night was the costume contest and Banquet of the Gods. Saturday during the day was a scavenger hunt through the area, and here's where I really fell in love with the town of Spring Green. Everyone we met there, whether they were a part of the weekend's festivities or not, were unfailingly friendly, nice, helpful, and artsy. If it wasn't even colder than Cleveland in the winter, I'd move there tomorrow.
On Sunday morning, we had our signing with Neil. We got to the table, I told John to move in closer so I could get the picture of Neil signing for John. John doesn't take direction well, so it took a bit to get him where I wanted him, while Neil looked more an more exasperated. How exasperated? See for yourself.
Now, I'm pretty sure the way technology is working today that these pictures will not show up in this post. If not, you can see these and more (including our costumes and a video) at my Flickr page: www.flickr.com/photos/marence/sets/72157625291505488/
The weekend was magical, and I learned much:
- the new Challengers get 28 mpg with a V6, and have 260 hp standard
- it is possible to go south and north while traveling east
- Muscoda is the home of the Morel Mushroom festival
- Culver's Butterburgers are second only to In-N-Out (and not by much) as the best fast food ever
- in the Wyoming Valley, in the 1800s, blacks and whites farmed together
- Neil Gaiman's fans run the gamut from suburban families to old hippes to earnest students and everything in between
- Arena is the home of CoJack cheese
Finally, I have cheese curds in the fridge, and intend on deep frying some of them soon.