Monday, September 16, 2013

ny renaissance faire.

forest seating.

This past Saturday my dad drove me, my mom, and Ryan to the NY Renaissance Faire. We usually go to the PA one, but we were tipped off that the PA faire could fit into the parking lot of the NY one, and as such we had to make a trip up to see! We're a very nerdy family and enjoy suspending disbelief and watching jousts together.

We got there early enough that we were able to park in the lot next to the park. It was a massive field and it was actually at such a distance from the park that we had to trudge up a long ways through the forest to get to the entrance. We were immediately greeted with a singing gravedigger and a place to acquire a hot beverage. As it turns out, it was the first brisk autumn day we've had so far, and we weren't adequately bundled up. I was a bit envious of a man who walked by in full costume looking all warm with a big woolen cape.

aerial silks.  trapeze.

Our first show was the tail end of some skirmish in the joust field, so we decided to get one of those gigantic smoked turkey legs and find a restroom. After we acquired food, drink, and relief we glanced at our map and noticed some aerial acrobatics listings. We had to walk through a lovely shaded area of trees alongside a pond to get to the next stage area. The Circus Stella girls performed on the static trapeze and aerial silks. They were adorable and completely caught me off guard with their agility and strength. We got there early and got really nice seats, so I was able to take a few photos! I wish I could do the aerial silks...

housing. spotted.

We wandered around a bit catching shows and looking at shops. It started getting incredibly crowded. In fact, we were shocked at how difficult it was to traverse paths without some inconsiderate group stopping to talk and blocking traffic. We struggled our way to the field where they had the Birds of Prey show. I love going to these as falconry is the coolest thing ever in my book, and birds of prey are majestic and incredible. This show was SO much better than the PA one. We were in a close circle around the demonstration, and the birds grazed us ever so slightly as they flew by. My mom's head got tapped by the wingtip of the lovely owl pictured above. The photo of her peeking out of the hut was taken not 4 feet away from where I sat. I could feel the wind off of her wings as she took off. They had a vulture named Igor, and a beautiful 13 year old Andean Condor with a 10ft wingspan. It was an awesome show, and we enjoyed it immensely. 

The joust field filled up by the time we got there, and our only option was to sit in the forest behind it atop boulders. It was actually very pleasant and the air was nice and fresh. It was good to be away from crowds too. The horses were beautiful and it was fun watching from the shade of trees. I loved that the forest was clear and inclined enough that it was like stadium seating. For once I was able to see the action from the back!

After more walking, snacking, and exploring, we noticed how FULL the fairegrounds had become. We decided that it was about time to head back to the car for the 2 hour drive home. We took the long walk through the forest to get back to the lot, and I was in shock at how many cars they managed to cram in. As we exited the lot we saw the reason for the filled paths ... there were cars parked for at least 2 miles down the side of the small highway near the faire. There was no shoulder for a great distance, and people were STILL walking in costume to get into the fairegrounds. I did NOT envy them one bit.

It was a lovely weekend & I wish I could go back, but their faire runs only until September 22nd. No chance for Halloween fun. :'( At least I was able to make it with family this year!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

imperial pearl oolong from mountain tea.

tea assistant.

Ryan and I celebrated our birthdays together & with family on the 18th, and my father gave me a surprise bit of money to buy myself something with. I, of course, opted to purchase some tea! I decided to step out of my comfort zone of Dragonwell and Tieguanyin and saw someone on IG mention tasting a "brandy oolong." Their description of it was intriguing, and their praise convinced me to acquire some of my own.

Brandy oolong? What's that!? It is apparently an uncommon Taiwanese dark oolong that is heavily oxidized to the point of nearly being mistaken as a black tea. It is rolled tightly, has glossy dark brown leaves, and the aroma is malty and brisk right out of the bag. The company I purchased it from also calls it an "Imperial Pearl Oolong." Sold! I also added an Oriental Beauty cake from Mountain Tea into my cart, but that will be photographed and talked about on another day! (It is the cutest little oolong cake ever!)


My first infusion was a quick one. On the website it states that a quicker infusion will provide a sweeter flavor, and sweet it was indeed! It was a light amber in my teacup, and the flavor was something I've not quite experienced before. Spicy and light. Then at the back of the tongue an interesting woodsy taste came through. It made me think of the smell of freshly split wood sitting out to cure for the winter.

I decided that my second infusion should be stronger. The cup reddened slightly but was still a glowing amber. This time I got more of that woodsy note up front in addition to a note similar to an almost opaque dark wildflower honey flavor. Molasses-like, but gentler. The spicy note from before rounded out into the honey, and it eased the strength of the woods and transformed the cup into something hearty and quite delicious.

If you're interested in trying this tea out, head on over to Mountain Tea! In addition to their Imperial Pearl/Brandy Oolong they have an incredible selection of other Taiwanese teas. Like I said, I picked up the Oriental Beauty cake and I can't wait to try it! Their customer service is great, and they handled my panic at the post office almost losing my parcel wonderfully. They even went so far as to get in touch with USPS to clarify the situation and make sure my much anticipated birthday tea order would arrive safe and sound!

imperial pearl oolong.