Summer Road Trips to the 16th Century.

Renaissance festivals can be the perfect stress reliever for an over scheduled family. My family and I have enjoyed more than a dozen Ren faires in various locations always dressing the part and melding with the faire atmosphere.  I know from experience that one of the best parts of any Ren faire experience is imagining together about another time in history and play acting along with everyone else. There really is no substitute for being there.

Renaissance faire magic.

Being a princess for a day is part of the Renaissance faire magic.

The best Ren faires create a 16th century time capsule (sometimes loosely translated) where royalty reigns and jousts are the order of the day. There’s music and dance, royal parades and artisan shops plus scrumptious food. It is a place where bards, jesters, puppeteers, falconers, magicians and fairy folk mingle with gallant knights, beautiful princesses, an occasional dastardly dragon, and uncommon folk from this century.

Ren faires create an atmosphere punctuated by lively entertainment and living history moments, creating the perfect setting for a carefree family experience difficult to duplicate on your own. Where else can you dress up and pretend to be a pirate, or a jester, lady in waiting or a forest fairy? Where else can you practice speaking like a citizen of the shire; enjoy falconry, human-powered rides, enchanted mazes and organized quests? Where else can you hear storytellers, see a royal court, watch jousting, puppeteers, and jesters? And where else can you eat with your fingers?

Bristol Renaissance Faire in Wisconsin.

Huzzah! Bristol Renaissance Faire in Wisconsin makes summer in the 16th century magical for everyone who attends.

The faire atmosphere creates the ultimate interactive family experience with seeing, doing, and pretending all part of the fun. It’s an easy way practice imaging together without the aid of electronic devices. The immersive experience is bound to stretch your child’s comfort zone with 16tth century activities, sights, sounds, aromas and costumes all part of the day.

If a road trip to the 16th century makes sense then head for one of the best locations. My suggestions include Bristol Renaissance Faire in Wisconsin, Great Lakes Medieval Faire in Ohio, Holly Michigan Renaissance Festival, Ohio Renaissance Festival, Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, New York Renaissance Faire, and Minnesota Renaissance Festival.


Nancy Nelson-Duac

Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files


Best Corn Mazes & Harvest Festivals – Pure Family Fun

I have just posted sixty ways to have fun with your kids in corn around, corn, and with corn. Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere.
Mini breaks make a world of difference and I know that pint-sized fun is better than no fun at all whether it’s a daytrip or a weekend escape, enjoying time together and making family memories matters. For adults it is a good excuse to behave like a kid again if only for a few hours. I love our family custom of selecting the perfect pumpkin (pumpkins because we always adopt extras).

Here’s the scoop. The 2010 regional lists of reveal a plethora of chances to have fun with kids. It spans seven distinct geographic regions in the USA plus three regions within Canada. The collection of festivals and events spans the gamut from barnyard mini golf in Vermont and pumpkin bowling in Kansas to pig races, hayrides, living history, and most American of all corn mazes.

Mini breaks in Canada include plenty of pumpkin patches, scarecrows, hay rides, corn piles, and apple picking plus corn quests in Nova Scotia and a cranberry bog encounter in British Columbia. For night owls there’s also maze adventures by moonlight or flashlight.

Our expanded list of family friendly Fall Festivals & Corn Mazes may be viewed at by clicking on the special green and yellow folder labeled “aMAZEing Fun” or by selecting a region of the country and viewing the relevant feature. To expand the list for the future readers are encouraged to “Tell Mom” about their favorite family corn maze or fall festival.

aMAZEing fun for everyone

Please tell mom! If you have favorite fall festival or corn maze please let us know. In other words “Tell Mom!” Make sure to include the name of the festival or event and its location on the planet as well as why you like it or what makes it worth the trip. Our next round up will include family-friendly winter celebrations, enchanting holiday lights, and Santa Trains. We are building the list right now and would love to have your feedback. So just “Tell Mom!”

Canada: New Brunswick, Kings Landing, Daydreaming in History.

(Written by my youngest daughter, Jule Nelson-Duac)

Wagon rides > walking three miles in moccasins!

There I was, sitting in history class thinking, ” There’s a more fun way of learning this!” Why can’t school be more like my life at Kings Landing? The teacher’s voice droned on as I looked out the window. I recalled my summer days and the last time we were in New Brunswick, Canada. I was lucky enough to attend a living history camp at Kings Landing. They call it “Visiting Cousins” and that is what we all pretended to be for a week. I went with my two cousins, Scott and Jaime, and my big sister, Amanda. As it turned out it was really fun, even better than space camp. Continue reading