Friday, October 21, 2005

Maryland Renaissance Festival

Recently my wife and I attended the Maryland Renaissance Festival. It was our third time.

The festival is a whole lot of fun. It's an excuse to drink and eat in excess, to dress in weird clothes and to oggle fellow festival goers.

The location of the festival is a small-town-sized complex with permanent buildings and lots and lots of beautiful shade trees. It's populated by a large number of actors and acrobats who stroll about in fantastic costumes (here is Jane Seymour and her lady-in-waiting being wooed by a pirate).

A lot of the attendees also dress up, most of them in period dress but a lot of the kids come in their goth attire, complete with black capes and multitudinous piercings. It's people watching at it's best. I got to wear my beautiful renaissance period Scottish fighting jacket and tucked my black jeans into my boots, and my wife wore a gown and a large cockroach pin, very lifelike.

Musicians wander about playing period music, and there's a schedule full of dramas, comedys, acrobatics and music on 3 different permanent stages.

The arts and crafts available here are serious including renaissance and medieval weapons of all kinds (only actors are allowed to carry these however), sumptuous clothing, and jewelry. I almost bought a sword, a replica of the one Strider/Aaragorn carried at the battle of Helms Deep.

We're looking forward to doing it again next year. What a great way to take a vacation, not just to another place, but to another time.


My wife and I are back from Alaska. We did lots of neat touristy stuff in Fairbanks, but the BIG deal was a trip to Bettles. Bettles is a town 35 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It was an hour small plane ride north from Fairbanks.

Being totally cut off from civilization in terms of electricity, phone service, radio and television, they've had to come up with ways to supply that themselves. It has an airstrip and as such functions as a gas station for planes and helicopters. It has a lodge which is where we stayed. Because Bettles isn't connected to Alaska's road system, you don't need a license to drive there. It's a genuine frontier town and the people that live there exude the independent spirit required to survive in such an environment.

Oh, yes, and the weather. In the winter it gets down to 160 below fahrenheit. Guess you'd need a windbreaker.

While up there we chartered a plane to take us flight trecking for an hour and a half into the Brooks Range. Above is a picture of what we saw. You can see the tip of the wing at the top of the photo. The plane was a little 5 person job, narrower than a car. It was a bit scary but we had confidence in our pilot. Most of all it was spectacular.

We saw the Northern Lights on 3 separate nights while we were there.

The trip to Bettles was something I'll never forget. It's one of the coolest things I've ever done.

Warn A Brother

Nothing in particular to say. I just thought this was funny.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Back in Fairbanks from my trip to Bettles, AK. It was awesome in the true sense of the word. We chartered a small plane through the Brooks Range and saw some beautiful Northern Lights, both of us for the first time.

More later, I've only got 10 minutes on this Vistor's Center computer.