Falconing: Sport of Kings


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For sheer heart stopping beauty, nothing beats the sensation of watching a hawk descend at lightening speed and land on an outstretched, gloved wrist…softly; a velvet touch on a coarse glove. Sun reflecting from mahogany feathers; restless eyes scanning the horizon for prey, it’s a feathered flash of light; a poem in flight.

The British School of Falconry at the Equinox Resort in Manchester, Vermont (802-362/4780 http://www.equinoxresort.com) is one of two schools in North America whose program is open to the public. For years this was a sport for nobility only.

Today, it’s available to anyone.

Nestled against the Green Mountains, in a valley of 2,300 acres of unparallel beauty, Master Falconers provide instruction on how to “cast” the hawk from glove to tree, and they offer hawk hiking and hunting trips to travelers with spirit and curiosity.

One 2 hour trek involves an exquisite choreography among instructor, hawk, and a hunting dog that suddenly drives the prey from its lair for the hawk, and the chase is on.

The sport is closely regulated by the government, and at Equinox, the emphasis is on providing an education; on the pleasure of exposing visitors to the joy of handling and “flying” these magnificent creatures.

Gift certificates are available. Children 12 and older are welcome.

The Equinox itself is a 229 year old, white, rambling structure in a quintessential New England town. Mary Todd Lincoln, President Lincoln’s wife, reportedly fell in love with the Equinox. She scheduled a trip to the resort with her husband.
One week before they left, President Lincoln was assassinated. His son, Todd, came and stayed. His home is still there in the woods

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