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Stan Hywet season emphasizing nature

3/28/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Designer Winnie Leenaarts, of Savoir Faire, created this arrangement for last year’s Inspiration in Bloom exhibit at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens.
Photo: Dale Dong
New to Stan Hywet this season is Garden Under Glass: A Lush Tropical Oasis, a permanent exhibit in the Corbin Conservatory.
Photo courtesy of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
WEST AKRON — Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens will open its gates for a new season April 2, with an emphasis on nature and its surroundings and how the Seiberling family made that part of their life.

“A Passion for the Land” is the theme for events this season at the estate of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. founder F.A. Seiberling, 714 N. Portage Path.

“The idea is that they were very interested in health and fitness,” said Communications Manager Donna Spiegler.

That is brought out in the Manor House through Inside Out, Outside In: Health, Fitness and the Bounty of the Land, an exhibit that highlights popular sports of the 1920s that were enjoyed on the estate, such as swimming, golf, ice skating and tennis.

Interactive stations augment many of the displays. For instance, Spiegler said guests can touch the swimsuit fabric of the era (wool) and compare it with modern-day swimsuit textiles. Early 20th-century ice skates, tennis rackets, golf clubs and horseback riding equipment also will be on display, along with histories of the activities and information on how the Seiberlings participated in them.

Also, in the Manor House’s Music Room, visitors can see the return of the expansive “Tree of Life” rug that has been in storage the past few years.

The rug, which measures 18 feet by 32 feet, was custom-made for the room in India and cost $8,400 in 1915, Spiegler said. It took 10 people to help roll in and position the rug because of its size, she noted.

The rest of the year will feature several exhibits that focus on the estate’s theme, as well as the summer return of the outdoor butterfly exhibit.

The first major event to take place at the estate is Inspiration in Bloom April 5-7, which will feature a showcase of fresh flowers and plants throughout the Manor House, created and arranged by local floral designers and garden clubs. Designers use elements of the Manor House collection as a guide to their creations at this annual event, which also takes place in the fall.

As part of that, guest designer Kevin Robison, who has decorated at the White House, will demonstrate the art of flower arranging at a tea April 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event also includes a tour of the Manor House for $35 per person or $28 for members. Reservations are required, and tickets may be purchased at www.stanhywet.org or by calling 330-315-3287. 

As part of the Nooks and Crannies tour, which showcases little seen areas of the Manor House, visitors this season can see the newly installed bed hangings in the Cromwell Room. The reproductions of the original 17th-century linens that framed the bed in the room were painstakingly made by the 30 members of the Stan Hywet Needlework Guild, a project that Spiegler said took 10 years and more than 5,000 hours.

Also new this season, visitors can experience Garden Under Glass: A Lush Tropical Oasis, a new permanent exhibit in the Corbin Conservatory. Here, Stan Hywet’s horticulture team transformed the setting into a restorative and relaxing environment with a variety of palms, bromeliads and other plants, complete with a sandstone waterfall and low stone walls that curve throughout the space.

“This is a really different feel,” Spiegler said of the space, which previously was the site of butterfly and citrus plant exhibits.

The lobby area outside the exhibit will house a miniature garden display that uses felled trees from the property, with kits and plants for sale for visitors to use at home, Spiegler said.

Coming later in the season is At Home with Nature: A Giant Habitat Experience. Starting in May, the interactive installations built by Stan Hywet staff on a colossal scale will allow children and adults to walk inside, outside, up, down and all around a giant bird’s nest, huge spider web, critters’ hollow and massive bee hive.

Also, Beauty in Flight: Butterflies of North America, presented by The J.M. Smucker Co., opens for a second season in late June adjacent to the Corbin Conservatory, and will feature butterflies native to Ohio. Educational exhibits and activities are back to teach guests of all ages about the butterfly life cycle and why butterflies are important to the environment. It will be open through September.

Although Stan Hywet officially opens April 2, the gates will open March 30 for the site’s annual Easter events. Advanced tickets are still available for the Easter Egg Hunt, which begins at 10 a.m.

For more information, go to the website or call 330-315-3287.

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