Books Perfect for Kickstarting Your Spooky Season Reading

We ask only to be reassured
About the noises in the cellar
And the window that should not have been open

The Family Reunion (T.S. Eliot)

Once the cooler weather arrives and September ends, it officially becomes spooky season in my book. Tis the season for cozy sweaters, warm blankets, nights by the fire pit, hot soup, and (most importantly) spooky reads. Not everyone wants to have the pants scared off them and have to sleep with the lights on. Some people thrive on that. Others are looking for a fun romantic comedy with a Halloween feel. Then there are those who seek suspense.

I read a bit of all three depending on my mood. Below are few of my favorite Halloween and scary reads. There’s hopefully a little something for everyone to enjoy. Go sink your teeth into one of these and fully embrace the Halloween/fall reading vibes!

Lighthearted Spooky Reads

Witches cursing ex boyfriends. The town falling under attack by the hilarious outcomes of the curse backfiring. You’ll love this book if you enjoy romantic comedies, hilarious magical mishaps, all things witchy, and enemies to lovers tropes. Good news, the sequel The Kiss Curse is out now, so you’ll have even more of this awesome series to dive into.

Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson is the first installment of the trilogy and it makes one heck of a magical read through. Prophecies, spies, warring covens, and an escaped warlock all come together for an adventure you won’t forget. You’ll love this if you like strong female characters and friendships, adventurous stories told through multiple character narrations, and if you love being fully immersed in a magical world that tackles LGBTQ+ themes.

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn is both funny and witty and like nothing you’d expect. Ladies of retirement age aren’t usually seen as anything but frail, but these assassins have a decades-long career in all things death. Now the hit is on them and they have to figure out who put it on their heads and how they can stop it. You’ll love this book if you like reading about unlikely heroines, assassins, sassy elderly characters who are all strong female characters in their own unique way, and general badassery.

Calling all ghost story fans! The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston is such a unique take on a ghost story as well as the most unique romcom I’ve ever read. A ghostwriter who can see ghosts and is followed around by a seriously attractive ghost of someone she knew? You’ll love this book if you like stories about finding yourself and realizing that romance is not, in fact, dead. It’s both hilarious and moving and one of the best romantic ghost stories of all time, even if it’s the only romantic ghost story.

Suspenseful Reads

Ian is on the hunt for the Nazi that killed his brother during the war. Nina is looking to exact revenge on the woman who tried to murder her. Jordan is trying to navigate life with her new stepmother and her suspicions about her. The Huntress by Alice Quinn is packed full of suspense and an epic tale of cat and mouse set years after World War II. You’ll love this if you like historical fiction, staying up past your bedtime to read more chapters because you have to find out what happens, and if you like character-driven plots.

Malcolm wrote a blog post years ago about 8 perfect murders in literature. Now, an FBI agent is questioning him about a slew of recent murders seeming to follow his list. Is it a coincidence? Is he a target? Or is there much more than meets the eye? Read this if you love unreliable narrators, suspense with a dash of murder, whodunnits, and lots of twists.

Con artist vs reporter. Both are linked inextricably by the past and suddenly the present. Forget what you think you know about con artists. This is one heck of a psychological ride. You’ll love this if you love strong female characters, twists you don’t see coming, so many lies you can’t wait to see how they all come together, and a powerful story of metaphorical sisterhood.

Amber is in a coma, her husband doesn’t love her anymore, and sometimes she lies. If you think you know what’s happening, think again. Every chapter is a new sliver of information and you are never sure what you can trust. Alternating between the past and present you will slowly piece together the events that led to Amber’s coma and what happens next. You’ll love this if psychological thrillers are your jam, you love unreliable narrators, and live for plot twists.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix is the perfect Halloween read. It’s both funny and creepy. Local children start to go missing and the only people who are suspicious of the new neighbor is the book club. Luckily, their predilection for horror books makes them experts at identifying and killing vampires. You will love this if you like your vampire books both creepy and delightful, you love quirky characters, and you’re in the mood to get fully wrapped up in a story.

Fern loves helping her sister. It’s the least she could do after Rose has done so much for her, right? When Rose finds out she can’t conceive, Fern decides to help by having a baby for Rose. What could go wrong? The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth is a chilling tale of control, sisterly relationships gone horribly wrong, and a shockingly satisfying twist. Which sister is the good sister? You’ll have to read it to find out.

Creeptastic Reads

You’ll never look at an Ikea quite the same way. This book is the definition of keep you up all night and leave the lights on horror. It starts simple with smashed furniture and odd smells leading the manager to have several employees stay overnight to investigate. It quickly escalates to the creepiest (and very cleverly written) haunting you can imagine happening in a store like an Ikea. You’ll love this if you love haunted houses, creepy descriptions, things that go bump in the night, and if you’re okay with your electricity bill being higher because you kept all the lights on.

Devolution by Max Brooks is a masterpiece in suspense and horror. The events of the Greenloop Massacre unfold in the pages of Kate’s journal. What was once an eco-friendly, off-the-grid living enclave turns into nightmare fuel after Mount Rainier erupts and sends creatures running right into the path of potential prey. If you love jump scares that appear from thin air, gruesome events told in first-hand accounts, Bigfoot, and anything folklore/cryptid, you need to delve into this. Bonus points if you also read World War Z by this author.

25 years ago Maggie Holt’s family fled and her father retold the horrors in his book. A quarter of a century later, Maggie doesn’t believe in ghosts and moves back into the family home. s she begins renovations to prepare the home for sale, she begins to experience some of the ghostly events detailed in her father’s book. Are they real? Are there actual horrors to discover? Will Maggie be able to stay in the house or repeat the terrifying flight that made the house infamous with horror?

The Return by Rachel Harrison is the epitome of a vacation and reunion gone abysmally and terrifyingly wrong. When your friend who mysteriously disappeared for two years suddenly reappears, you absolutely need to go on vacation with your best friends in a remote location. Best idea ever. Only, your friend isn’t acting normally. What happened to her during those years? What’s happening in this hotel? You’ll love this if you love jump scares mixed with horror and a dash of the supernatural. You just might never look at a friend vacation the same way ever again much less a hotel.

Which Books Will You Read?

Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your recommendations too. I have a few witchy reads coming up and some cozy mysteries with a dash of murder. Hopefully they’re all great so I can do another post to share them!

2022 Adventures in Albuquerque

The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience

Eleanor Roosevelt

Me gusta mucho Albuquerque. Will has family there, so we try to visit every year whenever that’s possible. His grandparents are in their 90’s so we knew we’d make it a point to visit. This was more of a ‘let’s go see family’ trip, but we ended up seeing and doing SO many new things that I couldn’t resist writing a blog post for it.

ABQ always surprises me in the best ways each time we visit. It’s such a cool town and constantly changing. Plus the drastically different scenery from where I live is always a breath of fresh air literally and figuratively. So, read on, friends! Go see what shenanigans we got up to this trip!

Day 1: Airports, Reunions, and New Friends

4am came too soon, but my excitement helped me survive. Luckily, we have an awesome airport 30 minutes away in Harrisburg which saves us from making the trek to Philly almost every single trip. Our flight arrived on time for our connecting flight and can I just take one second to praise the Dallas Fort Worth airport?

It’s MASSIVE but it also recently underwent renovations in certain terminals. They’ve always had some of the best assortment of airport restaurants I’ve seen, but that’s not what I want to talk about… THE BATHROOMS. Bathrooms of the future. The entrance tells you how many stalls are open and how far away the next bathroom is. There are lights above each stall to tell you if it’s occupied or not. No more awkwardly bending over to look for feet. Each sink had a faucet for soap, another for water, and another to dry you, so you had everything in one spot. All to yourself. I don’t know which genius thought of this but I appreciate that person.

Moving on from my airport bathroom love story. We spent the rest of the day hanging out with Will’s grandparents, aunt, and uncle. One of my favorite parts of the first night was getting to know Will’s cousin’s wife. She was one of the coolest people I’ve met in a while and we clicked instantly. It was great catching up with family and making new friends over dinner.

Day 2: Everything but the Kitchen Sink

I’m one of those people who gets up early even on vacation to workout. I absolutely love it. What I love most when I’m in ABQ is taking a morning walk. Now, I’ve been visiting this town for years and even visited the Petroglyph National Monument. What I didn’t know was that there was an entrance with tons of walking trails a 5 minute walk from where we always stay… Needless to say I was beyond excited to make this discovery, especially so early into the trip where I could spend more time walking there. Seeing the sunrise over the Sandia Mountains and watching the sky change colors while in the desert, in one of my favorite areas of Albuquerque was the absolute best way to start the day.

The rest of the morning we spent driving around to different places Will’s cousin wanted to show his wife. We got to see hatch green chiles being roasted which we had never seen before. New Mexico is the only place on the planet where hatch green chiles are grown. They are also one of the most delicious peppers ever and go with literally every savory food. Every time we go I try to eat as much as a person possibly can and there are never any regrets. Once we set off again, we stopped at Ex Novo, a new-to-us brewery that had lots of outdoor eating and a great selection of drinks. Highly recommend this brewery! I’ll post more about it in a future post.

Next stop? LUNCH! We wanted an authentic green chili meal but weren’t familiar with any restaurant in the area. After a few minutes off research we ended up at Monica’s El Portal Restaurant. I ordered the green chile soup with a side of sopaipillas. Oh man, this might have been the most delicious food I had the entire trip. Sopaipillas are fried bread that is hollow in the middle. Most people add honey inside and then want to consume 4,696 more in one sitting. They’re that good.

Since we were so close to Old Town we decided to explore the shops and walk around. Old Town is filled with Native American and local shops. It’s always a good idea to stop here and see the amazingly creative items for sale. We stopped at Blackbird Coffee House and it was honestly so stinking cute inside. Will got an iced coffee with chocolate and chile flakes and LOVED it. I wanted to eat every pastry on display.

Next up was a cider tasting at a new winery that popped up called Noisy Waters Winery and Cellars. They had a great selection of wine and ciders, plus a few fun flavors I’d never tried like guava cider. Their live music was awesome and you could even get cheese and prepackaged green chile stew mix.

I was instantly drawn to our next stop, Oaxacan Zapotec House. They had handmade metal sculptures on every surface of their shop. You name it they had it. Giraffe riding a tricycle? Yeah. Flowers of so many species? Yes. Lizards, birds, mythical creatures, etc. All of it. Will bought a flower and what did I get? The most adorable armadillo holding a flower. I don’t often buy myself presents, but I wasn’t leaving New Mexico without it.

A new store opened in the year-ish since we last visited dedicated entirely to one of our favorite shows, Breaking Bad. Melinda and I were SO excited we basically ran inside. The store could’ve easily just been selling Breaking Bad items, but it took it a step further. We could explore a replica of Los Pollos Hermanos and Saul’s office. On display were several of the original costumes which I loved getting to see.

By that the time we left the store and walked around a little more, it was time to head back for dinner. We broke out a ridiculously complicated puzzle and spent some quality time with Will’s family. We also ate a stupid amount that night, so Will and I took a sunset walk. All in all, it was such a great day.

Day 3: Chores, Walks, and Date Night

Of course, I started my day with another walk on the Petroglyph trails. Yet again, the views did not disappoint! We spent the morning helping out with chores around the house and in the yard. Since there were a bunch of us, we ended up getting a lot done which was a great feeling knowing we did something that helped out his grandparents a lot.

Will’s cousin and his wife left for the airport and Will and I had a fun day planned. It turned into a whole day of brewery hopping to tons of places we’d never been before. Our first stop was Bosque Brewing and it was by far my favorite. The views of the mountains and the food were incredible. We could’ve spent all day there hanging out and going through their menu.

We still had plenty of time to kill between lunch and when we could check into our hotel, so we ended up at Brew Lab. It gave me Breaking Bad/mad scientist vibes and I was completely there for it. They even had a tiny beaker I could get a cider in, so it was definitely a win.

We were going to head to the hotel, but we saw a really neat looking place while driving by and spontaneously decided to stop to grab Will a beer and to experience another new place. The Salt Yard was basically a sport lover’s playground. This was the ultimate sports bar with TVs everywhere, foosball, arcade games, and lawn games. While I’m not a big sports fan, I loved that there was so much to do and look at while we were there.

Like true Breaking Bad fans, we wanted to stay at the same hotel/casino, Isleta Resort and Casino, Walt stayed in during one of the later seasons. Unfortunately, the one location in the hotel where the show was filmed wasn’t open during the hours we were there… Next time! Regardless, the hotel was really cool!

We explored a little and realized we didn’t really want any of the food at the resort. It was either very fancy and overpriced or food court vibes. We weren’t in the mood for either so we made our way to Bombs Away Beer Company. It’s a brewery made by veterans and fully embraces the military style. It was such a cool place to visit, especially because they leaned fully into their brand and style. They had the BEST sandwich I’ve had in Albuquerque. I can’t recommend their paninis enough.

Back we went to the casino, where we lost money. We cashed out with the 42 cents we had left. Even though neither of us made any money, we had a ton of fun playing slots together.

Day 4: Breakfast Date and the Journey Home

Breakfast is Will’s favorite meal of the day and I love me some outdoor seating and a breakfast burrito. Luckily, Java Joe’s was serving up all of those. We knew we wanted to go out to breakfast since it was something we’d never done when we were in town. After some Googling, this coffee shop seemed like a really great option, so we gave it a try. It’s now somewhere I’m going to HAVE to go back to during our next visit. Fun fact: this was also a filming location in Breaking Bad!

We spent the rest of the morning helping out around the grandparent’s house. Our flight home was smooth and the pets were ridiculously happy we got home even though it was after midnight. All in all, it was another great trip to Albuquerque.

Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for a brewery guide to Albuquerque! It’s in the works!

Something Old, Something New: Recent Adventures in Watkins Glen, NY

Do you really want to look back on your life and see how wonderful it could have been had you not been afraid to live it?

Caroline Myss

This was our 5th trip to Watkins Glen and we are still in love with the area. Each time we go we always visit our favorite wineries, breweries, and lunch spots, but we always make a point to try something new. Whether that’s a new hiking trail, new winery/brewery, or a restaurant we haven’t tried, we love blending things we love with something new.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know I have quite a few posts you can see here and here. This post is more about reaffirming our favorites, a reevaluation of one place that used to be a favorite, and why we just can’t seem to stay away for too long! This trip also helped us pick the absolute best time of year to visit and I’ll share that too!

Our Tried and True Favorites: Revisited

Grist Iron Brewing

Let’s get the disappointing stuff out of the way. Grist Iron Brewery has been one of our favorite places to visit ever since our first trip to the Finger Lakes. It’s dog friendly, has great live music, and Will loves the beer. All of that is still 100% amazing. Plus the views are one of the best in the area. However, their food really disappointed me this time. It used to be one of my favorite dinner spots, especially since they are one of the few places open after 5pm.

Their menu changed and the sandwiches I always looked forward to were honestly sad and I was beyond disappointed. Their pizza was good and our friends were happy with what they got. Was it the amazing food experience of previous trips? No. Did we still have a good time? Oh yeah. I’d recommend going for the music, hang out spots, and music. Make other plans for dinner.

J.R Dill

Home of the Jabber Waulkie wine, aka one of the two wines on Earth that I like, J.R. Dill never disappoints. We have gone every single trip and will continue to do so. Our first and second trips there they didn’t serve much food if any, but that’s totally fine especially since I discovered a wine I loved.

The third time we visited was over the pandemic and they were required to serve food. We got a super delicious pretzel and were super happy with it. This most recent trip it was clear they had spent a lot of time leveling up their menu with foods that really worked well with wine tasting, specifically their wines. They now have a bunch of options that we can’t wait to go back and try. We got the pretzel with their new beer cheese and can’t recommend that enough.

Hazlitt Winery

Hazlitt is home to the only other wine I like (Brambleberry) and we enjoyed it while sitting outside in the sun, looking out over the massive property, and spending time with friends and our pups. They had the same food options as before and it still tasted great. It’s not a massive menu or even a fancy one, but they do everything really well.

This winery is usually PACKED, but for whatever reason it wasn’t the weekend we went. It was so great to enjoy it in a calmer and more relaxed atmosphere than we had ever done before. Waiting in long lines was something we’d come to expect, so we were pleasantly surprised we just got to order right away and sit wherever we wanted.

Leidenfrost Winery

My boyfriend loves the wine here and I am in love with the views. We walked in with our dogs and Connor (main awesome dude at the bar serving up tastings) said “first things first. We have to serve the most important customers first.” Then he pulled out a box of dog treats for us to give our boys. If we hadn’t already met him on every trip and loved him before, that would’ve been the moment we fell in love.

Our dogs love the big grassy property and there’s a deck overlooking Seneca Lake. You really can’t get better views than at Leidenfrost. One thing to be careful of is if you have dogs that are sensitive to loud noises. Their winery is right next to the tasting room and they let off loud charges to keep birds away. Our dogs have gotten used to it, but the staff warned us ahead of time which we really appreciated.

The Lucky Hare

Talk about a GLOW UP. We discovered The Lucky Hare over our post-pandemic trip and came across it late in the day. They had outdoor picnic tables and a few food trucks. We loved it, but we also visited in winter so we froze outside and only stayed for one round of drinks.

This trip we couldn’t stop talking about how much we loved this brewery and the improvements they made. They still had the outdoor tables which we loved and coming back during the day and before it was super cold drastically improved our experience…go figure. They added on to their building and served out of their own kitchen. Their fries are to die for. I’m so excited to visit again and see what they do next. Also, I know this doesn’t matter but they had really cool bathroom decorations that turned a regular bathroom into something I want to talk about on a travel blog.

The Elf in the Oak

I will always annoy every person I’m traveling with to Watkins Glen about how much I want to eat sandwiches at this place. I don’t know why their sandwiches taste like heaven, but they do. Their sweet potato fries are just as heavenly. Unless this place is closed or doesn’t exist anymore, I will ALWAYS stop here. It’s that good.

Wildwood Farm

Speaking of places I will always visit, Wildwood Farm is the b&b where we always stay. We lucked out staying here on our first visit and haven’t even looked for another place to stay ever since. The farm is always changing, adding new animals, and the house just keeps getting cozier and cozier. Breakfast is always a highlight as well! It’s just one of those places where we fell in love with the location, the host, and everything about it.

Exploring New Breweries and Experiences

We love our favorite places, but we’re the type of people who have to try somewhere new each time we visit. How else are we going to find new favorites!? We had one stand-out new adventure. Find out which one it was below!

The Red Rabbit

Okay, so this isn’t in Watkins Glen, but we pass it every time we drive there from Lancaster. We’ve always talked about stopping, but this time we actually did it. The restaurant is a drive-in but there’s seating if you wanted to stretch your legs and eat out of the car. It’s famous for its bunny burger which Will ordered and liked a lot! It’s a 1/4 lb beef patty with bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and their own bunny sauce.

Everyone was super nice and we really enjoyed our brief stop there. The location does sneak up on you, so be on the look out for it. The road is pretty busy, so getting out of the parking lot can be a test of patience, but the stop is worth it.

Solera Tap House

This tap house opened in 2021 and was a completely new place for us to visit. The outdoor covered seating was a great space for us to cool off. The whole place had a very rustic, hometown bar vibe which was nice. We were tired, so we didn’t stay for a long time, but their live music lineup is something we’d love to come back and see. They had a stage set up outside and it seemed like it would be a completely different place to visit at night!

Muranda Cheese Company

Holy cheese, Batman. A coworker of mine told me about this place and I thought I was hallucinating the best dream ever. A cheese tasting? Over 10 cheeses I can stuff in my face in one sitting? Hallelujah. Luckily, Muranda Cheese Co is not a figment of my imagination, but an incredible location dedicated to all things cheese.

It’s a quick 30 minute drive from Watkins Glen and I would’ve driven twice as far for this. Yes, it’s even dog friendly. Sadly, they didn’t get any cheese, but if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a post-cheese dog fart you’ll understand why we didn’t give them any. We sampled SO MANY CHEESES. I loved most of them. We brought home a spicy cheddar, provolone asiago hybrid, garlic dill, and garlic cheddar.

The venue itself was a massive barn with the tastings set up along almost every bar. They had a small but cozy deck where you could hang out and we enjoyed that with the pups. We didn’t stay long after the tasting and loading up on cheese purchases because we wanted to meet up with friends. We’ve already said we’re hitting this place up every time we go back. I’m sad I went to long without discovering it. Luckily, they ship, so if you wanted to try their cheese before you visit, you can!

Why Watkins Glen is the Perfect Long Weekend Destination

We visited Watkins Glen at the absolute perfect time this year. We’ve traveled here over Thanksgiving, in the middle of summer, and late fall, but Labor Day weekend was by far the less-crowded time. Since it was a holiday weekend, we thought everywhere would be packed, but it was actually almost deserted. We even had some places entirely to ourselves. It was incredible.

Regardless of the time of year you go, you can always find a place that doesn’t have a large crowd. There are so many different wines, beers, and liquors to try that it has something for everyone. Plus having a meal/snack or a tasting is made a million times better by not only the views of Seneca Lake but the fact that you can bring your dogs everywhere. It’s these reasons that keep us coming back almost every year. It’s the mini road trip of our dreams and we know exactly what to expect while also being able to infuse a new adventure into our travels each visit.

A Spontaneous Day Trip to the PA Renaissance Faire

The greatest thing is life is to find friends who are unashamed to be as weird as you or be seen with you in public.

Unknown

The Renaissance Faire in central PA is apparently extremely well known and loved which we discovered when we moved up here. Somehow, it took us 5 years to actually make it to the faire, but it was such a fun day trip.

We didn’t have any plans for the weekend, so Will suggested we FINALLY go to the Renaissance Faire. It’s just a quick 25 minutes from Lancaster and they were even having a pirate themed weekend. Tickets were bought and we were off!

Side note: tickets were $32 including fees and this seemed a little expensive, but there’s SO much included with that price and the grounds were so decked out with pirate-themed decor and events that it was 100% worth it.

The Shops and Sites We Saw While Exploring

This place knows how to take a theme and run with it to the absolute max. Parking was super easy and the walk to the entrance was pleasant. Definitely expect a walk to get to the entrance since the parking is somewhat out of the way.

The entrance itself was beautiful and the second you stepped inside the gates you were immediately immersed in a decked out medieval wonderland. Most of the shops will keep the medieval theme regardless of the overarching theme of the weekend which changes every week. They got so creative with naming their shops and food stands. As a self-described pun lover, I was in heaven and kept giggling at the names.

Will and I grabbed a map but didn’t have a set plan for the day other than to explore as much as we could. We loved exploring all of the shops in between watching the scheduled shows for the day. Some venues, like the pirate ship, were reserved for the special ticket events so we couldn’t go inside, but they were really fun to see from the outside.

Other shops fully embraced the pirate theme and were completely covered in pirate decor.

Our favorite shop was the honey shop called The Crown and The Comb. If you can use honey, beeswax, or other bee-related by products out of it, you’ll find those items here. The shelving was even honeycomb shaped and I couldn’t get over how cute the shop was. I tried the chocolate honey and we both had some of the honey caramels. De-li-cious!

When we were walking around trying to find the jousting we came across a super unique row of tents selling pirate, viking, medieval, and fantasy items. It was so cool to see the creativity that went into these. Most of the items were a cosplayer’s absolute dream. It felt like being at a high-end craft fair centuries in the past.

Games, Games, and More Games!

One of the few things that were pay-to-play were the carnival games. We chose to do the feat of strength game this time with plans on doing a different one each time we visit. It was super affordable at $3 for several chances to hammer the mess out of the game. Will earned a ‘man coin’ by ringing the bell. I didn’t quite make it to the top, but still had a ton of fun.

One of the things I didn’t get to try but absolutely HAVE to next time is Battle Your Friends. You strap on armor with balloons attached to certain points. Then you’re handed a sword and you have to pop your opponent’s, I mean friend’s, balloons. I think Will was afraid I’d maim him or of my muscles. Who knows.

Trial and Dunk, A Whole Lot of Mud, Bagpipers and Jousting!

One of the major highlights of our day were the shows. The map we got only had the names, so we were just going off of what sounded fun. It would’ve been nice to know what each show was about to help our decision making, but we loved what we saw, so no complaints there!

The first show we went to involved a farcical trial and dunking. Each person on trial stood accused of ridiculous crimes and we were pleasantly surprised that while the shows were kid-friendly, they were meant for adults. The mics seemed to have some issues, but the actors quickly recovered and I only missed a few words.

My one piece of constructive criticism was that the show didn’t seem like it had a clear beginning, middle, and end and the plot seemed thrown together and a little like it was missing that thread that tied it all together. HOWEVER, the show was so much fun to watch and that’s what counts.

One stage over and perfectly timed to begin after this one ended was our favorite show. With just two characters, a backdrop, and a mud pit for a set, this show was incredible. The actors took us back into the past for a hilarious rendition of a history lesson of Richard III’s ascension to power. It was only 30 minutes, but I laughed so hard, learned a bunch, and was completely committed to watching every second.

We had a little bit of time in between shows, so we decided to just walk around and explore more. That’s when we discovered the bagpipe show. It was mostly what you’d expect from a bagpipe show, but I’ve never seen the musicians have so much fun and have a ton of stage presence. One guy was dancing all over the place which is super impressive considering how much energy just playing a bagpipe takes then add on dancing around a stage. Color me impressed.

Would a day at a Renaissance Faire be complete without jousting? No. No, it would not. The last show we went to that day was, you guessed it, the jousting show. It took us a few minutes to orient ourselves and actually find the gigantic field where we could watch it. The venue for the show was super impressive with so many seats and a massive area for the horses to run.

Random side note, the horses looked super happy and well cared for. The welfare of the animals is always a concern for me with shows and they all looked great.

The “stage” had a massive backdrop where the king and other courtly actors stayed and they even had trumpeters announce the show. The acting was 110% over the top, but it worked. Since jousting is pretty dangerous they competed to catch rings on their lances and other interesting ways to compete.

At this point, we were exhausted and decided to head back to the car. Overall we loved the faire and are already planning on going back for a differently themed weekend. Next time will be even better because we can bring the dogs with us! We tested out the faire this time without them just to make sure they wouldn’t be scared, but now we know they will LOVE it.

Have you been to a renaissance faire near you? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Carnival Cruise to Bimini, Bahamas: A Photo Story

Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.

Sarah Kay

I have a massive number of pictures from this trip and I’m so excited to share them. I figured the best way to start out my series of cruise posts would be to just show you how amazing the trip was. My friend and I took a girls’ trip to Bimini, Bahamas and OH MAN was it fun.

I hope you love these pictures and get inspired to take your own Caribbean vacation. It’s worth it. Also, YES the water is THAT blue.

Cruise Day 1: In Port & On Board

We woke up at 3am to arrive at the airport by 5:15am… definitely not the highlight of the trip. Once we got to Florida we Uber-ed to the cruise port, boarded, and immediately started exploring. We even got to see a SpaceX rocket launch while we were in port.

Cruise Day 2: A Day at Sea

Day 2 was an entire day at sea, so we explored more, visited the casino, lounged on deck, made some friends, got fancy for dinner, and hung out at the piano bar.

We definitely had way too much fun at the photo area, but it was so worth it for these hilarious pictures.

Cruise Day 3: Bimini Shark Snorkeling Excursion

Getting to snorkel with sharks is the next best thing to diving with sharks. There were about 6 sharks around when everyone was snorkeling and they were so calm. They swam right under us and it was SO cool to get to swim with them.

Once everyone was back in the boat the captain threw in a few pieces of fish for them to feed on. That’s when more showed up and they started to hunt.