Category Archives: Travel

What to do locally this weekend…7/29-7/31

My picks of what to do in the Champlain Valley area this weekend…

Friday, July 29

Bright Eyes (opener: The Mountain Goats)
Doors open 6pm, 7pm show
@ Shelburne Museum
$34 advance, $38 day of show
Blend of blues & folk music

Dropkick Murphys
Doors open at 7pm, 7:30pm show
@ Midway Lawn at Champlain Valley Expo
$33 advance, $38 day of show
I saw these guys a number of years ago & boy do they put on a great show!  Their music is hard to explain- a blend of rock & metal, with an Irish soul.  

Saturday, July 30

Yoga on the Mountain
@ Mt. Philo State Park in Charlotte
$35 suggested donation

Green Mountain Draft House Field Day
@ Shelburne Farms in Shelburne
$5-8 admission fee
Demonstrations, wagon rides & more.

Ben & Jerry’s Outdoor Movie Festival
Movie: Yogi Bear
@ Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury
Watch a movie & eat some ice cream…yum!

Weekend Events:

Deerfield Valley Blueberry Festival
@ Various locations throughout Wilmington, Whitingham & Dover
Parade, music & pick-your-own blueberries

Champlain Valley Folk Festival
Friday- Sunday
@ Waterfront Park in Burlington
3 days of workshops, music & dancing.
$15-30 per day or 3 day pass $60

Festival of the Islands
@Various locations in the five island towns
Meander through VT Rt 2 & Rt 129 through the islands (all happenings on these roads) and visit craft fairs, farmers’ markets, galleries, music, farm stands, yard sales, wine tastings & more!
Email for a map:

Taste of Stowe Arts Festival
@ Topnotch Field, Topnotch Resort in Stowe
Booths of numerous exhibitors of crafts & art.


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Travel…Quick trip to Albany, NY

Over the weekend, my boyfriend and I went to visit some friends in Albany, NY.  I’d never been to Albany before, so my friends were nice enough to show us around.  Here are my recommendations if you only have an afternoon to check out the city:

Brunch/Lunch:  Irongate Cafe
Location: 182 Washington Avenue Albany, NY 12210

Chic cafe with inside/outside seating & delicious food.  Try their Florentine Benedict or Stuffed French Toast- delish!

After take a walk and…

visit Washington Park– especially if you are there in the Spring & the tulips are up- beautiful!

Then take a walk over to see one of the largest marble structures- the Empire State Plaza, which consists of (to name a few):

Corning Tower (below) is the tallest building in NY, outside of NYC.  It has an observation deck you can go up to, too.

View of one of the oldest churches from the Plaza (left)

      The Egg (a theatre)

Cultural Education Center (State Museum, Library & Archives)

Be sure to check out the New York State Museum:
Free (donation encouraged) to the public.
The museum has a little bit of everything- cultural history, anthropology (mammoth bones!), geology & an exhibit on 9/11.

After all that walking around & taking in the culture, you’ll probably be thirsty, so go to Lionheart Pub back on Madiston Ave & Lark St for a pint or two, darts & a game of pool.

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Traveling Times…Quebec City!

Between Christmas and New Years my boyfriend and I went to Quebec City for a few days and had a wonderful time.  We did not do a whole lot of reading-up before we went (I had been once back in my teens) & instead decided to simply just take in the scenes and go where we wanted/do what we wanted.  Thankfully, we ate at some amazing restaurants, saw some pretty sites and kept warm in the freezing temperatures!

Here are some of my Quebec tips on the old section (where we were):

What to bring: warm clothes!  It’s really cold up there by the St Lawrence River, so make sure you bring layers- long underwear, thick socks, boots, hats, mittens, etc!!  And a camera!

Where to stay: we had a great time at the Hotel Clarendon.  I’d really recommend it.  The rooms aren’t huge, but that really shouldn’t matter, unless you are planning on staying in your room most of your vacation… The Hotel Clarendon is one of the oldest hotels in the city, very conveniently located in the old section, a good price, clean, and the staff was pretty friendly.  Tip: don’t let the valet park your car- they use the same public parking lot that you would & charge $25 a day, instead of $17.  If you have a tall car (I ran into this issue….), there is another parking garage just outside of the old section gates that you can fit under!

What not to miss:

Live statue on Rue du Petit Champlain

  • Rue du Petit Champlain– adorable street filled with shops, cafes & restaurants.  The items/food on this street are a bit “tourist” priced, so I would suggest just browsing!
  • Citadel– okay, so we honestly didn’t actually make it to this, but we tried.  We got a bit lost on our way & ended up just walking around it instead.  It looked interesting, so I’d suggest you go if you’re into old cannons and learning about the history of Quebec City.

Metal horse installations along St Lawrence River

  • St Lawrence River– the whole old section is along the river, so it would honestly be hard to miss… What I mean is to just take a moment to walk in the park or along the boardwalk and take it in. Photo from:
  • Chateau Frontenac– to stay at the hotel is rather pricy, but if you get a deal- go for it!  I stayed there when I was a teen & I remember how gorgeous the rooms were- down to the littlest detail!  Even for just a moment, I’d suggest you just go and check out the lobby.  They have tours you can go on with people dressed in period clothing, which is kinda fun.  Their weekend brunch is a must per all the travel books.  The statue of Sameul de Champlain is beside the hotel & the boardwalk is all along the front of the hotel, but unfortunately was closed for construction when we were there.

Statue of Sameul de Champlain

  • Carnaval de Quebec– if you are able to go, go!  This is Quebec City’s winter festival- it’s cold, but lots of fun.  I went with my parents back when I was a young teenager and while yes, it was extremely cold (I repeat: bring WARM clothes….snow pants, too!), there was lots to do & see.  There’s a big parade that they close down a bunch of streets for, ice sculpture competitions, a room of the ice hotel on display, dog sled races, music, and lots of other events/activities.  It’s typically held in late January to early February.    Oh, don’t forget to get your photo taken with Bonhomme (the King of the Carnaval)!


Le Petit Chateau

This restaurant was delicious.  They had a deal for a 3 course fondu meal that we did & were very pleased with.  The restaurant is located just a couple buildings down from Chateau Frontenac.  Their cheese fondu, the first course, is the best I’ve ever had.  The second course is a bouillon with some misc veggies that add good flavor to the broth (we got it with salmon) and the chocolate fondue, the final course, was very good. 

The Charles Baillairgé Restaurant

“Enjoy a cozy atmosphere with the charm of yesteryear.”

This was the restaurant at our hotel, Hotel Clarendon.  It received very good reviews & there was a fantastic deal for a 4-course meal if you were a guest, so we jumped on it!  It was a fabulous French meal & we enjoyed yummy maple creme brulee for dessert!  I would suggest going for dinner & skipping their breakfast/brunch, though!  The bar next to the restaurant (also part of the hotel) has live jazz Thurs-Sunday.

Misc tips: since we were only there for a few days, my boyfriend and I spent most of our time in the old section of Quebec & didn’t really go into the “newer” section.  If you have any interest in venturing over into those parts, I’d recommend getting a travel book on the city or looking up “must see” places on-line.

Here are some miscellaneous pictures my boyfriend and I took while we were there…in no particular order…

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Travel dreams…Costa Rica

As the summer is slowly coming to a close, I’m starting to think about where I want to go for my winter vacation (and figure out how much to start putting away in my piggy bank for it).  A friend of mine is going to a pretty cool place in Costa Rica at the end of February (which is sadly not a good time for me), but it looks like a really great place!


Here is the retreat’s website:

I am very pro- ecotourism, so this place is great.  They use organic produce, solar energy & the structures were all built with sustainable alternative hardwoods (bamboo)!

How relaxing does this place look?!

Really funky cabinas:

And they have yoga, too!


This is another place that I have been eyeing & looks amazing…though it is a little more expensive:

They offer eco-friendly accommodations, have their own restaurant, and a “neo-primitive” concept.

Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse countries, hence its appeal (to me).  Here is a website I found that has a list of various eco hotels & resorts:

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