Hello to all. I hope you’re well. And I also hope to see you for this, our 20th Gathering!

BEFORE REGISTERING, PLEASE READ ON THROUGH

THANKS!

As has long been the case, the Gathering will officially run from 4:00 PM on Friday on through Sunday evening. This year, that’s October 28-30. However –  this year is perhaps a good time to think about coming a bit earlier. While we did have a Gathering last year, many regulars couldn’t make it. Our Gathering the year before had to be virtual and while it was the best we could manage that in 2020, it wasn’t the same as the real thing. Again, this is the 20th! Let that sink in a bit. There’ll be a lot going on at HGG20. So again, maybe come a little early if you can.

Some folks will definitely be doing so because they’ll be part of a little theatrical presentation called The Andy Wahlberg Show! It will celebrate 50 years since our very tall and talented friend discovered a harp guitar while visiting his grandmother in Los Angeles. It’s going to be a hoot, much like Andy himself.

The Gathering is not taking place in a hotel this year. I thought we should do something different from our usual corporate hotel setting. We’ll be at Silver Lake, a conference/retreat center/summer camp owned and run by the United Church Of Christ. It’s in Sharon, Connecticut.  I suppose we could say we’re having Harp Guitar Camp this year, except that we’ll be inside heated buildings and having our meals prepared for us. Silver Lake’s definitely not a hotel, but it’s really not much like camping either.

There are not a lot of private rooms. I recognize this might put some of you off but if that’s the case, you could book your lodging somewhere nearby and be at the Gathering only for the hours you want to be there. There is one motel (the Sharon Motor Lodge) that’s exactly 2 miles from Silver Lake, for example. If that or some other nearby lodging is what you’re going to utilize, I wouldn’t wait too long to make those arrangements because late October is prime leaf-peeping time in New England.

Back to Silver Lake: You can look at the layout on their website, linked above. There are a number of bedrooms that have 3 single beds in them. These are the cushiest rooms. However, they won’t be going to whomever gets there first; we’re going to prioritize them first for couples with specific needs and next for couples generally. After that point, if some of these rooms are still available, then we’ll open them up to two people who are okay with sharing a room. We can’t put just one person in these rooms. I will do my best to make things comfortable for folks but it will require a bit of flexibility on everyone’s part. 

There are a bunch of rooms that have multiple bunkbeds in them. Before you read the word “bunkbed” again let me say that if you’re in one of these rooms, yes, you’ll be sleeping in a bunkbed because that’s what’s there — BUT absolutely nobody will be in a top bunk unless that’s where they want to be!

What would make things considerably easier for me would be for those of you who’ve made good friends at the Gathering over the years to consider sharing one of the multi bunkbed rooms with those friends. Could 3 of you who are attending by yourselves share one of the multi-bunkbed rooms, for example? Could two of you couples share a room? If so, would you try to figure that out ahead of time? By which I mean: would you send an email to 1 or 2 of your friends and ask – hey, you going to the Gathering? Want to share a room? Then please let me know so I can keep track of things.

It’s possible that a few of the multi bunk rooms might wind up being available for just 1 person to use as a private room. I just won’t know until we get much closer to the date and I have a clearer idea how many people are attending.

Aside from a few of the multi bunk rooms which have a half-bath in them, there are a bunch of full bathrooms in various configurations that we’ll all be sharing. Nancy B suggested that maybe we should all view this as an excuse/opportunity to get ourselves some new pajamas. Ya know, you probably needed to do that anyway! A best pajamas contest perhaps?

To be clear, Nancy and I are not grabbing ourselves one of the cushier rooms. And even though our beautiful new home is just across the mountain from Silver Lake, Nancy and I are staying at Silver Lake so we can have the whole experience! Warning – you might well hear me snoring in my bunk (with my new pajamas on, mind you). Which reminds me: Nancy says we’ll provide earplugs for whomever might need them!

There aren’t televisions. There’s not wifi throughout, though it is accessible at 4 locations on site. Cell service isn’t the greatest. Don’t know about you but I look at my phone far too much anyway.

I’m having trouble creating the button link that allows you to select which nights you stay SO please simply select the number you need. That will be per person/per night. So a couple staying 1 night would pay for 2. But please send me an email  (theharpguitargathering@gmail.com) and tell me which nights you’re going to be here for and I’ll enter that info into my spreadsheet. Thanks!

We’ll be eating at Silver Lake and you’ll need meal tickets to do that. Buy the appropriate number you’ll need using the link below. Your tickets will be in your registration packet when you get here. When you figure out the number of  tickets you need, bear in mind that if you are arriving:

On Wednesday — Andy Wahlberg is doing a concert in Falls Village at 7:30. That’s 10 miles from Silver Lake (16 minutes). He’ll be at the Center on Main (103 Main Street in Falls Village). Your attendance is mandatory. Okay, not really, but you wouldn’t want to miss it, would you? Wednesday dinner at Silver Lake will be scheduled early enough so you can get to the show on time.

On Thursday evening — you’re invited to a party and Nancy’s and my home. A number of you made a little side trip to our place on Monday afternoon after the Gathering last year – and so you already know that it’s a great place to have a party. We hope to see a bunch more of you this year! We’re at 22 Old Route 7, just over Sharon Mountain. It’s about 1o miles (20 minutes) from there to our home. The party’s at 7 PM. Please do let me know if you’re coming!

I’m probably forgetting something but I’ll amend as that becomes apparent.

Best to all,

Stephen Bennett

 


If you’d like to save $10, use the PayPal links below to figure up what your total is, then write a check made out to The Harp Guitar Gathering for $10 less and mail it t0:

 The Harp Guitar Gathering – 22 Old Route 7, West Cornwall, CT 06796. 

Early Registration (ends September 30)

Additional Person (spouse, child or significant other)

Lodging (per person/per night)

Linens (per person)

Meal Tickets (per person)