We've been reading Shakespeare since the beginning of the school year. We began with Julius Caesar, then read Comedy of Errors. Next was Macbeth (and then we watched The Tragedy of Macbeth...with the older kids) and Taming of a Shrew (and then we watched Ten Things I Hate About You...with the older kids). We've been reading Hamlet this past month, which we'll follow up with something a little lighter before moving on to Romeo and Juliet or King Lear or something. It's been fun to read these plays out loud together, in a way that a novel doesn't really allow (though we also read novels aloud together), and explore Shakespeare's language (and all the phrases we still use today like "to send someone packing" and "to catch someone's drift").
As we've been approaching Halloween, the kids have wanted to read spooky plays. We tried Macbeth and that was a little spooky, with the witches and all their "double, double toil and trouble" speeches. But Hamlet—it just gets straight into being a ghost story from the get-go. And the descent into madness is much more...charming...than Macbeth's.
For example, the kids got a kick out of this exchange:
HAMLET: Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?
POLONIUS: By th’ mass and ’tis, like a camel indeed.
HAMLET: Methinks it is like a weasel.
POLONIUS: It is back’d like a weasel.
HAMLET: Or like a whale.
POLONIUS: Very like a whale.
I mean, Hamlet was going over the top at this point, but still. There have been some very funny passages. Miriam loves reading for Hamlet.
Anyway, Hamlet has been a wonderful read to get us ready for Halloween (not that Macbeth was bad; I'm sure that was also helpful).
One morning while we were talking about other spooky Halloween things we could do with corn maze tickets sitting around $15–20+ per person and haunted houses a little too enthusiastically scary for our crowd, I needed to find something that was both cheaper and tamer.
Doll's Head Trail fit the bill!
It was a bit of a drive (over in DeKalb county, nearer to the airport than to our house), but it was free and only mildly creepy (especially given the beautiful weather we had that day).
It was a little...sketchy...from the beginning, with a broken-down boardwalk and a hand-drawn sign directing us to a skinny dirt trail through the woods.
The story behind the South River Brick Company in DeKalb starts before the Civil War when Killis Brown, the son of a blacksmith and farmer from Entrenchment Creek, purchased Land Lots 49 and 50. Within Land Lot 50 was what would become Constitution Lakes. In 1867 Killis sold 101.25 acres to each of his children – his son Allen Brown bought his piece of the pie for $300, and it included this tract of land (the western half of Land Lot 50).In 1881 the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railroad purchased a right of way through a portion of Allen Brown’s estate. They built a railroad tract that still exists today – this line creates the eastern boundary of Constitution Lakes Park. The railroad was crucial to the development of the land – it was the railroad and the clay that attracted J.R. Knapp and S.F. Cain to this piece of DeKalb County in 1892. In that year the pair formed the South River Brick Company (Knapp was president) and purchased nearly 51 acres from Allen Brown for the purpose of creating a brick works. It was the excavation pits from this brick works that are now Constitution Lakes.
(We heard and saw the trains going by!)
Many of the exhibits were structured around a good pun, like this part that was "awash in guns" (funny because a wash is a dry creek bed, and the items came from floods). There were other funny themes, like the tire garden (where you could have a "wheely" good time...or something...I can't quite remember):