By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi
After ruminating whether or not to attend the annual symphonic holiday concert, and I must confess we had been talking about it off and on for the past week, my daughter and I finally admitted we longed to do something different for the weekend before Christmas, but what? After surfing the local entertainment web pages, finally that “something different” manifested itself: Christmas at Copshaholm, a special event at the Joseph D. Oliver mansion. The Scottish Oliver family made a fortune with the Oliver Chilled Plow Works. Joseph D. Oliver’s 38-room mansion was built between 1895 and 1896, and remained in the family until 1988 when the family bequeathed it to the local historical society. Today’s Christmas event offered small groups the opportunity to see actors convey some history of the mansion and of the Oliver family during the years of World War I. Nearly all 38 rooms held actors as they enacted scenes of Copshaholm life during the Great War.
In addition to the period attire worn by the thespians, the mansion itself proved the best of all stages, for its rooms and halls were decked for Christmas. Having toured Copshaholm in the past, neither I, nor my daughter had ever witnessed the beauty of the Romanesque mansion trimmed for the holidays. That alone was worth the price of the admission. Each of the mansion’s three-stories, replete with the original Oliver family furnishings, reminded us that we have a treasure on the National Register of Historic Places, located just across the river from our hometown.
After our two-hour Christmas at Copshaholm visit, we were hungry, for we had not eaten anything after breakfast. Since we were downtown, we decided to try Woochie, a Japanese restaurant that friends had told us served excellent sushi. As lovers of Japanese cuisine, thus began our second spontaneous adventure of the day. The décor was that of a sleek, urban vibe with a black lacquer bar in one large room, and black tables and chairs in a dining room divided into two by modern, narrow, rectangular fish tanks providing privacy for diners. Discreet neon colors played off the shiny blackness of the furnishings. The food itself, was a testament to why we repeatedly seek out Japanese cuisine. In our hometown alone we have four Japanese restaurants that I know of, three of which we have patronized, and now this addition across the river. We ordered delicious scallion pancakes that were divided into eight large triangles, bowls of miso soup, ginger salad, and sushi rolls named Dragon and Spider. We washed it all down with a pots of Japanese Sencha tea To top off our dinner, we shared Mochi, Japanese ice cream. We selected one of mango and another of green tea. Sated and happy, we drove around awhile to view the holiday lights burning brightly in the city streets.
It was a most satisfying and rewarding day.
Ciao for now.