Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Shangri-La

It ain't just a place in a book. In fact, it is in Prospect Hill about 15 minutes outside of Hillsborough down 86. You didn't know that?! Neither did I until quite recently. And I have driven by this place countless times.

On the side of 86, right next door to the Prospect Hill Volunteer Fire Department, is a man's work of passion. Starting in 1968 a retired Tobacco Farmer named Henry Warren embraced a new hobby: building miniature stone houses. Using salvaged materials (like old sewing machines and door knobs), white quartz, bricks, and cement, Warren created an entire miniature world.

This is completely free to get in, by the way. It is just in someone's yard on the side of 86. Which means it was a little awkward traipsing around someone's private property, but I have read that they really don't care. Their goal is to continue to share Warren's art. And no one bothered us.

C had a blast here (actually threw a bit of a tantrum when we got back in the car to leave). I could have stayed longer too. It was a beautiful day and the details on these buildings deserve lingering.

I include a picture here with him in it so you can get a sense of scale. It is toddler perfect in size. Older kids will probably appreciate the detail and identifying buildings. Apparently there are many different buildings: jail, farmhouse, inn, motel, school, theater, church, fire station, bank, outhouse, doghouse, dance hall, mill, and more like an ABC Store and Watergate hotel.

I didn't do a good job figuring it all out, but I did appreciate both the oddity, beauty, and art of this.

This could be a bit of a drive for you: about 15-20 minutes from downtown Hillsborough. But it is through some gorgeous countryside.

Henry Warren spent all of his free time until his death in 1977 on his Shangri-La. Makes me question what I do in my free time....blog??

Shangri-La Stone Village Highway 86 (3 miles south of the intersection with Route 119) - Look for the Prospect Hill Volunteer Fire Department
Prospect Hill

No website, no hours, no fees. Just show up and enjoy.

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