About the Author

A Pleasant Pennsylvania Picnic

Back in November I partook on a trip with my mother and brother. After a few exchanges of ideas, we decided to take a trip to Pennsylvania. The early morning came as I grumbled out of bed; moaning for the coffee that would wake me up. As the drive began and went on, there were no coffee shops to be found. However, there were some pleasant stops on the way down that curbed my sour mood. Taking the longer route and avoiding Connecticut/New York City, we found ourselves up on Hogback Mountain in Vermont. There we were greeted by a warm fire and a quaint country store. Here we found a soda that even a non-soda drinker like my brother enjoyed. Ironically, it was called Totally Gross Sodas and this particular flavor was called Alien Snot. This somewhat quenched my need for caffeine as we looked over the sight of the valley on top of the mountain. But the journey had to continue. About halfway down, our stomachs made the familiar sound of rumbling as we made our way to an apparently popular restaurant. People were lining up at the door for this delicious food that was indeed worth the wait. Satisfied we went back into the car and found our way to our next stop; a candy, fudge, cone, and ice cream shop. There we were told that everything was made from scratch, including their cones. It was hard to pry ourselves away from all these sweet treats and colorful decorations, but the end destination was calling for us. After what seemed like ages, we finally arrived at the hotel. My, what a sight it was to behold. We decided to stay in a themed hotel this time; a steamboat that glowed on its man-made pool that reflected its old fashion gleam. Inside one seemed to step back in time with classic red carpets, black and white photos, polished timber, and nautical themes that brought out the charm of this hotel. After settling into our comfy room, my mother and I decided to visit Huckleberry’s Tavern found inside the boat. Such a relaxed atmosphere greeted us as we enjoyed our talk with the bartender. He suggested their signature drink that had a pleasant blueberry taste and looked great. We soon ended the fun as we made our way back up to the room so I could change into a bathing suite. My brother and I soon finished the day by taking a dip in the Jacuzzi; something we would do every night for the rest of the vacation.

Solemn ground was what we stepped on as we entered Gettysburg the next day. One could feel the rumble of cannon fire, the primordial screams of fighting men, and the feeling of loss and devastation caused by the battle. A grande collection of artifacts were housed inside the museum; ranging from large cannons to the smallest of pins from both sides. As an added treat, we were able to see the cyclorama painting with sound effects and narration along with a bus tour further explaining how the fighting progressed. Interestingly enough, there was a hill that the Union controlled that allowed them to see the whole battlefield. Along with this key point and a communication problem within the Confederate forces, it lead to the victory for the Union. This truly reminds one of the importance of communication, maybe even in the smaller everyday interactions. With the day done, we decided to stop at a local buffet suggested by the staff. Surprising to the three of us, it was fresh made food that was a delight to eat. My belly full, I quickly retreated to the care when a creeping feeling hit my spine; probably from being on a battlefield where many lost their lives.

The next day came as we went to a restaurant called Loxley’s we had scoped out before coming down. Its outside was set up like a tree house that got the group psyched, but it was off season for that part of the restaurant. We were disappointed at first, until we were lead to their pub. It felt like we walked straight into medieval times where we could have run into Robin Hood, Little Jon, and Friar Tuck. The food had a great flavor and paired well with their Lady of Loxley drink; a sweet mango drink that makes one forget that it is alcohol. Even after a few, I somehow won darts against my mother and brother. This gaming streak continued as we made our way to the Laserdome; an arcade and laser lag place that looked interesting. My mom proved to be the pinball queen while my brother and I were racing legends. The three of us soon found our way inside the laser tag arena, facing each other. We were constantly battling for the high ground for the longest time until our mother disappeared. She only reemerged a few times to ambush us; a sneaky tactic to say the least. Many more games were played before my mother and I faced off in air hockey. It was an even match for a while; that was until the Joker’s maniacal laugh rumbled from the machine. All of a sudden, a barrage of mini pucks erupted and covered the field. My mother was quicker than I as she scored way too many points for me to catch up. Merry were we as we headed back to the hotel to rest for the coming day.

Our taste buds began to water as we pulled up into the parking lot of the Hershey’s factory. The fresh smell of chocolate welcomed us inside from the cold like a warm hug. First on our little journey was to take the tour. With singing cows and all, we were shown how the chocolate process was done on comfy moving carts. Rumbling erupted from our stomachs as our eyes laid ravenously upon the goodies found in the store. Released unto the unsuspecting public, we began grabbing souvenirs, treats, and Christmas gifts. Such interesting treats consumed on that day included mint Kit Kats, pumpkin Kit Kats, cinnamon Kit Kats, hot chocolate Hershey Kisses, peppermint stick Hershey Kisses, delicious cupcakes, and the best treats of all; a shake run of some favorite flavors that included strawberry Twizzler, mint Kit Kats, and s’mores. After checking out with our several carts full of items, we made our way to the zoo associated with the company called ZooAmerica. Animals found across North America were housed inside its borders. It was so cool to see all these different types of animals, but some stood out above the rest. The first was the very proud road runner who liked to show off. He sat pretty for photo after photo in the open enclosure found inside one of the buildings. At one point, he flew and perched on a railing that was close enough that we could have touched him. After taking a few photos for the paparazzi loving bird, we headed out the building and found a playful creature in the water. The otter flipped, swam, and scurried about as we were mesmerized by his movements. Eventually, we pried ourselves away to find a curious sight. A bobcat had emerged from their hiding spot and was stalking a fellow visitor to the zoo. She was so ready to pounce, if not for the fence that blocked its way. Such a humorous sight and a reminder that some of these animals were still predators. Our next fellow was a big brown bear that sat right next to me on the other side of the glass. I would like to think that him and I shared a moment together as we looked into each others eyes for a while; then again he could have just thought of me as lunch. Speaking of which, there was a moment where I though the bear was going to snack on a black vulture. The zoo has been struggling to keep them away from the animals and one decided to nip him. They did not get a pleasant response when he swatted back with a roar. With reluctance, I left the bear as we saw the rest of the zoo with its excitable wolves, majestic bald eagles, creepy barn owls, and other great creatures to meet, Again, the animals known as our stomachs reminded us we needed food. Asking one of the locals, we were directed to a wondrous place to eat; observing along the way that the light post tops were shaped like Hershey Kisses. Day soon turned to night as we made our way to something he had heard was occurring from the Hershey’s store. A Holiday Stroll of fantastic lights greeted us as we drove through field, road, and forest. Synchronized to music, it was dazzling and relaxing seeing old holiday favorites and fairy tales brought to life in light. What a great way to end the day.

Antique shopping has always been something my family enjoyed partaking in when we found them.  Lucky for us, a huge emporium was located not too far from our hotel. Our shopping bugs infested our being as we went on shopping sprees for ourselves and others. (I think part of our logical minds were eaten away at the time but we had fun.) Personally, I bough myself some books and a pocket watch. Food was plentiful as we made our way a restaurant known as Good and Plenty. To those unfamiliar to the restaurant, it sits one down with strangers at a long table to enjoy a buffet meal together. Food was brought to the table like having a dinner at home, especially since the selection this time around was a Thanksgiving meal. We were sat with some interesting people who I believe were from New York. Kind exchanges were given as we made our way to watch a show at the Sight and Sound Theatres. Their show this time I did not enjoy nor did I click with, but my mother and brother seemed to enjoy it.

Our final full day of vacation came as we hopped from farmer’s market to farmer’ s market; enjoying fantastic tastes and smells that came from the stands. Fresh apple cider and home made sour cream and onion pretzels almost made me buy out their stocks. The last event of the vacation lay ahead as we went to Hershey Park. Mom was overly excited as she rushed ahead of us. Unfortunately, we found out that half the rides were closed due to the cold. This made sense and we ventured inside not knowing the benefit for coming at this time. They had lit up the park with so many lights that it looked like a rainbow version of the starry sky. A magic train ride in the sea of lights, a light show performed to music in a beautiful valley above the the river, and as much hot chocolate that one could drink. The few rides we went on were unique, so I will not give any spoilers. I will tell you that riding the the front was more terrifying than being in the back on most of the rides. Of course we ended up revealing we were from New Hampshire as we were the only ones that drank the King Size Shakes found only in the park. I enjoyed my Pumpkin Spice treat while getting weird looks from the majority of others. There was little time left before the park closed; so my brother and I went on the tallest ride as it slowly spun and rose us above the park. We was the city and park lit up in lights as we sat comfortably  in our seats.

The way back home was less eventful, though I did try to have them stop in NYC for pizza. That was immediately shot down even though I was the one driving; instead vying to stop at a fancy place in Massachusetts. It was a great trip, but I missed my love and was glad to be back home. I definitely suggest putting Pennsylvania on one’s list of places to visit for good food and relaxing times.

Rookie Reviews

Puritan Backroom

Location: 245 Hooksett Rd, Manchester, NH 03104

Rating:   😀    😀    😀   🙂    :I

Atmosphere:   😀      Cleanliness:   😀       Food:    😀

Prices:     🙂                Service:      :I

Probably one of the most famous restaurants from New Hampshire, the Puritan Backroom has always been a place to stop and eat in Manchester. I remember as a kid getting that electric thrill when my family would arrive at the doors. Usually, there would be a massive crowd inside, but the smart ones know to reserve before coming. (Hint, hint). There is a classier air in this joint as the tasty foods’ scent lays lightly in the air. The interior decor is both comfy and nice to look at as you sit at your table; being surprisingly private for such a crowded place. Unfortunately, the service is kind of a toss up. Sometimes I have servers who are full of energy and ready to help with what ever is needed. Others are struggling to get through their shift without screaming. I guess it is the stress of having a very busy shift.

The food is out of this world with flavor. Whether you choose to treat yourself with prime rib or partake in their signature chicken tenders, one knows they will be getting great food and a lot of it. Although the prices may seem overpriced at first, it is only because you do not see the portion they are about to spring on you. My favorite meal to get their is their coconut chicken tenders with their house made duck sauce; something I cannot even finish in one sitting and will bring home for a second meal. That is saying something since I have been known to eat whole pizzas without hesitation. I will warn you that this place has gotten a bad string of reports due to a norovirus that was contracted after an event that the restaurant catered. Please do not let this deter you. I have no doubt in my mind it was not the Backroom’s fault for this outbreak. To my recollection, I have never seen a place more clean in my many visits to food establishments. If you are stopping in Manchester, NH, I implore you to make a stop at this grande restaurant; you certainly won’t regret it.

About the Author

Third Time’s the NY Charm

As the the title gives away, I recently went on my third trip to New York City to celebrate my anniversary with my beloved. This time around we hit a few bumps in the road getting to our hotel, but we eventually figured our way to our destination. We decided to stay once again at Hotel Pennsylvania, but this time around we got a much better room. A smaller size that fit our needs, a better TV, comfy bed, and warm to come back to at the end of the day. Rumbling erupted from our stomachs as we traversed the streets of New York City. Dallas BBQ seemed like a good choice as we entered the building. Instantly, our noses agreed with our choice as we took the escalator to the second floor. Great artwork surrounded us as we made our way to the table. So many tasty things to try, it was hard to decide what to chose. Eventually, I got a rack of ribs, crunchy wings, fries, and a frozen, alcoholic pineapple crush drink. Scoffing does not even accurately describe how fast I ate my food. It was delicious in every aspect, a little too much so when it came to the drink having to remind myself that it was alcoholic. In my rambunctious hunger, my love was nice enough to give me a bite of her pulled pork sandwich. Delicious as well and made me want to try more, but I did not want to be rolled out the building.

After seeing how well the army of police and ambulances responded to a situation outside, we made our way for a quick stop at Midtown Comics. Lots of items in store, but nothing that really caught my eye as we continued on our way to our main destination. As my love and I do every time we go to NYC, we booked tickets to a Broadway musical; this time they were for Aladdin. What a awesome show. Spectacular dancing, splendid music, terrific visual effects, and that Genie just stole the show. Friend Like Me was my favorite song of the whole production and that actor just brought on a whole different take on Genie that had me intrigued from the beginning. My apologies to the cast and crew for not giving a standing ovation at your performance; I was afraid of falling over the railing with my stiff knees. Having enjoyed the show, we made our way to a Qdoba near our hotel where we picked up our food from a stressed worker who appreciated our understanding of working in a fast paced job. The gentlemen was nice enough to give us coupons with a genuine smile on his face. We retreated to our lair to devour our food; mine being Stromboli that I absolutely loved. Partly because I did not have to make it from scratch like if I was at home, but the flavor itself was pretty great. Unfortunately this trip was a short one as we made our way to work the next day. NYC is such a large place with so many more places to visit and experience. I look forward to the next time we explore the city to find more hidden wonders.

Rookie Reviews

Nonie’s Restaurant

Location: 28 Grove Street, Peterborough, NH, 03458

Rating:    :I     🙂     🙂      🙂       🙂

Atmosphere:    :I              Cleanliness:    🙂        Food:                🙂

Prices:              🙂               Service:            🙂

This local breakfast favorite is usually found with a good sized crowd of locals inside. From what I say, there is no indication to seat oneself, but it is a well known custom by the locals. Due to their busyness, the staff sometimes forgets to let their patrons know this fact. The space itself has a modest and hometown diner feel; thus there really is no privacy to your conversation in the open air set up. However, with the small area they have to work in, the set up works moderately well. The servers were very friendly and quick on refills. Asking if there were any other needs to be fulfilled, the staff proved attentive even with a crowd. Everything on their menu is fairly priced to the quantity of food that is received. Speaking of which, their food was delicious; made with care and full of good home flavor that is rare to find in our world today. Expect to walk out with a warm and full felling belly. Make sure every time you visit to try one of their many different flavored coffees to tantalize your taste buds.

About the Author

An Unexpected NYC Journey

In truth, I was not expecting to be taking another trip to New York City so soon, but I was given tickets to see Lion King on Broadway by my father which I could not pass up. Along with some other expenses being paid for such as some spending money and gas; the latter which my brother paid for, the trip was relatively inexpensive. The first day heading down we survived the traffic and craziness of getting into New York City. This time around we stayed on the Upper West Side near Harlem. Different from Midtown in two very distinct ways. One, traffic was not bad in the least. Honestly, it was much like Manchester in New Hampshire; still city traffic but without the intensity of a river full of rushing salmon.  Another difference was this time around I heard a lot of English instead of a mix of foreign languages. I must say it was very interesting to see that different parts of New York City have different traits and characteristics. Any who, back to the journey as we found ourselves at the hotel, the Marrakech. A nice and cozy hotel with interior inspired by North African designs, it offers a fair prices for a room to stay for the oncoming nights. We did not have much time to explore for we had an escape room to rush to. With minutes to spare, we arrived at Hoodwinked and found that we would be the only two doing the room. Perfect considering how well my fiancee and I work together. The name of the room was called the Spirit of Harlem where our late uncle had left us a fortune to find. So many puzzles of varying cleverness left us with laughs, face palms, and admiration while we cleared the room with ten minutes to spare. It wish not to reveal any of said clever puzzles, but I will say that I had seen some riddles there that I had not seen elsewhere. After our narrow escape, we headed to something I was looking forward to, a jazz club. Now you must understand that I do not know New York very well and at first I did not realize where this club was establish. It was not until we had gone inside of Minton’s Playhouse that it hit me that we were going to listen to jazz in Harlem. For those of you unfamiliar with the significance, jazz was born in this region. Mark that off my bucket list as we enjoyed the band playing and the fine food in front of us. I enjoyed a New York Steak with garlic mashed that was absolutely delicious. French fries were ordered to partake in as the band played and I spoiled myself by getting a brownie ala mode. At one point in the evening, I looked over to my fiancee who, like myself, was asked by the club to wear something nice for the evening. I do not think I could accurately describe how beautiful she looked to me that night with the candle light flickering next to us. After enjoying the creative, bouncy, and smooth sounds of the bands last set, we headed back to our hotel for a nice long rest.

A quick nights sleep led to the next day as our stomachs rumbled. Guess we knew what we were doing first that morning. The previous night, my fiancee had seen a bagel place called Broadway Bagel that she wanted to try. What a great choice. A little crunchy on the outside while fluffy on the inside, so divine. With our stomachs satisfied, we began our journey to the American Museum of Natural History. So many floors of knowledge that we barely were able to complete. I found it quite interesting to learn of other people’s cultures from around the world. Of course the dinosaurs on the top floor were really cool as well. Once we were done taking our mini trip around history, we decided to head to the highlight of our trip. But before getting to that, our stomachs once again needed our attention. We took a quick stop at a place called Angelo’s pizza, not really knowing what the place. Oh my were we surprised. It just so happened they did brick oven pizza that is so well done we mowed through a whole pizza in five minutes. It was absolutely delightful with a sweet marina made in house and stringy mozzarella cheese. The crust was perfectly crisped that complimented the rest of the ingredients. It was soon time for the show as we took our seats in the theater. Without spoiling anything I will simply say it was amazing. From blending classic African music styles to pop culture jokes and references, it was truly a most enjoyable show. My favorite part by far was when Rafiki sings “He Lives in You”. Such a mystical and touching moment as the theater is filled with lights, voices, and feeling as every word is song with such purpose. Truly, it was one of those moments I shall never forget. After the wonderful performance, we headed back to the hotel on the subway. I commend New York on having one of the smoothest subway systems I have ever traveled. It was easy to pay, hop on, hop off, and come out right next to our hotel.

Alas, the last day came and we had only time to grab food before leaving this land of NYC. Pretty good diner food at a place called Broadway Diner that was a pleasant start to our day. The ride home was smooth, until we hit Connecticut where two lanes tried to merge to one. Narrowly avoided a multi-car accident as two lanes turned to one. After that we arrived home just fine with our memories firmly set in our minds. Trips to see the Big Apple again are already in motion. We want to explore multiple parts of the city, but every time seeing a show on Broadway. For now, I hope you enjoyed my telling of my adventure and the rest of what you might find on my site.