23 November 2007

Paths to Adventure - Liberty Square

Upon crossing the mighty Mississippi, after such a crossing you will no doubt believe it is only a Little Mississippi, you enter a land of passions and politics of a more civilized age. Here a fife and drum play alongside the sleepy banjos of the Rivers of America, and a disturbingly quiet manor sits at the top of the hill. Stiffen up your back, and walk here with a sense of pride, as you meander through the streets of Liberty Square.

As you make your way by the wooden homes that live along the Rivers of America, and should you find your appetite unbearable, perhaps the hostesses at the Liberty Tree Tavern will assist you with enough food to quiet even the most raucous rumbling in your belly. From turkey to pork, green beans to mashed potatoes, and cherry cobbler to top it off, there isn’t anything more a hungry patriot, which can be found wandering through the Tavern from time to time, could ask for here. With your appetite satisfied, it is safe to continue out into the streets where America began.
Outside are plenty of tools to stir the spirit. As you make your way through the Square you will find a stockade, the perfect place for securing any disgruntled, or unpatriotic, member of your party. Here as well sit the Liberty Bell and the Liberty Tree. The Liberty Bell is encircled here by thirteen flags, one for each of the original colonies of America. Alongside the Liberty Bell, is the Liberty Tree, a gathering place for Liberty Square’s Sons of Liberty, a symbol of the town’s fight against the injustice of the British reign. Should you happen upon the Liberty Tree during twilight, or well into the night, you will find 13 lanterns hanging gracefully from it boughs. These lanterns serve the same function as the Liberty Bell’s flags, as symbols of the thirteen original colonies.

Here you reach an intersection, to your left you could hop aboard a steam engine, the glorious Liberty Belle, or, to your right, the quaint shops, some filled with Christmas goodies, and the Hall of Presidents await. With a brief pause, and the call of Belle’s whistle, you dash towards the riverboat, and the Rivers of America.

The gentle paddle turns, and as you reach mark twain, the leadsman call for two fathoms, the safe water depth for the Liberty Belle, before you are off around the bend. Between the leadsman and Beacon Joe, the river waters should treat you to a pleasant tour. Plenty of adventure awaits the young along the river. Echoes from your time in Frontierland our visible, as well as your exploits on Tom Sawyer’s Island, pass away with the flowing river. Settlers with log cabins, river pirate lairs, wilderness wildlife, and the native Algonquians all have been known to frequent these waters. Near the end of your voyage, an aged mansion appears back in the woods, piquing your interest. Perhaps a visit up the hill awaits you in your near future.

After the Liberty Belle has docked, you make your way back across the street towards the picturesque buildings to marvel at the modern wares they are trading, the funnel cakes available at Sleepy Hollow, lessons that are being offered, and quiet residences, before stepping across the way to the Hall of Presidents.

Once inside, your heart swells with pride. Lying before your eyes are the recreated triumphs of the American spirit, full of the sweat, tears, and grit that formed the country. When all the commander-in-chiefs have gathered, they pass on a few words on the nature and fortitude of the American Spirit, before releasing your patriotism filled heart, complete with boiling patriotic blood, back into Liberty Square’s lanes.

By now hunger may once again have you within its grip. For something to nibble on the Liberty Square Market offers up perfect snacks and delectable fruits. If that hunger becomes more of a hankering, just down the lane resides the Columbia Harbour House, where nautical artifacts and décor meet hearty home cooking. Views of the Rivers of America and the streets below intermingle with maps and charts and tasty chicken, fish, and chowder.

Back out on the road make your way over to the Yankee Trader, along the way stop and notice the imprints horse and carts made in the walkway. Should you come across this strange pattern, it is okay to chuckle and take note; even the proud citizens here occasionally stop to take a photograph of the design. It is almost as if someone went through a lot of work to hide the fellow.

Passing by the Yankee Trader, you are drawn towards the mansion on the hill. Mumblings about the house have become whole conversation pieces in Liberty Square lately, and the manor has even garnered a new name, the Haunted Mansion. Quietly and with much stealth you make your way around the front of the mansion, and then around to the side. There you find a family cemetery, where gruesome deaths seem commonplace. As you take notice that the graveyard has recently been visited, a rose sits perched upon the headstone of Master Gracey, a dog or wolf howls from the woods beyond. Suddenly, and shockingly, a servant of the house summons you inside, where you are met by an ominous and foreboding voice.

This voice, a self-appointed Ghost Host, conducts you through a disturbingly stretching room, and then into a doombuggy to tour the mansion. Through portrait galleries with shocking secrets, libraries and conservatories filled with unseen presences, and a never-ending series of stairways the Ghost Host beckons you to come further into the house, even though your common sense is nagging for you to find a way out. Residents attempt to contact you, some pleading for your assistance, as you make your way down endless hallways before interrupting a séance, presided over by the striking and foreseeing Madame Leota from inside of her crystal ball. Here the Ghost Host leaves you to discover a rowdy and uncivilized clan of ghost cavorting about in all sorts of party frivolities.

Hastening your way through the house, you stumble upon the attic, and the grim truths of the bride and her former husbands, before crashing through a window and into a much larger graveyard. If the ball room was filled with wild spirits, then the cemetery is filled with the truly disorderly phantoms, all in search of a good time. Ghost on bicycles, spirits using tombstones as a teeter-totter, even a phantom choir, in perfect harmony, crooning about Grim, Grinning, Ghosts. When the Ghost Host finally catches up to you in the mausoleum he offers you one final warning, that hitchhiking ghosts have been known to follow guests home.

As a hauntingly beautiful voice calls for you to hurry back, you follow the beating of your heart and race through the mausoleum, past the pet cemetery with an odd little toad at the rear, back into Liberty Square, and do not stop before you are safely beyond the Yankee Trader, and safely into an alcove.

As you attempt to gather your breath, and not peak around the corner to see if you have been followed, you here the faint, but joyous music and children’s laughter behind you. Turning around you see a land beyond full of magic and dreams, a Fantasyland. Seeing no reason to venture back towards the spook-filled house, you step under the charming second floor of the Columbia Harbour House, and into your favorite stories and dreams.


G said...

Great blog. Don't mind what you are hearing about getting your own domain in the netcot forums. I post at runningtodisney.blogspot.com (not so much about disney as my quest to run in the Disney marathon). Blogspot is nice and easy and free

Keep up the great work.

Ryan P. Wilson said...


Thanks for the kind words. And good luck in your quest for the marathon! I think my wife and I are plotting our way towards the 2009 half-marathon.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the look at Liberty Square. I am always hard pressed to decide which is my favorite land.

Liberty Square feels so much smaller, even though it has more open space.

I guess I need to ruminate on it further!