The View From Halcyon Farm: Fun and Games

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Lest you think that all we do at Halcyon Farm is garden and entertain, we also take some time to be quiet. Our weekdays in New York and Baltimore are often so hectic that we are out with customers, clients or friends every night of the week. We try and honor our weekends and spend them quietly.

When we were children, we had to make our own fun. There was barely television, and only three TV channels! And computers were hardly a glimmer in the scientists’ eyes, and no one would have ever thought a computer would be used for anything other than business or science.

Long summer days were occupied by swimming and tennis lessons, camps and reading, and lots of games of every sort. When you think about the games your children are playing, is there really any virtue or value to them? We learned to take turns playing croquet. We learned to count by playing cards. We learned that sometimes things weren’t fair by playing endless rounds of dominos. And when we finally beat our elders at a game of Parcheesi, we learned the joy of winning.


We remember our parents having dinner parties, and then after dinner, playing bridge with their friends, or having a games night. Ahhh, those were the days when we couldn’t wait to be grown ups!

At Halcyon, we want to bring back the lazy days of summer, whiling away the time, playing cards and board games under the shade of a huge tree. We want to have an afternoon croquet party, complete with everyone wearing white, Pimms & soda cocktails, cucumber sandwiches and petit fours! No Candy Crush Saga! No Words with Friends! No Minecraft! Just an elegant afternoon of fun!


In that spirit, we recently stocked Halcyon House Antiques with some great board games, as well as domino sets and cards and chips. These games are not only fun, they are gorgeous! Their boxes look like the traditional “tumbling blocks” quilt pattern in bright cheerful colors.

Dominos first appeared in Italy in the 1800s, but they were mentioned in the Chinese Song dynasty, around 900 AD. Playing dominos is a great way to teach small children how to count and match patterns, and it’s a fun multi-generational game for grandparents and grandchildren to play together.


Decks of cards, as we know them, are derived from French sets which are based on twelve cards in four suits. The first mention of playing cards was in the 1300s! And the four suits came into play (ha!) in the 1500s. The best thing about a deck of cards is that the possibilities are endless. From a solitary game of Solitaire to a multi-player game of Crazy Eights, cards are so versatile.


Checkers, or draughts as they are known in England, are one of the oldest games in the world! Variations were found in ancient Egypt and the philosopher, Plato even mentioned them. Almost every civilization has a version of checkers.


Of course, one of those versions is Chinese Checkers, played on a six-sided board with small marbles. Despite its name, it wasn’t invented in China, but in Germany in the 1800s and was introduced to America in the 1920s as Hop Ching Checkers! You can play Chinese Checkers with two to six players.


Take some time with your children and teach them to play some of these board and card games. They will acquire a skill and memories that they’ll never forget. And invite some friends for an elegant afternoon of croquet and cocktails. It’s summer… Time to play!

The ViewFrom Halcyon Farm is sponsored by Halcyon House Antiques located at 11219 Greenspring Avenue in Lutherville, and open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information, visit the Halcyon House website or call 410-828-8889.

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