The Fairy Hotel Project

     "Where do fairies stay when they can't find a mushroom to sleep under?", she asked. Her bright, wide eyes expressing a genuine concern. A good question. Sometimes a parent doesn't have a good enough answer or explanation to foster the precious magic of a five-year old's mind, but sometimes, we get it just right: "I don't know...let's build them a nice place to stay that can be a special treat."

     We built a structure out of scrap wood. She painted it bright colors. We glued beads and wrote "Fairy Hotel" with some bright colored arrows. She made a front yard out of moss and she decorated the interior with her dollhouse furniture. We put it out on the front curb and, a few days later, a funny thing started happening...

     Fairies came and stayed the night. Lots of them. Little tiny notes started being found in the hotel, thanking my daughter for the wonderful place to stay as fairies made their rounds sprinkling fairy dust to help make flowers bloom. Fairies left trinkets of appreciation: crystal stones, shiny jewelry, shells, poems and pictures, and even a postcard from France. They had fairy names: Moon was our first and most regular customer.  Pinky, Crystal, and Pearl are all still regular guests. Sparkle, the French fairy, Lila, Anna and Lucy are among the others who have regularly left notes and trinkets and remembered to sign their names. My daughter started writing back as she moved on into kindergarten, never realizing she was doing an exercise on reading  and writing. She started leaving a pencil and little note pad so fairies could write back. There were numerous single-visit guests as well, who probably heard about the fairy hotel from others and decided to swing by for a visit on their way to their next assignment. 

     She brought her special box of fairy notes and trinkets to show-and-tell at school one day, and the next thing I knew I was making 23 fairy hotels for her class to decorate as a spring project. The next year, my son (a year younger) brought his in as well as my daughter, and the same thing happened in both classes. I switched to pallet wood, since plywood weathered after a year in the elements, and the local wine bar donated all of it's spent corks to the "Fairy Hotel Project". Corks made chimneys, flowers, seats and tables, and whatever kids could dream up in the classroom.

     That all happened a few years ago. Since then, we've made fairy hotels for birthday gifts, had hotel decorating parties, and even started selling them at local craft fairs. I am enamored by the number of adults who purchase them for themselves.

     My daughter, who is eight now, has renovated her hotel a few times over the years, and fairies still come regularly, but, of course, we've never seen one. I often see neighbors who are walking by stop and admire the fairy hotel, often the same ones. Once, I wondered if there was some sort of connection there between them and the fairies. But I dismissed the notion, and followed my daughter's intuition. We like to believe our story better.