Five adventurous whips from the Piedmont Driving Club turned out in their Holiday finest to bring a touch of “yesteryear” to the Village of Orlean. Billed as an “Old Fashioned Christmas”, the streets were illuminated by several hundred candles, carols were sung by young and old, and the local merchants and churches opened their doors to all. It was December and it was cold but it was very special!
We were fortunate that a generous land owner offered her lovely farm just outside of the Village as “base camp.” There we met, unloaded, harnessed and hitched. Then the work of decorating horses, carriages and even ourselves began. Check out the pictures and you’ll agree that the Christmas Spirit was certainly upon us! Participating members included Chuck Akre, with Carl Cox, Pat McCann and Molly Savage on board. Al and Vicky Baturay came with bells on Nordix. Alcinda Hatfield and antler-adorned hubby drove their cute pony. Marci and Keith Bade drove their beautifully decorated NEW wagonette and last – but hardly least — Sam Davis and guests traveled behind Santa Himself…..or so it seemed. Sam had adorned her Connemara “Thor” with a COMPLETE Santa suit…right down to a red jacket, leggings and boots fit for the North Pole. “Santa” even sported a beard!!!
Thoroughly “decked out” we were led by Club Member Chuck Akre as he piloted his stunning pair of Hackney/Clydes through the streets of Orlean. We went ’round the fire house, past the Orlean Market, down a cul-de-sac that features 3 of Orlean’s 7 (yes, 7, residences), then it was past the Methodist Church where strains of Christmas carols could be heard and down the road to the Baptist Church for a rest stop. Caroline produced HOT mulled cider from somewhere in the back of Chuck’s carriage. By this time we were all quite chilly so everyone agreed that one more pass through the Village would be enough. Time to get back to the trailers and disassemble! In keeping with the spirit of the season, the Villagers invited us back to the Baptist Church for dinner — the good old fashioned kind — with everything home cooked and delicious. In a final step back in time, we viewed several dozen hand made quilts that were on display in the Vestry. Each was different, each the product of a crafter’s artistry, talent, inspiration and love. “Old fashioned” perhaps, but the experience of an Orlean Christmas filled Club members with good will and cheer that will endure through the holidays.