EARLEVILLE — Ashley Brown and her family usually come to the Mount Harmon Plantation for historical events, but on Saturday, her sons enjoyed a different side of the historic site.
“I think it may be a boy thing, but they love the re-enactors,” Brown said about her three sons Hunter, Davis and Wyatt. “But when we went on that wagon ride, it was great to see the lotus out there and milkweed.”
Wyatt’s favorite part of Mount Harmon was “the field of butterflies.” The wagon tour of the 200-acre plantation stopped by a field of milkweed where there were hundreds of butterflies floating on the soft breeze.
“They all really loved it, it was beautiful,” Brown said.
The Browns were among hundreds that attended the ninth annual Lotus Blossom Festival at Mount Harmon, a historic Colonial-era tobacco plantation that overlooks Back Creek, Foreman Creek and McGill Creek.
The event is a celebration of art and nature, explained Paige Howard, executive director of the Friends of Mount Harmon. The American lotus that are at their peak bloom in August served as ample inspiration for many artisans.
Artisans showcased paintings, jewelry, ceramics — all incorporating the historic charm of area in their work. For some like artist Mary Clark Confalone, Mount Harmon’s natural beauty was a fountain of inspiration for her paintings.
“We all want to paint a landscape, and don’t want to be a trespasser, and when you come down that long drive, you truly do get a sense of the history. Think about the horses and carriages that went down that path, or the barrels rolled to make that trail,” Confalone said. “It’s like a time machine.”
Visitors also toured the Manor House to see the rich furniture and artifacts, as well as interacting with some of the re-enactors.
“That was fun. I told them I was a time traveler, and that we won the war,” said Leah James, of Elkton. “They just laughed.”
People enjoyed walking down the tobacco fields and stopping in to see the newly-renovated slave quarters. Volunteers also had stoked a fire in the colonial kitchen all day, giving a visual demonstration of the efforts people went through to prepare meals.
But of course, the crown jewel of the festival itself was the American lotus. Scores of people waited for the wagon rides to loop around the plantation to see the flowers bloom on the water.
“It’s just something about them and the way they lay on the water and the colors,” James said. “They’re very beautiful.”