Hygge Moments at Mennonite Heritage Village


Danes please don’t come for me. I’m taking your word and am applying it to my recent experiences at the Mennonite Heritage Village. As I reflected upon the photos I’d just taken, it seemed to me they exuded an aura of hygge. Cozy contented comfortable convivial. Settling in.

Usually I hide selfies of Andrew and I at the bottom of posts (if at all) but this time I’m putting it right here — this is the look on our faces as we strolled the village museum on this gorgeous sunny Saturday of October 2nd. First we went to MJ’s Kafe in downtown Steinbach for lunch. Then, with bellies full, we went to the MHV. We were lucky enough to run into Dr. Glen Klassen in the parking lot where we spezeare‘d for a spell before saying nigh-yo.

Join us as we leisurely take in autumn at the MHV.

First we saw the “frindschoft of the Great Oak of Chortitza”. (I am taking words from Andrew Unger’s book Once Removed.)

The tree is doing quite well! Still has a ways to go before it even comes close to being the size of its predecessor but hey, it’s getting there.

We stepped into the semlin, which always feels magical… cozy… yet sinister. (Have you ever read the story hidden at the back of the semlin?)

The yellow leaves and blue sky are so gorgeous together. It’s lovely to just wander the grounds. By the way, you can do this all year if you want — it’s just that the buildings will be closed. It’s part of the MHV’s acknowledgement of the fact that its grounds are conducive to mental wellness. Wandering here generates a sense of well-being that I think we’re all after.

The pond is being re-worked a bit, and a new footpath is being developed. The geese love this spot. As I was walking here, I was mainly thinking “cobra chicken”. That’s what a visitor from overseas called a Canada Goose in an effort to describe it. If you’ve ever had a run-in with a goose, you’d probably agree with their assessment. Nevertheless, those encounters can also be described as invigorating.

At this point I would have visited the Dirk Willems Peace Exhibit which is next to the pond, but a group had reserved the newly-built space and was in the process of learning about its significance as Patrick Friesen interpreted. (I hope I didn’t interrupt!)

Behind the Blacksmith Shop, next to the Livery Barn Restaurant and Waffle/Short-Order Booth. Lots of picnic tables. I reflected on seeing these tables filled with friends, family, and folks from throughout the community on several occasions when I visited the museum this past summer. I had some good talks with people on these tables. Now as I walk here, the leaves are floating down one by one and I can still hear echoes of past conversations and laughter in this space.

Today the local Garden Club was on-site, cleaning up the flowerbeds for winter. I think someone may have forgotten this bucket here. I did find a geranium on the sidewalk as I left, so I took it home with me and its bright red is catching the light here next to me as I type at this moment.

The mid-afternoon October 2nd light hits different. It would be lovely to sit up in this bed reading by candlelight as evening takes over.

View out of the housebarn.

I slipped into the summer kitchen and I get the feeling I just missed them — a merry crew of women catching up over coffee after collective chores. The space feels alive.

Another cozy autumn experience at the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach is always author readings. I look forward to them every year. I was delighted when they decided to host one on September 22nd, featuring MaryLou Driedger, Mark Reimer, and Andrew Unger. I walked to the back and took this picture. Terrific turnout and a lovely evening. Much love to everyone in attendance.

Thank you for joining me as I wandered the MHV!

Mennotoba interviews with the above authors: 

5 Questions with MaryLou Driedger Redux: ‘Lost on the Prairie’ Edition!

5 Questions with Mark Reimer Redux: ‘The Four Horsemen’ Edition!

5 Questions with ‘Once Removed’ Author Andrew Unger