On Shakespeare’s birthday, the houses that form the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust held various activities and special programs. We took the opportunity of a bright, clean, spring day — with sunshine, no less — to make the hop up to Strafford and one of my favorite places, Mary Arden’s Farm. When we last visited, the farm was being laid to rest — literally, there were corpses everywhere — and it was cheerful to return to spring lambs and fresh faces. Like these:
A large poster was near the entry, where visitors could leave their birthday greetings for the Bard, and grab a photo op.
We explored the spring-cleaned Palmer’s Farm house, one of two farm houses on the Mary Arden Farm complex.
A stroll through some farm buildings and gardens, to the Mary Arden farmhouse, where Shakespeare’s mother was born and lived as a child. Palmer’s Farm house (in the photos above) is a contemporary neighbor to the Arden Farm, but not where Shakespeare might have lived or visited as a child. The Birthplace Trust bought Palmer’s farm by accident, thinking it was the Arden home because of some ambiguity in the real estate records — lucky accident! Now both homes are beautiful, but the Palmer farm house is more accurate to the period. The red Tudor roses on signposts point out especially interesting sights around the farm complex.
Although I love the interiors of these Tudor farmhouses, the Farm also has a variety of healthy and very cute animals, all of which are close on hand for viewing, sometimes feeding, or for watching in awe (the birds of prey come to mind).
How lucky are we that we live close enough to visit Strafford several times a year?