Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Traveling Twitter

Many of my favorite bloggers and magazines have done posts and articles on their favorite blogs which I have thoroughly enjoyed. They got me thinking about where else I gather my news, tips and ideas about travel and I thought about my favorite Twitter accounts to follow. If you have been reading this blog for awhile you may remember that I only recently started using Twitter, having resisted for awhile. Since making the addition of this social media to my life I have been pleasantly surprised at how much I like it.

I have found out about news way before I would've before, got a free book, found out about concerts and events and have been able to interact with new and interesting people. I am still learning but so far it has not disappointed, especially for travel. Here are some of my favorite handles to follow:
  • @airbnb - Their tweets are mostly about new properties that you can stay at but they are always out of the ordinary and amazing - a luxury houseboat that gets towed to different places on a river in Thailand anyone?
  • @budgettravel - I love their magazine, so it's not a huge surprise that I like their tweets. However, they post many of their Real Deals (awesome budget friendly vacation packages to exotic locales) and make me want to get away almost everyday.
  • @lonelyplanet - Like their paperback travel guides, Lonely Planet gives readers the off-the-beaten path kind of travel insight that I love. Their Twitter feed takes their advice to another level by giving followers great links to travel blogs, travel trends and news.
  • @frugaltraveler - The Frugal Traveler from the New York Times is one of my favorite travel blogs, his Twitter feed brings his trips to life in real time, includes anecdotes not always reported on the blog and alerts me to new posts. 
  • @visitkc - I like knowing what is going on around town and this account yields a wide variety of fun, local events for me to check out.
Who do you follow for travel-related goodness on Twitter? I'm always looking for new and thoughtful content. Thanks!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tennessee Honey


I hadn't posted a drink recipe in a little while so I thought I would share my weekend discovery with you. On a recent trip to Nashville (you can check that out here, here and here) I was introduced to Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey, so smooth and sweet! I returned to Kansas City and couldn't find it anywhere. On a Friday night trip to Gomer's, to find a ginger liquor I've been looking for, we found some. (We also found the ginger liquor but I couldn't bring myself to making such a large and lush-like purchase, gotta space those investments out, right?) I had picked up some ginger beer earlier this past week (two cans for $1 at Hyvee!) and was hoping to a fun way to mix it up.

I searched online for recipes and found the following on the Facebook fan page for Tennessee Honey. It was delicious and brought me back to Nashville instantly. Check it out:

Jack & Swarmy
1/4 part lime juice or lime wedge squeezed (I improvised with lemon juice to avoid another trip to the store)
1.5 parts Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey
4 parts ginger beer

Stir (as to not upset the ginger beer carbonation balance too much) and pour over ice.
Enjoy!

Hope you have a fabulous week and if not, maybe temper it with a Jack & Swarmy! Cheers!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Finally Going Back

I know it's a t-shirt cliché, but I ♥ New York City! Last summer I was there for work and I had reminisced on the blog about a memory from my childhood. I was lucky enough to have lived there from kindergarten through second grade, which although short was that time in your life where you are impressionable and can actually remember things that went on (as opposed to being 2 years old). After my family moved away we continued to visit NYC about once a year and I continued to love it and learn more about what makes it so unique. I am taking Brian there in three weeks and I am hoping to give him a tour of some of my favorite things.

Arial view of the island, courtesy of The Trust for Governor's Island.
I am most excited to show him where I used to live - Governors Island, just off lower Manhattan. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal to show someone an island you grew up on but it was a military base for 200 years and has been closed since 1996. After it closed, the rumor mill started up - it was going  to be given to NYU for research, they were going to build a resort there for the uber-riche, it was just going to be closed...and finally, what really happened - it opened as a public park after it was sold to the State of NY for $1. They have recently built some of the park and have lots more plans to go before the whole island is a glorious and historic park (still maintaining many of the old forts, canons, mansions, etc.)

A walk near Colonel's Row, best trick-or-treating spot ever! (Photo courtesy of The Trust for Governor's Island.)
I bet it's changed a lot since the mid-80's. I am sure P.S. 26 (my elementary school) has been torn down, in addition to our military housing, the bowling alley, the swimming pools, the ferry station where my mom used to sell her banana cake, etc. It will be a little sad to see (or not see, I guess) but I am hoping some things remain that I can point out and feel familiar with. I will be sure to report what I find there when we go. As the island closes up this weekend in anticipation of Hurricane Irene, I have memories of boarding up our windows there in anticipation of Hurricane Gloria - I guess some things never change.

The view from Governors Island - this was what we saw out of our living room window growing up. (Photo courtesy of The Trust for Governor's Island.)
Interested in checking it out for yourself? The free weekend ferries from Manhattan and Brooklyn make it easy and affordable to go out and have a look around, pack a picnic and enjoy the view of the Statue of Liberty from the prettiest island on earth. Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Travel Hacking

I  listened to a story recently on NPR's Planet Money about travel hackers. (You can listen to it here.) Basically, travel hacking is a way to get cheap or ideally free flights, hotels, meals, etc. [For the record, I think hacking sounds shady and I wouldn't want to do anything that wasn't legitimate.] While some people profiled in the piece went to insane lengths to get travel for free, others seemed downright enterprising.

It, of course, got me thinking about how I might get in on that, especially since my current travel stash of rewards is nice, but small, and the family's income is currently going to tuition and bills. Here are a couple of websites that gave me some more information on how people go about hacking the system:
  • Flyertalk - "interactive community that provides up-to-date information on travel-related loyalty reward programs"; I mostly found the site overwhelming but following them on Twitter has been interesting so far
  • One Mile at a Time - this blog has advice on a little bit of everything and is organized by airline, I find the posts interesting and helpful
  • Travel Hacking Cartel - this pay for service site somehow gives you ideas and/or access to getting frequent flier miles without flying; not much for free content but seems like a good and lazy way to get started
  • Travel Hacking Blog -  this gives some quick tips on ideas on how to get started and things to consider when on the road
Yesterday I saw on Twitter that Kayak was allowing people to get their "Hacker Fares" - basically allowing a search of two one way tickets to and from your desired destination and book on separate airlines if that was cheaper. I think the easiest way, in my newness to the subject, is to get no annual fee credit cards that offer travel rewards for using your card once (and then canceling the card after it gets paid off). According to some of the recent pre-approved credit card offers I have been receiving lately, the airlines are definitely onto that idea and are charging an annual fee for the best reward deals.

Then I came across this article today which talked about "cards that every traveler should consider." I am going to research their list further but noticed that they left off the Capital One Venture card. I think travel hacking may be going mainstream, if the abundance of all these articles and information is any indication of it's growing popularity. How about you? Ever done anything you would consider travel hacking before? Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Restructuring

This is just a quick post to let you know that if you are interested in what I am up to as I redirect my life's path, I will be keeping track of the goings on on this page here.

In other news, I am happy to report that "the streak" has been once again extended to 38 months with a trip booked to New York City with Brian in September. (I already had a quick trip to Chicago planned for October.) I realize that at some point I am going to have to give this up, but not without some effort first. The worst thing about school and not really knowing when I will start working again is not being able to schedule trips out very far. I will be taking a small road-trip next week and maybe another the week after that, so I'll be out and about.

I appreciate you checking out what I am up to and hope life is going well for you!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In the Meantime

Today is my third day at home since I left my job (yay, for traveling the other three weeks of that time) and I am starting to realize that it's very easy to find things to do. Some of you may be wondering what I am going to do now that I am not employed, besides going to grad school. For those of you who know me, I know you are not worried that I will find some way to keep myself occupied. I recently blogged about the world water crisis and how I am hoping to get involved with that. I am excited to announce that I started an internship yesterday with my friend Moree's biodegradable bottled water company (dLO Water) that raises money to support clean water projects around the world.

I am going to be helping out with their social media efforts and anything else they need while I figure out my next move career-wise. I am excited to be joining this team and to start learning more about what we all can do to bring clean water to those in need. dLO just finished a new promo video that will give you a little more information on them, check it out:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Good Times


In addition to several other places I mentioned recently I have also been wanting to check out the Livestrong Sporting Park. When my friend Alicia asked if I wanted to see Bush with her there - in addition to Incubus, Neon Trees, etc. - I was all in. Unfortunately for Livestrong, I found the venue to be a bust as far as hospitality and navigation goes. However, the bands, weather and seats were great. I'll probably give it another try sometime for what they were built for - football (aka - American soccer).

From top left (clockwise): Gavin, my free berry plate from the dessert bar (my thanks to the servers who didn't know how to charge me for "just berries"), Alicia and I chilling in the good seats and the stage for Buzz Beach Ball.
Despite some awkward moments standing in the middle of a mini drug den and dodging crowd-surfing feet while Bush played, it was a solid show. Alicia had been waiting 15 years to see Bush in concert and was not disappointed. Incubus was as good as I remembered from my college days (despite the slow ballads thrown in for good measure) and the awesome female drummer/backing vocalist for Neon Trees made my day. In all, it was a great day. Thanks for checking in!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Leaving Home

UMKC's mascot bush on campus.
In one of my classes this past week, our Organizational Leadership professor introduced us to the three main steps of the spiritual journey:

  1.) Leaving home - escaping the shackles of convention

  2.) The quest - entering wilderness, plunging the depths, confronting demons

  3.) Returning home - armed w/gifts earned during the journey

He also likened these steps to paralleling virtually all movie plots. As I thought about my first week of boot camp grad school, I thought about traveling and all the journeys I have been on. Walking on campus for the first time yesterday, trying to find where I could procure my student ID, I felt like a stranger in a foreign land. I had to stop and ask for directions, walk farther than anticipated due to poor parking/map coordination and endure the Kansas City heat - which rivaled any African heat I have experienced. But despite that, I am excited to be starting on another wild ride because who knows where I might end up and the gifts I will end up carrying. Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hotel Living

So, this week I am back home in Kansas City, but I am living at the Intercontinental Hotel for a one week residency to kick off grad school. As a compliment to long days in the classroom, we are lucky enough to be eating good food and sleeping a couple of floors below! I love hotel living - especially having someone make my bed and when the hotel is nice. The Intercontinental ranks fairly high in my book for things like cleanliness (no other people's hairs lying about), ample outlets (a big plus in my book), king-sized bed (so I can sleep my favorite way - like I was dropped off a building - or a star, depending on how you look at it) and best of all, this...

...a towel elephant! I thought you only got these on cruise ships. I was hoping on day two it would morph into a different animal but I found an elephant still sitting in my chair when I got back after the end of the day. Maybe I should find out how to make a different animal and leave it for the maid as a trade. Thanks for checking in!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Recent Read Roundup Take 2

As I have been doing my pre-homework for grad school which, by the time you read this started yesterday, I have also been trying to work in some reading for fun. I have only gotten through two chapters in one of the books I was looking forward to in my last recent read roundup post, but managed to pick up a couple of others.

The books I just finished:
My friend Julie (from Roving I) suggested this book to me when we had our recent meetup. She said any traveler had to read this and she was right. (Especially since I grew up hiking on parts of the Appalachian trail.) This tale of two friends discovering the woods in mid-life was charming and filled in some interesting details of American history as well as the history behind the famed trail that runs from Maine to Georgia. I even had a dream/nightmare about hiking during the period I spent reading the book.
I won't lie, I did not pick out this book on my own. It was one of the books I had to pre-read for school for a class on leadership. I was not that excited about it but as I started reading it I kept thinking about a) how much my dad would love it (having been in the Coast Guard) and b) how good it was. This harrowing tale of the 1914 failed cross-Antarctic expedition left you wondering how everyone survived. (I'm not giving too much away, as it is in history books, but I would suggest it to those of you who love a great, heroic tale and those of you who, like me, would like to make it to Antarctica someday.)
This book was the perfect read for me - funny and timely. Reading it just as I was leaving my job was a nice encouragement. The author of the book, and also author of the blog gapingvoid, interspersed wisdom about living your dreams with his ingenious little cartoons. A quick read that is definitely worth checking out, especially if you are working on a little "evil plan" on your own.
And two books I am hoping to get to soon:

This book explores the past 8,000 years of human impact on the planet. Nice and depressing. Hmm, this won't make me angry at all I'm sure.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Night Out In El Paso

As promised, here is the rest of Thursday's adventures...

This is the house we stayed at during our visit - the Sisters of St. Joseph House. It had a great view of the city below.
Our group graciously allowed me to indulge my inner foodie and we dined at a place downtown called Crave Kitchen & Bar. Luckily, for the second night in a row, Yelp did not disappoint. Everyone enjoyed delicious food as we sat out on the patio and enjoyed the weather. My portobello mushroom burger was probably the best I have ever had and was accompanied by a sweet and spicy cucumber salad and a ginger lemonade.
The decor at Crave was very creative. All these knives, forks and spoons hung from the ceiling by twine and the definition of the word 'crave' wrapped around the walls in a nice script-y font.
After dinner we drove to Murchison Park to see the view of the surrounding area - El Paso and mostly Juarez and the Rio Grande. Lots of people were hanging out in the park along with some food vendors. A nice activity for our last evening.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Processing

Estela and me. We spent most of the day together talking about the current needs of Anapra, buying prizes for kids with good grades and things for back to school.
Yesterday was another busy day - one I will split into two posts. Tomorrow you will hear about another yummy meal and see some great photos from our night visit to a park overlooking the city of El Paso and Juarez. But for now, I just want to reflect a little bit about our trip down here.

I get this feeling, when I am in a place like this, that I have a choice. I can either come to a place, hear about how other people live, reflect on how difficult some of the situations are and then walk away. Or I can really let it sink in and keep these people with me when I go - thinking of them, learning about their lives, writing letters to them, sponsoring their children in school, etc. It's really easy to make the first choice, getting so wrapped up in all the little details and dramas of my own life and make myself as comfortable as I can. That, to me, seems like the choice I need to fight off everyday.

It can also be easy, especially for me, to get pulled into so many directions of need that I get distracted. The drought in the Horn of Africa, the 884 million people who lack access to clean water in the world, children who aren't receiving a decent education, immigration, women who lack the resources to leave their abusers and nations at war - to name a few. My mind holds all of this and tries to decide what my priorities should be. I read articles and try to keep up with what the world is facing but it sometimes gets overwhelming. I tell myself it's better to start somewhere than nowhere.

I can't start to imagine how things are in Anapra daily, like the fear of nearby violence in Juarez, the concern about how much rain will fall and if the roof will hold for another season or if your job will last much longer knowing that there aren't any other possibilities available. We are left to listen, offer what we have to share for resources and make life a little better for both of us by building a community. I feel like a stranger to most of the people we met this week but it definitely doesn't have to stay that way. Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Don't Fence Me In

So yesterday was spent at the border - half visiting with two groups of friends at the fence and the other half doing a ride-along with the U.S Border Patrol. It was a very interesting duo of events to have in one day. Since we took a million pictures I will let them tell the story...
This was the morning group - you can get the sense of what it was like to meet across the fence with our friends. We met for two hours and shared back and forth what life was like, a little politics and lots of smiles. We were being monitored closely by four Border Patrol trucks, so we were safe but watched. The sun was behind the clouds most of the time and a cool breeze blew. It was a little sad to not be able to see everyone properly and give them hugs, but we'll be back.
Some photos from our ride-along tour. Obviously you have the fence and the large picture on the bottom left corner is of Anapra from a hill. The top left photo is of Brandon, Matt and Sandy from left to right - they were all listening to Officer Scott talking about the fence. The right middle is a photo of the fence up close and then through the fence where you can see a rope and other items used by people trying to climb over. Oh yeah, and that's me in a drainage tunnel.
We ate dinner at a delicious restaurant (Lacey, you would've loved it!) called L & J Cafe. I had a delicious, albeit unphotogenic, bean and cheese burrito with green chile strips. And then we ended with some yummy sopapillas (photo by Brandon and don't worry Katie, he ate one for you too).
Our evening meeting at the fence included this little cutie, one of Estela's granddaughters. We also got to meet two of Estela's sons, see her husband and some more of her grandkids.
In all, it was a very good day. Definitely a lot to think about. Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Driving Texas - Day 2

Yesterday was another pretty uneventful day of driving. We entertained ourselves mostly with NPR podcasts, finishing Bossypants and looking up things in the U.S. atlas - I know you're jealous. We finally located a Starbucks, which was probably the highlight of the day, besides arriving at our destination and picking up the other two people in our group from the El Paso airport. The place we're staying at is really nice - we all have our own bedrooms and the Sisters are very friendly. Here are a couple of photos from our day:

Driving through pretty desolate, flat land got me to looking up in the sky. I got lots of pictures of clouds and played that "what does it look like" game by myself - I thought this one was a pretty good dog.
We saw a ton of oil pump jacks so I had to photograph at least one.
The Sisters had all of our names on napkin rings when we arrived. I thought this was really cute.
So, we have a pretty big and hot adventure ahead of us - today we are having our first meeting with our Anapra friends across the fence and going for a ride-along with the Border Patrol. (This photo is to mark the whiteness of my skin to start with - I hope to be just as pasty when I depart.)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Driving Texas - Day 1

So yesterday my friends Matt and Brandon and I drove from Kansas City to Dallas, TX on our way to El Paso/Anapra for our border meetings. It was a pretty uneventful drive - punctuated by me reading my accounting textbook and us listening to Tina Fey's Bossypants (a book you should check out) - not at the same time, of course. We stopped for lunch at a local burger joint outside of Tulsa called Arnold's. There was a problem with the translation between a grilled cheese vs. a cheeseburger and I ended up eating onion rings and a cherry limeade for lunch - definitely not one of my finest meals. (In Arnold's defense, the lady was apologetic about the mixup and offered me my money back or a takeout box full of veggies instead.)

We met up with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law in Dallas for dinner and a night's sleep. We dined at the Twisted Root Burger Co. - home of the best burger in Texas.

I had the black bean burger Chipotle, Guac and Cheddar style with sweet potato chips. Delish, but probably the second bad meal too many for one day. Very thankful for an iron stomach.
We have another long day of driving ahead of us today, 10 hours and 34 minutes to be exact, but I am excited to be driving across a different part of Texas (I've done the panhandle before, through Amarillo). Speaking of past roadtrip endeavors, this current trip will only rank fifth overall for longest roadtrips I've been on. In order:

5.) This trip (Kansas City to El Paso, TX)
4.) Kansas City to Endwell, NY (for a friend's wedding)
3.) Rochester, NY to Kansas City (for me to meet Brian's parents over spring break when we were dating)
2.) Riverside, CA to Kansas City (moving six months after getting to Riverside)
1.) South Portland, ME to Riverside, CA (yeah, all the way across the country and bonus - like in trip #2 - driving a moving truck towing a minivan! We figured that during this trip our three week old marriage would be made or broken, we are fortunate it was the former.)

Thanks for checking in!

Monday, August 8, 2011

airbnb - Take One

A little while ago I wrote about airbnb.com and how we were going to try out the service as an inexpensive option to a hotel room when in Bangor. Unfortunately for airbnb.com, they have become more well known since then after a host had a really terrible experience (a tragedy really, I feel awful for her), you can read about it here. The good news is that airbnb has not only responded to the incident but apologized - a rarity it seems in our world. The even better news is that the service has added insurance for the hosts and has a list of other safeguards and measures to help protect everyone in the future.

Me chillin' on the Murphy Bed with my Kindle.
Our experience with our hostess, Rachael, was great. Everything from checking in rather early to comfort to friendliness of our hostess exceeded my expectations going in. I only wished we could've slept a full night but our early morning flight prevented that. The fact that the apartment was also within walking distance to downtown and only an $8 cab ride from the airport were much welcomed bonuses. The decor was adorable and gave me a few ideas for my own nest - now that I will have a little time off from working.

So, for those of you who want to keep your budget reasonable, meet a local person or two (although in our case Rachael is actually from right outside Kansas City of all places) and try something new, I would highly recommend staying at an airbnb property. Or you can just list your own place, which will allow you to save $17 off your first airbnb stay. Thanks for checking in!

P.S. Just wanted to say thanks to my newest followers on Google Friend Connect. To those of you who read along but aren't official on that yet, you might want to sign up (click "Join this site" on the right) as the next blog contest is coming up soon and that will get you an extra entry!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Best of Bangor

Growing up in South Portland, ME I never spent a lot of time in Bangor (a two hour drive away). All I really knew about it was that it housed the "other" airport and the "other" mall in Maine. (Yes, you read that correctly, as the other of each are in South Portland.) I had been there over the years to pass through or to play state championships of tennis or run track. So, when Brian and I found out we'd be staying for an afternoon and an evening before our super early morning flight, I was excited to have a little more time to explore the "other" big city in Maine.

Our first stop, with Brian's family still in tow, was to Friars' Bakehouse where the "Best Whoopie Pie in Maine" can be had. The Franciscan monks did not disappoint.
We then dropped off our bags at our Airbnb.com apartment (more on that tomorrow) and walked downtown for some lunch (yes, on vacation we do dessert first). We had a nice lunch, right out of Italy, at Giacomo's.
After lunch we walked around the shops downtown and came across the cutest store - Metropolitan Soul. The owner was very friendly and had some great items - I couldn't pass the two above up. In case you can't read the photos very well, the notebook says, "He offered her the world. She said she had her own." and the super comfy t-shirt says, "It has something to do with giving back, while moving forward." I think those were made for me.
There were lots of other great shops, restaurants and bars we walked past but didn't have time to visit properly. A couple in particular that we would like to try next time are:
  1. Nocturnem - a draft haus that features beers hard to find other places - there was a Japanese ginger infused pale ale that, had I not been too full from lunch, I would have loved to have sampled.
  2. Bangor Wine & Cheese - while we did go in, we were limited by our luggage when it came to actually buying much. We did buy some delicious Q ginger ale to share with our airbnb hostess though, it was delish!
  3. Bangor Outdoor Market - this outdoor gathering of vendors and live music on Thursdays runs for 10 weeks in the summer, we just missed it by about 12 hours.
  4. American Retro - to be honest, the weather was just too nice to go inside and look through clothes, but next time I'm here I will definitely be checking this place out.
Finally, we ended our day with dinner at The Fiddlehead Restaurant. It was everything a meal should be. Amazing food, drinks and service - all under one roof. In random order - 1.) My main course - a dill pollen dusted salmon filet (amazing flavor) 2.) Our shared dessert - a lemon tart with a blueberry coulis 3.) Brian enjoying his Foghorn (a mojito with ginger ale) 4.) The most amazing tomato bisque and an egg/pine-nut/honey salad 5.) A lemoncello margarita - so good, I had to have two

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Family Fun

The best part of our vacation was spending unlimited time with our family and friends that had gathered up in northeastern Maine for the week. From the porch sing-a-long to the group swims to the giant feasts prepared, it was a great time for memory making and bonding. Here are some pictures of most of our group...

My dad leading the way in the boat convoy.
Every night is a potluck picnic - so much food, so little time.
Love that this looks unreal - like we're at Sears in front of a backdrop.
My mom in the background, Brian's mom on the left, Thomas, Brian's dad and Brian watching the Ukelele band at the GLS Folk Art Festival.
My little brother crooning with his band at the festival.
The sun setting over Grand Lake from our cabin's shore.
Saying goodbye to the lake and the beautiful weather.
Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Seaside Escape

I love St. Andrews by-the-Sea. It's simply the perfect nautical town. It reminds me of Ireland, so it's fitting that every time I have been there it's been a little grey and overcast. The tiny shops, colorful buildings and the dock out to the whale watching boats are stuck in time - staying the way you would want them to, year after year. We always take a day trip, usually to celebrate my late July birthday, when we're up in Grand Lake Stream. The only disappointment this year was that the coffee shops (all rumored to be amazing) were closed up for the day. Oh well, there's always next time, and Tim Horton's!

Love that maple leaf!
My birthday lobster dinner at The Gables. I even had the tail left over for a lobster roll the next day, yummy!
The sites of St. Andrews. Can't get enough of the weatheredness.
Or the buoys, love the buoys!
Finally, no trip to Canada is complete without a trip to Tim Horton's for a frozen cappuccino and a sour cream glazed doughnut.
Also, wanted to mention, in case you hadn't heard - Groupon and Expedia have formed a partnership that allows for great travel bargains. I mention it here because they currently have deals for Canada and Maine. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

O Canada

1.) Ganong was the first chocolate company to introduce the heart shaped Valentine box of chocolate in 1932. 2.) In the chocolate shop they sold lobster flavored potato chips - I had to buy a bag. Verdict - tasted like fish food not lobster. 3.) From L-R: Brian, my dad, Brian's dad, Thomas 4.) I think my mother-in-law is enjoying her trip to the museum with the unlimited samples. 5.) Brian and Thomas faced off on the chocolate packing game. Brian won, but was far off the company standard of 17 seconds.
On our way to St. Andrews by-the-Sea (more on that tomorrow), we stopped in St. Stephens at the Ganong Chocolate Factory and Museum - inventor of the chicken bones. For anyone who knows my mother-in-law, you know what a big hit (and a a must have) this was. Thanks for checking in!

P.S. The packing challenge is going well. I have had everything I needed, except for the silica gel I usually bring along for wet cameras (sorry, Scott). I definitely brought way too many clothes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wild Maine

On Monday, after a weekend of fun festival festivities, it was time for a real Maine day on Grand Lake. After packing a giant picnic (of course) my family, including two sets of aunts and uncles, took to three boats and headed up lake to Columbus Island.

From my dad's Grand Laker canoe, Grand Lake stretches out before us.
On Columbus Island, the picnic unfolds.
I picked fresh blueberries so everyone in our contingency could have blueberry pancakes in the morning.
I think Brian likes Maine, don't you think? Thanks for checking in!