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DNR Shines a Spotlight on Chapman State Park Volunteers

Antebellum Christmas at Mount Aventine
Chapman State Park
Dec. 14, 2008

Photo Collage of Antebellum Christmas at Chapman State Park

Click on Photo for Larger View

Report from Carol Ghebelian

The Cedar Lane was lit with lanterns on loan from Thomas Stone National Historic Site as our 182 guests approached the Park's manor house. They came for our Fifth Antebellum Christmas at Mount Aventine on Dec. 14, 2008. The house was decorated with greens and fresh fruit and a beautiful cedar tree donated by Elmer and Evelyn Biles. Candles and paper stars adorned the windows. Our Waynes (McBain and Ewen) cut and set up the tree, while volunteers added their beautiful popcorn and cranberry strands, handmade paper period decorations, and traditional candy canes.

During the open house Carrie Staples helped children and adults cut out and add an 1860-patterned ornament to the tree. Our St. Mary's County supporters, Faye Snyder and Lynn, resplendent in their costumes, again enchanted everyone with their display of Civil War period dolls and toys under the tree.

Now a Christmas ritual, The Handbell Choir of Good Samaritan Presbyterian Church, Waldorf, played seasonal music throughout the afternoon. We were delighted to be on the schedule for Charles County Tourism's first Holiday Trolley. About 12 people, most here for the first time, enjoyed Mount Aventine and our festivities before setting off for Smallwood 's Colonial Christmas and a Durham Church concert.

Twenty volunteers helped with activities. Bonnie Bick and Bruce Kirk led over a dozen early guests on the 12:30 Winter Nature Walk. Marian Jacques, Stan Stepura, and Oscar Ghebelian greeted guests at the gate and parking lot. Costumed docents at the door were Cora Fulton, Emily Mudd-Hendricks and Margaret Schmid. Elmer Biles told the poignant story of Longfellow's writing of the poem, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day", and connected the hardships of the Chapman Family during the Civil War to those of Longfellow at that time. Guests joined the handbells in singing the carol set to music by Caulkin and arranged by handbell director, Mark Howell.

Our refreshments, made by volunteers from 1840 recipes, were served by Mary Ann McBain and Lavinia Rollins. Irene Larson, Debbie Krahling, Amy Hunger, George Wilmot and Art Krueger helped wherever needed and mingled with the guests. Angela and Eric Partin replenished candles in the Cedar Lane lanterns. We were pleased to have DNR represented by Roberta Dorsch, our ever-present photographer, and Rangers Patrick Bright and Daniel from our manager's office. National Park Service Rangers Jay Moose and Michael Gregg also attended. Julie Graff again took care of our publicity road signs and Marian Jacques and Linda Redding delivered flyers. Volunteers who arranged for getting, installing and returning the pathway lanterns volunteers to Thomas Stone NHS were Mary Ann and Wayne McBain, Marian Jacques, Amy Hunger, and Wayne Ewen. They were under a tight time schedule as the lanterns were used the night before at the national park's open house! And many thanks to Rangers Scott Hill, Moose and Gregg for making the lanterns available for an added special touch to our day.

We ended 2008 on a high note with the continued dedication and generosity of each of you volunteers. It has been wonderful to add new members this year but we always need to continue to increase our forces. Our 2009 season opens on April 19th with members of the Wings Over Washington Kite Club coming for a kite festival.

To become a volunteer at Chapman State Park, Contact:

Carol Ghebelian - ghebelian @comcast.net or Patrick Bright - pjbright@dnr.state.md.us

DNR Volunteer Spotlight Archives