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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Lovers and Weddings at Michigan Renaissance Faire

Forget Romeo and Juliet. While they make a beautiful yet tragic romance, they have well been abused and overused in history. Think of ordinary souls making the best at Michigan Renaissance Faire. Of couples holding hands as they walk past shops and stages. Of lovers sharing the same interest and passion for renaissance, growing old but always young at heart. Think of couples who are different in so many ways, yet complement a thousand more. They are no Romeo and Juliet, just ordinary souls who live ordinary lives. But today, they make the faire their lovers’ lane, the love birds who wear the same colorful feathers. And for one couple, the Michigan Renaissance Faire is the best place to wear their wedding gown and kilt and exchange their marriage “I do’s”.

A couple dressed in purple garb at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

A couple dressed in purple garb at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

A couple enjoying the Michigan Renaissance Faire.

A couple enjoying the Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Hubby and I enjoying Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Hubby and I enjoying Michigan Renaissance Faire.

A couple enjoying Michigan Renaissance Faire.

A couple enjoying Michigan Renaissance Faire.

With a couple enjoying Michigan Renaissance Faire.

With a couple enjoying Michigan Renaissance Faire.

A couple enjoying Michigan Renaissance Faire.

A couple enjoying Michigan Renaissance Faire.

A couple enjoying Michigan Renaissance Faire.

A couple enjoying Michigan Renaissance Faire.

A couple exchanging marriage vows at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

A couple exchanging marriage vows at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in MichiganRenFair

 

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Games at Michigan Renaissance Faire

The Michigan Renaissance Faire is a huge playground. The faire is an amusement itself but it offers a variety of activities for entertainment. They are not your typical fun of roller coasters, but games only seen at faires like this. My favorite is the game of prison where you are asked to be arrested together with the others at the festival. The prison bars are real and they issue a parchment of a warrant of arrest. The only allowed bail is either you sing or you dance and you get your freedom. It can get really hilarious especially when you are asked to make faces and funny animal sounds.

The game of maze at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

The game of maze at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

King's Joust for kids at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

King’s Joust for kids at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Storytelling and puppet show at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Storytelling and puppet show at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Sack fight at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Sack fight at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Role playing at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Role playing at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Stationary bungee jump at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Stationary bungee jump at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Archery at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Archery at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

The prison at Michigan Renaissance Faire where the only allowed bail is to sing or dance.

The prison at Michigan Renaissance Faire where the only allowed bail is to sing or dance.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in MichiganRenFair

 

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Music and Entertainment at Michigan Renaissance Faire

It was a Highland Fling weekend when we attended the Michigan Renaissance Faire. It was of course to my hubby’s delight. If you are a fan of kilts and Scottish bagpipes and drums, this post is for you!

We were welcomed by the Flint Scottish Pipe Band upon arrival. Established in 1916, they are the oldest pipe band in Michigan and one of the oldest in the United States. In most of their stage performances, hubby and I were there among the crowd, cheering and humming. It was a challenge to fight the urge to drum as well. The band is genuinely friendly, they even let me handle one of their bagpipes for a try. We were also very honored to have a little chitchat with Don Bussell, the Ceremonial Drum Major before the start of one of their shows. Don Bussell has been the Drum Major for the Flint Scottish Pipe Band for more than 30 years. They take the lead at the festival’s Royal Parade.

With the band major, Don Bussell, of Flint Scottish Pipe Band at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

With the band major, Don Bussell, of Flint Scottish Pipe Band at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Ladies dancing to the music of Flint Scottish Pipe Band at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Ladies dancing to the music of Flint Scottish Pipe Band at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

 

Another band loved by many is the Stone Clovers. It is an Irish Folk Rock Group that performs an array of traditional and contemporary Irish and original music. Stone Clovers was created in 2008 and has played in 4 seasons of the Michigan Renaissance Festival.

Stone Clover band at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Stone Clover band at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

 

Another hubby’s favorite is the band Tartanic. It is either the pipes or the pretty belly dancers that interest him :) We were however truly stunned at how neatly they performed the Amazing Grace in pipes and drums. Manolete in his Pyro Show was also very entertaining. It takes a ton of wit and humor to pull off that show on stage and he did it naturally.

The Tartanic Band in their beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace in pipes and drums at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

The Tartanic Band in their beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace in pipes and drums at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Manolete in his Pyro Show at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Manolete in his Pyro Show at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

 

My favorite performance is of the Bawdy Boys. That moment at the bar sitting and just enjoying their music is something I definitely want to do every renaissance faires. Hats off boys!

The Bawdy Boys at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

The Bawdy Boys at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

 

And in case you are wondering if it is all loud music at the faire, here is one musician finding solitude at the gazebo. He looks very content.

I ought to mention that once in a while I can still hear bagpipes and drums until today in my dreams since the faire in Michigan. Long live bagpipes and drums!

A musician at the gazebo in Michigan Renaissance Faire.

A musician at the gazebo in Michigan Renaissance Faire.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in MichiganRenFair

 

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Kids and Pets at Michigan Renaissance Faire

Kids and pets are also stars at Michigan Renaissance Faire. Boys came as knights in chainmail armor or pirates with an eye patch and elaborate hats. Girls were dressed in elegant princess dress and silky gowns. Some were also dressed as fairies with intricate pair of wings. Why not? Afterall, we had the craziest and wildest dreams and fantasies when we were kids. For the young and young at heart, welcome to Renaissance Faire. This is your dreamland.

My nephew Josiah Sellers in a chainmail armor at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

My nephew Josiah Sellers in a chainmail armor at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Kids dressed as royalties at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Kids dressed as royalties at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

A kid dressed as a royalty at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

A kid dressed as a royalty at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

A girl dressed beautifully as a fairy at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

A girl dressed beautifully as a fairy at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Kids dressed as fairies at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Kids dressed as fairies at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Girls in kilts dancing to the music of Scottish bagpipes and drums at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

Girls in kilts dancing to the music of Scottish bagpipes and drums at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

 

Of course, cute furry babies also take their spotlight at the faire!  The Michigan Renaissance Faire is truly big enough for us all.

A cute puppy in tutu at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

A cute puppy in tutu at Michigan Renaissance Faire.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in MichiganRenFair

 

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Fairies and Fairy Houses at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012

I wanted to be a fairy or a mermaid when I was a kid. I was told that wishing on a falling star before they fade will make your dreams come true. So most nights, when I attend dance rehearsals for Sinulog, I would look up to the sky and scan the horizon for any glow. After years and years of chasing stars, I still haven’t grown a pair of wings nor a floppy long tail. It is a beautiful childhood fantasy long forgotten in the chaotic midst of corporate race and survival. But when I saw the fairies and fairy houses at Michigan Renaissance Faire, I smiled thinking of how silly yet wonderful that dream was. There were over 150 submitted entries for the Fairy House contest at the faire, only three were proclaimed winners via votes. Each fairy house however is a masterpiece, each reminded me of the time when fairies or magic dust is all that matters. It is a beautiful warm feeling of home, of friendship and of childhood.

Nope, I still don’t have my wings nor my tail I have been wishing as a kid but I sure grew a heart over the years. And that should count.

First prize winner of Fairy House contest at Michigan Renaissance Faire, Fairy House #2 created by Sarah Montgomery.

First prize winner of Fairy House contest at Michigan Renaissance Faire, Fairy House #2 created by Sarah Montgomery.

A purple fairy house at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

A purple fairy house at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

A fairy house made of twigs at MIchigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

A fairy house made of twigs at MIchigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

A fairy house made of colored sticks and recycled plastic straws and water bottle at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

A fairy house made of colored sticks and recycled plastic straws and water bottle at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

A fairy house with pine cones at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

A fairy house with pine cones at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

Another fairy house made of twigs at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

Another fairy house made of twigs at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

A fairy house at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

A fairy house at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

A fairy house with floor marbles at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

A fairy house with floor marbles at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

A rose pink fairy house at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

A rose pink fairy house at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

One of the fairy houses at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

One of the fairy houses at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

A reminder to be quiet because the fairies are sleeping at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

A reminder to be quiet because the fairies are sleeping at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

Fairies working in one of their quarters at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

Fairies working in one of their quarters at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

A fairy talking to a hunter at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

A fairy talking to a hunter at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012.

Some fairies and members of the Royal Court having fun at Michigan Renaisance Faire 2012.

Some fairies and members of the Royal Court having fun at Michigan Renaisance Faire 2012.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in MichiganRenFair

 

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The Royalties and Who-Are-You’s at Michigan Renaissance Faire

We all have fantasies, kept within the deepest desires of our heart. Luckily, there is Renaissance Faire where you can be who you dream to be – a Queen, Princess, King, Prince, Knight, a fairy, a hero.

Today, I am the Lady of the Chess and hubby is a Saxon. Don’t get me wrong. I love myself and I embrace whole of me. I am flawed but proud of my being. However, the Michigan Renaissance Faire is best attended and enjoyed when you show up in full costume. Afterall, we are in the old english village. As they say, when in the old english village, do what the English do.

Some showed up in costumes not appropriate for Renaissance period, including me. It is but fair to say that this is my first Renaissance Faire and I should be forgiven.Who cares anyway, everyone was there for fun! But hubby noticed I could not take my eyes off the corsets so he bought me one. It is a beautiful classic black Victorian corset, handmade with German steels (yes, steels!), satin line, and a wonderful selection of brocades, satin and even leather. It costed us a whooping $300 just for the corset! My entire outfit – the dress, vest, corset, headlace – costs a total estimation of $600 but it all paid off. I wore it with so much pride.

Hubby deserves the best recognition for showing up as a Saxon in the appropriate attire. He put up a lot of effort to get his costumes right. It took him months and months of research and emails and phone calls to suppliers. He wore an embroidered linen Saxon tunic, linen pants, wininglas wrapped around his legs, leather turn tan shoes and accessorized himself with a burgundy woolen cap, a leather pouch and a drinking horn (always ready for ale and beer!) What is the ultimate measure of how prepared hubby is? He got himself a Saxon name! AETHELSTAN.

Hubby properly dressed as Saxon Aethelstan at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Hubby properly dressed as Saxon Aethelstan at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Group of friends enjoying Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Group of friends enjoying Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Gandalf at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Gandalf at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

A barbarian at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

A barbarian at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Jack Sparrow at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Jack Sparrow at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

A barbarian at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

A barbarian at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Some fancy garb at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Some fancy garb at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Ladies in corsets and hats at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Ladies in corsets and hats at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

A troll at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

A troll at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Some fancy garb at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Some fancy garb at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Ssome guys at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Ssome guys at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

A monk at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

A monk at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

A lady giving coins to an ent at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

A lady giving coins to an ent at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

The Royal Court at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

The Royal Court at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Robinhood at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Robinhood at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Some participants at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Some participants at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

With Sir Shrek at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

With Sir Shrek at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Gypsies at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Gypsies at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Lady of the Chess and Saxon Aethelstan at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Lady of the Chess and Saxon Aethelstan at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

 

I am the Lady of the Chess and I am married to Saxon Aethelstan

So, who are you?

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in MichiganRenFair

 

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Medieval Structures at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012

During the 7-week long Michigan Renaissance Faire, the property at Dixie Highway, Holly was filled with houses, shops and structures that were created to emulate an old English village. Upon arrival, the world changes from 21st century to being medieval in a snap. Even visitors came dressed in costumes taking pride in every details of what they wear. The smell of smoked turkey leg filled the air. Jugglers, dancers, singers, actors and actresses perform on stages and spaces which have become a home for them for years. But what is strikingly obvious is the effort everyone has put into making this old English village remarkably surreal.

Welcome to Michigan Renaissance Festival 2012.

Welcome to Michigan Renaissance Festival 2012.

Welcoming visitors to Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Welcoming visitors to Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Michigan Renaissance Faire 2o12 in Holly, Michigan.

Michigan Renaissance Faire 2o12 in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

one of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire

Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Water mill at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Water mill at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Gazebo at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Gazebo at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Shops at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Shops at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Some tents at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Some tents at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

One of the structures which functions as a shop at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Lovely garden and gazebo at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

Lovely garden and gazebo at Michigan Renaissance Faire in Holly, Michigan.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2012 in MichiganRenFair

 

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Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012

Renaissance Faires are outdoor activities normally held on weekends where entertainers, actors and actresses dress, talk, dance and sing to emulate a certain period of time. Most Renaissance faires emulate the era of Queen Elizabeth I of England’s reign but faires can do any period that pleases them ranging from pirates to vikings even including fairies and mermaids. Some Renaissance faires are hosted at playgrounds, or permanent theme parks or private spaces. Some are held for a day, some days, weeks, even months. To spice up the activity for those held months long, themes are followed every weekends. Visitors are most encouraged to come in costumes.

Medieval Saxon and his Lady of the Chess at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Medieval Saxon and his Lady of the Chess at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

 

The Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 ran for 7 weekends commencing on the 3rd weekend of August and culminating on the last weekend of September. It was held in Dixie Highway, Holly where permanent structures and stages were built to make it look and feel like a  fictional English village. Listed below are the themes for each weekends. Hubby and I decided to attend the second weekend for the Highland Fling because he is a huge fan of bag pipes and kilts.  Hubby’s father side can also trace their roots to Scotland so that weekend felt like honoring his family’s heritage. Hubby was dressed up as a Medieval Saxon while I was dressed as the Lady of the Chess. We were joined by hubby’s brother David and his wife Lynne on the first day, Saturday, and on Sunday, hubby and I attended the faire by ourselves (but we were sadly not in costumes)

Royal Pet and Ale Festival – August 18th and 19th
Highland Fling! – August 25th and 26th
High Seas Adventure! – September 1st, 2nd and 3rd
Wonders of the World! – September 8th and 9th
Festival Friday! – September 14th , Shamrocks and Shenanigans! – September 15th and 16th
Harvest Huzzah! – September 22nd and 23rd
Sweet Endings! – September 29th and 30th

And because there is so much to share about Michigan Renaissance Faire, I have decided to divide my blog entries into different themes as well. This post serves as an introduction to the Renaissance Faire especially for those of you who have not encountered nor heard this yet. And to give justice to this introduction, it is but appropriate and an honor to present to you Her Majesty, Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth I of England.

Long Live the Queen!

Her Majesty, Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth I of England on her parade at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Her Majesty, Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth I of England on her parade at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

The Queen's Parade at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

The Queen’s Parade at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Scottish bag pipes and drums and fairies accompany Her Royal Highness during the Queen's Parade at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Scottish bag pipes and drums and fairies accompany Her Royal Highness during the Queen’s Parade at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

The Royal Guards and Royal Court during the Queens Parade at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

The Royal Guards and Royal Court during the Queens Parade at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

The Court at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

The Court at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

 

The highlight of the accession tilts of Queen Elizabeth I was jousting. It was originally a military tactic used during the High Medieval Ages but later evolved as a sport in the 15th century. The Renaissance Faire gives you a glimpse of this medieval joust as a tournament. Knights in shining armor are not just literature fictions and fantasies at the faire because inside the walls of this 17 acre grounds, your knight in his shining armor up on his horse attacking his opponent in high speed comes to life.

Knight in shining armor during a joust at Michigan Renaissace Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Knight in shining armor during a joust at Michigan Renaissace Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Knight in shining armor during a joust at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

Knight in shining armor during a joust at Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 in Holly, Michigan.

And if you are curious why I chose to be a Lady of Chess, remember that in the game of chess, the Queen protects the King. Enjoy the Renaissance!

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2012 in Michigan, MichiganRenFair

 

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Natural Bridge State Resort Park – Kentucky

The Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Kentucky is approximately 2,300 acres. It is located in the midst of the Daniel Boone National Forest, near the Red River Gorge Geological Area. It is home to 34 amphibians, 54 mammals, 31 reptiles, 54 types of ferns, 146 tree or woody plant species, 115 spring wildflowers and 89 resident species of birds.There are also numerous hiking trails that criss cross the park, caves and unusual rock formations which are perfect for an outdoor adventure.

The Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Kentucky, USA.

The Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Kentucky, USA.

One of the hiking trails at Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky, USA.

One of the hiking trails at Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky, USA.

A medium size hole that looks like a cave spotted while hiking the trails at Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky, USA.

A medium size hole that looks like a cave spotted while hiking the trails at Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky, USA.

Hiking one of the trails at Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky, USA.

Hiking one of the trails at Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky, USA.

Some beautiful rock formations seen while hiking one of the trails at Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky, USA.

Some beautiful rock formations seen while hiking one of the trails at Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky, USA.

The forest trail at Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky, USA.

The forest trail at Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky, USA.

One of the interesting rocks at Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky, USA.

 

But the highlight of this park is the natural bridge arched by a natural process of weathering over millions of years. The Natural Bridge which is natural sandstone arch spans 78 ft or 24 meters and is 65 ft or 20 m high.

The Natural Bridge in Kentucky, USA was formed by a natural process of weathering over millions of years. This bridge is a natural sandstone arch that spans 78 ft or 24 meters and is 65 ft or 20 m high.

The Natural Bridge in Kentucky, USA was formed by a natural process of weathering over millions of years. This bridge is a natural sandstone arch that spans 78 ft or 24 meters and is 65 ft or 20 m high.

The steps leading to the top of the natural bridge in Kentucky, USA.

The steps leading to the top of the natural bridge in Kentucky, USA.

Hubby and I standing on top of the natural bridge in Kentucky, USA.

Hubby and I standing on top of the natural bridge in Kentucky, USA.

Standing on top of the Natural Bridge looking out to the mountains of Kentucky, USA.

Standing on top of the Natural Bridge looking out to the mountains of Kentucky, USA.

East view while standing on top of the natural bridge in Kentucky, USA.

East view while standing on top of the natural bridge in Kentucky, USA.

Leaves starting to change color by September at the Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Kentucky, USA.

Leaves starting to change color by September at the Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Kentucky, USA.

The sky lift at Natural Bridge Resort in Kentucky, USA. Hubby and I chose to hike trails going back instead.

The sky lift at Natural Bridge Resort in Kentucky, USA. Hubby and I chose to hike trails going back instead.

 

Heaven is a step closer when you stand on top of a mountain. In our case, on top of the Natural Bridge in Kentucky, us together.

Heaven is a step closer on top of the Natural Bridge in Kentucky with hubby.

Heaven is a step closer on top of the Natural Bridge in Kentucky with hubby.

 

Traveller’s tip : Natural Bridge State Park Resort caters to your dining and shopping needs.  Check below:

Dining at Natural Bridge State Park Resort in Kentucky, USA.

Dining at Natural Bridge State Park Resort in Kentucky, USA.

The souvenir center at Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky, USA.

The souvenir center at Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky, USA.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2012 in Kentucky, TRAVEL

 

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Video

american le mans series 2012 at virginia international raceway

**video taken from nascar bend view on September 14, 2012

 

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2012 in Le Mans 2012, Virginia

 

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American Le Mans Series at Virginia International Raceway : Day 1

The Virginia International Raceway hosted the 9th round of 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron. Luckily for us, it is only about two and a half hour drive to the race track from North Carolina. For hubby and I and for our friends Jonathan and Jane Toney, this 14th season race is not a treat to miss, even stayed two whole days that felt like the best weekend and (loudest) ever.

American Le Mans Series (ALMS) debuted in 1999. It basically follows the same rules as the 24 Hours Le Mans with 3 primary classes racing  and added 2 “challenge classes”. Prototypes ( P1 in red numbers, P2 in blue numbers, PC in purple numbers) are purpose-built racing machines while GT in green numbers and GTC in orange numbers are production-based modified cars.

The morning of our day 1 at VIR was spent watching the practices overlooking from the up hill.

view from the up hill

By noon we attended a fan forum participated by ALMS President & CEO Scott Atherton, VIR Co-owner and Managing Partner Connie Nyholm, No. 4 Corvette Racing C6R driver Tommy Milner, No. 01 ESM Ferrari F458 Italia driver Johannes van Overbeek , and RSR Racing owner Paul Gentilozzi.

fan forum at the pavilion

But my favorite part of our first day was staying and taking photos at the nascar bend and it was tricky.

In between walks around the track, I grabbed the opportunity to take photos of what catches my eye (and attention).

corvette station

hubby and I at the corvette station

I am not an expert of cars and racing and I am still learning the ropes. Hubby was very comforting when he said that we all are. Well, I am enjoying this learning process and guess what, I love American Le Mans Series :)

aerial view of VIR. photo credits to VIResort

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Le Mans 2012, Virginia

 

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Petoskey, Michigan

Petoskey holds a special place in my hubby’s heart and now I understand why. It was 60 degrees when we visited the town, just the way hubby loves it yet a bit chilly for his Filipina wife, but boy oh boy, Petoskey is a sight to behold and I could not wait to explore the district. The town was formerly known as Bear River but later renamed after the Ottawa Indian Chief Petosega. We woke up to a lovely sunny morning and a beautiful view of Lake Michigan just right outside our balcony greeted us. We didn’t really have a plan for the day so we decided to stroll downtown and headed to the marina. While we missed the sunset Petoskey is known for, we surely awed at the tranquility of the town in the morning.

Waking up to a beautiful morning at Apple Tree Inn in Petoskey, Michigan.

Waking up to a beautiful morning at Apple Tree Inn in Petoskey, Michigan.

Random sights at downtown Petoskey, Michigan.

Random sights at downtown Petoskey, Michigan.

Petoskey Art Center in Petoskey, Michigan.

Petoskey Art Center in Petoskey, Michigan.

Crooked Tree, Petoskey Art Center in Petoskey, Michigan.

Crooked Tree, Petoskey Art Center in Petoskey, Michigan.

A gazebo at downtown Petoskey in Michigan.

A gazebo at downtown Petoskey in Michigan.

Some vintage items you can find in the shops around Petoskey, Michigan. Some shops have been in business for 20 years or more.

Some vintage items you can find in the shops around Petoskey, Michigan. Some shops have been in business for 20 years or more.

Hubby at Petoskey marina in Michigan.

Hubby at Petoskey marina in Michigan.

Enjoying Lake Michigan at Petoskey marina in Petoskey, Michigan.

Enjoying Lake Michigan at Petoskey marina in Petoskey, Michigan.

Petoskey City Park is situated right beside Petoskey Marina in Michigan.

Petoskey City Park is situated right beside Petoskey Marina in Michigan.

 

On Petoskey’s waterfront is the Little Traverse Historical Museum. It is a restored abandoned Chicago and West Michigan Railroad station. This museum is proud to showcase Ernest Hemmingway’s stories and artifacts as he spend his summers in Northern Michigan.

Little Traverse Historical Museum in Petoskey, Michigan.

Little Traverse Historical Museum in Petoskey, Michigan.

Inside Little Traverse Historical Museum in Petoskey, Michigan.

Inside Little Traverse Historical Museum in Petoskey, Michigan.

Some displays inside Little Traverse Historical Museum in Petoskey, Michigan.

Some displays inside Little Traverse Historical Museum in Petoskey, Michigan.

Some displays of vintage clothing inside Little Traverse Historical Museum in Petoskey, Michigan. On the left is the robe for Michigan Winter Queen which has been passed on from winner after winner.

Some displays of vintage clothing inside Little Traverse Historical Museum in Petoskey, Michigan. On the left is the robe for Michigan Winter Queen which has been passed on from winner after winner.

 

The note on the robe says

Michigan Winter Queen : An important part of Winter Queen’s wardrobe, this robe passed from winner to winner each year. The selection of the Queen, as a rule, took place on Friday night during the first weekend of the Winter Carnival. Elsie Bohm became the first Winter Queen in 1928 . The criteria for selecting a Winter Queen matched the Miss America contest, except instead of a swimsuit contest she had to be proficient in winter sport.

As to where to dine in Petoskey, check below:

View of Lake Michigan from Papa Lou's pizza in Petoskey, Michigan.

View of Lake Michigan from Papa Lou’s pizza in Petoskey, Michigan.

Great dining experience at City Park Grill in Petoskey, Michigan.

Great dining experience at City Park Grill in Petoskey, Michigan.

 

I guess starting today Petoskey will not only hold a special place in my hubby’s heart but in my heart as well. My heart, definitely.

Wonderful memories with hubby at Petoskey, Michigan.

Wonderful memories with hubby at Petoskey, Michigan.

 

P.S. I got lucky to see a mob of wild deer on our way to Petoskey and jumped out of the car and sneeked for snapshots. I suppose this was around Harbor Springs.

A mob of wild deer spotted in Harbor Springs on our way to Petoskey, Michigan.

A mob of wild deer spotted in Harbor Springs on our way to Petoskey, Michigan.

 

And for more information and perspective about Petoskey, check on the Google Street View below :

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2012 in Michigan, TRAVEL

 

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Michilimackinac, Michigan

Michilimackinac (pronounced as Mish-i-li-mack-i-naw) is the area between the Lower and Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is the region around the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. The name Michilimackinac has been a subject of debate among scholars but it is widely understood as a Michigan Native American term that means “The Great Turtle” referring to the shape of Mackinac Island.  This is where hubby showed me three subjects I am very passionate about : a story of Native Americans, a lake, and a lighthouse.

The Straits of Mackinac functioned as a fur trade summer depot so Fort Michilimackinac was built by the French originally as a trading post, not for military purposes. It was later taken over by the British. The Native Americans, captured the fort after they massacred most of the British garrison, but the British re-garrisoned the fort in 1764 and abandoned the area in 1780 when they moved to Mackinac Island and established Fort Mackinac.

With an actor playing as a Native American at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

With an actor playing as a Native American at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

A tipi and drying fur at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

A tipi and drying fur at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

An actor playing as a French trader at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

An actor playing as a French trader at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

One of the residences inside Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

One of the residences inside Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

The church inside Fort Michilimackinac, MIchigan.

The church inside Fort Michilimackinac, MIchigan.

One of the residences inside Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

One of the residences inside Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

Inside one of the residences at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

Inside one of the residences at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

With an actor and an actress at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

With an actor and an actress at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

With actors playing as British soldiers at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

With actors playing as British soldiers at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

With an actor playing as British soldier at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

With an actor playing as British soldier at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

Acting as a British soldier at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

Acting as a British soldier at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

Hubby and I at the gate of Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

Hubby and I at the gate of Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

 

The Mackinac Bridge is regarded as the dividing line between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. This represents the narrowest point between these two connected bodies of water. From Mackinac standpoint, the left of the Mackinac Bridge is Lake Michigan and the right is Lake Huron.

Lake Michigan with Mackinac Bridge as the background.

Lake Michigan with Mackinac Bridge as the background.

Hubby and I with Lake Michigan and Mackinac Bridge at the background

Hubby and I with Lake Michigan and Mackinac Bridge at the background

Peek of Lake Michigan and Mackinac Bridge from Fort Michilimackinac watchtower.

Peek of Lake Michigan and Mackinac Bridge from Fort Michilimackinac watchtower.

Lake Huron and Mackinac Bridge, Michigan.

Lake Huron and Mackinac Bridge, Michigan.

 

While the Straits of Mackinac was critical to the trading system, it was also hazardous. So the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse was built to guide ships to a safe passage. I guess why I love lighthouses is the fact that it beacons and it guides, and in this life, we all need one.

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse at Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.

 

This is my story of Michilimackinac where hubby treated me with an encounter with a Native American, showed me lakes, and showcased a lighthouse. Is it Christmas yet?

 

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2012 in Michigan, TRAVEL

 

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Sturgeon River – Wolverine, Michigan

There are moments in my life I will cherish forever but that afternoon in Wolverine, Michigan is extra special. It is a small village in the northern part of the state with a population of less than 500. There is really nothing fancy about the town – no signboards shouting for attention, no trace of Hollywood invasion, no non-sense – but the town has a park that lies along the side of the Sturgeon River and that sweet little haven is where my hubby decided to bring me for a surprise picnic. This place is naturally and effortlessly mystical. I have always been flawed and imperfect, but that day, that very moment, I was reminded that life is truly beautiful and wondered how will I be without him.

How did I fall for Jon? If you know him, you will know why. And by the Sturgeon River, I know, I have fallen deeper.

View of Sturgeon River from Wolverine Village Park in Michigan.

View of Sturgeon River from Wolverine Village Park in Michigan.

View of Sturgeon River from Wolverine Village Park in Michigan.

View of Sturgeon River from Wolverine Village Park in Michigan.

View of Sturgeon River from Wolverine Village Park in Michigan.

View of Sturgeon River from Wolverine Village Park in Michigan.

View of Sturgeon River from Wolverine Village Park in Michigan.

View of Sturgeon River from Wolverine Village Park in Michigan.

Wolverine Village Park on the side banks of Sturgeon River in Wolverine, Michigan.

Wolverine Village Park on the side banks of Sturgeon River in Wolverine, Michigan.

Picnic on the side banks of Sturgeon River in Wolverine, Michigan.

Picnic on the side banks of Sturgeon River in Wolverine, Michigan.

 

Here is a virtual tour of Sturgeon River courtesy of Google Street View below :

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2012 in Michigan, TRAVEL

 

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Chicken Skewers

For the marinade:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 lemon or lime, juice of
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 pc bell pepper sliced
  • onion

Use 2 lbs chicken meat, cut in 1×1 cubes.
Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, lime, garlic, black pepper in a bowl and marinate the meat in an hour or overnight.
Thread the meat onto skewers together with the bell pepper and onion. Discard unused marinade.
Grill. Best serve with rice.

chicken skewers

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in FOODIES

 

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