Category: travel

getaway to kingston

I know, you’re probably thinking, Kingston? Why Kingston?

Well, there was a number a reasons. I wanted a little getaway, a short enough drive away and wanted to stay in Canada. We’ve done Niagara a bunch so this seemed like a fun way to mix it up. We were celebrating my fiance’s 30th, he likes history, waterfronts and eating, so Kingston was perfect.

We arrived around 10am, we knew we were too early to check in so we hopped on the hop-on-hop-off tour. Unfortunately it was pretty chilly in the morning so we didn’t hop-off but did the bus tour around Kingston. The tour was a little cheesy but it took us to all the sites we wanted to see, like the Royal Military College and the Kingston Penitentiary.

 

After the tour, we were hungry so we went to Harper’s Burger Bar, recommended by the hotel front desk (and later endorsed by many Queen’s alum on my Facebook). The burger was amazing, the bun was so good, like melt in your mouth good. I had the waffle fries, which were ok, I wish I had of just had the burger, but I’m usually weird like that.

We walked around Princess St, going in to lots of non-sense stores and bakeries. Once we were done there, we headed to city hall, where they were offering tours for free. It’s a neat building with a lot of history, and well, I can’t turn down a free tour. By this time, it was time to check in. We checked in to our beautiful (but pricey) room for the night. Since it was a special occasion, I splurged on a room at the Delta with a view. The city was very busy with convocations so I don’t think that helped the price tag. But the bed was lovely, the view was beautiful and the location was amazing.

After check-in, we headed to the oldest brewery in Ontario, the Kingston Brewing Company. I had the dark lager, which I loved and my fiance had their ale, which was also quite good. I also had their sangria which was made with the cider, and while it was no Cuban Sangria, it was also delicious.

Birthday brews at Ontario’s oldest brewery. #darklarger #ktown #kingston #ladiesdrinkcraft

We then went to an Irish pub to listen to jazz music (as you do). This was much more of a thing for my fiance but it was his birthday, the band was good, I just didn’t really know the music, whereas my fiance knew all the words. It was then time for our late night dinner. I made the reservations late, because I thought it was Kingston and it would be no big deal but apparently it gets really busy so we had to wait until 9pm to eat. A friend recommended the place, Wooden Heads and it got lots of great reviews online. From the website, I thought it was a more casual place but I figured it would be fine since the reviews were so good and it did not disappoint. It was also much nicer inside than the restaurant’s website would lead you to believe.


I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, the food was great. We ended the evening as we do at least one on every trip at the lobby bar of our hotel with old fashioned. They were out of their regular bourbon so we had the made a little fancier and they were so good. The perfect way to cap off the day.


The next morning we went for breakfast at Windmills, where my fiance had the apple pancake, which was almost like a full blown apple cake and I had the perogies and eggs, which came with home fries which was a bit of an overkill but it was very delicious. We walked around the farmer’s market and headed over to the Bellevue House, where Sir John A MacDonald lived for a year while he was in Kingston. We ended our trip with visiting his grave, closer to the highway, which was hard to find and not very well marked but my fiance was glad we made the trip.

So, TL:DR of this post is, if you’re looking for a quick getaway, love history, eating, drinking and/or waterfronts, Kingston is a great place to go!

bloggers who drink lagers take cuba!!

I have been struggling with the blog lately! I’m sorry, the photos have not been cooperating but I think I got it figured out but forgive me, there aren’t tons of photos!

So, if you had of asked me when I started blogging almost 5 years ago if I thought I’d be going to Cuba with bloggers I met through blogging, I would have thought you were crazy! But that’s what’s happening. So our little jogging group ended up a couple of years later in Cuba and it was great!

We traveled to Cuba for Happy or Hungry’s wedding! We were known to her friends as the bloggers, which was cute. I had never been to Cuba and it had been almost two years since my last all-inclusive and so I was excited. We stayed at the Quatro Palmas in Varadero, which is right ‘downtown’ Varadero. It was a smaller, older resort but it was perfect for our group. For the price, it was pretty great – and the food was decent. That’s what I always heard about Cuba, that the food is terrible and this was usually edible (sometimes good, the bread was fresh baked and so good).

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But with views like this, who cares what the food is like! We had varying degrees of good food, there was good-good, cuba-good and terrible. We did discover something we called a Cuban sangria. They asked us if we wanted sangria, and you never say no to sangria so we ordered a round. I could see from my seat the lady mixing it and I told the table, you don’t know what’s about to happen. It was red wine and sprite and it was delicious. I will definitely have that this summer! I guess it’s a red wine spritzer but I don’t think that’s normally a thing.

A couple of us also took a day trip to Havana and it was breathtaking. I had heard about the beautiful old American cars but nothing can describe how beautiful the architecture of Havana is.

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If you want to see some amazing Havana photos, check out Happy or Hungry’s wedding photos. They’re straight out of a bridal magazine, they’re unbelievable.

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We had a great time in Cuba, the sunshine, the ocean and the good times is just what I needed, I think there’s even talks of reunion trips this summer.

Have you been to Cuba? What was your favourite part?

east coast life

I’m really excited to share my most recent trip with all of you! I spent a week in a car with my boyfriend driving across the eastern part of the country. Was it crazy? Yes. Are we still together? Surprisingly, yes!

We left last Thursday night and drove to Riviere-Du-Loup. It’s not a huge city (although much bigger than some of our stops) but it’s about the half way point between Toronto and Halifax. There’s a really nice Best Western Plus if you ever find yourself in need of a room there and there’s of course a St. Hubert’s in town so you can’t really go wrong.

The next day we were off to Halifax, we stopped in a camping area to visit some family but we were in Halifax. The next day, we ate at the fun Chicken Burger, walked 10,000 steps before lunch and had a good ol’ fashioned kitchen party at my aunt and uncle’s. We had lobster which I’ve decided is only amazing when it is that fresh – and cooked in ocean water. Spoiled, I know. The next day, we did pier 21, stopped in a Garrison Brewery and did the Keith’s tour which is very theatrical and ridiculous but also really fun. I realized now that I didn’t take a ton of pictures in Halifax. I apparently was saving all my picture taking for the Cabot Trail.

So Monday morning, we were off to Baddeck. There happened to be a brewery 10 minutes from our hotel so we had to stop in there. We went to the Bell Museum, which was really neat. I didn’t realize that Alexander Graham Bell was so into flight. The town of Baddeck is only 700 people (but 600 hotel rooms). It wasn’t really nice out so we had dinner at the hotel and watched the raptors game. The next morning was a true highlight of the trip when we did the Cabot Trail. The Cabot Trail takes about 6 hours to do, if you don’t walk any of the trails. We just did the drive and with all of our stops for pictures and lunch and to buy folk art, we did it in 6 hours. This is just a few of the photos I took, but honestly pictures don’t do it justice. We were so lucky with the weather, it was originally supposed to rain but the sun was shining all day. I will say though, if you’re not a fan of heights, it might be a long day for you – the trail goes up and down several mountains and there were so points that really freaked me out but it was totally worth it.

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The drive was amazing – I would recommend it as a must see in Canada. Our next day was super crazy. We got up at 5am to drive through the fog to catch the ferry to Prince Edward Island. We went to Charlottetown for a few hours, a friend of my boyfriend’s showed us around. I actually wish we did a night in Charlottetown instead of the second night in Cape Breton, after we finished the trail, there wasn’t much else for us to do. Charlottetown was absolutely charming. It is definitely a small town and seemed to have a great selection of restaurants, cafes, and bars. And of course, it’s on the water so it’s super cute.

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I apparently only have a photo of us from Charlottetown on my phone – there were more pictures. Now, for the crazier part, we were driving to Quebec City – a nine hour drive from where we were. We took the bridge which was very pricey but very neat. We ended up in Quebec City around 11, which with the time difference made it a 19 hour day. Thankfully the beds were heavenly at the Delta Quebec.

We spent Thursday walking around Quebec City. I hadn’t been since I was a kid so didn’t really remember much. It felt as if we were in a European city, it was very old and very hilly. It was beautiful. We also went to dinner at the “best restaurant in quebec city” according to trip advisor. A bistro called iX, which is run by two guys. They only have 9 tables and only do one seating a night. Although it was a fairly casual restaurant, the food was fantastic and the enthusiasm from the owners was contagious. If you’re in Quebec City, I would recommend checking it out but make reservations weeks in advance, it’s very limited. Get the fois gras poutine. Trust me.

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We drove back on Friday, which meant we put about 5000kms on the car in about a week. It was totally worth it and I’m glad we did a Canadian trip this time. Sometimes I forget how beautiful this place really is!

 

 

nashville love

Better late than never, I can’t believe it was almost a month ago that I went to Nashville. I was having some issues with getting photos up so I apologize for the delay.

I went to Nashville over Canada Day (and 4th of July). I’ve always wanted to go to Nashville, I’m a huge fan of country music and “cheesy” and sparkly things so Nashville was the place for me.

My boyfriend and I decided to make it a little roadtrip – although Google says it’s 12 hours, with all the construction on the interstate, it was really closer to 14 hours. We split the trip up into two days on the way down. We stopped in Ohio on our way there and spent the night, carrying on the next day.

We arrived in Nashville around 3pm, we checked in to our beautiful Loews hotel room – which we somehow got upgraded, for free (funny story about that, I made the BF cancel and rebook like twice because it saved us $400 – and then we ended up getting the same room anyways #winning).

Our first Nashville stop was The Bluebird Cafe, I’ve never watched the show but yes, it’s a real place (a lot of people seemed to think it was just created for the show). It was extremely small and probably not what you would expect – it’s basically in a small plaza across from a Cheesecake Factory (which we later ate at) and no where near downtown. We were there on ASCAP night, which is the song writers night. And when I say small, I mean tiny – it holds about 100 people and you get cozy with your neighbours. You can also get cozy with the performers.

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that guy with the hat in front of me – he is totally one of the performers and we chatted with him.

 

this is the guy that wrote "lips like sangria" and "smile", as well as lots of other fabulous country music. And we got to watch him sing those songs like 3 feet from us!
this is the guy that wrote “lips like sangria” and “smile”, as well as lots of other fabulous country music. And we got to watch him sing those songs like 3 feet from us!

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The next morning, on the advice of a very lovely Blue Jays’ wife (I’ll let you guess who, you never know who you’re going to meet when volunteering!) – we headed a little outside the city to The Loveless Cafe. An area that used to be a restaurant and motel until the interstate was built and people stopped using the road as a way into Nashville. It was adorable and they gave us so many buiscuits – the theme of the trip was definitely TOO MUCH FOOD. Also, so many fried foods – I don’t want to think about the amount of fried chicken I had (totally worth it).

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That afternoon, we took a very hot and humid walk downtown (after that, it was UberX every where, 90% humidity is just not reasonable to walk in). We went to the world famous Tootsies (on the advice of my grandfather and the border guard). This is the bar where all the famous singers used to drink in between sets at the Opry, you can still go through the back alley. The downtown “Broadway” strip reminds me a bit of Fremont Street in Vegas, big giant neon lights straight out of the 40s and 50s. Every bar there has live music, I think all day every day. It was 1pm on a Thursday and you could hear live country music everywhere.

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at tootsies

We also went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. They have so many outfits, lyrics and various nick nacks from the beginning of country music. It was great – I loved the outfits and seeing the handwritten notes and lyrics.

I also really enjoyed the fact that dolly parton dresses... uhh... stood out.
I also really enjoyed the fact that dolly parton dresses… uhh… stood out.

Thursday night, despite the rain – we headed to a AAA baseball game. It was “TBT” at the ballpark and the beers were only $3 – God Bless America, you would never see that here. We also got free America sunglasses because it was leading up to 4th of July. The coolest thing about the park is the fun scoreboard, which is of course, shaped like a guitar.

 

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Friday morning, we went back downtown and checked out the Johnny Cash Museum. It is fairly new and quite nice. They have so much from his life, from paystubs to outfits to items from his home. It was a neat museum. I also wanted to go to Opryland, which no longer has an amusement park but I wanted to see the big resort and the atrium.

Well.. there is very little photos of that because we ran into something that my cheapness would just not allow. The first 20 minutes of parking were free, after that $23 – with the dollar what it is, that just wasn’t possible. So – we saw it in 15 minutes. The atrium was quite elaborate and I’m sure there was more to see but nothing worth $23 for me. We would have been there max an hour. So we checked out the Opry Mills mall, which was almost identical to Vaughan Mills. But that day’s highlight was definitely the Grand Ole Opry.

The Grand Ole Opry relocated from the downtown Ryman years ago to the Grand Ole Opry House. They don’t announce the musician until a week or so before the show and there’s usually about 12 performers. I was so excited when they posted that Vince Gill was going to be there – I loved him as a kid. It was a strange set up, they have each performer do 2-3 songs and they’re in sets and in between there’s commercials because it’s aired on the radio so you can tune into the Opry anytime it’s on.

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in the opry
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happy girl at the opry

The Saturday, it rained again (it rained the whole time). We took it easy, went shopping, ate a bunch and went for a fancy dinner – where we had the biggest piece of carrot cake I’ve ever seen in my life. We debated going down to the fireworks but 100,000 people is just not my scene and I was convinced we could see it from our room. And I was right, it was a little foggy and we couldn’t see the bottom but it was enough for me.

wpid-img_20150704_221202.jpgIt was a great trip. I think 4 days is the perfect amount of time in Nashville. There wasn’t anything that we really wanted to see that we missed out on. There’s definitely lots there for country music lovers but even my boyfriend who isn’t a big fan had a great time. If you drive, once you get there unless you’re going out to the opry or bluebird, I’d just uberX everywhere – it’s so cheap and parking in the city is very expensive. If you fly, same thing – I wouldn’t bother renting a car, and if you stay even closer to downtown than we did (we were near Vanderbilt University), you definitely won’t need a car – it’s not a huge city. The people are great, the food is great and I think the music is great! Its a great trip for couples and I think it would be a fun place for a bacherlorette or girls weekend, if you don’t want to do Vegas.

Have you been to Nashville? Where should I go to next?