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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Mine and Deanna's MD trip: MD RenFest 2015, Baltimore, Antietam

Dreams do come true!!!  Several months ago, I found out that the great Diana Gabaldon would be attending the Maryland Renaissance Festival on September 26th to do a reading and book signing.  I have loved her books for many years and have reread the series multiple times.  Earlier this year, or may be late last year, I started my friend, Deanna, on the series.  She fell instantly in love.  We joked about how great it would be to go and see her.  I have wanted to take Deanna to Maryland for a long time.  Then we joked about having my Uncle Terry make us costumes for the festival.  (He's amazing, as you will see shortly.)  Finally, we just said, "Let's do it!"  I asked my uncle and he was more than happy to make us amazing outfits!  He went above and beyond and even drove to my house to do a fitting and drove home the same day (it's about 7 hours one direction.)  We entered an email lottery to win a spot to have Diana sign our books.  Miracle upon miracle, I won!  My aunt won, also, and was kind enough to stand in line with me to have Deanna's books signed.

A peek at our amazing outfits. (iPhone)


As we waited for Diana Gabaldon to take the stage, we were treated with two wonderful acts - Cu Dubh (pronounced koo-doo; translates to black dog) a Celtic bagpipe and drum band; and Mediaeval Baebes, a classic choral ensemble from London.  Both were very talented and very entertaining.

Diana Gabaldon holding storytime.  If you have a love for reading you need to add "Have my favorite author read to me" to your bucket list.  It was incredible to hear her speaking her words.

Me and Diana.  She was amazing.  She complimented me on my outfit and smiled nicely while I babbled! (iPhone)

Me.  Directly after meeting Diana.  Think I was excited? (Photo cred - Deanna)

A "street" act.  They were singing an Irish folk song that I knew!

Death Wheel.

As the King and Queen, Aunt Holly and Uncle Terry hand out necklaces and rings to the little kids.  It was really sweet to watch.

Yes, Uncle Terry made all these outfits.  They are incredible.  Also, check out the mad photo bombing skills by the mimes!

On Sunday we ventured into Baltimore.  I try to make it to Fort McHenry every visit, but it doesn't always happen.  So much of my childhood, and even my teens, were spent at the fort.  It has truly become one of my favorite places.  

Oh, Say can you see . . .

You never know what you will find when you open things!

Orpheus has always been my favorite statue at the fort.

Francis Scott Key Bridge

Selfie with the flag flying in the background (iPhone)

Another of my favorite Maryland spots is Antietam National Battlefield.  I have visited several battlefields over the years, including Gettysburg, but there is just something about Antietam.  Quite frankly, it gives me the willies.  When I stand at Burnside's Bridge I can feel the presence of all the soldiers that fell on that day in 1862.  It's a quiet, eerie place that has such a strong pull.  It's amazing, if that's the right word to describe the spot of the bloodiest day in American history.  

Dunker Church

Sherrick Farmhouse

 Strange bug on the bridge

Burnside's Bridge

Witness to history - That big old Sycamore tree, on the left side of the photo, survived the battle and saw the entire thing unfold.  There are photos from the time following the battle that show a much smaller, younger version of that old tree.  As Deanna said, "Oh, the stories trees could tell."

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