In the fall of 2014, the fairies came to Rochester. They began erecting wee homes along a particular trail in the Tinker Nature Park, a 68-acre reserve.
The park is set up on land donated by the Tinker family in the early 1990s after six generations of cultivation; their cobblestone homestead, finished in 1830, is still standing and can be toured by appointment.
But it’s the fairy houses that are the park’s real secret. No one knows who builds them or even how many clandestine artists are responsible, but new houses continue to pop up in all different styles: a simple door painted onto a tree, grand manors with moving gates and tiny carved beds, and crazily-tilting mushroom homes with little swings for the Fair Folk.
Most are out in the open, right beside the trail. Some are high up on trees, or hidden in the gnarled roots near the bottom, invisible to all but the most diligent searcher. A few have little placards with messages from the Good People.
Last year, a local Brownie troop put up a handmade sign with some rules for the Fairy Trail, including a polite (though little-heeded) request that children not sprinkle the houses with glitter.