Transcendentalist house cats developed the art of bird watching to dissolve barriers between themselves and nature, liberating their primal spirits while simultaneously satisfying their appetites. Enjoy nature with today's Groupon: for $225, two individuals get a guided bird-watching expedition and a photography lesson (a $200 value) with two nights of accommodations (a $250 value) at The Henderson House Inn and Retreat Center in Stafford (a $450 total value). The best bird watching occurs during migration, from mid-March to mid-June and mid-October through November.
Over the course of two days, The Henderson House guests get a chance to explore the Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway, returning in the evenings to shed their modern gear in one of The Henderson House's three rooms. Fortified by a hot, home-cooked breakfast, explorer groups meet bright and early with innkeeper and wildlife photographer Jerry Segraves to drive to the wetland areas.
Although tennis shoes adequately handle the terrain, hiking boots are recommended to protect feet and ankles during an average four-hour tour of the wildlife refuge. As lunch is not provided, guests should pack a brown bag to sate appetites as they emerge from hibernation or simply forage among historic sites along the Wetlands & Wildlife Scenic Byway. That evening, revisit the trip though a different lens with a copy of Jerry's DVD slideshow Life in the Wetlands, and venture out alone the next day to pursue an individual perspective and be the first to find the buried treasure.
A wraparound porch winds along the perimeter of the Henderson House, its flowerpots framed by white columns and spindles that have stood for more than a century. Inside, guests lounge in double parlors and sleep in guestrooms adorned with stained- and beveled-glass windows, brass lighting fixtures, and antique bed frames. Part of a collection of homes built between 1903 and 1905—which includes the Spickard House, Littlefield House, and Weide House—the Henderson House maintains standing on the National Register of Historic Places through its turn-of-the-century architecture and decor. In addition to opening rooms for bed-and-breakfast-style lodging, the staff entertains guests with murder mysteries, such as the 1950s-themed Murder on the Grill where guests must figure out who killed Tom Dooley and what temperature steak is best cooked at. They also package stays with area attractions, such as guided birding with a nature photographer. Other nearby activities range from visits to the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge to making plum jelly.