Monday, April 18, 2016
On our last day in Montreal we visited the Notre-Dame Basilica. The parish has existed since 1672, but the current church building was dedicated in 1829. It was the largest church in North American for 50 years.
The best word I can think to of to describe this church is grand. Everything in this church, from the ground to the ceiling, is elaborate and awe-inspiring.
One of the most amazing things is that the church is maintained from visitor fees and donations. I would highly recommend visiting the church if you are in Montreal. I was genuinely speechless for most of the visit.
Saturday, April 16, 2016
Monday, March 14, 2016
Ice cream stand season is almost upon us! I love ice cream so much- for my birthday I almost always have ice cream instead of cake. Soon this sweet nectar of the gods will be all around us. Here is my list of the best places to grab a cone in the Bangor-area.
1. Gifford's: This is a Maine classic. Thankfully there are a number of stands throughout the state for those of you who do not live in Bangor. I honestly do not have a favorite because I like everything I have tried from them. Freckles loves them too!
2. Jimmie's Ice Cream and Grill: If you are looking for dinner as well as your dessert, this is the place to go. You cannot find a flavor menu online, but just ask what they have got chilling for the day.
3. Wild Cow Creamery: You can find their truck in the summertime next to the Bangor Waterfront. They use all natural ingredients and make their ice cream in their home kitchen. I am a sucker for chocolate, but they have been working on a ton of new flavors recently.
4. What's the Scoop: I have personally never been here (I am rarely on Union Street), but rumor has it that the ice cream (and sandwiches!) here are killer. They also have specialty ice cream desserts that include delicious monstrosities such as the Cookie Explosion or Grease Monkey.
5. Sweet Frog: For those of you who are a *little* more health conscious, let me recommend Sweet Frog's frozen yogurt. You pick your frozen yogurt and put on as many toppings as you like. You pay depending on the weight of your frozen yogurt. I love adding Cinnamon Toast Crunch and strawberries onto my froyo!
6. Specialty Sweets: If you need some gelato in your life, head over to Specialty Sweets next to the Christmas Tree Shoppe. I pretty much died when I tried their dark chocolate flavor. Their truffles are also delicious.
Saturday, March 5, 2016
|Image from the BDN.com|
Last night Christopher and I tried one of the newest restaurants in Downtown Bangor, Evenrood. It is in the circular building attached to the back of Paddy Murphy's. The restaurant had mixed reviews online, but we decided to give it a go anyway.
|Image from Evenrood's Facebook|
Christopher had a New York strip and a glass of cab while I had a gin and tonic and their special- a filet mignon with avocado fresca and chipotle sweet potatoes. We finished off our meal with their Guinness cheesecake. Everything was delicious. The service was a bit slow, but I would rather wait for a fantastic meal than receive a bad meal in a hurry. If you are looking for a new restaurant in Downtown Bangor, we would definitely recommend checking them out!
Sunday, February 28, 2016
Two weeks ago, I heard a rumor that there was an early-nineteenth century schoolhouse in Aurora, Maine. With my camera, husband, and dog in tow, I went searching for that school. Half an hour and two wrong turns later- we found it. The schoolhouse is closed during the winter, but we were still able to get a few pictures of it and the surrounding blueberry fields.
Aurora is a small town, but there are apparently quite a few buildings on the endangered list. The schoolhouse was built in 1827 and is the oldest standing brick building in Hancock county. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Most buildings were made of wood at the time, however one of the town founders had been educated in brick-laying in Connecticut. It is an incredibly unusual building considering the time period it was constructed in and the material it is made of.
I think getting out of town is good for the soul and I was thankful for this little jaunt. Perhaps I will get a proper tour in the summer!
Sunday, February 21, 2016
A local radio station recently posted a Bangor Bucket List and personally I did not care for it. It was one of those articles you could tell had been inspired by some local sponsors. I decided to create my own bucket list for the Bangor area. Enjoy!
1. Stalk Stephen King: Ok, don't literally stalk him, but do go take a peak at his house on Broadway! Whenever we have visitors we always make sure to drive by his super cool house.
2. Say hi to Paul Bunyan: If you drive down Main Street, you will not be able to miss the giant Paul Bunyan in front of the Cross Insurance Center. Go take a picture with this larger-than-life statue.
|Image courtesy of wikipedia.com|
3. Attend the American Folk Festival at least once: Bangor hosts the American Folk Festival the last weekend in August every year. Even if you are not a huge folk music fan, this is an event that takes over the city for a few days and is worth checking out.
4. Get your breakfast at Dysart's: It is the ultimate truck-stop diner. What more do you need to know?
|Image courtesy of www.dysarts.com|
5. Grab a bite of lunch with the Friar's: The friars of St. Elizabeth Monastery run a bake-shop in downtown Bangor full of huge, delicious portions. They do not have a website, but they do have a active Facebook page.
6. Say hello to the Duck of Justice: Bangor has a incredibly popular police department Facebook with the Duck of Justice as their mascot. They are known for having a great sense of humor and a huge number of followers. The Washington Post , the Huffington Post, even BuzzFeed have all commented on their popularity and success. Go say hi! This is one friendly bunch.
|Image courtesy of the Bangor Daily News|
Monday, February 8, 2016
I have only started recently to travel internationally, but I have already found that international travel often involves a lot more planning than domestic travel. Big shocker, I know, but a fact that can be easily overlooked when one is excitedly anticipating an amazing trip. Here are my tips and reminders for traveling internationally.
1. Before you pack anything, figure out what can and cannot be moved across borders. These items vary by country, region, amount, and how lax your border patrol officer is. I would highly recommend checking out the US Customs and Border Protection website if you are uncertain about anything.
2. Figure out if you will have cell coverage. Does your data plan cover other countries? Can you add a country onto your plan before your trip? If the answer is no or you do not figure out this detail in time, you can forget using Google Maps to help navigate you through a place you have never been to.
3. Speaking of phones, make sure you will be able to plug your electronics into outlets. This article from REI provides a ton of information about how to choose the right adapter.
4. Call your bank and inform them you will be traveling internationally. Nothing will put a damper on your trip quicker than not being able to use your credit card.
5. On the topic of money, always have cash on hand. Many banks will exchange, but you will need to check with your bank first. I know for fact the Bangor Savings Bank will exchange American and Canadian money.
6. Have a very basic command of the language or a very knowledgeable guide or friend with you. It is far easier to ask someone where a restroom/restaurant/hotel is than it is to wander aimlessly around somewhere you have never visited.
7. This will sound incredibly silly to anyone who is an experienced traveler or a non-American, but review your metric. It is quite jarring to suddenly be driving in kilometers instead of miles. It is also quite jarring to be pulled over by a police officer because you cannot figure out what the speed limit is.
8. Make copies of all your important documents and keep them in a secure place. Places such as Rome and Istanbul are notorious for pickpockets. You do not want to be caught without a passport. You can even invest in one these babies if you want to be particularly safe and oh-so stylish.
9. If you do not already have a passport, apply for one nice and early. It takes at least 4-6 weeks to get a passport card and 6-8 weeks to get a full passport. Here is the website to help you find a passport acceptance facility.
10. Get a professional passport picture. I tried to do this myself and failed miserably because there are so many rules. I paid $12 to get two passport photos at Walgreens and it did not cause me to pull my hair out in frustration.
I hope that you found these rules helpful. Enjoy wherever in the world life takes you!