A Destin, Florida Destination

Although Florida has been most famous for Miami, many are discovering the beauties of the Emerald Coast and the allure of Apalachicola. I know I am one of that number. In fact, Florida’s Emerald Coast has been voted the “Best Beach Town in the South” by the readers of Southern Living magazine, in 2011.

Visiting The Emerald Coast? Discover Destin Beach!

The Destin area is great for families. No place better for reunions, it is a fun place to meet up with kids and grandkids. The beaches are clean and beautiful, there are plenty of things to do and see -in a completely relaxed atmosphere.

Lots of shopping opportunities in the general area.

The clear waters, ocean breezes, and nice condos are the perfect backdrop for good memories and family fun…. and that is what makes this an area worth return visits.

Read on to find out about some of the great restaurants, attractions, hidden gems -all honestly reported from our family visits.


Our Latest Destin Beach Vacation

family picture by the ocean
Our favorite part: time on the beach!

Another great time of fun in the sun

We love to spend most of our time on the beach.

Take along a really great beach bag to tote all the necessary essentials. My daughter uses the beach cart and considers it a lifesaver for hauling all the family gear to and from the beach: boogie boards, sand toys, beach umbrella, etc.

This cart is so handy to transport gear from condo to beach.

We’ve always enjoyed the beach, but Destin has such clear water and white sand beaches, it rates as our family’s top favorite place to enjoy a Beach vacation.

Being in the panhandle, it is a little far north for some snowbirds who like to vacation during the winter months, but for us the late spring and early fall are good times to go. That is when we have experienced Destin at its most pleasant.

The General Area: The Emerald Coast – Basic Beach Vacation Info

The Beach is what I go to Destin for… those gorgeous white sands and emerald waters are the centerpiece of the area. There are plenty of things to do and places to eat, but when all is said and done it is the natural beauty of the area that makes it really special.

  • Emerald Coast Guide
    Things to do at one of the most beautiful places in America. BEACH INFORMATION: Emerald Coast Guide Home, Recreation and Attractions, Fishing, Dining and Entertainment, Shopping, and more
  • Official Site For Destin
    Award-Winning Beaches THINGS TO DO

Must-Have Travel Essentials for Florida

Must Have…Beach Towels!

These are beach essentials
These are beach essentials

Be sure to pack these:

  • Don’t forget to have sunglasses
  • a small insulated pack for water and refreshments.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen …especially if you are from the North! Or have pale skin!

Most condos don’t have beach towels, so bring a nice big beach towel. You can buy them at the outlets, but they are cheaper and much better quality if you buy them before you arrive in Destin. This is true of most resorts and beach destinations.

"Sunscreen?",... by Kurt Ard

“Sunscreen?”… by Kurt Ard

Packing list if you travel by car:

  1. Sunscreen,
  2. Insulated pack
  3. Beach chairs
  4. Beach towels
  5. Bottled water and drinks
  6. Beach umbrella or tent
  7. Extras of paper products like paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper.

Get ready for the beach – Beach gear for maximum fun

Shade Shack Instant Pop Up Family Beach Tent and Sun Shelter, Blue/Yellow by Demco Incorporated

This is another great idea that my daughter has adopted for her family’s beach vacations. When the sun is as hot as it gets in Florida, these tents are great for the young children who need to take a little nap, or for moms with fair skin who need timeout from the midday sun.


I need to reiterate: if you come from the North and have fair skin (I do) use a powerful sunscreen 30+ and above right from first thing in the morning.

I had thought I was protected enough but got badly burnt. Until slathering on 55 SPF first thing in the morning it was not enough. Get everything possibly exposed to the sun covered with sunscreen.



Skinceuticals Sheer Physical Uv Defense SPF 50 Broad-spectrum Sunscreen Fluid, 1.7-Ounce Skinceuticals Sheer Physical Uv Defense SPF 50 Broad-spectrum Sunscreen Fluid, 1.7-Ounce

Explore the Area

visit Seaside, too, while you are on the Emerald Coast.

My Favorite Breakfast Place

My family and I revisited my favorite haunts listed here during our 2011 trip. I still like Another Broken Egg, and the oysters from Shrimp Shack were still excellent.

We spent more time getting items at “Fresh Market” during this vacation, and found they sell oysters ‘Rockefeller’ there. The sandwich wraps, bakery items, and salads were just wonderful. Very good fresh fruits and juices, too. We highly recommend this as a choice for many lunch and light dinner times.

Another Broken Egg Cafe

I had the ultimate crabcakes here, but no matter what you order from the menu this restaurant is a destination as far as I’m concerned. I bought the souvenir coffee cups, too. We tried it out on recommendation of my daughter and son-in-law, and they know how to pick ’em.

I like everything about the pleasant inviting decor, the delicious food, and the menu selections. Everyone in our large party was happy. And that is a tall order!

If you want to know what other people thought, here’s a review of the Destin locations.

Source: theopinionatedfoodie.wordpress.com


My Favorite Oysters

At the Shrimp Shack in Seaside- Go There

I know it is a bit of a run to get over to Seaside, but it is a nice attraction. While you are there looking at the little shops and all the pretty houses, get some Apalachicola oysters at the Shrimp Shack. They are addictively delicious.

The beach directly behind the eating area is pretty and there is a great smoothie trailer across the street.

Another Oyster and Seafood Place:


The Boathouse Oyster Bar

Taste the sea

A fun loving place where the oysters are shucked as fast as the guy can get ’em out, and the crowd is loud and happy. This place is tucked away and a bit hard to find… look for the “Boathouse Oyster Bar” sign as you near HarborWalk Village. They have lots on the menu besides oysters, but if you love oysters this is the place you want to go.

One thing, though, is that you can’t get them for take-out… oysters must be eaten on site.

I ordered the baked oysters “Half and Half”, two recipes of 6 each: one a butter,mozzarella,bacon, and onion smothered oyster- the other a cocktail sauce and cheddar cheese concoction. Both good.

Definite “beach” feel with old style wooden building.

Harborwalk Village – shops,views, fun, and food

photo by Marvin Kuo
photo by Marvin Kuo

Harborwalk Village is a waterfront collection of stores, eating places, and some fun stuff for kids located right next to the Destin Harbor Marina. A small “locomotive” gives a ride, upscale stores offer a place to spend your money, and restaurants are bright, lively, and can be expensive. It is all pretty expensive – but an enjoyable place to see. Located across the street from Mcguire’s and below the Emerald Grande Hotel.

Very sunny and hot in the daytime, I preferred visiting in the evening after sundown, the lights reflect on the water and the mood is upbeat.

Source: flickr.com via HarborWalk
Source: flickr.com via HarborWalk

Harry T’s

Harry T
Harry T Restaurant

Located within Harborwalk Village is Harry T’s – a loud and sloppy restaurant, but with very decent food if you don’t mind the high prices.

I ate the catch of the day which happened to be snapper and buttery new potatoes. My husband had the “best Reuben sandwich I ever tasted” – that is what he said, just quoted him.

We were seated overlooking the bay which was very beautiful, just missing the sunset views which I’m sure can be spectacular…looking over the water and towards the bridge to Okaloosa Island.

I thought the seafood was okay, and very overpriced … so while it was an overall good experience, I don’t think I would choose to go there on my next trip.

Harry T’s Menu


Unanimous Thumbs Up for McGuire’s Irish Pub

Great Place to Eat

  Everyone seems to agree that this is a place for good food and fun.  Mcguire’s in Destin is right across the street from Harborwalk Village,  wonderful  place to walk along the waterside, visit upscale boutiques and eat- even if you don’t decide on Mcguire’s.

Read reviews at Yelp.

Look at McGuire’s Irish Pub Menu and give them a call

There is a cute souvenir shop attached, and we bought some t-shirts, shot glasses and other Irish flavored memorabilia, but the big draw is the food.

Steak is a big favorite there. Try it- you won’t be sorry. Also famous for their burgers, they won best burger in Destin.

Very Good Asian Food

Chinese/Thai Food @ Lins Asian next to the Winn Dixie by Silver Sands Outlet. I recommend the panfried noodle dish.

Destin Commons

 An outdoor mall with many little shops and the usual: Starbucks, Loft, Talbot, Victoria Secret, etc. Anchored by a giant Bass Pro Shop, you can’t miss it on Highway 98.

I enjoyed the many different shops strung along the pleasant walkway, had great smoothies and fresh sandwich at Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Stop at the information desk for a map and ask for the coupons.

Don’t miss their “Life is Good” shop, where you can get lots of the newest designs of your favorite t-shirts.

Destin Commons website

Destin Area Festivals

Find Events Going On

We attended the Seafood Festival when there during our last vacation. I wasn’t very impressed. It was very crowded and the long lines for the seafood dampened my enthusiasm for the event.

If you want to know more, they have a facebook page.


Beer Festival October 13th

Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation Concerts in the Park

For more information, 850.650.2226

Destin’s Fishing Tournament

The Sandestin Wine Festival

Destin Area Events

Destin, Florida Annual Events Calendar

There are always all sorts of fun events going on including the annual ones like the Seafood Festival, the Beach Kite Festival and the Annual Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival .

Emerald Coast Events:

-watch this space for up coming events or check the website link-

For info and in depth descriptions, see the Calender of Events

Rent a Beach House – For us, that was the ideal place to stay

Postcard from Destin Florida by ilonagarden

Destin Info List – Important Links

Who was Mattie Kelley?

She was an important pioneer of modern Destin, and the arts foundation which gives summer concerts is named in her honor. Find out about Mattie Kelley, and how to enter an art contest.

Best Time To Visit

September is one of the best times to visit. Off season rates, more comfortable temperatures.

Beach Resort Footwear – Keep it comfortable and casual

These beach resort shoes are comfy and casual.

Buy before you go because they are pricey in the shops.
Sanuk Men's Shipwrecked LoaferBrindle11 M US

Sanuk Men’s Shipwrecked Loafer

Sanuk Women's Yoga Mat Flip Flop,Ebony,8 M US

Sanuk Women’s Yoga Mat Flip Flop,Ebony,8 M US

Gulf Coast Shopping

Gulf Coast Shopping
Gulf Coast Shopping


Columbus Ohio Day Trips, Family Activities, Food, Fun

Family Activities Out And About In Central Ohio

From ice cream taste treats in flavors like salty caramel or brambleberry crisp to Mediterranean favorites such as chicken shawarma with the signature hummus, there are destination places to eat. With a world class zoo, a children’s science museum, and a beautiful botanical conservatory, there are lots of things to see and do.

Here is the quick tour over some of the highlights that make Columbus Ohio a fun place for families to visit and explore.

German Village Draws Tourists

German Village Bookshop, tucked among delicious restaurants,intriguing gift shops.

German Village Bookshop, tucked among delicious restaurants,intriguing gift shops.

Find The Fun In Columbus Ohio Parks

For those who love low-cost adventures, there are lots of parks to hike around in and many reasonably priced places to eat. Let’s explore some of those parks first, and then we will probably work up an appetite for what Columbus restaurants have on the menu.


Strolling through a wisteria arbor into a garden of herbs, entering a rock garden with a tinkling stream, or sitting on a park bench listening to a summer concert while the scent of roses lingers on the air, this is some of what you might experience in some of the Metro Parks of Columbus.

My family’s favorite parks have beautiful gardens attached. The two best parks to visit inside the city of Columbus are Whetstone Park of Roses and Inniswood Metro Park. Both of these places have manicured gardens with things in bloom for the entire season, although for the Park of Roses the peak bloom is in June.

Inniswood Metro Park has a children’s garden that is worth seeing. It combines a nature preserve with several developed perennial gardens that were created by the Innis sisters before being given to the city.


Columbus has a large park system, all are free to visit. Families with young children are going to love Slate Run Farm. It is a living historical farm and always has events and animals to fascinate visitors. Costumed staff go about their chores and share the stories and welcome the participation of visitors. Heirloom animals, old time skills, and an experience of another time await.

The parks have shelter houses, well maintained trails, and are a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Each park has its own flavor and features. When visiting a certain area of Columbus, be sure to give the park located in its vicinity as visit.

See all the parks within the Central Ohio Parks System to find the one near you.

Inniswood’s Secret Garden

Beautiful gardens Inniswood photo copyright Ilona Erwin
Beautiful gardens Inniswood photo copyright Ilona Erwin

Changing displays Inniswood copyright Ilona Erwin
Changing displays Inniswood copyright Ilona Erwin

Summertime concerts Park of Roses photo copyright Ilona Erwin

Summertime concerts Park of Roses photo copyright Ilona Erwin

Whetstone Park Of Roses

3923 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43214, USA
[get directions]Whetstone Park and The Park of Roses

Slate Run Farm

Winchester Southern Road, Canal Winchester, OH 43110, USA
[get directions]Living historical farm

Inniswood Metro Park

940 South Hempstead Road, Westerville, OH 43081, USA
[get directions]Two Sisters made a beautiful garden and nature preserve and gave it to the City of Columbus.

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

1777 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43205, USA
[get directions]Indoor and outdoor garden displays and botanical collection.

Battelle Darby Metro Park

1775 Darby Creek Drive, Galloway, OH 43119, USA
[get directions]One of the largest parks, now a visitor center has opened with informative exhibits and a viewing area of real Bison!

The Canal Ride at The Zoo

This ride was so much fun

This ride was so much fun | Source

Columbus Zoo Is Famous

Colo's Story: The Life of One Grand Gorilla (Columbus Zoo Books for Young Readers Collection)
Colo’s Story: The Life of One Grand Gorilla (Columbus Zoo Books for Young Readers Collection)

The most famous gorilla’s story for children.

Entertaining The Family


One of the places that kids will love is COSI, which stands for Center of Science and Industry. Yes, it will cost money for the entrance fee, but it is worth it. Shows and science events, all sorts of hands-on ways to experience science for yourself. It’s a blast- but in a safe way.

It was awarded the honor of #1 Science Center in the country by Parents Magazine in 2008, and it will provide a full day of discovery and entertainment.


The Zoo: Christmas, Summer, Anytime

Animals, all seasons in a natural habitat.
Animals, all seasons in a natural habitat.

No list of fun in Columbus is complete without the Zoo. The zoo has different portions that add up to fun all by themselves, like “Zoombezi Bay”, which is a waterpark. But I must say, the part I always like is the main zoo with the animals and beautiful botanical plantings!

Jack Hanna spearheaded the development of this zoo to make it one of the finest anywhere. The animals live in beautiful, well cared for, environments and the Aquarium is a great spot to watch aquatic animals up close. Sharks, Stingrays, Oh My! I just love it.

The zoo is always changing for the better and has lots to see. It does cost a fee for parking and entry.


This is a great day trip for the children, but it is as much for the adults as for them. Walk through the climate environments, enjoy the live Butterfly exhibit during the spring and summer, and let the beauty of the plants impart their beauty and feeling of serenity. There are plenty of activities throughout the year, as well.

Besides the plants, there is quite an exhibition of Dale Chihuly glass to behold. Most are permanent installations of his colorful glass sculpture, and the special art exhibitions that the Conservatory hosts are spectacular, in my opinion.

Entry fees are charged.



Some people just love museums- like me! Columbus has an Fine Art Museum, located in Downtown. The Columbus Museum of Arthas hours every day except Monday, and Sundays are free. You can enjoy a small repast within the cafe and shop in the delightful gift shop area.


The Ohio Historical Center at 800 E 17th Ave. next to the Ohio state Fairgrounds is filled with interesting exhibits ranging from prehistoric to modern times. You will enjoy the natural history, Native American artifacts, and a walk through the replication of old-time, small town America.

Kelton House is a small museum in Downtown, 586 E Town St. Combine it with your trip to the Art Museum and enjoy the architecture and journey into Civil War era history.

While in the downtown area, what about boarding an actual replica of Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria? Yes, you can see what this authentic museum quality ship is like first hand, while learning lots about history. All the info you need to plan your day is on the ship’s website .

Yes, I ate this fabulous Sundae
Yes, I ate this fabulous Sundae at Jeni’s

My Short List Of Top Foodie Delights

I think these places will please those who love good food. Most of them are located in areas that have shopping and in the vicinity of day trip destinations. Dublin is in proximity to the Zoo, German Village is full of interesting shops and home to Schiller Park.

Family and Budget Friendly

Mediterranean food has quite a presence in the city, but try ‘The Olive Tree’ in Hilliard for Israeli, Greek, and Turkish delights. The Olive Tree Menu

Lavash is another good choice for Med. food, located in Clintonville on the North side of Columbus

For the best ice cream in incredible flavors go to one of the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream locations. Jeni’s locations

Breakfast pastries at Pistacia Vera in the German Village. Serves brunch and fine bakery tortes and other goodies. The Pistacia Vera

We have Mellow Mushroom Pizza Restaurants!
They are my favorite and it is a great place to hang out with family and friends.

Donato’s Pizza is here, and yit is the local favorite. Try one of their thin crust specialties. Located in many places around Columbus.

Vegetarian delight in the Whole World Restaurant, where I had my first taste of healthy vegetarian food! Consistently rated highly. Another good choice is NorthStar cafe with several locations around the city

Areas With Great Food Places, And Sights


Go to German Village, a historical area with lively restaurants and cute shops.


Grandview is another wonderful neighborhood with shops, restaurants, and coffee places. Vibrant and artsy.


Speaking of art, an area with great places to eat and things to see is the Short North. The attractions are more for adults than families with young children, with gallery hop and many bars along with a higher price tag for a meal.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
1 West Bridge Street, Dublin, OH 43017, USA
[get directions]One of several locations in the city.

The Olive Tree
3185 Hilliard Rome Road, Hilliard, OH 43026, USA
[get directions]Great Israeli/Mediterranean food

Pistacia Vera
541 South Third Street Columbus, OH
[get directions]Delicious pastry and baked goods, brunch, and a selection of coffee and tea drinks

Mellow Mushroom in Dublin
6505 Dublin Center Drive, Dublin, OH 43017, USA
[get directions]Delicious pizza, mellow sixties atmosphere and fabulous hoagie sandwiches.

Lavash Cafe
2985 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43214, USA
[get directions]

Report On Slate Run Farm

View the Parks

The Columbus Zoo Is Famous For Its Gorillas


Columbus Also Has These Great Places

  • Bison at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park!
    Showcasing the visitor center at Battelle Darby Park
  • Ohio Renaissance Festival
    This is an easy drive from Columbus and promises all day fun for the whole family. My kids of all ages loved it, but the teens were really into it.
  • Ohio Caverns | America’s Most Colorful Caverns
    Ohio Caverns, located in West Liberty, Ohio is one of Ohio’s most popular tourist attractions.
  • Denison Museum [Denison University]
    The Denison Museum in Burke Hall . The collections of 8,000 objects from Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and Central America. Located in scenic Granville, Ohio, just 27 miles east of Columbus
  • Home
    Historical American Greek Revival museum and private venue; tours, programs and community events. Open May-Oct: Wed-Sun 1-4 Located in Granville. (740) 587-0430
  • The North Market
    While going to the Short North, don’t forget the North Market. Gourmet foods await.
  • Olentangy Indian Caverns
    Tours of this limestone wonder are offered daily April 1- Oct. 31 and there is a little Indian village area.
  • Ohio Historical Center
    The Ohio History museum is interesting and varied in its topics. Exhibits of geological forms, to early native American history, through the pioneers, into the Industrial age. A very pleasant place to visit, and educational, as well.
  • Columbus Museum of Art
    This art gallery is a day trip for those who love art. It has a wide variety of art exhibited within its classic interior, and an intimate cafe.
  • Polaris Fashion Place
    For people who love malls, this will be the one you want to visit. Located just north of Columbus, in Delaware county. Easily accessible from I-71 & US 23 on Polaris Parkway. Features over 150 specialty stores, many are brand new to Columbus.
  • Anthony-Thomas Candies Co.
    Anthony-Thomas Candy Co. holds free factory tours are every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 am. to 2:30 pm.

Hocking Hills copyright Ilona Erwin

The Great Outdoors


Old Mans Cave site

If you love to hike in the great outdoors, then a trip to the Hocking Hills is just the daytrip you may have in mind. Old Man’s Cave is beautiful and is an interesting climate pocket that holds unusual plants for this part of Ohio.

There are other caves and cliffs in this part of the state, but Old Man’s Cave is probably the most popular. Others are Cantwell Cliffs, Ash Cave, and the Rock House.

This is our family’s favorite outing and we go at least once a year, and try for more.


Dawes Arboretum site

Located in Newark, Ohio to the east of Columbus, is this wonderful arboretum. It has a children’s discovery center, an extensive walking tour through the gardens, a historical house ( for a fee), and a driving tour that is ideal for those who have difficulty with walking or time constraints. Dawes Arboretum has a beautiful set of gardens and tree exhibitions, with a genuine Japanese garden with teahouse.


A Mall Can Be Fun

The best Mall is probably Polaris Mall, which is located off I71 going North to Delaware. Many great restaurants (which are kid-friendly) and the second location for Mellow Mushroom is in the area.

A smaller mall which I like is Tuttle Mall located between Hilliard and Dublin- which is handy if you are staying the many excellent hotels in the Northwest area of the city. Easton on the Northeast is a shopping spot, as well.

Many seasonal attractions with a busy child playground center in the lower level of each of these malls.

A little further out- Springfield

Further Afield

Springfield is a little west of Columbus, Dayton is 65 miles west, and Cincinnati is to the South. Cleveland to the North is on Lake Erie and there are many different fields trips and sights in that region of Ohio.

Filled with many parks, and nature preserves, it is rich with outdoor activities, so consider mapping your way around the State after exploring places of interest inside the city of Columbus and its nearby regions.

Ohio Renaissance Festival

Ohio Renaissance Festival

Family fun at the Renaissance Faire, with knights, ladies, bards, and visiting faeries. People in costume and character. along with the sights, sounds, and tastes of Renaissance times.

Ye Olde Renaissance Good Times

Chivalrous Knight
Chivalrous Knight Source: tribbles1971 on Flickr


Of course, it wasn’t all fun and games during the Renaissance, but there are plenty of modern people who love to dress up and visit Harveysburg, Ohio for just that very thing.

Visitors come from all around to this fair for celebrating the times of knights and ladies, and enjoying themselves in an authentically re-created 16th century English village.

You will find yourself immersed in the talk and the scenes of olden times, where jesters and storyteller bards roam the lanes, and wares are sold by buxom maidens in the shops of the Marketplace.

You can dress up, or simply rub shoulders with the nobles and peasants dressed in their finest Medieval or Renaissance garb. You will see some gypsies and belly dancers, and feast at the stalls of turkey legs or hearty bread bowl stews among other repasts.

Renaissance helmet and plume
Renaissance helmet and plume Source: tribbles1971 on Flickr


Would You Like To Step Back To Olde England?

Every year since 1999 on weekends from late August through October, people have traveled to this little festival to be regaled by performers and to don their finest Renaissance garb. Some are dressed worthy of an SCA event, and some are clearly using their own imagination, but no one seems interested in anything but enjoying the good time of the 16th century infused atmosphere.

An estimated 165,000 people attend the festival throughout the eight weekends stretching through two of the nicest months in Ohio (best weather in my opinion).

The Queen and her entourage parade the ground a couple times a day so that the crowds of her subjects can see the finery and display of her court.

Get Thee To The Faire

A marker10542 E State Route 73 Waynesville, OH
10542 Route 73, Waynesville, OH 45068, USA
[get directions]


Source: StrangeInterlude

Do Tell The Numbers

There are 8 Themed Weekends.

There are 12 stages for the performances.

There are 30 acres of grounds.


More than 130 merchants and demonstrating craftsmen.

Some of the craftsmen will be:

  • Weaponsmakers of arrows and armor
  • Glassblowers and Blacksmiths, Leather craftsmen and boot makers
  • Artisans who carve stone and jewelry makers
  • Painters and Potters
  • Purveyors of oils and incense


They probably didn't have merry-go- rounds like this 400 years ago. But kids think they are fun, anyway.
They probably didn’t have merry-go- rounds like this 400 years ago. But kids think they are fun, anyway. Source: by gobucks2

Where does one learn how to be a Renaissance Lady or a Churlish Serf? I don’t know about churlishness, but if you want to learn how to dress, or fully embrace your inner Knight, there are Renschool activities. And some curriculum resources like the pictures of period costume in a <a href=”http://renfestival.com/dbfiles/docs/Traditional-Wardrobe.pdf” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow””>PDF file.


Pirates Weekend
has people dressing up as pirates of course, since this era ushered in the golden age of pirates. Pirate Stunt Show and pirate school are highlights.

Barbarian Invasion
is time for Vikings and all the rest of the hordes to dress in their finest headgear and come for a good time. Strength contests and turkey leg eating is on the menu.

Highland Clansmen with their kilts and bagpipes are going to engage in the Highland games. They will compete in contests of the eating of the Haggis and roam the lanes accompanied by the thunderous pipes and drums of Albannach.

And those are just three examples of the fun in store, so make your plans.

Speak Like A Bard

The Bard's English - A Book
The Bard’s English – A Book

For re-enactors, a guide to tutor you in how to speak in character for an Elizabethan effect.


So, You Want To Be A Lady? How To Dress Like One

What Did Renaissance Women Wear?

If you would like to dress the part in Renaissance style, it take a bit of research and probably some sewing skills, although for a pretty penny there are costumers who will make custom a wardrobe for you.

Expect it to be something of a wardrobe, unless you dress as a simple serf in a white shift tunic as an undergarment and then a simple dull colored gown over that. Finish off with dark shoes and stockings and you are done.

The fine Ladies clothing is a very complex affair. After all, it is thought that many noble ladies and gentlemen spent most of their wealth on their clothing and personal jewels.


Fine Lady
Source: WalterPro4755 on Flickr


  • White, linen shift undergarment (a chemise)
  • Skirt made of brocades or expensive materials
  • Bodice or Doublet
  • Vest
  • Collar
  • Sleeves
  • Girdle (type of belt)
  • Overgown
  • Mantles (long cape)

Headgear for ladies may be an ornamental brooch, a type of turban, a cap with feathers.

Partlets were decorative cloths of lace or other material to fill in open necklines.

Styles were indicative of the time, but also the country. Italian fashions might have certain features that were peculiar their country and region, the balzo headdress being one example. Renaissance clothing glossary lists many styles.

Plate depicting Anne Boleyn
Plate depicting Anne Boleyn Source: Costumers Manifesto

Dress The Part Of A Renaissance Lady

Simplicity 2589 Sew Pattern WOMEN'S ELIZABETHAN COSTUME Plus Size 16-24
Simplicity 2589 Sew Pattern WOMEN’S ELIZABETHAN COSTUME Plus Size 16-24

What Did The Gentlemen Wear?

Source: Costumers Manifesto


Gentlemen, Knights, And Churlish Peasants

The proper costume for men of wealth and consequence:

  • Shirt
  • Slops
  • Codpiece
  • Breeches
  • Canions (hose similar to bicycle shorts)
  • Netherhose (tall socks)

The peasant lot:

  • Long hose
  • Loose breeches
  • Shirt
  • Belted jerkin
Source: Costumers Manifesto

Into 16th Century Character

Oh, Behaaavvve…

Source: tribbles1971 on Flickr
Faire Humor and Performances
Faire Humor and Performances


an example of an English Renaissance Noble
An example of an English Renaissance Noble

Have You Been To The Faire?

The Tudor and Elizabethan Age

The Renaissance in England ranged from a time period stretching from the late 15th to early 16th centuries until the early 17th century. It was the time of Henry the VIII, of Elizabeth the I, and of Shakespeare. Theater and Literature thrived, and though the English were not as renowned for their art or music, those arts developed and architecture flowered.

It was certainly a time of great change for all the people of England, both high and lowborn. The history of Henry the VIII is well known, more for the salacious details of his many marriages and their subsequent short lives than for anything else, Yet, it was a time that gave England her greatest Queen, and the beginning of her quest to become an empire. It was a fascinating time and people love to learn about it and re-enact it.

That is a part, maybe a small part, of the reason that the festivals, fairs, and entertainments with the Renaissance theme have become so popular. We still believe in fairy tale worlds with knights, and ladies and swashbuckling pirates. And there is nothing more fun than visiting their world for just a little while.

Renaissance Festival Sampling

Renaissance Inspirations

© 2013 Ilona Erwin

Discovering Kentucky Craftsmen At The Artisan Center of Berea

Tucked away on Berea Exit 77 off the Interstate Highway 75 is a gem of a travel center, a place of respite and art. Perfect for Christmas gift shopping when looking for the unique.

Art Is A Lifestyle

Washroom Flowers
Washroom flowers show off artisan pottery

Washroom flowers show off artisan pottery

Rest Stop Or Gallery Hop?

When I first stopped at the Kentucky Artisan Center I was on my way to Cleveland, Tennessee, where my daughter was attending Lee College. I was delighted by the well landscaped building, and generous parking spaces with the air of an art gallery that is geared towards giving a sense of Kentucky’s hospitality.

Everything about the place shows the attention to excellence that craftsmen give to their creations, and it makes a welcoming stop for travelers. Everything has a handcrafted feel, including the stone walkways and outdoor patio. The story of Berea’s famed handcrafts and the early native inhabitants are displayed through the entry, starting in the parking lot.

Within the spacious building are two parts, one dedicated to a gallery hop of Kentucky artisan offerings, while the other holds a cafe with plenty of seating, and the best, cleanest restrooms in the nation. They even have seasonal flower arrangements that give the atmosphere of a hospitable inn.

Homespun Crafts Make Great Gifts

homespun crafts and fabric goods
There are all sorts of baskets, fabric arts, wooden wares that make unique gifts.

There are all sorts of baskets, fabric arts, wooden wares that make unique gifts.

Arts And Crafts Displays

Handmade pottery
Shelves of pottery are just one of the attractions

The Gallery of Arts And Crafts

My favorite part of the stop is to stretch my legs walking through the gallery of art, and looking at tastefully displayed crafts on shelves within the shopping part of the Artisan Center. I have purchased unique gifts for the family on my trips to Atlanta, and treasures for myself. From beautifully crafted wood items to oil paintings, finely carved and painted gourd art, horsehair pottery, handthrown pottery, prints, photography, glass art, there is a well curated array of the types of crafts that the artists of Berea can produce.

From inexpensive to fine art that is worth every penny,with each trip I attempt to buy something that catches my eye. I have some fine handmade baskets, pottery mugs, and several paintings that adorn my own home, all thanks to my stops at this place. I love it, and it is actually one of the highlights of my trips. In fact, one of these days I wish to travel just to Berea to further explore their art community, but in the meantime, this stop by the side of the road has provided a peek into a rich and varied legacy of the Appalachian culture.

Things to know

open 9:30am – 3:30 pm
open 9am – 6pm
open only during center hours
serves Kentucky cuisine
showcases Kentucky products
clean and modern
lunch specials
special exhibits
handicap access

Open during the hours shown, daily | closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day

Have You Been There?

Have you visited this Artisan Center?

  • There are some walkways and trails, although I haven’t had opportunity to follow them.
  • There are selections of music CDs available, books, food items, all Kentucky based in flavor and inspiration.
  • A friendly information desk attendant greets you as you enter the main door.

Christmas Time Trips

Holiday tree ornaments
Christmas Goodies -along the way

Christmas Goodies -along the way

Berea Has An Artful History

Berea,Kentucky began its existence as an Abolitionist town from rural beginnings. As time progressed and laws in Kentucky dashed the original hopes of an integrated society, the town became known mainly for its college and its lumber industry. Then began an interest, in the wake of the Arts and Crafts Movement, in reviving the culture and traditions of Appalachia. Although some of the highest ambitions of the visionaries of Berea were not realized, it did become a hub of the American Crafts Revival.

Applecreek ACD100 Dulcimer



As An Artist

A collage of The Artisan Center displays.
A collage of The Artisan Center displays. Sampling the many remarkable gifts available for sale.

I not only enjoy viewing and buying art by other artists, I learn by seeing the wares that are displayed. What kinds of frames are the best for a painting? What do gourd art methods look like up close? What interesting ways do artists combine materials to produce something useful?

Whenever we visit gallery exhibits it tells us something, and this gem of a display refreshes my spirit . It tells me that art is alive and present in our daily lives. The surprise of fresh flower arrangements that adorn a clean bathroom is as much art as the big oil painting on the wall with spotlights. That teaches me something, and speaks volumes to the way our lives are enriched.


When roadwork was done in the area, the name of the address changed, but the center is still located in the same place it always was. Once listed as a location on Walnut Meadow Road, its road is now known as Artisan Way.

Useful Information

Look For Exit 77, off of Route 75

Gallery of arts and crafts, including handmade jewelry, with a cafe and well kept restrooms. Be sure to have some money and space set aside for gifts

Road Name Has Changed

A selfie of the author

I love the clean restrooms, don’t you?
© 2016 Ilona Erwin