Sunday, February 25, 2018

winter [sports]?

pyeongchang wasn't the only place to see incredible athletes compete at the top of their game this past month.  little known fact i discovered recently, the town of camden, maine hosts the annul us national toboggan championships!  upon discovering this, i knew this event needed to be seen.

a broken clutch saturday morning meant my wife and i would have to check out the second day of the toboggan championships.  although we missed all the "fun" on saturday which i heard is filled with costumes and parades, sunday was the actual competitions, which was still entertaining.  driving up to camden we discovered a wonderfully quaint little town right on the coast, with the ski mountain just a few miles away. being from kansas, as well as "relatively" new to maine, venturing to a snow covered ski slope still has an awe inspiring feel to it. walking past the ski lodge and seeing the low hanging clouds hiding the top of the mountains only added to the feeling.  we found the crowd next to the chute and enjoyed several hours of toboggan racing.  i'm not sure i learned much about this sport, other than the fact that to go faster, the riders basically lie down on the sled.  this may help reduce wind drag, but it basically meant that all i saw was an odd kama-sutra-esque mass of arms, legs and stocking caps flying by; but isn't it that sense of togetherness and closeness of a team that brings home the gold.

it may not be the "exact" same thing as watching bobsleds race by during the olympics, but for two people trying to make the most of the winter months of maine, it was a wonderful way to enjoy a winter-y weekend.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

in pursuit of [hygge]

come on portland...light my fireplace....

this winter, i've been enjoying a book called "the little book of hygge- danish secrets to happy living." you may be unfamiliar with the word [hygge] but i know you've felt it.  it's that feeling of curling up in a blanket with a cup of coffee as you sit by the fire; it's that feeling you get when you enjoy the company of good friends while eating a warm dinner as the snow falls outside.  basically think sweaters, scarves, sweets, hot drinks, candles and fireplaces and you have a good start on this concept of [hygge].  my wife got me the book as a christmas present to help me get through these new england winters i now find myself in, and in a small way, it's working. whether it's getting more light from candles lit around the house, spending more quality time with friends, or drinking hot toddy's every night, this winter has been more pleasant than last year.

on my quest to achieve total [hygee-ness] this winter, i've been searching out bars in portland, maine that have this [hygee] qaulity.  one main component i've been looking for are bars with fireplaces, which was surprisingly hard to do.  however, it's not just fireplaces, it can also be candle light, comfortable seating and a general cozy atmosphere.  below i've listed all the bars i've found that have fireplaces and a few that were able to achieve [hygge] without them.

bars with fireplaces

ri ra - irish bar with several fireplaces throughout the restaurant with an overall cozy feel

boones fish house - large stone fireplace in the dining area

bull feeny's - another irish bar with several fireplaces... though i'm not sure if they actually work

liquid riot - a tad open to be cozy but it does have a working gas fireplace in the back corner

eve's at the garden - it's as comfy as a hotel bar can be, but there are a couple fireplaces to enjoy

honorable mention - no fireplaces but still cozy

bramhall pub - dark but with enough candles to make you think there is a working fireplace

flatbread - a little open but with large pizza ovens that warm the place up

the grill room - a nice pizza oven you feel the heat from if you sit at the cheifs table

the armory - no fireplace but it really does feel like it should have one.

the bearded ladys jewel box - candle light for a great atmosphere and a cozy balcony space to sit

little tap house - overall cozy feel with candle light on the tables and great poutine

maps - "down in the basement" type coziness

lfk - intimate nooks with comfortable seating and amazing hot toddy's

brian boru - there must be something about irish bars

this is not a complete list; there are probably other bars and restaurants which are perfect for a cold night.  these are merely the places i've been to and had that feeling of [hygge], hopefully i'll find more.  i hope everyone out there, no matter where you live, can find a great place to get together with friends this winter and enjoy some quality [hygge].

candle light at the bearded lady's jewell box

the nooks at lfk

fireplace at liquid riot

candles in the fireplace at bull feeny's

pizza oven at the grill room 

 fireplace at the portland harbor hotel