Meredith and I have been to Lily Dale, New York, for two days. We've been to Lily Dale before, you may remember. Actually I went there twice last summer. I didn't tell you much about Lily Dale, because I wasn't sure how you would react to knowing I go there to find some spiritual peace, and connect with others.
Lily Dale is a community which was organized in 1844. It is just over the New York state line from Erie, Pennsylvania. It is a home for Spiritualists. This includes mediums. Lily Dale has had its share of bad press over early years, but recently it has had mostly good reviews, including an HBO movie about it in 2010, titled "Nobody Dies in Lily Dale." This movie presented objective reviews from visitors to Lily Dale, and reactions to the mediumship practiced there.
In 2010 Randy and I were in Lily Dale on our summer vacation. You can look back and read about it. I was vague in my coverage of that day, but it was wonderful. The daily schedule does not deviate much.
Visitors first attend a "healing service" in the Healing Temple. This is a laying-on of hands and spiritual healing service. As one who believes in the spiritual existance of all people, this was very easy for me to accept, attend, and come out feeling refreshed, and indeed healed of some problems I was having.
Throughout the day, we attended some "Message Services" at various locations around Lily Dale. These are led by mediums who take turns going to the front of the groups and delivering spiritual messages from the Other Side to persons in the audience. Many of these deliveries are more than amazing.
If you are not a believer in Life After Death, you might as well quit reading here, but I assure you that I have had many lovely signs from my son in the years since he passed over. Part of the grief counseling that has helped me to grow has been acceptance when I relate these to others who believe. This, for me, is not a "religion," but a way of thinking and believing. (And for anyone who is scoffing at this, isn't this what we were taught to believe in Sunday School: That part about "life everlasting?")
Randy and I went to Lily Dale in the early part of last summer, and Meredith went to Lily Dale with me the next month. She and I stayed overnight on the grounds at the Maplewood Hotel, which dates back to 1880. This year, she and I made reservations at the Leolyn Hotel, which is just outside the Lily Dale gate. This is the first year that the Leolyn will be open full-time, due to the influx of visitors who came after the HBO presentation last year. We also wanted a private bathroom, which the other hotel cannot guarantee. Many guest homes have sprung up since last year to deal with the increase in visitors.
Lily Dale may be the most peaceful place one can visit. Our hotel had no TV, no air conditioning, no internet server, and no ice, either. It didn't matter. Lily Dale is quiet. No one is walking around yelling into a cell phone or even speaking loudly. Everyone there is "like-minded," and quietly seeking answers. The few stores are filled with books, tapes, music, and other items that promote peace, goodwill towards others, and acceptance of everyone. The whole message is love, acceptance and eternal life. I told Meredith that I thought it was a little like going to summer camp.
I had a reading with Janice Dreshman, and Meredith had an art-reading with Bonnie White.
We came home yesterday afternoon via Rt. 20 which is north of the interstate we travelled on our way. There was much construction on I-90, so the unbeaten path called to us. We followed Rt 20 west to The White Turkey Drive-In in Conneaut, Ohio. When my kids were little they used to go to Camp Fitch, in North Springfield, Pennsylvania. Our route to camp went right by The White Turkey, and we always stopped for a turkey sandwich and a drink.
The White Turkey Drive-In was built in 1952. It has roll-up canvas sides that surround the serving arena where young ladies take orders, serve root beer floats, and place orders via the microphone to the kitchen. Juke box machines are on the countertops so we can order up fifties tunes such as "Twilight Time," or "A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation." The bathroom floors are painted bright red and decorated with white turkeys stencilled onto the floors. The entire drive-in is immaculate and friendly. We sat on stools around the counters to eat, as the wind blew and Patsy Cline sang sad songs.
I came home refreshed, rested, and renewed. Lily Dale is only open during the summer. That's a shame, because I could use a little peace during the winter.....................