Portland Part 2

The other day, I posted about our trip to Portland, Maine for our 2nd anniversary – click here to read about our first night! Today I’ll be sharing all the details of our second fun-filled night in this beautiful coastal city.

breakfast

We had a little too much fun at Top of the East the night before, so we wanted to start our day off with a hearty pick-me-up. After doing some research into top breakfast spots around Portland, we chose The Front Room on Congress Street. It had a cute country, rustic vibe to the atmosphere, and I thoroughly enjoyed my 3-egg omelet with ham, peppers, and cheddar cheese with a side of homefries. I must say, I also enjoyed the mimosa selection, and my apple cider mimosa…a little hair of the dog, as they say!

view from hill

After a filling breakfast, we headed toward Fort Allen Park which has the most beautiful views of Casco Bay. As you can see above, the view from the top of the hill was as pretty as a painting, and of course, even nicer in person!

path

Once down the hill, you can admire the views from close up as you walk along the Eastern Promenade Trail. We took this path all the way into downtown, seeing some interesting sights on the way.

train

We were passed (and I was scared by) a honking train, filled with tourists, as it made its way down tracks beside us.

Portland is a destination for many luxury cruise ships as they travel up to Canadian waters. We spotted a massive ship docked in the bay alongside where we were walking. I’m sure this generates quite a bit in tourism money for the city.

Is this not the cutest little guy you’ve ever seen? Once we arrived closer to the downtown, there was a farmers’ market of sorts going on near the path. I saw this little goat and just had to take a picture. His name is Rumplestiltskin and he is a dwarf goat who lives at Sylvan Woods Farm in Poland, Maine. Two people from the farm were there with him, selling goat’s milk soaps and products (great for the skin!) and let me grab a picture. I can see a dwarf goat as a pet in my future…

donut sign

When we first arrived downtown, I was craving ice cream, but the place we stopped into was cash only, which we didn’t have. It was then that fate intervened and I remembered being recommended to visit The Holy Donut, a glorious donut shop in Old Port that makes their donuts with real Maine potato. So it was there we headed! We arrived just in time, as a long line formed behind us once we were inside this heavenly scented shop. However, it was run like clockwork and the line kept moving.

As we got closer to the counter, we were under the gun to choose a flavor, so I went with Sea Salt Dark Chocolate and Nick chose Maine Blueberry. We were extremely glad that we ran out of cash and remembered The Holy Donut recommendation! We would have missed out on a wonderful treat otherwise.

After satisfying the sweet tooth, we decided to grab a drink at Gritty McDuff’s Brew Pub. They had a nice selection of their own craft beers, and I went with the Halloween Ale while Nick chose the Best Bitter Ale. It was a welcoming spot to grab a lunchtime pint, perfectly brewed.

grittys

I wasn’t hungry while we were at Gritty McDuff’s but I was afterwards once we did some more walking around, of course! It was then that we stopped into Old Port Tavern. To my good fortune, they had Haddock Chowder on the menu, which I had been thinking about since my first time trying it the night before. I never find haddock chowder anywhere else so I thought, might as well maximize my ability to get it while I can!

haddock chowder 2

The decor and feel of Old Port Tavern was under-the-sea nautical themed, and it seemed like a place where you can watch a big game, have some fun-loving chatter with the people around you, and grab a good drink and some chow.

bar

We did some souvenir shopping following our stop at Old Port Tavern, and Nick bought a sweatshirt to keep warm because we were about to board for a Sunset Lighthouse Cruise with Portland Discovery Land and Sea Tours! We arrived early to get in line for better seats and we were able to sit in the front row of the top of the boat, close to the tour guide and captain’s quarters.

We embarked on a beautiful journey to learn more about Portland and all its coastal scenery and history. It was a fun tour and I learned so much more about the area, thanks to our great guide and captain. We were even able to spot some animal life, including a couple of adorable seals on rocks! Oh, and having a bar on the boat was nice too 😉  I captured a few nice views below before my phone sadly died or I would have posted more lighthouse-related pictures!

tour 1

tour 2

Nick caught this up-close shot of one of the lighthouses we learned about on our tour. A family of, I believe, nine used to live here. Can you imagine raising that large of a family at a lighthouse? It would be a life unlike no other, I’d imagine!

other lighthouse

A word of advice if you ever take this cruise: BRING WARM CLOTHES. I can’t stress that enough. Although it was a warm day, it was MUCH colder out there on the water. I thought I was prepared with a jacket, but a jean jacket didn’t cut it! Other than that, I had a wonderful time aboard.

After getting off the boat and getting our land legs back, we headed out in search of somewhere to have dinner in the city. We walked around and around until we agreed upon a meal on the pretty patio of Timber Steakhouse and Rotisserie.

timber sign

The drink menu was large, with many flavorful cocktails and an excellent wine selection, but unfortunately I was all cocktailed/beer’d out for the night and stuck to water. Instead, I focused on the food and ordered Cornbread Fritters for an appetizer and Slow Roasted 1/2 Rotisserie Chicken with a side of mashed potatoes for the main course.

The Cornbread Fritters were a great choice for an appetizer, not too filling but good enough to share between the two of us with a yummy spicy remoulade to go with them. I love rotisserie chicken any night of the week, and this one was especially tasty as it was, according to the menu, “brined in maple bourbon, rosemary and garlic for 24 hours then slowly roasted to perfection”. Nick ordered the Hard Apple Cider Glazed Baby Back Ribs from the appetizer menu for his main meal and devoured it. I tried a bite as well, and it was certainly satisfying.

Unfortunately, my phone was long dead at this point so I couldn’t take any pictures of our meal. Just know, it was worth the argument we got into trying to decide upon what we wanted for dinner before we came across Timber! This was mainly because we hadn’t set out with a plan (my fault) and didn’t make reservations anywhere so waits were very long. Luckily, Timber had a nice big patio  aside of indoor seating, so we were able to be seated instantly there and it all worked out nicely.

nick and i

We were so tired out from all the activity (and hearty food and libations) of the past two days that following dinner, we called it a night and took a cab back to the hotel where we promptly fell asleep before 11pm. When we woke up the next day, it was raining out so we thought it best to head home and get back to our regular lives. I’ll always remember what fun we had on our first trip to Portland, and I’m already looking forward to the next time we can make a trip back to try out even more of the top-notch  restaurants and coastal excitement that this awesome city has to offer!

Featured:
The Front Room – 73 Congress Street, Portland, ME, 207.773.3366
Sylvan Woods Farm –  207.330.8368
The Holy Donut – (2 locations) 194 Park Ave. and 7 Exchange St., Portland, ME
Gritty McDuff’s Brew Pub Portland – 396 Fore Street, Portland, ME, 207.772.BREW
 The Old Port Tavern – 11 Moulton Street, Portland, ME, 207.774.7016
Portland Discovery Land and Sea Tours – Long Wharf, Portland, ME, 207.774.0808
Timber Steakhouse and Rotisserie – 106 Exchange Street, Portland, ME, 207.805.1469

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Entering: Ipswich, Massachusetts

A sign for the Choate Bridge in Ipswich, built in 1764

A sign for the Choate Bridge in Ipswich, built in 1764

Here on the North Shore of Massachusetts, we are spoiled with the amount of classic New England charm and beauty we are surrounded by in our towns and cities. All of these places are accessible to one another either by highway or by scenic back road drives, which I prefer taking on nice days. This past weekend, we had one day that felt exceptionally fall-like (my favorite season) and it pained me to think about the possibility of spending the day indoors. I HAD to get outside, and I had the notion to drive to the town of Ipswich and walk around. I’m not quite sure what led me to choose this specific town (perhaps it was because during my time in college I rarely visited it besides to hang out at Crane Beach) but whatever the reason, Nick and I packed ourselves into my car and headed down Route 1A for a little Sunday adventure.

A beautiful breeze was blowing as we drove with the windows down. We made our way towards the downtown and I found a parking spot across from the police station. The great thing about visiting other places on Sunday? No parking meter fees 🙂 We started to walk around, the sun beaming down on us and barely a cloud in the sky. It was nearing the evening hours and as I mentioned, it was a Sunday, so unfortunately a lot of shops were closing, but that was okay. I just wanted to walk around and admire the scenery! We approached the Choate Bridge, constructed in 1764.  There was a sign announcing this (see the photo at the top of this post), as well as an original carving in one of the stones.

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I have always loved the thought of walking over these old bridges and knowing how many other generations of New Englanders have done the exact same thing. If you’re curious about the history of this bridge (or of Ipswich in general), you can read all about it on this fascinating blog, Stories from Ipswich.

We continued to walk and look at the different shops that the town has to offer. There is a shop to suit every interest in Ipswich, including many antique stores with one-of-a-kind finds!

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I had to take a picture of the sign for this shop – my mom’s name is Carole and we don’t often see it spelled with the “e”!

As we made our way through the downtown, we spotted many restaurants and food places we would like to try if we hadn’t had a big lunch before coming to Ipswich. One of these includes SALT Kitchen and Rum Bar, a gastropub that I’ve heard great things about – and how could I pass up rum? It is my liquor of choice after all. We will certainly be back to see what it’s all about, but at the moment we were walking, all I could think about was ice cream in some form. As I had this in mind, we passed a sign outside of The Five Corners Cafe and Deli which advertised ice cream cookie sandwiches – my absolute favorite. I just about sprouted wings with how fast I went inside and ordered one, chocolate chip with vanilla ice cream. So delicious. I’m craving one even as I write.

Such a satisfying treat!

With treat in hand, I meandered along back the way of the car with Nick to see what else we could find. At the end of the street we parked on, we came across the Benjamin Grant house, circa 1735, on the corner. This house is a wonderful example of 18th century  architecture and has been very well-kept. I love houses in this exact style.

benjamin grant house

Across the street from the Benjamin Grant House was a grassy landing along the Ipswich River. We sat on a bench under a shady tree and watched ducks float along the river and enjoyed such a peaceful late summer afternoon.

pretty spot

Further along the street was Sawmill Point, which, according to the sign, “was the location of “gristmills, fulling mills, and sawmills powered by the Lower Falls of the Ipswich River.” I could just imagine the days when these mills were in operation, large wooden wheels turning, powered by the force of nature.

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Before we had parked earlier, we had driven past what looked like a home from the 1600s and I was now determined to find it again. We kept walking, and it turns out the home is the Whipple House, built in 1677 for the wealthy Captain John Whipple. According to the Ipswich Historical Commission’s website (www.historicipswich.org), the house was saved from being lost to the ages, and was restored and moved in 1927 to the location where it stands today. Tours are available through the Ipswich Museum, which was unfortunately closing shortly when we were there, but I will definitely be back to thoroughly see this unique and architecturally beautiful house!

The back of the Whipple House, built in 1677

The back of the Whipple House, built in 1677

Next to the Whipple House, we spotted a very unique miniature house or shed of some sort. I couldn’t stop looking at it – I felt like I was in a scene from the Hobbit! Maybe I haven’t researched hard enough, but I can’t seem to find any information about what this building is. If anyone knows any fun facts or details, please send them my way!

Such an intriguing little place! I wish I could find out more..

Such an intriguing little place! I wish I could find out more..

We mosied along after admiring these early American sites and passed by more scenic and historic spots:

The Hall-Haskell House, circa 1800. I'll be back to take a tour!

The Hall-Haskell House, 1819. I’ll be back to take a tour!

The Ipswich Museum, looking lovely under blue skies

The Ipswich Museum stands proudly under blue skies

dam

Industry meets nature at the Upper Falls

I would love to come back to Ipswich at a date and time when I can really visit these historic properties and businesses downtown, so I will certainly plan on it.  Also, if you’ve never been, there is so much more to Ipswich to discover than the small part that I’ve written about here: The Crane Estate offers Crane Beach, truly a hotspot this time of year, The Great House on Castle Hill where many hold fabulous events and weddings, and the Crane Wildlife Refuge. Russell Orchards, Appleton Farms and Marini Farm also offer New England fun for the whole family, as well as many other attractions I haven’t listed here. Be on the lookout for another Ipswich post to hopefully come soon!

Amazing Accessories from LnK Designs

Every so often, a girl comes across either a fashion or jewelry designer who just really “gets” her style. My new favorite just happened to reach out to me via email and coincidentally was going to be a vendor at the Salem Arts Festival which I was covering for Creative Salem and this blog. I was thrilled to get to meet Laura Henkin of Rhode Island-based LnK Designs, and for those of you like me who enjoy getting jewelry even more than clothes, you must check out her Etsy shop. Not only does Laura create unique, eye-catching and sturdy pieces of jewelry, but supporting her business means helping a fellow New Englander continue to do what she loves and I’m always down for that!

Laura makes jewelry under her tent at the Salem Arts Festival

Laura makes jewelry under her tent at the Salem Arts Festival.

Before I was to meet Laura, I checked out her Etsy shop and loved what I saw. Not only does Laura handcraft a variety of metal jewelry with Swarovski crystals,  but she also makes fashionable dog collars and leashes with these crystals as well as popular soaps with Lego figurines inside, delightful gifts for children that receive great reviews from customers. Laura also handmakes ornate Swedish Star Lights out of wood. They are such intricate artistic pieces and were accepted into the juried gallery at the Salem Arts Festival.

Laura's hand-carved Swedish star light

Laura’s hand-carved Swedish Star Light, featured inside the juried gallery at Salem’s Old Town Hall.

When I arrived at the festival that Friday evening, I spotted one of Laura’s Star Lights illuminating its space, softly glowing and beautifully carved. After seeing this in person, I knew she was very talented and I couldn’t wait to view her jewelry. I found the LnK Designs tent the second day of the festival and clearly wasn’t the only one impressed by her work. I wanted to speak with her but she was so busy with adoring customers that I had to wait a bit, which I didn’t mind at all! I was able to browse and see her pretty and fun products up close that I had only previously seen online. I seriously wanted all the jewelry I saw. I once saw an internet meme that stated, “Be with someone who gives you the same feeling as when you see your food coming at a restaurant.” Well, I am obsessed with food but I get that same feeling from seeing jewelry that I really love, and I was certainly feeling it at the LnK Designs tent.

After the crowd cleared, I was able to speak with Laura in person so I could feature her in my Creative Salem piece about why the Salem Arts Festival was important to artists in the community. She was so sweet and I was instantly glad to be featuring her in two posts. I got to learn what led Laura to start the LnK Designs business, and I can’t thank her enough for telling me her story. To quote my article for Creative Salem, this is how Laura began her journey with jewelry and her other pieces:

For years, Laura worked in a variety of business environments. When very difficult times struck after Laura was diagnosed with breast cancer and her father passed away during the same time period, she turned to art. Laura explained, “I needed an outlet, so I started making things with my hands.” As a way to honor her late father, she began carving intricate Swedish lights out of wood, a few of which were featured in the Juried Gallery in Old Town Hall during the festival.

From there, she branched out into making jewelry. “It made me feel good, and it made me heal,” she said. Being a part of the Salem Arts Festival is exciting to Laura because of her hometown roots. “I grew up in Salem, so I have a strong connection with it. My first job was a Tour Guide at the Salem Witch House…I had to dress like a Puritan! This is coming home for me, and it’s very special to me,” she stated. Laura felt the all-around positivity that the Salem Arts Festival brought to the city, and we were certainly feeling it too.

I was so inspired by Laura’s story. She is truly an example of taking negative circumstances and turning them into highly positive outcomes, a successful business built on doing something she enjoys tremendously. You go, Laura! After speaking with her, I got to choose three of her jewelry pieces to feature here, and I must have made pretty darn good decisions because I’ve gotten so many compliments on my LnK Designs jewelry since!

This first piece is one of my favorites and one of Laura’s bestsellers. It is the Volcano Swarovski Crystal Cuff Bracelet, available in either Silver Ox or Brass Ox and your choice of stone color. I chose the silver cuff with green-blue crystals. As someone who loves jewelry but is unfortunately capable of great accidental destruction with it, Laura really sold me when she described how sturdy this piece was, and I agree with her 100% on that matter. The metal band and hinge are very strong while not being too heavy on the wrist. The crystals are set tightly into the bracelet, so I have no worries about one falling out. I have worn this every day since receiving it at the Salem Arts Festival and am always having friends grab my wrist to admire it! No wonder this is one of the top-selling items.

The second jewelry item that I’ve been wearing from Lnk Designs is this absolutely adorable Salem witch bangle bracelet with a red Swarovski crystal, one of the colors of Salem High School where Laura graduated from. I love how the bracelet is able to open larger to put on, and will return back to its normal size after doing so. It looks daintier than the cuff bracelet but when you feel it, it is a well-built piece. Laura has a wide variety of these bangle bracelets with different charms and crystals; there is something for everyone! She also makes colorful beaded bangles to pair up with the charm pieces.

Laura showed me this beautiful necklace and I fell in love. How can you not be mesmerized by that hypnotically beautiful sapphire-colored Swarovski crystal in the center? It’s like your own personal Hope Diamond! I’m very big into dark blues (mainly because I love anything nautical which means lots of blue and white combos, as you can see from my shirt). This necklace is surely a stunner and can be paired with an outfit for going out on the town or can be used to dress up a more casual wardrobe. I’m a fairly casual girl myself, so it’s normally the latter for me. Either way, all eyes will be on you with this pretty piece.

I’m so grateful to Laura for immensely adding to my jewelry collection with these awesome pieces, and it makes me happy to know that they are crafted locally here in New England. Although I had spoken with her at the Salem Arts Festival, I was curious to know more about the background behind LnK Designs, so I had an email Q&A with Laura afterwards. Check it out and see which New England events you can find her at next!

1. Where does the “LnK” in LnK Designs come from?(I’m guessing the L is from Laura!) The L is indeed for Laura and the K is for my sister Kate who originally intended to create more for the shop but had to concentrate on her busy career as a Boston chef.
2. Where do you get the inspiration for your jewelry designs? Most of my inspiration comes from finding happiness and peace within.  I do lean towards making things that are ocean or nature-inspired. 
3. When you want to make a new piece, do you just have an idea in your head and begin crafting it into the product? Or do you draw things out first, etc.? I do just operate from a general idea in my head and then I start crafting and see where that idea leads me. Using this method, I do have discarded failed attempts before I feel things are just right!
4. What is your favorite item to make? I do like what I do, so anytime making and creating is awesome. But, if I have to choose, I truly love making the Star Lights. I make them when I am quiet and peaceful. I started making them in honor of my father who passed away. Because of that, I often find myself thinking about happy times spent with my Dad. Making the Star Lights and carving wood is a very therapeutic thinking and doing activity for me. From start to finish, the entire project of one star light including sanding, staining and drying can take about a week now. I’m getting faster and more accurate with time.
5. I know that you began working with wood first in making your Swedish Star Lights. What got you into the metals side of art and was it hard to begin making things that way or was it easier after having got your start with wood?  I’ve just always been kind of handy with projects and taking up different activities in my free time and having great teachers.
6. What is your bestselling item? My bestselling items are split between my Volcano Swarovski Crystal Cuff Bracelet and my soaps with with minifigures inside. 
7. You attend a lot of festivals and fairs! Where can New Englanders who would like to see your products in person find you this summer? I am very excited to participate in the Northeast Comic Con event at Shriner’s Auditorium on 6/20 & 21!  After that, I have plans to be in South Kingstown, RI at the Field of Artisan pop-up markets on Matunek Town Beach on 6/28 and on Old Mountain Field for the 4th of July weekend. I will be up in Salem again for the Jazz & Soul Festival down the Willows on 8/15 and 8/16 and for the BizBaz on 10/3 and 10/4. This is just to name a few of my events. I keep my Facebook page update with all events at www.facebook.com/LnKDesignsJewelry.
To view and order LnK Designs jewelry and products yourself, find Laura’s shop online at www.Etsy.com/shop/LnKDesigns, and keep her in mind for buying local items made in the USA for your next special occasion. She also loves getting new followers on social media, so find her at www.Instagram.com/LnKDesigns, www.pinterest.com/LnKDesigns and www.Twitter.com/LnKDesignsFun!

Ringing in Spring in Salem

derbywharf1

After receiving the wrath of Mother Nature this past winter, we New Englanders finally saw the light at the end of tunnel yesterday with our first 70 degree day of the year! There was no possible way I was going to be inside, so I called up Shiloh and we met up in my favorite place to walk around in the sun – Salem, Massachusetts.

There was not a cloud to be seen in the sky as we walked through the Common after arriving. The dogs were playing, kids were laughing, birds were chirping and all was right in the world. I was so happy to finally be able to wear a skirt and sleeveless shirt. I am not a fan of cold weather clothing! Neither of us had gotten our morning coffee yet, so we headed to Jaho, a cozy café on Derby Street. I ordered an iced vanilla latte and Shiloh had a hot caramel latte with soy milk. I also ordered a banana coffee cake muffin to tide me over until lunch, since I hadn’t eaten breakfast. We decided to take our items and walk down the street to eat them at Derby Wharf, overlooking the ocean.

derbywharf2

The water was so blue, as if a watercolor painting had come to life. The smell of the salt water and warmth of the sun on our shoulders was a welcome feeling that we had missed all winter. It is always so strange to me how here in New England we can be bombarded with feet of snow, and it seems as if nice weather would never exist again. Then, all of a sudden, the snow is simply a memory. However, I can’t say I ever miss it in the slightest once it melts. Better off being a memory, in my opinion!

After sitting on the wharf chatting and catching rays for nearly an hour, we continued our walk. We headed to the pedestrian mall where we popped into Wicked Good Books and Pamplemousse, then traversed over to Chestnut Street, my favorite street to walk down in the city. It has the most gorgeous old homes, and was a very prominent neighborhood in the 19th century. After working up an appetite strolling around, we searched for a restaurant with outdoor seating. Those are luckily not hard to find in Salem!

We chose Gulu-Gulu Café for our lunch spot. I am ashamed to admit that in all my years in Salem, I had never tried this renowned establishment! I’m happy I was able to change that yesterday. Gulu-Gulu has an astounding beer menu to please any beer fanatic’s palate. I like fruity beers (sorry, those of you who are against them), and Shiloh pointed out a strawberry kind on the list called Früli, a Belgian white fruit beer. That sounded satisfying, so we went ahead with it. It was unlike any beer I’ve ever drank. It actually tasted more like a Jolly Rancher and was the best of both worlds for me, as I had been wavering on the decision to order a beer or a cocktail. As our waitress said, “Nothing better than sitting outside on a warm day with a Früli!” We agree!

fruli

An unique label for a unique beer

There were so many delicious food options on the Gulu menu, but I chose to go with the Istanbul panini, which features smoked turkey, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and pesto. Shiloh is vegetarian, so she ordered a cranberry salad. There are lots of mouthwatering items on the menu for vegetarians, so if you are one, I highly recommend Gulu-Gulu Café. My panini was so fresh and filling and came with a small salad and chips. Shiloh devoured her salad as well. Not much beats quenching your thirst and hunger on a patio in a beautiful city while getting a bit of a tan at the same time!

gulu meal edit

The delectable Istanbul panini from Gulu-Gulu

After our meal, it was time for Shiloh to head home to prepare for her yoga class. I had nothing else on my agenda until 5:30 pm, so I stuck around the area after walking her back to her car. I drove over to the Salem Willows, one of the prettiest and most relaxing spots to walk near the water as well as to play arcade games and have some classic boardwalk foods. While I didn’t eat there, I did enjoy the greatest views of the ocean around. Seriously,  just look at the shades of blue!

willows pier

A greater view  than this is hard to find without being on an actual boat!

After visiting the Willows, I still had time to kill so I decided to head over to Beverly and stroll along Independence Park to collect some seashells. There are plenty to be found there.

bevpark

I stood overlooking the vast ocean and just took in all the beauty. I can’t even really express how it felt to be staring at such a stunning scene after months of “hibernating”. How lucky we are here in New England to be surrounded by such indescribable nature – I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!

Spending all day in the sun makes me a happy girl!

Spending all day in the sun makes me a happy girl!

Featured (in order of mention):
Jaho Coffee & Tea – 197 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 978.744.4300
Wicked Good Books – 215 Essex Street, Salem, MA, 978.594.1938
Pamplemousse –  185 Essex Street, Salem, MA, 978.745.2900
Gulu-Gulu Café – 247 Essex Street, Salem, MA, 978.740.8882
Salem Willows Park – 167 Fort Avenue, Salem, MA, 978.744.0180
Independence Park – Lothrop Street, Beverly, MA

 

 

A Perfect Day in Portsmouth

We have now officially entered that time of the year when New England turns into a frozen tundra. Last month was pretty mild, but I knew the freezing cold days would be upon us sooner rather than later…and here we are! I used to let the cold affect me greatly, rarely setting foot outdoors for longer than was absolutely necessary. Nowadays, I’m trying not to be one of those people who complains about the cold every second, and rather than let it make me miserable, bundle up and enjoy all the weather that Mother Nature throws at us!

I embarked on my journey of embracing the cold last week when my friend Shiloh and I paid a visit to the beautiful seaside city of Portsmouth, NH. As we walked through the streets, bundled up from head to toe with the coastal wind blowing every which way, I didn’t even mind! It was like that scene in the movie Home Alone where Kevin runs outside and screams, “Do ya hear me?? I’m not afraid anymore!!” (even though he still is). Freezing weather, you can’t keep me down! Our arrival in Portsmouth had coincided with lunchtime, so we decided to find something to eat. This was Shiloh’s first time in Portsmouth, so I listed off the various restaurants I’d tried and liked, but we continued to look for a place that was new to the both of us. We came across The Works Bakery Café on Congress Street, and after glancing at the affordable and tasty-sounding menu on the door, decided this would be it.

theworkssign

The Works was a warm, cozy respite from the bitter cold. Avocado lover that I am (thanks, Amanda, for making me realize that you shouldn’t judge a food by its appearance!), I ordered the Turkey Guacamole sandwich, which also came with red peppers on artisan bread. Shiloh ordered the Farmers Veggie and Cheese sandwich with a cup of Cream of Broccoli soup. We took a seat by the window to enjoy our meals, which were so fresh-tasting and the perfect portion size to fill us up.

Shiloh, ready to eat!

Shiloh, ready to eat!

After lunch, it was time to gift hunt for my mom’s upcoming birthday. We passed by the Portsmouth Candle Company, with a window display of pretty, unique items. My mom loves candles (I don’t know many mothers that don’t), so we went inside and perused the store. It was filled with not only candles, but home decor, lots of soaps and various trinkets. I remembered that I had gotten my mom quite a few candles for Christmas, so I got her a delicious Coconut scented soap in vibrant packaging. Shiloh’s younger sister’s birthday was that week as well, so Shiloh purchased a necklace filled with “fairy dust” for her.

candle

After our stop at the Portsmouth Candle Company, we headed over to Attrezzi, a store that my mom loves and where I knew I could find something else for her. Attrezzi sells a variety of items ranging from kitchen tools to wines, gourmet sauces and dips to home decor, and even jewelry, fashion goods, lotions and more. I’m pretty positive you could find a gift for almost any woman (or man who likes to cook) here!

Just a few of the many items Attrezzi has to offer

Just a few of the many items Attrezzi has to offer

We browsed around the first floor, then headed up to the second where there were what seemed like endless flavors of sauces and dips to sample. Between the two of us, we tried them all! My favorite, and the one I decided to purchase for my mom, was an amazing sweet yet savory pumpkin honey mustard dip. Pumpkin is a year-round flavor in my eyes. On our way back downstairs, we were offered cheese samples which we happily accepted. There were a variety of cheeses and I would have sampled many more had I not been so full already. I once held disdain for any cheese that isn’t melted, but after my pleasantly surprising experience at Calef’s Country Store in Barrington, NH, I will never again say no to taste-testing it!

attrezzidips

Once we left Attrezzi, I was feeling in the mood for a drink. I suggested Rí Rá, an Irish pub that I went to on St. Patrick’s Day (I have had a weird obsession with all things Irish/Ireland lately). A fun fact about Rí Rá that I learned from their website is that it was “built entirely from authentic pub salvage sourced and meticulously restored in Ireland before being shipped to its new home in Portsmouth”. Imagine that – authentic is right! Even our bartender hailed from the Emerald Isle, accent and all. Shiloh and I both ordered a “Cinnamon, Spice &…”. This drink was made from Bailey’s, Goldschlager and Stolicnaya Oranj, topped with cream and powdered cinnamon. It certainly tasted like a winter drink to me, and was strong and sweet. The bartender informed us that this was one of their newer drinks, as a few drinks had been recently added to the menu. It was a good one!

It was dark by the time we left Rí Rá, but I wanted to try to walk to the water even though it was colder now that the darkness had set in. We didn’t quite make it there, but we did happen upon another very interesting shop that I couldn’t resist – Pickwick’s Mercantile. Looking in the windows, the store seemed to beckon me inside, especially with its sign illuminated and reflected onto the sidewalk by a spinning spotlight. Opening the doors, it was like we had gone through a time machine into the 1800s – the shop held so many unique wares, displayed in a fashion similar to what I imagine stores of old featured. Upbeat fiddle music was playing on the speakers. I loved it all! I am a history fanatic, and Portsmouth is so rich with history that a shop which brings that old-timey feel back is a perfect idea.

Stepping into Pickwick's is like stepping into a store of the past

Stepping into Pickwick’s is like stepping into a store of the past

I could have spent hours perusing the imported perfumes, chocolates, children’s toys, books, toiletries for men and women, letter-writing materials…too many things to list. Even the employees were dressed in a vintage manner. I purchased a few lotions with a retro-looking apothecary label on them, but would have bought more if I had longer to look! I wish I had taken more elaborate photos, but I was too busy admiring everything. I told one of these employees how awesome I thought the store was, and he told me that there is a Lady Pickwick’s store further down the street. I will definitely be marking that as a must-see on my next trip to Portsmouth.

Men's goods on display

Men’s goods on display

Once we left Pickwick’s it was too cold to continue on with the night, and we had to get going. Despite the cold, I thought this was a very happy and successful trip to Portsmouth, and I was glad that Shiloh enjoyed her first time to this historic city. I have the feeling I’ll be back very soon, as I plan on ice skating at least once this winter on the brand new Puddle Duck Pond rink! For now, it’s been fun, Portsmouth!

Featured Places (in order of mention):
The Works Bakery Café – 9 Congress Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801, 603.431.4434
Portsmouth Candle Company – 62 Congress Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801, 603.430.0353
Attrezzi – 78 Market Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801, 603.427.1667
Rí Rá Portsmouth – 22 Market Square, Portsmouth, NH 03801, 603.319.1680
Pickwick’s Mercantile – 64 State Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801, 603.427.8671

A Gift for Everyone at the Manchester Holiday Market

If you’ve read my past few blog posts, you’ll know that my mission this Christmas is to only shop local for gifts. This includes visits to small businesses and shops around the area and, of course, holiday markets. On Saturday, I made the five-minute-down-the-road trek to the Intown Manchester Downtown Holiday Market and entered a festive plaza filled with incredible handcrafted products and happy shoppers.

At the Manchester Holiday Market, there is truly something for everyone that may be on your holiday gifting list. While we were there, Nick even ventured off on his own to peruse the numerous tables and found a few presents for those on his list – that’s saying something, because I usually can’t get him to join me for these kinds of activities!

From all-natural soaps to cupcakes to handmade jewelry, gourmet chocolates, books, clothes, painted wine glasses, pure maple syrup, handcrafted wooden items and much, much more, the Holiday Market is fully stocked with local artisans selling their wares.

Karen, Owner and Chief Soap Maker of Hemlock Springs Soaps

Karen, Owner and Chief Soap Maker of Hemlock Springs Soaps

My first visit was to the Hemlock Springs Soaps table where Karen, also known as the CSM (Chief Soap Maker) described the ingredients and benefits associated with her colorful products. Aside of soaps, she sells body lotions, lip balm, salts, scrubs and more. All products are made with “non-GMO oils, sustainably harvested palm oil and fair trade shea butter”. They not only smell delicious, they’re 100% good for you too!

soap

Many different soap scents to choose from…Pinot Grigio Soap on top! If anyone wants to gift that to this wine lover, I won’t be opposed to it 😉

There were so many different scents of soap that at first I couldn’t decide. I went about from basket to basket smelling each kind. Karen knew exactly what type of customer I am, one who has to look at and sample a bit of everything. I’m indecisive! The soaps smelled amazing, had gorgeous coloring and great names as well (think Dazzleberry, or Sexy Woman).

As per usual, I won’t state exactly what I purchased out of fear that my giftees will be reading, but I know that they won’t be disappointed with their gifts from Hemlock Springs Soaps!

The further into our 20s that my friends and I get, the more we seem to develop a finer appreciation of wine. After work, with dinner, celebrating the weekend…there is almost no wrong time for a glass of wine (is that a tagline yet?). What better way to satisfy a wine craving than with a unique, hand-painted glass from Sherry Brox, owner of The Painted Pansy? I walked around her table admiring her handiwork on glassware of various kinds. At around $5 a piece, these would make the perfect gift for the wine lover on anyone’s list.

wineglasses

After leaving The Painted Pansy table, I tried to find Nick. When he walked back over to me, he told me that he had just sampled some amazing chocolate. I have a huge sweet tooth, as do most of the people on my Christmas list, so he pointed me in the direction of KRM Chocolates. Once at the table, I was greeted by chocolatier Kevin Miller, a very kind man in a festive hat. He was eager to share knowledge of his tasty products and I was eager to try them out. Mass market store bought chocolate is no comparison to the decadent flavors of Kevin’s stuff!

Kevin Miller, chocolatier of KRM Chocolates keeping it festive!

Kevin Miller of KRM Chocolates, keeping it festive!

After our stop at KRM Chocolates, we kept browsing and came across a vendor selling pure maple syrup. Many of the syrups at the table came in beautifully designed Italian glass bottles. The vendor explained that many people like to reuse the bottles for things like salad dressings after the syrup has run out. I could even picture the bottles being painted and reused as decorations for the home. One of Nick’s closest family friends happens to be a huge fan and collector of local pure maple syrup, so we were lucky to have come across this table!

Alright, somebody break out the pancakes!

Alright, somebody break out the pancakes!

There were many other vendors (over 50 in total at the market!) that we visited – it would be a really long post if I wrote about them all! If you’re in the Manchester area, I encourage you to go check them out for yourself at the last day of the Holiday Market this Thursday, December 18th. The market is located in the Brady Sullivan Plaza and will be open from 10am-5:30pm. Stop by and feel the satisfaction of shopping local this season!

Featured event:
Intown Manchester Downtown Holiday Market – Brady Sullivan Plaza, 1000 Elm Street, Manchester, NH 03101

No Place Like Boston for the Holidays

We are now into the second week of December, and naturally the holidays are on my brain! From purchasing the perfect Christmas presents, discovering mouthwatering recipes to bring to parties and admiring all the glitzy, glamorous clothing on display, thoughts of revelry and cheer are all-consuming. Last weekend was my real official kickoff to the season as I shopped Small Business Saturday for gifts, and this past weekend the holiday spirit continued.

Old City Hall is looking very festive these days!

Old City Hall is looking very festive these days!

Friday and Saturday, Nick and I visited a couple bars for drinks and dinner, Barney Fanning’s downtown and The Draft in Allston. Bars around the city were decorated in a festive fashion and I couldn’t escape all the warm, cozy vibes of Christmas lights, trees and holiday tunes…not that I would want to escape. Singing along to “Jingle Bell Rock” while watching the Bruins game in the company of others who are in the holiday spirit…what’s a better winter night consist of?

Prior to going out, we wanted to enjoy some downtime at home, but also get a bit more jazzed up about the weekend than we were feeling from the gloomy weather outside. I knew just how to get the party started – break out the LIQS! All week my excitement had been building to wait for the perfect time to try these tasty little shots of fun. If you haven’t heard yet, LIQS are a new concept that combines the size and portability of a shot with the flavor of a cocktail made with the highest quality liquor…just right for some pre-bar fun or enhancing a party. Not to mention, they’re low-calorie, so that’s one thing you don’t have to feel guilty about consuming during the season of over-consumption.

LIQS_Holiday_2014_39

LIQS – the perfect accompaniment to holiday fun

I’ve got a long list of friends who I will be gifting LIQS to. They come in single-flavor 3-packs, so think ideal stocking stuffer or a Secret Santa or Yankee Swap present! Find them at over 100 liquor stores around Massachusetts – not a Mass resident? Not a problem. You can buy LIQS through their website as well. I’ll tell you another idea that I know I’m going to be doing with these: On New Year’s Eve, instead of PDA or ringing a measly little noisemaker when the countdown hits zero, why doesn’t everyone at the party throw back a LIQS shot? You can thank me later.

LIQS

As you know, Sunday is a Funday and I didn’t want mine to be any exception. I met up with my friend Shiloh and we headed downtown for some holiday shopping and Christmas display perusing. As soon as we got off the T, we were instantly hit with two things: a cold blast of air and the craving for warm hot chocolate. The two seem to go hand in hand.

As we walked, we passed an intriguing storefront and ventured into Caffè Nero on Washington Street in Downtown Crossing. This was one of the most aesthetically appealing cafes I have come across in the area. The song lyric “these are a few of my favorite things” played in my head as I took in many things I love; caffeinated beverages, mouthwatering pastries, walls covered with classic books library-style and Christmas decor strung up everywhere.

caffenero

The classic beauty of Caffe Nero

Even though it was a large space, the shop was jam-packed with college students doing homework on laptops (I don’t miss those days), and we unfortunately couldn’t find a seat to enjoy our hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies – but alas, you can’t always get what you want. The treats were good enough that we enjoyed them even out in the chill!

Our next stop was the Downtown Holiday Market. On Washington Street, just look for the old Tello’s store space and that’s where you’ll find it! Inside we were surrounded by a bevy of local artisans and vendors with tables displaying unique items of all kinds. On this day, the market featured beautiful, handcrafted jewelry, intricate glass ornaments and trinkets, scarves, a delicious variety of caramels, local honey, amazingly built wooden puzzle boxes, homemade granola and nuts and a variety of artisinal hot sauces.

I oo’d and ahh’d over the Tico Art puzzle boxes, which Shiloh and I literally couldn’t stop playing with. Designed to look like a fun creature or object, for example, an owl or baseball, each box features a “key” which you must find and pull out which unlocks the other pieces of the box until you can open it, revealing a little storage space.

puzzleboxes

Tico Art puzzle boxes are fun to look at and fun to play with!

At the next table, we taste-tested the sweet and savory flavors of granola and honey pecans from Roasted Granola Co. I wasn’t a huge pecan fan before, but these converted me!

roastednuts

I would have kept taste-testing but Shiloh wanted to move along to the Alex’s Ugly Sauce table. She tried a few flavors of sauces recommended by the very knowledgeable woman running the table. While she didn’t try out the kind she ended up purchasing (far too hot for her liking), she purchased it for her boyfriend, who claims that no sauce is spicy enough for him. We’ll see how he feels about ghost peppers!

uglysauce

I’ll refrain from listing the rest of the items I purchased because I know the people who will be getting them as gifts are going to be reading – it’s very hard as a blogger to keep these things a secret! Just know that you will find something for everyone on your list at the 2014 Downtown Holiday Market! Check it out any day of the week, 11am-7pm Saturday through Monday and 11am-5pm on Sunday, until January 10th. For those of you with kids, or hey, even if you’re just a fan of the big guy, take a free photo (bring a camera) with Santa from noon-2pm weekdays or 3-4pm weekends. Personally, I’m sad that I missed my photo opportunity with jolly old St. Nick!

After getting our local product fix at the market, we came across So Good Jewelry which was a perfect ending to our Sunday fun. In college, Shiloh had actually introduced me to the other location of So Good Jewelry on Newbury Street where wall after wall was lined with every kind of affordable “costume” jewelry imaginable. I don’t know about you, but costume jewelry is what fits my budget, and at So Good Jewelry you can find necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings to match any outfit in your closet. I have a thing for statement necklaces right now and the store was filled with them. I purchased one, along with two pairs of earrings and a couple of Christmas presents for some of the ladies on my list.

My new purchases from So Good Jewelry. I can't wait to wear!

My new purchases from So Good Jewelry. I can’t wait to wear!

After spending what seemed like an eternity spent perusing the jewelry, it was time to call it a day. There was Christmas decorating to do at home! However, my holiday activities are far from over. Next week I’ll be back at it again, and I’m proud to say that so far I have been making good on my promise to purchase all my Christmas presents local this year!

Places Mentioned (in order):

Barney Fanning’s – 99 Broad Street, Boston, MA 02110
The Draft Bar and Grille – 34 Harvard Avenue, Allston, MA 02134
Caffè Nero – 560 Washington Street (Downtown Crossing), Boston, MA 02111
Downtown Holiday Market – 459 Washington Street (Downtown Crossing, in the old Tello’s space), Boston, MA 02111
So Good Jewelry – 443 Washington Street (also located at 349 Newbury Street), Boston, MA 02111

*Disclosure: LIQS samples were provided by LIQS. All opinions expressed here are my own.

My Small Business Saturday Experience in Manchester

I’ve been having such a joyful afternoon so far on Small Business Saturday! Today I’m in my home city of Manchester, New Hampshire and have been roaming around Elm Street where many shops are located.

cafesign

I started my trip with a caramel latte from one of my favorite coffee shops to visit when I’m home, Café la Reine. Caramel lattes are quite the addiction of mine, and the ones made at Café la Reine are the tastiest of all.

I then made my way to the Granite State Candy Shoppe where I was happily overwhelmed by shelves and cases filled with every kind of chocolate and candy confection imaginable (and ice cream, too!) I purchased a few things for Christmas presents (I don’t want to say what in case any of the recipients will be reading!) and was even offered free samples. I chose to sample a milk chocolate and peanut butter pattie – sorry, Reese’s, but nothing compares to homemade chocolate and peanut butter candies!

candyeverywhere

Chocolate, chocolate everywhere at Granite State Candy Shoppe

From there, I headed across the street to With Heart and Hand Unique Gifts. The storefront had a little porch draped with all kinds of cute, country style decor. Upon walking in, I was surrounded by adorable holiday items and unique home decorations. The scent of potpourri was mixed with fragrant candles and homemade soup that the shop was handing out free for customers as they browsed. An employee told me that everything in the store was 15% off for Small Business Saturday, so I knew I would definitely be purchasing multiple gifts here! I came across many New Hampshire-made items in the store, including lotions, soaps and cozy smelling candles. I found presents here for almost every woman on my gift list and was thrilled that I got to save money on my purchase for supporting Small Business Saturday.

heartandhand

Down-home decor at With Heart and Hand Unique Gifts

My next stop was Finesse Pastries – a sign in the window advertising homemade turkey soup had me sold. You would think I have had enough turkey after eating it the past few days, but to me there is no such thing. The shop was adorably decorated for the holidays and “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” by Nat King Cole was playing. It’s my favorite holiday song and it certainly got me into the spirit! Behind a case among other pastries were macarons of all flavors and colors on display. I decided to try one for the first time. I’ve often seen these treats featured on Instagram and Pinterest and always thought they looked delightful but had yet to taste test one.

finesse

Tasty treats on display at Finesse Pastries, including a colorful assortment of macarons on the bottom!

I took a seat at a table and my turkey soup was brought out to me along with some cheesy breadsticks for dipping. I loved this little extra. After my soup, it was time for my macaron dessert. As my first macaron flavor ever, I had chosen Salted Caramel. I clearly hadn’t known what I was missing by not trying one of these pastries sooner! They certainly satisfy a sweet tooth and are just the right size for an indulgent snack.

There are many small businesses on my list to still visit. While I’m glad I got out there for Small Business Saturday, I know I won’t just shop local for one day this holiday season. I’m vowing to get the majority of my presents from local stores this year and I couldn’t be more excited that the hunt has started for unique gifts that also help support my community.

Happy shopping!

Featured places:
Café La Reine – 915 Elm Street, Manchester, NH 03101
Granite State Candy Shoppe – 832 Elm Street, Manchester, NH 03101
With Heart and Hand Unique Gifts – 823 Elm Street, Manchester, NH 03101
Finesse Pastries – 968 Elm Street, Manchester NH 03101

Small Business Saturday is here!

We are all familiar with Black Friday – it’s a term that either makes you cringe or excitedly hop in line at ungodly hours hoping to score some heavily promoted deals. However, how many of you have heard of Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday was founded four years ago by American Express as a way to draw consumers to support local shops and restaurants and continue to build and maintain thriving communities. As readers know, my blog is all about supporting businesses around New England so naturally Small Business Saturday holds a special place in my heart. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of shopping local:

1) According to a study cited by Independent We Stand, local shops return over triple the amount of money per dollar of sales back into their community than chain stores. Local restaurants return more than double what chain restaurants do. By supporting small businesses in your city or town, you can feel good knowing that you have a part in ensuring the vitality of the place you love to live!

2) Besides putting money back into the community, local businesses often feature unique items that you cannot find elsewhere. Who else is going to make such a delicious, homemade piece of fudge or that amazing, all-natural body lotion that sources ingredients from the next town over?

3) Neighbors helping neighbors: For the most part, small businesses are owned by others living right within your community. By shopping local, you’re essentially paying it forward by helping a neighbor to achieve their dreams and a successful life.

4) One of the many things that keeps me away from Black Friday is the thought of overwhelming lines of people. Yesterday, I watched a parody of Black Friday on a show where customers were attacking each other over the latest fad item. Sadly, I recall things like this actually happening in real life. By shopping on Small Business Saturday, you’re going to have a much less chaotic experience! Come on, we could all use a little less stress in our lives.

5) If you’re like me and live closer to your local shops instead of the mall, or if you don’t have a mall in your town at all, you can save your time and gas by heading to the small businesses in your vicinity. You could walk there if you don’t mind braving the chill!

I could go on about the perks of shopping local, but take part in Small Business Saturday today instead and experience the difference for yourself!

To get started on finding local stores nearest you, check out the American Express Shop Small© map.  

Add Some Green to Your Routine at Thirst Juice Co.

wallart

Yesterday was an unusually warm day for November in Boston, the temperature reaching around 65 degrees. Muggy, cloudy and rainy, I had forgotten my umbrella in the car. I had hoped the rain would hold off as I walked, but it didn’t. As I waited to cross the street, I got splashed by a passing bus. Needless to say, I was feeling a bit under the weather (literally) and I needed some sort of relief! Just in time, I arrived at the Thirst Juice Co. storefront, a bright green beacon of light on this otherwise dull day.

Walking through the doors, I entered an inviting, modern space that was set off by a classic ornately designed ceiling, which I am guessing is original to the building from its early days. A big “Juice” logo was splashed on the right wall in my favorite lime green color, vibrant and eye-catching. Fresh fruits in wooden crates were displayed behind glass on the countertop.

fruits

As cheerful employees hustled and bustled turning whole fruits, veggies and other ingredients into delicious blends of nutrients and flavor, I was greeted by co-owner Heather Stevenson at the counter. Heather and husband Chris Roche made the move back to Massachusetts to turn their dreams of a Boston juice bar into a thriving reality after practicing law for several years in New York.  Living a healthy lifestyle and creating nutritious and delicious beverages and foods is their passion, and now they are able to share it with all. Their excitement and dedication to the brand new business (this is their second week open), products, customers, employees and Boston community was so apparent as I got to speak with them both!

heatherandchris

Heather Stevenson and Chris Roche, husband and wife and owners of Thirst Juice Co.

Behind the counter you will see a matching green menu board featuring all the goods Thirst Juice Co. has to offer – believe me, there is much more than juice! Besides the variety of juices, customers can also order from a selection of smoothie flavors (all with fabulous, catchy names – Pink Unicorn, anyone?) as well as acai bowls, healthy shots, and boosts such as protein powder and hemp seeds to pack more nutrients into your smoothie. You can feel even better about what you’re consuming knowing all products made in-house are vegan and gluten free.

Because I’m terribly indecisive when it comes to choosing drinks and food, I asked Heather for her recommendations of juices and smoothies before I started sampling. As far as juices go, for those who are fans of more of a fruity flavor profile, Melon Ball juice is made of cantaloupe, kale, apple and ginger for a dose of healthiness on the sweet side. If you love your greens and are looking to perk up your tastebuds, Green Dream adds a spicy twist with jalapeños blended among kale, cucumber and pineapple. I will admit, I’m more of a fruity gal and not so much a jalapeño fan, but I actually fell in love with Green Dream! I highly recommend you try a flavor slightly out of your comfort zone if possible – you never know what you might enjoy! If you have the feeling you’ll be craving more juice after Thirst has closed for the day, no worries. They offer four different types of bottled cold-pressed juices to take home, including both Melon Ball and Green Dream.

Green Dream in all its glory!

For those with a bit of a sweet tooth, smoothies are a great option with several flavors to choose from, including Bad Monkey!™ which features cacao powder as an ingredient for the chocolate lovers out there. The Mint Condition smoothie is a unique blend of fruity-sweet and earthy. It came out an entirely different color than I expected; a vibrant purple which had other customers intrigued at what I had ordered. That’s the blueberries for ya!

mintcondition

A pop of color makes the Mint Condition smoothie stand out.

Outside of juices and smoothies, Thirst Juice Co. sells coffee roasted by Lee, MA-based Barrington Coffee Roasting Company. If tea is more your style, Thirst also features five different teas from MEM Tea Imports of Watertown, MA.

Looking for a bite to eat along with your beverage? Choose from two types of soup daily, made fresh each day right in the store. Yesterday, the available soups were Roasted Butternut Squash (my favorite!) and Moroccan Lentil. The Roasted Butternut Squash soup was a well-balanced consistency, not too heavy and not too light, with just the right amount flavor. A delicious addition is a mix of seeds and spices to give the soup an added texture and kick. Yum! Because the seeds come in a little takeout container, I saved the rest for a pre-dinner snack later in the day. The Moroccan Lentil soup is more on the hearty side and packed with flavors. Breakfast hour customers can purchase Bob’s Red Mill oatmeal or a snack item such as Greek yogurt.

souplist

After finishing my order at the stand-up counter (the store is takeout based), I felt full but not overwhelmed. It may seem silly, but it was an incredible feeling! Too often I overload at lunchtime buying heavy, and unfortunately not always healthy, foods and beverages. The drinks and soup at Thirst Juice Co. were a welcome switch-up to my midday routine, and one that I know I will be repeating. It just feels GOOD! So, thank you Thirst Juice Co., for reminding me that being good to my body and satisfying my (large) appetite can be accomplished!

Featured:
Thirst Juice Co. – 44 School Street, Boston, MA 02108, 857-233-4535, info@thirstjuiceco.com