This past weekend Sal and I took a road trip from NYC to Montreal for my cousin's wedding, and on the way back we stopped off in Vermont to turn our trip into more of a vacation.
After an exhausting 9.5 hr ride up to Montreal on Friday, there was plenty of traffic and a generous amount of toilet breaks, we spent some time with my family and then settled into our hotel. We didn't rest though, until we made a scene at Tim Hortons (Canada's equivalent to Dunkin' Donuts). After having them translate every type of donut from French to English, we thoroughly confused the staff with our order (1 coffee with milk and 2.5 sugars, 1 coffee with milk and 7 sugars, 1 coffee with milk and no sugar, a hot chocolate, a medium iced coffee, 1 maple donut, and 1 cinnamon bun). They messed up 2 out of the 7 items, which is fine, but what irritated me was when they said, "Everything is okay now, Madam!" when it wasn't, and "Thank you for depleting our milk resources", when I held back from taking the whole damn bowl of mini-milks. I gave her the good ol' Brooklyn hairy eyeball and then she said, "just kidding!". Grrrr...don't make me come back there.
On Saturday it was time for my cousin's wedding, A.K.A. Dancing with the Stars - The Wedding Edition. My cousin's new wife is a dance instructor, so half the people at the wedding were amazing dancers and the other half were old Italian people doing their best Chubby Checker "Twist".
Here is my favorite dance routine of the night:
On Sunday morning we spent more time with my family, then headed to downtown Montreal where we had booked a room for one night. We parked the car at the hotel and quickly took a stroll down St. Catherine street, I was focused on getting to the department store Simons before it closed for the day. A few years back, I purchased a couple of sweaters from them that I still love to this day. If you are in the downtown Montreal area I recommend checking out the ground level of this store. After we built up a thirst from window shopping, we tried our luck again at another Tim Hortons. This time I kept it simple and ordered a Cappuccino Glacé, it was pretty damn delicious. It was like a Starbucks Frappuccino, but for a fraction of the cost.
When Sal and I arrived downtown we were pleasantly surprised by the annual Just for Laughs Festival. The streets were filled with tons of performers and some free giveaways (free 7-up, yay!)
Below are a few pics from the festival: percussionists that shot fireworks out of their backpacks
acrobatic team with cute striped socks
We then purchased some poutine and hot dogs, and headed back to the hotel to indulge in some Québécois fast food. As soon as we finished eating I got a call from my parents, who were in Montreal also but had traveled by plane, saying that their flight had to be rerouted back from NY to Montreal because they weren't able to land at LaGuardia because of weather conditions. We had 2 double beds in our hotel room, so I told them to stay with us rather than forking over more money for another hotel. Of course, Sal looooved the idea that his future in-laws were going to be sleeping right next to us. After a scary ride through the worst thunderstorm I have ever witnessed (thank the Lord for GPS and the lights from the car ahead of us to keep us in lane) to pick up my parents from the airport, Sal headed straight to the hotel bar. I had a yummy green gumdrop-tasting martini with him and then headed to bed. He stayed at the bar to chat with the bartender a bit, where a short time thereafter the comedian David Allen Grier sat next to him! Of course when I'm not around the celebrities show up.
On Monday we headed out to Burlington, Vermont. As soon as we arrived in South Burlington we noticed an awesome shop called Cheese Traders and Wine Sellers. They had a fantastic selection of gourmet foods. We picked up a small block of smoked cheddar, a snack size pepperoni, super-delicious Vermont chevre, a loaf of fresh bread, maple cookies, chocolate covered pecans, and some blood orange soda to wash it all down.
After our picnic in the hotel room, we swung by Lake Champlain, literally:
We walked along vibrantChurch Street till our toesies started to cry out for a break.
Later that evening we had dinner at the American Flatbread restaurant: Organic and locally sourced ingredients combined with a chewy, delicious crust!What's not to like?
On Tuesday morning we had breakfast at Skinny Pancake, an eco-conscious creperie and restaurant:
The special of the day- blueberry crumble crepe. If I get a chance to go back to this place again I will stick to a simple granulated sugar and butter crepe or the always delicious combo of Nutella and bananas.
Later that afternoon we took a self-guided tour of Magic Hat Brewery in South Burlington, VT: Sal was in love and purchased a growler of double chocolate stout beer and a schnazzy work shirt from their store.
After the brewery we headed to the Ben & Jerry's Factory Tourin Waterbury,VT: (back view) I love the way the sugar, milk, and cream tanks look.
~where the unsuccessful flavors are laid to rest.
For $3 you get a short tour of the factory and a generous sample of ice cream!
...and lastly we visited the quirky Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks in Montpelier, VT: Sal purchased a small container of Morse Farm maple syrup. They were also selling soft serve maple ice cream, sounds yumma!
After eating all of the food supply of Montreal and Vermont, we headed back home to Brooklyn!
Pink Dahlia & QUICK! Any tips for Vermont or Montreal?
I just added the painting above to my art shop on Etsy. You can find it here.
I started this painting back in 2007 but played around with it recently, adding the flower and the stylized striped shirt.
By chance does anyone have any tips today for things to do/see in Vermont and/or Montreal? I'm thinking about stopping in Burlington, VT for a day or so. Know of any good places to have a look at from NYC to Montreal? Please spill the beans in the comment section :D
If anyone is interested in commissioning a small portrait of themselves or someone they know, or their lovely pets, or anything else that would work well in a small format, I am now accepting commissions.
In the past I've shied away from taking commissions because of lack of time and fear of unhappy customers. Now that I have more free time, I am able to work one-on-one with potential customers to make sure they are thoroughly satisfied with their purchase.
If you are interested in having me create a painting from one of your photos you can view a price list and more info on my website.
P.S. I will make and post some painted samples soon.
Here is my entry for Illustration Friday's theme "hollow".
My first thought when I heard this week's theme was the emptiness felt within our bodies when dealing with depression, and heartbreak. I have the hands bound with "debt" and "doubt", two potential catalysts for depression and common immobilizers in fulfilling one's true potential.
Here is another sneak peek of the progress of my Luke and Yoda softie for Stitch Wars. I've been working on this project non-stop for over a week and a half and I'm still not done, just a few more details to go!
This pic features Luke's backpack kindly modeled by Chubster McCullister and Charcoal Bear.