Travel Thursday: Crystal magic

See that glowing red ball? The Simon Pearce artisan is blowing through the pipe to create a vase, like the one on the shelf nearby.

First, happy Thanksgiving! Even if the pandemic has kept us from being with the crowds of people who love to celebrate with, I hope your day is one of gratitude and love. I know mine is.

I’m thankful for you, glad you take a moment now and then to stop by here.

On Thursdays, I’ve been posting information about some of the places that inspired my about-to-be-released book, INN BY THE LAKE. Much of my fiction has been inspired by the research I did for the Maryland-Delaware guides I used to write for Frommer’s. My love for Western Maryland certainly led me to write my sweet romance about an innkeeper’s son, a real estate lawyer and the inn that brings them together and then drives them apart.

Though it gets only a single mention in my book, one of the places in Garrett County I never miss on a visit is the Simon Pearce Glass Factory in Mountain Lake Park. Only a short drive from Deep Creek Lake, the shop, filled with crystal clear dishes, vases and trinkets, is dazzling. One of my favorite things to do is visit the factory to see local artisans create the things on display in the show room.

Glassblowing is an ancient art, almost a magic trick, as a glob of orange glowing stuff at the end of a tube is transformed by the craftsman’s breath into a new shape.

The cat walk above the factory floor gives visitors a great view of all that’s happening below. Sometimes, if they have time, the artisans will come up to explain what’s going on.

Every day of the week—except during these difficult covid-19 times—the factory is open with a catwalk high above the hot ovens and the artisans.

I recommend a visit if you love crafts, glass and crystal, or are curious about the skills involved in glass blowing.

These photos are from my family’s visit in February 2016.

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