Sunday, June 30, 2019

Tunnel City Coffee

Tunnel City Coffee is a specialty roaster and café that has two locations in Massachusetts - one in Williamstown and the other in North Adams. They sell 5 pound bags and you can read all about their different beans here.

We stumbled upon their amazing coffee booth at the farmer's market when we were exploring Williamstown and then stopped into their café right down the street on the main strip of Spring Street. We both had the Thunderbolt blend which was rich, sweet and syrupy and had notes of toffee, maple, caramel and black currant. The patio was dog friendly too so our pup joined us and we had a great time relaxing after our hike!

We also noticed that they had plenty of seating inside and the café will filled with students, families and friends alike. I love exploring local coffee shops when I travel and this one definitely did not disappoint!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Williamstown, MA

It’s been a while since we travelled, but we got to spend an amazing weekend in the Berkshires last weekend! It was my first time visiting Massachusetts (yay another state I can cross off my bucket list!) and I loved exploring Williamstown! 

We were in town for a wedding so it was the perfect excuse for a getaway and I absolutely loved the college vibe. We stayed at a charming bed and breakfast called the Williams Inn located right around the corner from campus. The hotel was dog friendly too so we brought our pup along with us!

The official town website provided a number of helpful itineraries and we used that as a reference point to plan our trip. Some highlights of the trip were hiking through Mount Hope, visiting the Farmers Market downtown, our meal at The Store at Five Corners and obviously the wedding at the Clark Institute! This is a great place to visit and only a 3.5 hour drive from the city! It’s official – the travel bug has bit me again and we’re already planning our next trip!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Habitat For Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is a global non-profit organization dedicated to building and restoring houses in various communities. I joined my local "last minute" list and was lucky enough to get an email for a Saturday opening for a "new build" which was still in the beginning phase.

I worked alongside a number of volunteers from diverse backgrounds (musicians, engineers and architects!) to help with wall framing and hammer wood planks on the exterior of the house. One of the official photographers snapped that photo of me above just as we were getting started!

The Habitat staff were awesome - very knowledgable and fun. Thanks to some sponsors we had Panera lunch delivered and plenty of Dunkin Donuts coffee and sweets to sustain us throughout the day. I had an awesome time and learned a lot! They also provided work boots, gloves, hard hats, tool belts (aprons) and all the tools needed!

Many people immediately think of building homes when they think of Habitat for Humanity but they also have plenty of other volunteer opportunities! I also signed up for a shift at Habitat's ReStore which is set up similar to the "Goodwill" model and sells furniture, home decor, home improvement goods and other donated items for a fraction of the price, and in turn uses the profits for other building projects! My shift consisted of showing customers what inventory we had in stock, assembling a donated Ikea couch (which ended up getting sold before I could finish setting it up!) and wiping down furniture that was in the warehouse.

Habitat does some great stuff for local families in so many communities and is a great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday! I will most definitely be keeping my eye out for another last minute building project (it's really hard to sign up as an individual since many companies or organizations sign up a large group on the weekends!). Do some research to see if there is an opportunity for you and I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

Friday, June 7, 2019

Ramini Espresso Bar

Ramini is an amazing café in the garment district - a little oasis from the hustle and bustle of the New York minute.  It's named after the owner, Rami, and his goal to serve delicious coffee and "mini" pastries to go with it (Rami + mini)!

There is limited seating here and it's mainly a "to go" spot, but I managed to snag a standing spot at the most gorgeous marble table, covered in plants on top of a a gorgeous copper map overlay. The exposed brick made it feel so cozy and I loved all the details that make this place like so much more than a "quick spot to grab a coffee".

Ramini serves all kinds of coffee, tea, and smoothies as well as light lunch items and pastries (croissants, cakes, muffins, brownies and even macarons)! This may have been the best latte I've ever had. The coffee was amazing, smooth and perfectly balanced without being too milky! It was here that a discovered the New York Coffee Guide which is the closest to the Indie Coffee Passport I used to follow in Montreal !

Even though I try to explore new places all the time, I think I will definitely be stopping by here!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Bluestone Lane

It’s been over a year since we’ve lived in New York and I’m still exploring every spare moment I have! One of our favourite neighbourhoods is DUMBO. It’s so cute, with waterfront views, a long promenade, just 1 subway stop away from Manhattan, and lots of great pizza joints! 

I had a few errands to do in the DUMBO area and decided to go a bit early to explore. I stopped at Blue Stone Lane, a café that I had first walked by in Philly but never had to chance to try! They have locations all over NYC, around California, in Philly and in DC. It’s an Australian café and coffee shop with a full breakfast menu, pastries and of course amazing coffee!

I got a flat white and zucchini bread which were just amazing. I loved that this spot also has a liquor license and found out that they rent out their gorgeous space for private events! I absolutely loved it here. There was plenty of seating and it was fairly quiet (compared to some Manhattan spots!) and the service was awesome! I hope to come back again next time I’m in DUMBO!

 Travel Tip: Check out the instagrammable walls all around the neighbourhood and then walk across the Brooklyn Bridge!