Fairyland found near Guysborough

By Lois Ann Dort    

GUYSBOROUGH—Those who live in and around Guysborough know that our natural environment is a magical place. But this week, the quotient of magic moved up a notch as a Fairy Forest community was found on the Cooks Cove portion of the Great Trail (formerly known as the Trans Canada Trail).

Walking less than a kilometre from the entry point to the trail in West Cooks Cove, past the look off over the cove, the presence of fairies can be noticed in small doorways at the base of trees and hidden among the branches. Colourfully painted rocks with mysterious messages also dot the trail.

This wonderland was created by local resident Charla Sullivan Cosgrove, who grew up in Cooks Cove and whose property abuts the trail.

Sullivan Cosgrove is a former Disney staffer who has brought her love for whimsy and magical thinking home with her to Guysborough. Her spare time is often spent in crafty pursuits including the creation of fairy houses and doors. She's taken her crafts to markets in the Guysborough area and decided to move them into the realm of public art this summer.

“I always liked fairies and angels. It is a hobby. I enjoy going down into my basement into my little craft area. It is good for your brain too, to be creative,” said Sullivan Cosgrove as she walked through the Fairy Forest.

“With the job I used to do with Disney, everything was magical. And I can't bring that here but this is probably the closest thing that I can do. I don't do it to make money. It's just here for people to enjoy; to make people smile.”

Sullivan Cosgrove incorporates odds and ends into the fairy doorways, including a deer antler from her father's workshop, clock hands as alternates for door hinges and many other crafty and everyday items.

In the past few days, as news of the Fairy Forest spread through the community, Sullivan Cosgrove has had a few visitors come for a tour of the area. She happily talks with visitors about her creations and one source of inspiration for the project; a visit to Blarney Castle in Ireland which had a Fairy Forest. “They didn't have any doors like this but they had signs about the possibility of fairies in the area and will-o'-wisp,” she said just as her smartphone chimed in with a Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo ring tone.

Diane Hadley of Guysborough visited the trail Monday evening and said she loved the idea. “It's fascinating; makes you feel like a child again. I think the children will love it.”

The nip of fall is now in the air and Sullivan Cosgrove plans to keep the Fairy Forest in place throughout the winter with the exception of items that are at ground level. She also plans to add to the project over time. There are currently 17 fairy doors set up along the trail.

Along with creating smiles amongst those that already frequent the Great Trail, Sullivan Cosgrove's creation may inspire others to get out in nature to see what surprises await.