Monday, July 31, 2017

a [double] baste

traditions are important.

but they don't come easy...or do they?

you may remember last year when i wrote about bringing the tradition of the [june] bucket to maine.  well it was such a hit, people started asking about it in march.  not only were my fiancee and i happy to continue it, but friends who attended last year, and who have a much bigger yard, offered to host it.

just as in years past, it was an eclectic group of people many of whom didn't know each other before the night started.  however when you mix up a communal cocktail drink like the [june] buckets, and ask people tp drink it via turkey basters, strangers become acquaintances and acquaintances become friends.  that's the magic of the [june] bucket!  you never baste alone!

as i said before there were a lot of new faces this year, all of whom are now looking forward to next year, which makes me think that year three, when it officially becomes a maine tradition, will be a glorious celebration.

we're gonna need a bigger bucket.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

last of the [HOJO]hicans

"i will find you! no matter how long it takes, no matter how far. i will find you!"

you may remember last year when i ventured up to bangor, maine to visit the second to last howard johnson's before it closed.  ever since that day, i swore i'd find and visit the very last hojo's.  my opportunity came the same weekend we visited saratoga springs.  driving back home i was very aware how close we were to the very last one, which is located in lake george, new york.  explaining my mission to the other passengers and with a little pleading, i convinced the other passenger to travel a few extra miles north of our route to visit this piece of history.

and let me tell did disappoint.

i'm not writing this post to give it a negative review, but lets just say, i can totally tell why this chain is on its last store.  lets also say i was grateful to have visited this location before it shuts down and closes a chapter of roadside americana history.  

although we didn't have a great experience at the restaurant, in my mind it was still a fun place to visit.  driving around seeing the various cabins, hotels, pools and mini golf courses lining the road it wasn't hard to picture this location in the fifties.  the golden age of family vacations in the car. families escaping the summer heat of the city and heading north into the woods for some peace and quiet. i could envision the roads filled with stationwagons with fins so large they could fly, the enormous weight of baggage on top of the car being the only thing keeping them on the ground. caravans of cars making one last stop before arriving at their cabin or motel.  dads and moms stretching their legs while the kids played putt putt. eventually someone saying they were hungry and the family would head to a place they could get great food in a fast and friendly manner.  a place where the kids could get ice cream and the parents enjoy a cocktail.  a place like howard johnsons.

i spent about 45 minutes thinking about this, before the ice cream sunday i ordered finally came out.  service that reminded me the place i was imagining was no longer, but rather just a relic.

but i was still glad i took the time to visit and the sunday was actually pretty damn good.

Monday, July 24, 2017

spit[ing] and spat[ing] in saratoga springs

i'll be honest, it took me half way into a three day trip to realize saratoga springs was actually named because of natural springs.

last may found my fiancee and i traveling with another couple to saratoga springs, new york for the wedding of our friends.  since it was a holiday weekend we decided to stay and be tourists in town for a long weekend.  as we ventured around the city we discovered the city had a number of naturally carbonated,  mineral springs, hence the name.  tourists were encouraged to try a sample of theses waters as each spring had a various flavors with different health benefits.   finding one of these springs we decided to try it.  now, i don't like unnecessary exaggeration in stories and i try not to curse too much on this blog, but the water tasted like %100 pure ass.  no joke, it smelled and tasted like rotting eggs in a barnyard.  according to the map we found this particular spring is noted for being

"highly-carbonated water of an alkaline-saline flavor noted for its high mineral content and renowned as a digestive curative."  

science aside, our little group of friends referred to it as the "butt water."  imagine our surprise, right after giving it this name, we saw someone fill up a two gallon jug to the brim of this water to take back home.  maybe they had a really upset stomach.  thankfully, that particular spring didn't stop us from trying more, which were all much better tasting.

another site we stumbled upon, was a statue featuring two mermen spitting water at each other, named by locals as "spit and spat."  after trying the "butt water" just a few feet away, i could completely understand why they would be doing this.

spitting and spatting aside, saratoga springs is a beautiful city, filled with a rich history, beautiful architecture and a wonderful culture.  we all agreed we'd love to see the city in the summer when the horse track opens up.  saratoga is also now home to one of the best breakfasts i've ever had in my life, a fried chicken, potato and egg hash.  a rich meal that normally would have upset my stomach, but didn't.

maybe it was made with some of that "butt water."

Sunday, July 23, 2017


sometimes taking a break can be a good thing.

for my bachelor party, the only thing i wanted to do was to see a game at wrigley field.  i'm not a huge cubs fan but as i've stated earlier i do love baseball stadiums and i wanted to cross wrigley field off my list.

the game tickets were purchased, the airbnb reserved and flights were booked.  all the planning was coming together beautifully, however one thing we couldn't plan for was the weather, and it ended up being incredibly nasty the day of the game. so nasty in fact that the game was canceled.  i was pissed and disappointed.  the only thing i had wanted to do to celebrate my "single-dom" was to touch the ivy and it wasn't going to happen.  luckily for me my friends rallied and found several places for us to chill in chicago.  one of the spots was the chicago athletic association, which  had a floor filled with pool tables, shuffle board, classic board games and a boccie ball court.  the afternoon was spent shooting pull, throwing boccie balls and drinking beer.  in the same building we ventured to a roof deck featuring amazing views of millennium park.  later that day we found a fantastic brewery and a phenomenal taco place.  later on in the night the details get fuzzy but judging by the pictures on my phone, a good time was had by all.

slowly waking up the next morning with a slight hangover and the smell of stale beer in the apartment i realized something.  the rain out the day before meant the cubs players could take a break in a busy schedule.  i was taking a break from the craziness of wedding planning to hang with my friends and my friends were all taking a break in their lives to celebrate with me.

breaks can be a good thing.

breaks were the whole reason i got to spend a quality weekend hanging with some of the best guys i know.

and hell, it's kind of nice to still have that bucket list item unchecked.  it just means i'll have to take a break some other time in the future and see wrigley.

heading back to maine at the end of that weekend i knew life was going to get hectic the next two months as the wedding date got closer.

game on.

Monday, July 17, 2017

magical [history] tour

when your new in town, sometimes you have to jump at opportunities to find out more about the city you live in.  that's exactly what i did last may when i went on the magical mystery tour hosted by the maine historical society.

so the whole point of the tour is that it's a big secrete right up until the day before the tour.  that's when they release the list of 10 hidden spots around portland that the general public cat usually get to.  as i haven't been in too many building around town, it didn't really matter what the list consisted of, i was excited to see and learn anything i could.

it was an incredibly well done event and i had a blast discovering new sites.  i wasn't able to make it to all 10, but i fully enjoyed the sites i did visit.

some highlights were traveling to the top of the city hall clock tower, seeing the inside of the time and temperature building, a private home designed by john calvin stevens and the inside of st. dominic parish.

i feel it very hard to grow in a city if you lack knowledge of it's history.  the magical mystery tour gave me a wonderful and beautiful crash course a few gems of this city's history.  i can't wait to see what they have in store next year. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

the [hat] came back

i left you in an uber car in new york city.
i didn't realize it until i was three hours into my 6 hour bus ride back to maine.
i thought you were for sure gone.
for the hell of it, i contacted the uber driver via the app.
as luck would have it, it was still in the car.
he asked where he could deliver it to.
i still had a friend staying in nyc.
i gave him his address, he was only a few minutes away from that location.
he drove by, saw my friend, and threw you out the window.
my friend packed it up and brought yo back to maine.
a couple weeks later you were home.

thanks for coming back to me favorite hat.