Last night Jeff and I were so fortunate to celebrate our friend Robbin’s birthday with her and her husband, Matt. We went on an adventure to the Cameron/Masland Mansion at Kings Gap for the Friends of Kings Gap Music on the Mountain – Evening of Jazz.
Perhaps you’ve been to Kings Gap State Park. For me it was the first trip, but definitely not the last. I cannot wait to go back for a hike, to view their gardens (which are maintained by Friends of Kings Gap Volunteers and Penn State Master Gardeners in Cumberland County) and/or for a tour of the parts of the mansion we didn’t see this time.
We made our trip in the dark and didn’t get to experience the full beauty of all the park has to offer – Kings Gap State Park boasts a panoramic view of the Cumberland Valley, has 16 hiking trails, many environmental programs, and encompasses over 2,500 acres of forest on South Mountain. But the drive up to the mansion was incredible. The four of us agreed that it would be a great setting for a spooky Halloween ride! The long, winding road to the top of the mountain is thickly wooded and as you drive the dark road you expect to see all kinds of glowing eyes staring at you!
We made it to the top of the mountain unscathed and ready for some great music. We were warmly greeted and acclimated to the rooms we’d be enjoying for the evening. There was a bar with several wine and soft drink offerings and a buffet of both savory and sweet offerings. We each ordered a glass of wine and we found a table with a nice view of the “stage” for the evening and easy access to the refreshments.
The music was played by the Steve Rudolph Trio. If you’ve spent any time at the Hilton in Harrisburg you may recognize the name. Steve Rudolph presented live jazz at the Hilton from 1990 through 2012. Unfortunately, since the hotel was recently sold, it looks like that great tradition will not continue. The trio was exceptional, playing some ballads and some livelier numbers – most with an introduction from Steve. I left wondering if all bass players have to make faces in order to play well!!!!
The buffet included many cheeses, fruit, vegetables, some savory appetizers (one of which was cabbage strudel, which was a nostalgic treat for me – my grandmother used to make cabbage strudel a few times a year and when she did it was a big deal), several dessert offerings, and hot beverages.
Jeff and I always enjoy spending time with Matt and Robbin – whether it’s at a church event, a baseball game, or an event like last evening in great company in a beautiful setting with terrific music, good food and a glass of wine. We are honored to have been invited to celebrate with them and are glad to have learned about a great state park to which we will surely return for hiking, kayaking, to explore the gardens and to attend future events. Perhaps the next trip will be in just a few weeks.
The Friends of Kings Gap offers two dates for Holiday Open House where you can listen to seasonal music, enjoy light refreshments, and take a self-guided tour of the stone “villa” known as the Cameron/Masland Mansion. The dates are December 2, 2012 and December 9, 2012. So if you’re looking for a new way to begin the holiday season, I’d recommend a trip to the mansion at Kings Gap State Park.
Happy Birthday, Robbin – I think we received the gift!