My mother was a great lover of the outdoors and of the British Isles. As it became harder for her to get around, long hikes were out and it was a challenge to find activities that would please her. Of course we went to lunch at Granny McCarthy’s Tea Room and took wildflower walks at the Graver Arboretum, but of all the spots in Lehigh Valley, I think her favorite was Columcille Megalith Park.
Tucked away on the side of the mountain at the north of the Valley near Bangor, Columcille is a peaceful retreat, a gentle piece of landscape set with standing stones, trails and woodland circles. If you want a campfire, a picnic or a place for the dog to run free, it’s best to go elsewhere. Save Columcille for quiet walks, peaceful companionship and meditation.
The park does hold events like retreats and celebrations on certain days of the year and contributions of time and/or money are always welcome, but Columcille was inspired by a pilgrimage site on an island off Scotland and it has the air of a sacred place. We visited with our son and my mother, looking for some contemplative time by ourselves.
For those who admire the many stone circles, monoliths, dolmens and long barrows of the British Isles and Europe, a visit to Columcille can be stirring. My son, still a teenager on that visit, wandered alone with scenes from fantasy stories coming to life in his head. Even my husband and I felt as if we’d crossed the sea to some ancient and fabled land.
And my mother? I’ll always remember her walking quietly off by herself, touching stones and recapturing for those moments, perhaps, the magical dreams of youth.