Archive for February, 2011

If New Brunswick isn’t high on your list of places to visit, maybe it should be. A likely spot on any New England/Canadian cruise, or perhaps a drivethru spot on your way to Nova Scotia, there’s something I will always stop for: Tea. Yes, tea. I may be biased, because I love tea in general, but Saint John, NB, is home to The Infusion Tea Company. Infusion introduced me to Irish Breakfast Green Tea. Yes, it is green and Irish breakfast all at the same time. Absolutely delicious! It’s loose-leaf as well, which just makes me feel extra posh. It’s also where I first came across the half-size french press. It makes tea consumption a little too fun. The staff is very friendly, they’ll even teach you that tea should be steeped between 4-7 minutes, and you should never hit your bag on the rim of the cup–that makes the tea more bitter.

Saint John is also home to some excellent eats, drinks, and people who are so friendly they stop you on the street to say hello. Enjoy!

Infusion Tea Room: 41 Charlotte Street, Saint John, New Brunswick

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Atlanta? Sure. Savannah? Why not. But, just for kicks, tryout Athens!

If you have ever wanted to relive your college days in a totally reasonable just-for-the-atmosphere manner, this is the place. The main thoroughfare is lined with bars and restaurants littered with kids from the University of Georgia, you are sure to have a good time. Ideally you can wade that time by selecting an age group. The locals seem to congregate by maturity. You’ll find bars filled with crazy undergrads enjoying their frat-filled youths, or you can find a yellow speakeasy type bar with the swank grad students. Either way you’re sure to find warm Southern hospitality and good eats.

There are of course more cultural options like the Classic Center Theatre which hosts varied touring companies, and offers VIP parties to meet the cast. There’s also the University itself, literally down the block, if you want to reminisce about the good ol’ days of living easy. If you’re feeling really adventurous though, you could make a trip northward to the Chattahoochee national forest. A truly beautiful place. With trees and waterfalls, and plenty of hiking to keep you in that adventurous state of mind.

Clearly everyone and their mother has an opinion on Jersey, wether it be the casino-crazed Atlantic city or the guido-infested Shore. Low and behold there’s a little more to Jersey than that. I previously touched on the wonders of suburban Jersey, Westfield and Milburn, but now I want to point out one of the state’s finest assets: Hoboken!

The thing that is just great about Hoboken is how cool it is. Yes, I said cool. If you happen to be a California kid than you will definitely appreciate the laid-back vibe and fun-loving atmosphere provided by this one square mile town. Washington street is lined with bars and restaurants galore. Heavily laden with Irish pubs–some of which are run by actual Irish people–and every type of foodie genre. People line-up around the corner for a muffin from the Cake Boss, and I say “Skip it!” It’s a muffin, move on with your life. There’s lots to be indulged in, and keep your eyes peeled for franchise favorites like the Melting Pot. Albeit overly priced, it does remind me of good ol’ Orange County, especially situated on a lovely park-like path along the river. About the length of the city itself, the river-walking area is a great site to visit. I’d even recommend bringing a date. That is if you can convince them to come all the way out to Jersey! New Yorkers seem to think it is light-years away, when in fact the PATH train can get you there in less than fifteen minutes for the same price as the subway. So do take the time to visit, and if you aren’t in the mood for an Irish pub, head a little further south (yes, into dreaded Jersey city) and hit up the beer garden, or catch a soccer match at the Newark stadium. You’d certainly be missing out if you didn’t at least investigate their annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities. So visit, have fun, and do misbehave.

Philadelphia or Pittsburg? Neither. Yes, neither. While each will surely be a great trip, we are going to talk about a great little place in the middle of nowhere: State College, PA. Smack-dab in the middle of the state, somewhere between the Eagles and the Steelers, lies a town built up around Penn State. It is a place to relive all the college mayhem you may have enjoyed, endured, escaped, or elluded from in your youth. With a million bars to chose from, I recommend the Phyrst. It is a cleverly-mispelled underground-dive that serves $5 pitchers of “Lager” (what we outsiders lovingly know as ‘yeungling’). It is certain to be a ridiculous night of debachery. Just remember to walk back to your hotel–As with the high spirits and low prices you will certainly find yourself in a stammering state in no time. When you do take the time to recover in the morning, consider heading out for cereal. State College also has a great little breakfast spot dedicated entirely to the magical world of cereal, not to mention plenty of breakfast diners, all geared towards you: the weary traveler. And if you happen to time it well, you could even catch whatever touring show is coming through town, and have a scoop of their ever popular ice cream (and rightly so). Just ask where to get ice cream on campus and I am sure they will point you in the right direction. If there’s no line, you’ve probably mistakenly headed to the Ben’n’Jerry’s.

The reason I chose “State of Being” as my title is because Delaware had a very particular feeling. It’s kind of like a nice Ocean breeze. It’s a great place to take a walk. I walked for miles. I walked to the store (like I often do), I found my way downtown (which was a little sketchy…). Regardless, Delaware is worth a stroll. I was in Wilmington. Certainly commutable distance to Philadelphia, New York, D.C., and Baltimore, it is not a city to be slighted. It is a comfortable place to live. The homes are nice, the people are friendly, and it’s refreshing. You can feel the hubbub of the city, while not being stressed and burdened by the things you ought to do. You can take the time to get your nails done or visit the library. They also have great hibachi, if you are in the mood for Japanese food. You could stop by the Delaware Theatre Company or some of their historic landmarks. Though technically a mid-Atlantic state, it is very similar to New England. Old brick buildings, lots of history in the streets. It is after all the very first state. That makes for a killer bumper sticker.