“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” Helen Keller
Have you found Ivy Green yet? Did you go on an elementary class field trip when you were a child? Have you had visitors from other states and wondered how to entertain them for a few hours? Would you merely like to be REinspired by the remarkable story of Helen Keller and her devoted teacher Anne Sullivan?
Ivy Green at 300 North Commons West in Tuscumbia, AL is a place where we Alabamians can take a lot of pride. The grounds, buildings, furnishings and artifacts are beautifully-maintained. Tour guides are well-trained, and the admission price is very affordable. Adults are $6.00, and children are $3.00, but Senior Adults, AAA members and members of the military pay only $5.00. It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is only closed for major holidays.
“The Miracle Worker” is a well-known movie and play based on the story of Helen and her teacher Ms. Sullivan. That same play is actually performed on the grounds of Ivy Green every summer on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m. throughout the month of June until mid-July. 2019 dates will be June 7 – July 13. Go ahead and mark it down somewhere. It has been named “A Top 20 Event in the Southeast” and is the Official Outdoor Drama of the State of Alabama. The annual Helen Keller Festival is held every year during the last weekend in June.
Besides the main family home, built in 1820, visitors can also see the cottage, the kitchen building, the pump where Helen first learned and understood the word “water,” and ice house, the gardens, the Lion’s International Memorial Garden and the gazebo. The museum inside the main home is filled with fascinating memorabilia of Helen’s life. One of the most impressive areas to me was in the Lion’s Garden where a video plays in a loop with actual footage of a speech made by Helen. You can see and hear this woman — who learned how to speak although she was blind and deaf from the age of 19 months.
Helen was born June 27, 1880 and died just a few weeks shy of her 88th birthday on June 1, 1968. She wrote 12 books and numerous articles during her lifetime and received countless awards. Her story and these grounds surrounding Ivy Green — on the National Register of Historic Sites since 1954 — are highly-recommended ways to ignite meaningful conversations with children and grandchildren. Steve and I were so impressed with the deep thoughts our grands expressed after hearing about Helen and seeing her birthplace.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller
P.S. No doubt, you will want to have breakfast, lunch or dinner when you’re in Tuscumbia touring Ivy Green. If so, consider a couple of restaurants I’ve written about in past blog posts. Here you will read about Big Bad Breakfast and Ray’s at the Bank. And here you will read about the cafe at Alabama Chanin.