Eat, Drynk, & Be Merrie!

Renaissance Greeter

Stepping through the gates of Fairhaven is like walking into a fairytale. From the moment you cross that threshold you are transported to a captivating fantasy land complete with a cartoon-like medieval village. Countless characters are dressed the part from head to toe in some of the most elaborate get ups you will ever see, as well as those that are the epitome of peasantry.


The storybook village is jam packed with entertainment that offers something for people of all ages. It is nearly impossible to see and do everything the Renaissance Fair offers in one single visit, although that didn’t stop us from trying our best!

Medieval Village

As you traipse through the open air market filled with artisan shops, kitchens, games and people powered rides, you are inundated by peddlers of all sorts. If you have a problem with saying no, I suggest you fake deaf and keep on walking. My trick was to laugh and keep walking, it worked pretty well. And because everyone is a comedian in this place it was all in good fun. As a matter of fact, I laughed so much that my abs were sore the next day!

Barely Balanced

Here in Fairhaven, entertainment abounds with live shows running non-stop throughout the day. If you’re looking for a chuckle the stage performances should be your cup of tea. We managed to catch a new show just added this year called, Barely Balanced, a trio of daredevils who were an absolute riot!

Purple Knight

We also joined the mass of spectators at the Jousting Tournaments, which took place at three different times during the day. These exhibitions draw the largest crowds so make it to the arena early for choice seating.

Jousting Tourney

Wandering can get you into trouble when you're in between spectacles as there are so many different things to spend your money on in this place. I can imagine that going with a group of kiddos might be quite expensive due to the games and rides sprinkled throughout the village. My friend and I decided to be a little adventurous ourselves and chose to take a tumble on the Pirates Assault Catapult. It was exhilarating!

Note to self: Next time do this prior to stuffing face!

Speaking of stuffing can find a number of things to feast on throughout the village lanes. We had a turkey leg (or two) & a scotch egg to name a few. At last year's festival we waited too long before deciding to try one of those tasty orbs so we missed out, but not this time! Oh my goodness they are so delicious. I bet you we never make that mistake again :D

Scotch Egg

Just before the cannon blows and the gates close, we had time to observe one last show. Dexter Tripp is a crazy, show-off stuntman who has a penchant for putting himself into danger.

Demented Dextre Tripp

We witnessed him walk across a flaming tightrope and juggle with a chainsaw, now that's entertainment! I really like that such a dynamite day ended up with something on fire! I'm such a pyro.

Dextre Tripp

Even if you're there from open till close, you are bound to miss a thing or two. Two days would be ideal, but at $20 a pop all one can afford is [a] day (not to mention that its 2 hours away located just outside of Charlotte, NC). However, if the admission is what would keep you away, I would think about attending the opening weekend when they offer a two for one deal. We hoped to do that this season but I was just getting back from Hawaii and there was no way! Maybe next year when we go, we'll dress up with all of the other faire folk for the full experience! :D Until next time fare-thee-well my good fellows. HUZZAH!!!!!!!!

Additional Info:
~North Carolina Renaissance Festival - website

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Honolulu's Most Popular Hikes

It's hard to go to Hawaii and not commune with nature. However, there are some really great things you can do to immerse yourself even farther instead of sticking to the white, sandy beaches. My favorite way to do this is by taking a hike! The island of Oahu is riddled with trails if you know where to look, but there are two trails in particular that get all of the praise. So popular, in fact, that these outdoor adventures can see hundreds of tourists everyday! The two favored hikes in Honolulu are very different from one another in the realm of landscape and atmosphere. Now, two hikes in one day may sound like a bit too much, but I chose to do so because they were very close to one another. And since I was staying on the other end of the island, I figured I should hit them both up on the same day.

Manoa Falls

My first stop was the Manoa Falls trail located just outside of Honolulu in Manoa Valley. I am a sucker for waterfalls, so I had to get a glimpse of this 160-foot tall mammoth. Since this unbelievably lush rainforest was deserted at this hour of the morning (7:30am), I decided that I would forgo taking pictures until I reached the end only because I thought that it would stay that way.

Banyan Tree

I walked amidst the gigantic Banyan trees flanked by the everpresent stream. As I made my way up the narrow pathway, portions of the trail were framed by bamboo forests. I found this trail to have a very gentle grade, and at only 1 mile each way, it's one almost anyone could undertake. One thing to be careful of on this particular trail is the mud, because it can be slippery! It receives quite a bit of rain from what I have read, although maybe it hadn't rained much lately, because the cascade was meager. It wasn't too terribly disappointing though, since it took little effort to get there.

Bamboo Lined Path

Remember how I told you that I saved taking pictures until after I reached the falls? Yeah, well, that was a HUGE mistake! On my way down I passed numerous guided tour groups that made it nearly impossible to get a shot without someone being in the way. That is the last time I wait to take photos again!! Seriously. Who needs a tour guide to take a hike? I don't. Nature is free :D

Purple Flower

Parking, however, is not! I didn't find this out until I got back to the Jeep where a little yellow note asking me to see the attendant regarding payment was stuck to my window. Be forewarned that they charge $5 to park in the parking lot at the trail head. I got away with only paying $2 because I claimed stupidity. Sucka! Seriously, though. I didn't see any signs that said there was a charge, and I certainly didn't overlook an attendant!

Concrete Start

The next stop, Diamond Head Crater, is considered the most popular trail. It likely sees twice the amount of hikers that Manoa Falls does. Unlike the gentle grade of the last trail, this one is much more vigorous. Even though you start off on a concrete path that seems forgiving, it quickly morphs into switchback city!

Switchback City!

From the crater floor to the summit you will climb 560 feet in less than a mile (0.8 to be exact). By the time you weave your way through the switchbacks, you are begging for mercy as the sun is blazing and the sweat starts pouring. It would do you good to be very well hydrated before attempting this trail unless you are a fan of fainting.

99 Steps?!?!?!

You begin to think that the worst is over, but that's when you are met with a steep concrete stairway consisting of 74 steps! Afterward, you get a chance to cool off in the tunnels that take you below the surface. The closer you feel to the top, though, the further away from reality you are because after stepping out of that dark tunnel, you are standing at the foot of yet another staircase! Some just stood there, mouth agape, staring in disbelief at the towering approach. More steps!?!? Yes, 99 of those bad boys :D And just when you think you can't take another footstep, they make you climb a spiral staircase!!

Crater Surroundings

At this point I felt somewhat tortured, but the end was getting near. I could feel it. Okay, well, not as close as I hoped....More stairs?!?! So, let me get this straight, we've scaled a windy path of switchbacks, a 74 step set of stairs, burrowed through a tunnel, climbed another staircase with 99 grueling steps, spiral staircase with 52 stairs and last but not least a 3rd set of stairs with 54 more steps! Holy mama!! Lemme catch my breath......

Mini Waikiki

I suppose that this trail wouldn't be so popular if the views weren't worth every drop of sweat shed along the way. The vista was most definitely a stunning sight with the Pacific ocean and Wakiki coastline in full view. As a matter of fact, this is an ideal spot to see a panoramic view of the Leeward side of the island.

Me on top of Diamond Head

One good thing about hikes that make you work so hard going up, you know it's all downhill from the top! Despite how horrible I may make this hike sound, I saw so many different types of people trudging to the summit. I even passed a lady who was wearing high heels! No lie. And she did make it to the top...eventually :D

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A Place of Peace & Serenity: Byodo-In Temple

Byodo-In Temple

Located in the Valley of the Temples, at the base of the 2,000 foot Ko'olau mountain range, is the replica of a 950-year-old Buddhist temple in Uji, Japan. The Byodo-In Temple was constructed, without the use of a single nail, in the 1960's to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants who came to Hawaii to work in the sugar plantations.

Buddah Statue

Byodo-In is the quintessence of tranquility and I was fortunate enough to experience this place solely. The only other people around were the groundskeepers, but they don't count.

Stone Path

Before entering the temple it is customary to ring the Bon-Sho (sacred bell) by striking it with the shu-moku (a wooden log). The five foot high, three ton brass bell creates a deep resonant gong, sending out a wave of calm said to cleanse the mind of evil and temptation. One can't help but be overcome with an extreme sense of peacefulness while roaming the grounds.

Remove Shoes

The most intense feelings I exhibited were upon entering the temple and getting my first glimpse of Amida, a golden Buddah, carved out of wood that towered more than 18 feet tall.

Golden Buddah (Amida)

As I stood there gawking at this immense figure, I began to weep. I had no clue as to why either. All I know is that I was filled with an overwhelming array of complex emotions that I couldn't begin to decipher. I just went with it, especially since I was alone and could do so without prying eyes.

Bell Detail

I walked along every inch of these grounds as slowly as I possibly could so I wouldn't miss a single detail. Took a peek in the gift shop and picked up a few mementos (post cards and incense). I also bought a bag of fish food so that I could sit at the edge of the expansive koi pond and feed the eager fishies. Little did I know that every species of wildlife here at Byodo-In would be attracted to the scanty handout.

I was surrounded on all sides by feisty fish, curious swans, a tenacious turtle and a flock of swift birdies. I thought that must be what it felt like to be Snow White! It was too much fun dispensing those goodies, I had to go back and get a second bag. And I was probably stalling, too, because I hated to leave this lovely place. Can you blame me?! Alas, I had other sights to see.

Byodo-In with Bridge

By the time I came full-circle (2 hours later) there were groups of people entering by the dozen! I ate my lunch of leftover sushi (how fitting) in the parking lot before making my way to Highway 83 for a leisurely stop-and-go drive up to the North Shore of Oahu. I had a few hours to kill prior to the evening event we planned to attend for my birthday. If you missed it, we went to Germaine's Luau, which you can read about here.


As I left with thankfulness on my mind, I thought that having this magnificent place all to myself was my birthday gift from the universe. What a great birthday I had (Sept 29)! Lucky, I am :D

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