Last week I was reminded of a lesson which I learned a long time ago. We decided to take a trip back to our home state. Our trip began by returning to the community which we left when we moved to Texas. We had a wonderful car ride through four states and both dogs did very well in the car. In fact, the trip was a pleasant one all around. We were able to see friends and family. We were also able to see the damage that an August storm had done to our former community. However, as wonderful as our time there was, we both clearly felt that moving back is not what we wanted.
Once you have left a place, moving back to that place is seldom possible. Visits are nice and nostalgic but you cannot pick up where you left off when you moved away. A person’s life and the lives of those who you knew in whatever community you left move forward in different ways. You adapt and change. Nothing from before stays on hold. It is truly never the same again. When you are living there, this change happens each and every day but goes unnoticed because it is just part of life. After being gone from the community for a period of time, the change is noticeable and creates a much different dynamic for relationships within the community.
I first learned this lesson between my freshman and sophomore year of college. I had lived in my home community for eighteen years. Going to college meant going to a larger community approximately a hundred miles away. I came home for weekends and breaks but when I returned the following summer, I found that while my closest friends remained, they had moved on with life. I also discovered that I had changed some while I was away at college. The hometown was never the same because I had experienced something significantly different.
Like many others, I have experienced this truth over and over in my life. During a time of reminiscing, it is easy to desire to return to what we have experienced before. Thoughts of going back to a place which is filled with memories might enter a person’s mind. However, when you return to that place, you find that it is not the same. In fact, it can never be the same again.
I am grateful for our trip back. I have missed the family and friends we left behind. I enjoyed seeing people even more than the places where we used to go. However, I was glad to come back home. I cherish the life we have created in our new home. This is now home and going back to what we had before is no longer an option.
This past weekend was filled with a lot of new experiences. I have decided that Mondays are going to be the days when I share about our travel and new experiences. Since I have already blogged about my love of travel and our ongoing experiences in our new location, you should not be surprised that I want to share these with you. Who knows, maybe you will decide you would like to also go on an adventure and discover some new places we are checking out on the weekends.
Scarborough Renaissance Festival
Saturday we chose to travel about an hour from our home to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. We first became aware of the event when we attended the Irish Festival in March. There was a booth at the Irish Festival which had information about the Renaisance Festival. My husband and I agreed that this was something we definitely needed to check out. So we left home early afternoon (after having mowed and done some lawn work) and headed to Waxahachie, TX. Waxhachie is located on the southern-most end of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
Our trip was eventful the closer we got to the festival because of road construction. We had the pleasure of exploring a country road which was extremely narrow and was much in need of some maintenance work. When we were within a mile of the festival entrance, traffic ground to a halt. We spent the next fifteen minutes slowly advancing toward our desired destination. Next year we will approach from the north and east versus the south and west as we did this year. (FYI -Sometimes Waze does not know the best route.)
Upon arrival, we found a good parking location in the grassy lots which are provided. The parking attendants do a fairly good job of directing you to the right place. After parking the car, now time to hike to the festival entrance. This festival is well-established and has a permanent location. Permanent buildings at the entrance and throughout the festival grounds have been constructed. We had purchased our tickets online which saved us time because we did not have to stand in the line to buy tickets. After scanning our tickets, we were allowed access to the festival grounds and the wonderful experience of the event.
Neither my husband nor myself had been to this festival. In fact, I had never been to a Renaissance festival or fair at all. Almost at once it became clear that many others had been attenders in the past since they had full costumes which they wore in all their finery. The festival is located on 35 acres. The festival’s website gives this description:
Scarborough Renaissance Festival is interactive fun for everyone, 16th Century Style. Enjoy full combat armored jousts, Birds of Prey exhibitions, the Mermaid Lagoon and Renaissance entertainment on 27 stages. Discover exquisite crafts in 200 village shoppes and marvel at the artisan demonstrations. Partake in Renaissance rides and games of skill and feast on food & drink fit for royalty. For the more discerning tastes there are daily wine and beer tastings as well. Plus, every weekend has a different theme and a variety of special events.
We spent four hours walking throughout the festival. We started our journey by listening to a female singing group, Queen Anne’s Lace, on a small stage near the entrance. Then our walk took us past shops and to another stage where a show, Birds of Prey, was taking place. It was truly fascinating watching the fowler and his assistants handle hawks and eagles. The next stop along the path was Terra Mythica Castle, an opportunity to walk through a small structure which told the story of three sisters who had a rough life leading them to an evil side. These women now practice a dark magic within the castle from which they were once cast away. After such a dark experience, we decided to experience laughter and frivolity at the Fortune Stage where Don Juan and Miguel engage in a comedic battle which also highlights some great whipping skills. All this took place in the first ninety minutes of our adventure.
After seeing some shows and hearing some stories, we decided that the time had come to continue discovering what the festival had to offer. We also had decided that we were both thirsty and needed to find a refreshing beverage. Our journey continued as we browsed a few of the shoppes and explored what options for a cool drink might be available. Along our way we had to stop and listen to the insultor at the booth where people could buy a chance to throw tomatoes at the person casting the insults. Soon we began to realize that we had only covered half the festival grounds and there was a lot more to explore.
We finally settled on some ales to drink and continued to walk around the grounds. Part of the entertainment was watching all the festival goers and seeing them in their period clothing. There were individuals dressed as French royalty with beautiful gowns and detailed coats. Some participants chose to take a pirate theme. Others were dressed as knights and damsels. Fairies and mythical creatures also were walking about. I told my husband that next year I thought we should consider coming as characters even though there were as many people there who were dressed in 21st century clothing like we were as there were those in costume.
Continuing our trek around the grounds gave us opportunity to wander into a variety of vendor shops and to catch some other festivities. We watched as a large group learned how to do a 16th century dance. Various competitions such as king-of-the-log, Jacob’s ladder, and the cannon throw were enjoyable to view. We also stopped to get some fried bread with fruit topping and “ye olde” root beer.
Our day came to a close by attending the joust. The king and queen in all their finery presided over the jousting field. Four knights participated in the joust each mounted on beautiful steeds. The competition was intended to settle the argument over whether chivalry was an outdated practice which should be abandoned or not. Two of the knights stood in favor of the continuation of chivalry and two said chivalry was a waste from the past. So the tournament is intended to settle the issue. The crowd members choose which knight(s) to cheer for and the battle begins. Each knight mounted on his steed at the start and fully dressed in their proper colors take their places. The lance is handed to each and the charge toward each other two at a time. After losing their lance, the battle continues with weapons on the ground. The two chivalrous knights prevail by killing the other two knights. They receive the accolades of the king and queen (and some of the crowd).
The Scarborough Renaissance is a reasonably priced journey back to the 16th century. The shop owners, performers, and festival cast not only entertain but educate by demonstrating their various skills and talking with those who are browsing or watching. The festival runs for eight consecutive weekends in April and May each year. I highly recommend going to this festival if you are in the area or choose to travel to the area for this event.