#2017CanadianRoadtrip: Hiking the Montmorency Falls

Today, we went to see the Montmorency Falls (aka the other big Canadian Waterfall). We hiked up the top of the falls to cross the bridge going across it. On the way up though we paused to watch a few of thrill seekers zipline across the falls! Yes, that's right, you can zipline across the Montmorency Falls. You have to sign a bunch of papers in the visitors center before you can get the gear; when we walked into the visitors center it looked like people applying for a bank loan as we looked in one room. But we had enough fun just watching the zipliners.

After we walked the bridge stretching across the top of the falls, we found our way to the stairway going all the way down to the bottom of the falls. We walked down the stairs, got soaked by the mist as the waterfall slammed into the water the bottom. Then on the way back up the stairs we both counted the steps - approximently 437 total!

After a few hours we successfully made back to our starting point. Realizing we haven't actually eaten anything yet today (and just hiked for 2 hours in the hot summer sun) we found a Starbucks nearby so we could use their wifi and find a restaurant. We found a place called Bistro Evolution located in across a different bridge in Levis.

The food was amazing! We got an appetizer and two entrees to split between the two of us.

After filling our empty bellies with this delicious meal we drove through the town of Levis, but we couldn't actually find much a town so we headed back to Quebec centerville for the night.

Head over to 2017CanadianRoadtrip-day7-afterthehike to see all the photos from 2nd half of this day!

#2017CanadianRoadtrip: Day 7 After the Hike!

After driving around the "old" section of Quebec for what felt like hours we finally managed to find a parking spot! We walked through the streets of this historic part of the city for a bit and at some point realized that we were only just on the other side of Notre Dame from where we started day one in Quebec City. haha.

One of the several crowds watching a street performer. (above)

Some of the pretty views and intriguing sights we saw during our stroll through the historic Quebec City streets, at sundown.

The Falls-46.jpg

We found out that Quebec City has a little cable car just like the one we went on in Pittsburgh, Pa. We didn't go on this one though, but I highly recommend you go for a ride on either or both if you ever get the chance.

After walking for a while we began looking for a good place to stop for dinner/late night snack, and we were hoping to find somewhere that may have traditional music. We ended up in an Irish Pub on the main street (actually we were almost right next door to the very first cafe we went to our first morning) and shared a small four cheese pizza. This pub did have live music beginning at 9:30pm and while it wasn't necessarily the traditional music we were hoping for, the young French/Canadian singer-songwriter turned out to be quite good!

Quebec City at Night

#2017CanadianRoadtrip: First day of exploring in Quebec City!

It rained all night and into the morning. Once the rain began to lighten up we left the tent and went to check in at the office; since we arrived last night after the office had already closed. We got connected to the campgrounds wifi and got our directions into the center of Quebec City and were off to explore for the day!

When we got to downtown Quebec City we found a nice cafe to start at for our morning latte and crossiant.

After our morning coffee stop we spent a couple hours walking through the streets of central Quebec City. We walked up to Notre Dame and actually went in to see the inside this time; I think this was the third Notre Dame Cathedral I've seen but the first time I've seen the insides. There was a service going on at the time so we just stood in back for a bit (with the other tourists) to admire the architecture and design.

We walked down the hill through some small cobblestone streets (there's a lot of cobblestone in this section). At the bottom of the hill there is a wall and when we peeked over there was another town and river! It is a very nice view (see the first photo below).

Streets of Quebec City

After a couple hours of walking through the streets I found a nice microbrewery called Korrigane's. It is just on the other side of Rue Dorchester from the center of Quebec City and I highly recommend going! We shared a flight of their beers to try a bunch of them and got our first real Canadian poutine. The Poutine was amazingly delicious (better than many other poutines I'm sure we could have gotten instead). Their beer is very good as well. At the time when we were there (early August) they weren't selling it to-go or anywhere outside the pub. However, they had just managed to get their license to sell growlers so they may have started (or will start soon) to sell it to-go!

Poutine + a flight of beers (Mobile photo: Samsung Galaxy s5 + VSCO)

After our enjoyable meal/snack at the brewpub we went for another walk. First walking on the street the brewpub is on so we could see what this neighborhood section is like. There was a book shop that we looked in, and I purchased a book that has both the English and French! There was a bakery and another coffee shop. An old theater that look very pretty on the outside. And several other shops that looked interesting. We then decided to tackle the giant hill to go searching for a different coffee shop I found online. We had a very nice walk up the hill and through the residential streets, looking at the cute houses.

Unfortunately, after walking up the hill and up about 100+ steep steps we got the coffee shop just as it was closing :( So we decided to go back down the hill (and steps) to Cafe Nektar, the coffee shop we saw across from the brewpub. I liked this little cafe. I had a London Fog (Earl grey latte) and they sprinkled a bit of cinnamon on top in the form of a smiley face! No other coffee shop I've been to has ever given me London fog art!

Mobile Photo: Samsung Galaxy s5

While enjoying these lovely drinks we took advantage of having an outlet and reliable wifi to find a restaurant for dinner tonight. After doing some Google searches we found a place called "Le Billig" that look like an excellent place to eat. And it was definitely was delicious! (not just because of all the stairs and hills we climbed throughout the day either). Le Billig is a little creperie restaurant. I had a crepe with feta, spinach, olives, and a poached egg! While the dessert crepes sounded delicious as well, we opted to do something different for dessert (if any thing at all).

After eating, we went back to the campground to relax for the night. We have an excited day tomorrow so stay tuned!

Cheers!

#2017CanadianRoadtrip: 36 hours in Montreal!

When we woke up on the morning of day 4 we left Ivy Lea for Montreal; it is about a 2 hour drive between the 1000 Islands and Montreal. Our arrival in Montreal was midafternoon and our first stop was to find wifi in order to find a place to eat. We were able to go into a train station where we connected to McDonald's wifi and did a quick Google search for what is in downtown Montreal. Although places were coming up we really did not have much of a sense for where things were yet so we decided we would go find a real parking spot and see what's around. However, as we were paying for parking it began raining and then began down pouring along with thundering (possibly one of the hardest downpours I've been in). So, we ran into a mall that was a couple blocks from where we parked and used the opportunity to connect to Starbucks wifi and found a pub to eat in (once the rain settled down).

We ventured back outside and found the 3 Brasseurs (microbrewery) only a few blocks away. I tried their pulled pork sandwich (on a baguette) while my mom had the goat cheese sandwich. Both were very delicious!

While eating we able to connect to their wifi and find a place to spend the night; this was our first of two hotel stays during the trip.

Hotel Brossard, Montreal, QC (Mobile Photo: Samsung Galaxy s5 + VSCO

Old Montreal

Statues of Montreal

Walking through the Old Port of Montreal

Old Port Montreal is super cool and very nice. We walked through the small cobblestone streets while looking at historical and beautiful buildings. We saw the Notre Dame Cathedral and peeked inside one other old cathedral (pictured above).

There are so many little cafes that looked so cute as we walked by, but we decided to stop in to La Fripe for a snack and drink. We shared their anchovy pizza (which was delicious) and I had a smoked ale called Raftman to drink.

The morning of day two began back in Old Port at Tommy Cafe.

Tommy Cafe, in Old Port of Montreal (Mobile Photo: Samsung Galaxy s5 + VSCO)

Tommy Cafe, in Old Port of Montreal (Mobile Photo: Samsung Galaxy s5 + VSCO)

After finishing our beautiful lattes and tasty crossiants we drove across the city to find the Atwater Market (Marche Atwater).

Marche Atwater

Marche Atwater

Atwood Market is a very nice market and sits in a super nice area. Just outside the market is a little canal and a beautiful bike trail running alongside it.

Once we finished exploring the Atwater Market area we started driving towards Little Italy to see that section of Montreal. However, as we drive boul. St. Laurent I spotted some big murals on the walls of buildings. So we pulled over and I ran around like a kid in a candy store taking photos of every piece of street art or mural I could find in a 2 block radius of the car.

Cafe Nocturne - boul. St Laurent, Montreal, QC

After I found a sufficient amount of murals, we stopped at Cafe Nocturne for a coffee and Chai before continuing on through Little Italy and finally heading further north to Quebec City.

Halfway through the drive from Montreal to our campground in Quebec City is a town (or city?) called Trois Rivieres (Three River). We stopped there for dinner. While circling the Three Rivers downtown looking for parking we spotted a little place called Le Buck. So once we finally found a place to park we went to eat at Le Buck and it was all super delicious. Also, our waiter literally translated the french menu for us since they had run out of their English menus.

When we got there the waiter informed us that there was only 1 or 2 of the brownie dessert left, so before we even knew what we were having for dinner we ordered the last brownie to go. And if you look at the photo below you will see why we did this :)

Peanut Brownie w/salted carmel sauce from Le Buck in Trois Rivieres - Mobile Photo (Samsung galaxy s5)

Now that we have dessert taken care of I'll show you what we ate for dinner at Le Buck. My mom and I shared a couple of dishes so we could try more things; including a fancy crabcake and a cous cous dish.

Once we finished our delicious meal at Le Buck we continued onto Camping Juneau, where we are staying for our days in Quebec City, Canada.

#2017CanadianRoadtrip: Day Three in the Thousand Islands!

We woke up in Ivy Lea Campground and got to see what the area actually looks like, in daylight. It is very nice & if you're ever in the 1000 islands looking for a campground I'd definitely recommend this one. After packing up our campsite and going to look at the lake we headed further down the 1000 Islands to Kingston.

Once we arrived in Kingston we found a nice place called Cacao 70 for our late breakfast/lunch. The food was very delicious; I had a cappuccino and an egg/chorizo breakfast sandwich with maple bake beans.

After eating, we walked through town to see what there is in Kingston and then hopped on a ferry to Wolfe Island.

Often there are people using the Wolfe Island ferry as a way to cross between the USA and Canada, partly to avoid long lines at customs going over the Thousand Islands bridge. As an island, Wolfe Island is pretty nice. It is a lot of open fields and windmills but with a bit of a residential town on part of it.

When we got off the ferry we walked up a couple of residential streets (away from the main street) to see the windmills up close. We saw the school and cemetery and then we walked back to the main street to see the little restaurants and shops along there.

After boarding the ferry back to Kingston, we drove on to Gananoque where we took a longer boat ride through almost all of the 1000 islands and ate dinner in the little town. The boat ride we did was 2.5 hours and we got to see each little and big island. This was interesting because all the island really needs is a single tree and rock to be considered part of the 1000 islands - and there are several that do not have much more than that. However, there are also other islands that have been built up much more with real island houses for people to live it! Boldt Castle is an example of an island that is built up to live on, but there are others that have more "regular" houses too rather than a giant castle. It was really cool to see how all the islands differ in appearance with each other.

The photo below is two islands on either side of the USA/Canada border, which the owner of the house on it built a bridge crossing border to connect the two islands.

Also on this 2.5 hour boat tour, we passed underneath the 1000 Islands bridge in both directions. The only way we didn't manage to see this bridge is driving over from Canada to the USA.

After we finished the boat tour, we drove into the town of Gananoque and ate dinner at The Socialist Pig. I had a Maple Tofu bahn mi that was very tasty. My mom had the 16 hr brisket which was very good as well. I'd recommend this restaurant if you find yourself in the area.

Maple Tofu Bahn Mi @ The Socialist Pig (Mobile Photo: Samsung Galaxy s5 + VSCO)

After dinner we ended up actually going back to Ivy Lea Campground for the night before heading to Montreal tomorrow!

Check out the full photo recap the Thousand Islands below.

Our boat tour was also joined by swarm of seagulls for bit towards the end...

#2017CanadianRoadtrip: Day Two spent Exploring Castles and Leaving the Country

On Day 2, we left Pop's Lake and drove through many more farms. We were heading towards the 1000 Islands. While we were ultimately headed to the Canadian side, we stopped just short of the 1000 bridge in Alexandria Bay, New York.

On our way to Alexandria Bay we drove through the historic Johnstown. Where we stopped and walked along the main street to see what the town is like, and found it to have some nice little shops eating places.

Johnstown, NY

Johnstown, NY

After we passed through Johnstown, we made to Alexandria Bay. Alexandria Bay is a nice town with shops and restaurants just before you reach the 1000 bridge. We got a coffee and walked the main street, and then hopped on a ferry to Boldt Castle. When we arrived at Boldt Castle we began with a short coffee & pastry picnic before going in to explore the castle's insides. The castle is so pretty with great views all around!

Check out all of my photos of the castle below.

Exploring Boldt Castle

Exploring Boldt Castle

Boldt Castle was built on Love Island by George Boldt for him and his family to live in. However, the family never made it in because George Boldt's wife passed away just before they would've moved in to the house.

After a nice sunset boat ride back to the mainland from Bold Castle we headed towards the 1000 islands bridge to cross over into Canada!

Crossing the 1000 Islands bridge at sunset

Crossing the 1000 Islands bridge at sunset

Going through customs at the USA/Canada border.

Going through customs at the USA/Canada border.

Entering Canada!

We crossed the border and made it to the campground before the office closed. Earlier in the day we found the Ivy Lea Campground right in the 1000 Islands where we decided to spend night two.

When we got there we pitched the tent in the dark and whipped some delicious spaghetti &tomato sauce for dinner (and I practiced my flashlight photography).

#2017CanadianRoadtrip: Day One in upstate New York.

We pack the car and head to the blue route on a sunny Tuesday morning. But first we stop at Wawa for a couple last minute things and Starbucks for out coffee, tea, and breakfast to start the start off the trip well fueled. The drive begins like a normal drive with all the usual sights. We on the westbound side flying passed the line of stopped cars going eastbound and trying to get to the office in time. Then somewhere along the northeast extension, probably a little past the Allentown exit I'm in less familiar territory and the road trip begins.

We're driving towards mountains, past some farms, and eventually we get to the Leigh Tunnel. At this point I know we must be closing in on the New York state line (maybe?).

After driving through endless farmland and seeing loads of cows and horses we see the sign was that says Cooperstown, NY!

Mobile photo - Entering Cooperstown

Mobile photo - Entering Cooperstown

We were on our way to the center of Cooperstown where the baseball hall of fame is and the little town when we saw a sign about the Ommegang Brewery. We decided to tackle the brewery first so we wouldn't be backtracking later in the day.

After finishing at the brewery we drove into the little town of Cooperstown and found a little hotdog place (Hey Getcha Diggity Dog) to eat. Very good food and well decorated with baseball memorabilia. Then we moved on to complete the main Cooperstown attraction, we went into the Baseball Hall of Fame museum!

Next stop is Pop's Lake Campground, located outside of Saratoga Springs. We were advised to spend night one at Pop's Lake because it according to Phish fans it is a very nice campground. And I can confirm right now that it is definately a nice campground to stay at, whether you're in town for a Phish show or just on a little camping trip!

...and above you see our breakfast at Pop's Lake on the morning of day 2.

BONUS! Mobile Photos (below)...

That is all for Day one in New York. Next up for Day two we make our way across the border to Canada, but first there's one more stop on the US side.

Day 2 coming soon!

Summer Concert Series: The Dead Milkmen in Clark Park

Summer is filled with spending days and nights listening to music in a parks. Just about every park that exists in the greater Philadelphia area hosts a weekly summer concert series; to give music geeks a place to go each day of the week.

Earlier in July, The Dead Milkmen headlined the 2017 Clark Park summer festival, playing for hardcore fans and Sunday park-goers alike. See the full photo recap below.

NEW! Food Photo Series - COMING SOON!

Food is my favorite. Whether it's making up recipes for a meal, trying out a new recipe I find online and figuring out to make it my own, or just scrolling through endless photos of delicious foods on Instagram and Foodgawker.

Photography is also my favorite; probably my first favorite because I can combine it with all my other favorite things. This is why I have decided to start a brand new Food Photo Series.

What does a Food Photo Series mean?

Well... Once a week throughout summer I will be making a dish for fun. Anything and everything is on the table, a fun dish for any snack time or meal of the day! As this gets underway I may increase from only once a week.

And depending on how things go during the summer, I may try to keep it going through every season.

When will I be starting?

This fun project in just a few short days on July 1st!

Where can I follow this exciting series?

There will be a separate blog set up just for this project, but don't worry about not being able to find it. It will be blasted all over Instagram and Facebook, and maybe even Twitter!

Stay tuned for more info and the very first post coming soon.

#WaybackWednesday: Henley Royal Regatta 3 years ago

With the prestigious rowing regatta in England beginning today, I thought I'd give a flashback to when I had the opportunity to go 3 years ago. I managed to get my ticket (for free) thanks to the rowing coach I had rowed with several times during my 3-weeks studying in London. When I left London to head the regatta I wasn't completely sure where I was going... but don't worry! Once I boarded the overground train all I had to do was follow the massive crowd wearing fancy regatta blazers!

Once I got to the town of Henley I once again only needed to follow the crowd to find the regatta enclosure. I picked up the ticket waiting for me at the box office(?) and made my way to check out what this brilliant and historic regatta is all about.

What is this regatta all about, you ask?

Racing. Tea Time. Picnics.

As I walked along the banks of the Thames, I witnessed tons of spectators dressed nicely sitting on the banks with picnic baskets. There were others setting up chairs and more fancy picnics including champagne. There were boats on the sidelines of the river holding spectators hoping to get a much closer view of the exciting races. I even saw two ladies enjoying their tea while floating in a canoe watching races.

Check out my favorite Henley Regatta photos below!

PHOTO RECAP: The Dad Vail Regatta before the Rain

The Dad Vail regatta is a huge rowing race and it's right here in the city of brotherly love! The regatta took place a couple weeks ago. Hundreds of teams were in Philadelphia from all over the country competing, many of them competing in the rain. I headed over the Schuylkill River Friday afternoon to see some good racing and take a pictures. I managed to catch a few of the Philadelphia University (PhilaU) races, but even if I hadn't I still always enjoy watching any rowing race! Unfortunately, Friday turned out to be the main day of this two-day event.

While rowers often find themselves out in all kinds of weather and it typically takes super bad weather in this area to cancel a regatta, this is exactly what happened on day two of the 2017 Dad Vail Regatta. The day before this year's regatta began the official race schedule got switched around a bit due to the weather forecast including high winds and lots of rain. This did not stop rowers from having a good time and competing as usual on day one of the regatta, and don't worry, they still managed to get all the grand finals for the varsity 8's and 4's finished Saturday morning. But it was the Saturday afternoon races, which because of the schedule change were mostly smaller boats (doubles and singles), that got end up being canceled. Hopefully this years rain out satisfies mother nature for a bit and the next couple years can go back to being beautiful weekends for the Dad Vail regatta.

Check out my photos of day one at the 2017 Dad Vail Regatta below!

Philadelphia University Rowing.

Everyone.

Baby Geese, just because!

Blossoming into Spring at the Philadelphia Flower Show, with a Bike Tour of Holland

Each year, Philadelphia brings in the new spring season with the annual flower show. This year, in March, the Philadelphia Convention Center was transformed into Holland (or at least a small sample of the country's best parts). Locals and tourists of all ages walked through a space filled with daffodils, bikes, and thousands of other colorful flowers. The first thing seen as excited attendees entered the show was a bridge covered in daffodils and bikes that could have been imported straight from the streets of Amsterdam!

This year's flower show definitely did a wonderful job of portraying the best of Holland through the different garden displays. As someone who has traveled to Amsterdam, I could spend my three hours at the show reminiscing about my trip abroad and I found myself visualizing myself walking through the streets of Amsterdam again. There was even one display in particular that while I can not tell you for sure what it was meant to be it reminded me of was the huge bicycle parking garages I remember seeing all over the city. This display was awesome, partially because of it reminding me of the bicycle parking garages in Amsterdam!

There were flowers and bikes hanging from the ceiling, there was a giant windmill in the center of the room, and most of the garden displays had various bicycle parts being used as part of the the garden, either functioning, as decoration, or both; this one of the things which I felt was the coolest part of the show.

The show was not only filled with bicycles and several giant windmills but the Anne Frank house was also represented at the show complete with the statue of her, which stand in front of the house.

The Camden Children's Garden exhibit was especially well done including a variety of things Holland is typically known for, while presenting everything in an organized and cute display.

That about covers it forthe highlights of this years Flower Show. This year was probably one of the best shows in recent years! For me personally, what made it so awesome was the accurate portrayal of the amount of bicycles in Holland, and how every part of the bike was used even if the designers did not want a full bike in their exhibit. They got really creative with the garden designs.

Check out the full photo gallery below!