Recently, a friend and I were talking about ancestry -- mostly because she was amazed that my son of the freckles, pale skin and red curly hair has not a drop of Irish blood in him. If you're interested in the ancestry of your family the Orwigsburg Historical Society, 109 E. Mifflin Street is the perfect place to start. They're holding a free genealogy and property research workshop on Thursday, September 21 at 7 p.m. Come learn from Berks County recorder of deeds, Fred Sheeler. When the weather gets cooler (will it ever?) wandering around dusty records rooms and libraries could be a perfect hobby. And how cool would it be to 'unveil' the family history at Thanksgiving for all your loved ones?
With a tone normally reserved for funerals, my husband solemnly announced this morning that this Friday was the autumn equinox, first day of fall and (sad drumroll) the date when days start getting shorter and nights so much longer. Before you know it, each morning I'll awaken to a pitch black room and stumble around flipping light switches in an attempt to make waking up easier. Boo hoo.
But Jersey Farms and Stone Mountain Wine Cellars in Friedensburg isn't fighting autumn -- instead they're celebrating it! Join them on Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the vineyard. They'll be a tent but bring your chair -- and if this weather holds up your sunblock and hat. There will complimentary tastings and you can purchase bread, cheese and -- my favorite -- sangria. There will also be music from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Leighann & Company on Saturday and Diaspora on Sunday.
Want to re-discover America through a great book? Pick up Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods about the Appalachian Trail. (This author is amazing and I recommend ANY of his books.) But if you want to re-discover America by actually heading out into the woods here is a schedule of the next two weeks of Schuylkill County hikes. With this perfect autumn weather, you're only problem will be choosing which hikes to take!
Wednesday, September 20
Meet at visitor parking lot in Locust Lake State Park at 10:15 a.m. for an 8.5 mile hike rated difficult with Robin Tracey. The hike will include pine stands, Silver Creek Water Tower and Reservoir. Bring a lunch! Leashed dogs are welcome if they are friendly to both people AND other dogs. Contact Robin Tracey at 570-467-2506 or firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Saturday, September 23
Fall Bird Walk
Meet at Waterfall parking lot of Sweet Arrow Lake County Park at 9 a.m. for a walk through the park with Denise Donmoyer for beginning and experienced birdwatchers. Call 570-345-8952 for information.
Spirit Trail Walk
Meet a the upper beach parking lot of Tuscarora State Park at 11 a.m. for a 4.5 mile walk rated moderate. Join Pap Knauss in enjoying late summer wildflowers and several different habitats. Leashed dogs are welcome if they are friendly to both people AND other dogs. Contact Robin Tracey at 570-467-2506 or email@example.com for information.
Sunday, September 24
Bake Oven Knob & Baer's Rocks Walk
Meet off Route 309 on top of Blue Mountain on the Lehigh and Schuylkill County line. Follow the Appalachian Trail with Porcupine Pat for this 5 mile hike rated moderate.
Wednesday, September 27
Long Loop Hike
Meet at Crow Trail parking lot off Tuscarora Mountain Road at 10 a.m. for a 9 mile hike rated moderate. Bring a lunch! Leashed dogs are welcome if they are friendly to both people AND other dogs. Contact Robin Tracey at 570-467-2506 or firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Sunday, October 1
Walk in Penn's Woods
Meet at visitor's parking lot of Locust Lake State Park from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. led by Frank Snyder and Ben Vaupel. The walk is handicap accessible. contact Jerry Bowman at 570-294-1262 or email@example.com for information.
Saturday, October 7
Wolf Creek Falls Hike
Meet at west end of Wal-Mart parking lot in St. Clair at 10:30 a.m. for a 7 mile hike rated difficult. Bring a lunch! Leashed dogs are welcome if they are friendly to both people AND other dogs. Contact Robin Tracey at 570-467-2506 or firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Saturday, October 11
Swatara State Park Hike
Meet at Sand Siding Road off Route 443 in Suedberg at 10:30 a.m. for an 8 mile hike rated moderate. Don't miss out on Swatara Creek, the old steel bridge and Bordner Cabin. Bring a lunch! Leashed dogs are welcome if they are friendly to both people AND other dogs. Contact Robin Tracey at 570-467-2506 or email@example.com for information.
Need a little music in your life? The Zion Lutheran Church at Mauch Chunk and Greenwood Streets, Tamaqua is celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with a concert at 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 17. So if you need some spiritual inspiration my guess is this is the concert for you.
In another corner of the county, there's a totally different type of musical concert planned. The Schuylkill County Historical Society is hosting "Music, Memories and the Military" on Tuesday, September 19 in Pottsville. The evening begins at the Historical Society at 6 p.m. for a viewing of the new World War I exhibit (this year is the 100th anniversary of WWI). Then it's on to the Majestic Theatre at 7 p.m. for a pictorial history of the Third Brigade Band and a concert of WWI-era songs. All for free!
There are also several once-a-year special events coming up that you won't want to miss.
Thursday, September 21
13th Annual Hops, Vine and Dine at Barefield Recreational Complex from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are $25
Saturday, September 23
St. Ambrose Wine Festival at 302 Randel Street, Schuylkill Haven from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Funds benefit the Gabriel Chamber Ensemble, Gabriel Youth Orchestra and Child Development. Food from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Kick Up Your Heels VIII -- the Salvador Dali Event for the Walk-In Art Center from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person or $85 a the door and include cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, art and dancing. There's also an auction with FABULOUS prices... Penn State football tickets, art, jewelry, trips and more.
Thursday, September 28
Tamaqua Has Heart Auction & Gala on Thursday, September 28 at 24 West Broad Street (formerly Scheid's Store) at 6 p.m. to auction of those wild and crazy heart sculptures you've seen all around town this summer. Tickets range from $25 to $40 per person depending on how much of the night you choose: admission, entertainment, food & beverage and souvenir glass. You can also purchase an adorable "Tamaqua Has Heart" t-shirt for just $15.
Do you have a little one (or a big one who never quite grew up) who LOVES fire trucks? Well, all the county fire equipment is getting washed and polished for the big day! On Saturday, September 16, Schuylkill Haven will be hosting the closing of the 63rd Annual Schuylkill County Fireman's Association Convention -- a BIG parade beginning at 1 p.m. Don't miss it!
In an autumn mood yet? If not, you still have time to pick up a wooden Pumpkin blank at the Frackville Library ($10, or $5 for students and those 65+). Decorate it and return to the library by Saturday, Sept. 16 to be displayed and judged at Frackville's annual Pumpkin Festival on October 7.
Children ages 4 to 12 are invited to the library to decorate a foam pumpkin for the pumpkin parade that starts the Pumpkin Festival. Check out the library's Facebook page for times for your child's age group.
Do you prefer pen and paper or glue and glitter? Then why not write a Pumpkin Limerick (squeaky clean, of course). Send it to Frackville Business and Professional Association, PO Box 9, Frackville PA 17931 by September 27. There will be three winners and limericks will be read throughout the Pumpkin Festival.
Two great plays are coming up in the county. First, Arsenic and Old Lace a tale of murder, marriage and lots of laughs. This hilarious tale will be at the Tamaqua Community Art Center on September 15 and 16 at 7 p.m. along with a matinee on the 16th at 2 p.m. Tickets are just $12, $10 for students and seniors. You can order tickets online here.
If you want another marriage with crazy antics, catch Take a Number, Darling at the Strawberry Playhouse in Tuscarora at 7 p.m. on September 22, 23, 29 and 30 along with 2 p.m. on September 24 and October 1. Tickets are $14, just $12 for students and seniors.
If you're looking for something for the kids, why not stop by the beautiful Majestic Theatre in Pottsville for FREE Movies at the Majestic on Saturday, September 16 at 7 p.m. This month's movie is the 2016 version of Disney's Jungle Book -- the live action version.
More interested in being in front of the spotlight? Why not stop by Strawberry Playhouse Auditions on September 25, 26 and 27 at 6:30 p.m. They'll be casting for A Christmas Carol. There will also be signups for Poe Readings at the Yuengling Mansion this October.
The parents -- both retired -- seem to be busier now than when they were working. This week they're off on a bus trip to Michigan but more often it's a local concert, volunteer project or visit to an old friend. If you are 50+ and looking for a fun activity don't miss the fall catalog for Diakon Living & Learning. They often a wide variety of classes, workshops, events, trips and groups that meet regularly to learn new skills or polish old ones. I notice that, compliments of Diakon, Elvis is coming to the Tremont Center tomorrow -- lunch from 11:30 to 12:15 and entertainment from 12:30 to 1:30 . But you can also join in classes on yoga, scuba diving, weight loss, painting, Spanish and more. Visit their fall catalog here.
Rep. Mike Tobash is holding a Senior Expo for those 55 and older on Friday, September 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hose, Hook & Ladder Fire Company in Pine Grove. Over 50 vendors will be participating. There will also be a drug drop-off for unneeded or outdated drugs and a seminar on Senior Crime Prevention. Admission and lunch are FREE. Caregivers are also welcome to accompany seniors who need a little help.
Need a little guidance with senior issues? Ridgeview Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center (200 Pennsylvania Avenue, Shenandoah) is holding a Senior Series this fall. This month is Understanding Medicare on Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 1 pm. and Adnace Directives and Long-term-care Planning on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m.
This weekend, the Schuylkill County Quilters Guild will be having their annual Quilt Show at the Walk In Art Center. Judging by last year this is an event not to be missed! What could be better than something that both keeps you warm on cold winter's nights and is a piece of art? Stop by the Walk In on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. In addition to viewing these amazing works of art you can watch quilting demonstrations, purchase handmade creations and win door prizes. Lunch will also be available at -- you won't be able to resist this -- the Quilt Cafe. Admission is just $5.
If you get bitten by the quilting bug, the Quilters Guild and the Walk In Art Center can both help you. The Minersville Crafty Quilters meet each Wednesday at 6 p.m. at St. Michael the Archangel Parish Center (across Sunbury Street from the church), Minersville -- use the Lewis Street entrance (there's also a parking lot at the Lewis Street entrance). You must be 18 years or older and beginners are welcome. The Crafty Quilters are happy to share their knowledge.
You can also sign up for two upcoming quilting classes at the Walk In. Picture Your Art Quilt will take a piece of art you make and transform it into a quilt. The class is on Saturday, October 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and cost $20. You'll need a few supplies. Check out the class page here.
Quilting Workshop consists of two classes. Quilting 101 takes place on Thursday, October 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 9 Patch and Half Square Triangles takes place on Thursday, November 2 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Again, you'll need supplies so check out the class page here. Cost is $50 for both classes.
Does quilting seem a little too...large? Why not start with something a little more manageable -- knitting and crocheting. The Walk In has a knitting circle each Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Bring your needles and yarn and enjoy some companionship while you work on your new skill. Knitters of all skill levels are welcome. On the other end of the county, the Frackville Free Public Library has a knitting and crocheting circle on Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.