Cambrian: Opinion

Cambria Historical Society celebrates museum’s fifth anniversary

Debbie Soto delights children reading from her Christmas story.
Debbie Soto delights children reading from her Christmas story.

So many folks expressed their sincere gratitude during Thanksgiving that it was heartwarming, counting our blessings, big and small. Much was said also about the sights and sounds of Hanukkah and Christmas to come, or other holidays where apt.

It is wonderful to see so many more lights during this darkest of seasons, that it is easy to see the ways we can bring brightness and joy to our little enchanted village. There are also many musical programs to lighten our hearts, so let that joy spill over to others!

How wonderful that Cambria’s traditional Hospitality Night is now on a Friday, enabling out-of-towners to more readily join us. This year it falls on Dec. 6, the feast of St. Nicholas, who comes to us from the Netherlands as Sinterklaas, known in the U.S. and worldwide as Santa Claus. (St. Nicholas will make an appearance at Santa Rosa Catholic Church.) Mrs. Claus will join Santa in lighting our East Village Christmas Tree at the museum at 6 p.m. and stay on for a photo op with you.

That is a longtime custom, which this year will highlight our Cambria Historical Museum’s fifth anniversary after welcoming about 25,000 visitors since Dec. 10, 2008.

Join us for a cup of hot cider, cookies and caramel popcorn balls. Be sure to browse in our redecorated bookshop — the boutique will feature Christmas items, unique gifts and Mixes in Mason Jars for Santa’s Cookies, as well as Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Quickbread.

On Saturday, Dec. 7, we welcome back CHS member and rancher/author Debbie Soto for an autograph party from 1 to 2:30 p.m. She will read and sign her “Christmas at Bethany,” a book she wrote in a charming verse form and which is available in our book shop.

Take a look at our nursery out back and choose a plant which has been propagated from the museum’s Heirloom Gardens. Well-established starts from our lovely violet colored tree dahlias out front are available in five-gallon pots. Also available are some started from the seeds of our traditional Christmas tree, a Port Orford cedar. (Would that Sarah Guthrie could see the joy she brings with that tree she planted in 1905.)

Cultivated from a small plot along Center Street, we have healthy Arum palaestinum in pots, full of foliage and ready to bloom starting in January and February. The amazing sight of black lilies will astound your family and friends. Also amazing are ready-to-plant bulbs of elephant garlic which will bloom next spring and summer up to 8 feet tall; next fall harvest your own garlic for cooking and planting! Drought and deer resistant, they will deter aphids from your roses.

As they say, “own a piece of the rock” — or, in our case, a piece of the Guthrie-Bianchini House. Family members still ask about Luisa Bianchini’s black lilies and the garlic which was made famous by Eugenio Bianchini at his noteworthy barbecues. Members have also shared purple bearded iris bulbs and succulents in charming china cups. All proceeds benefit the Heirloom Garden and scholarship funds.