take me away :: Boston, MA

Last month I was pleased to spend a week with my university side kick who is now studying in Boston. August is the perfect time of year to experience Boston. It's hot and humid but you can find relief from the heat under a big tree in Boston's many parks or waterside by Charles River or the ocean. As one of the oldest cities in the USA, Boston is full of history. Boston in a nutshell: statues, parks, runners, history, brownstones, universities, and wicked strong accents.

See & Do

  • Boston Common is the oldest park in the USA, situated right in the middle of the city. The meticulously kept Georgian garden has plenty of park benches fit for an outdoor lunch or afternoon of people watching. Swans help make the view even prettier.
  • Freedom Trail is a tour through history and important places in the American Revolution. You can walk the trail yourself or catch a guided tour for more info than the plaques will tell you. It takes you through meeting halls, cemeteries, churches, Paul Revere's house, navy ships, and more. Boston loves their statues and there is no shortage on the Freedom Trail.
  • Museum of Fine Arts is worth spending a whole day in. It's a huge place that displays all types of art. The building itself is a wonderful mix of old and new. 
  • Boston is one of the most walkable cities in the States. Walk from Boston Common to the shore of Charles River. Runners pass by through the park and boats pass by on the water. It's a relaxing break from the busy city.
Even the rules at Museum of Fine Arts Boston were artfully displayed!

Even the rules at Museum of Fine Arts Boston were artfully displayed!

Eat

  • Kendall's recommendation of Beacon Hill Bistro proved to be a good one. It's a wonderful French bistro in the Beacon Hill Hotel that's no stranger to awards for its cuisine.
  • Favoured by the locals, Flour Bakery is a modern bakery with tasty sandwiches and desserts to go with their cafe pick-me-ups.

Shop

  • Newbury Street - A tree lined boulevard with a restaurant on every block makes for a perfect walk along the high end shops in historical brownstones. 
  • Beacon Hill - For something unique, pop in the vintage shops and independent retailers in the Beacon Hill area. 

Edmonton Weekend Guide :: August 28 - September 1

It's the last long weekend of the summer... bittersweet. Make it count!

Cheer: World Triathlon Grand Final
Shop: In-Season Market Finds 
Eat: Corn at Prairie Garden Adventure Farms' Corn Fest
Music: Sonic Boom and Reggae Festival

Edmonton Symphony Orchestra is taking their music outdoors with Symphony in the City! Attend a free al fresco concert at Churchill Square or Kinsmen Park on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Find out what to bring, where to park, and the schedule here.  

There is not a child in sight as the adults enjoy Telus World of Science Edmonton's Dark Matters. This month's event is Aliens & Cowboys with special screenings in the IMAX and star theatres, a laser tag game, and special appearance from Cowboys & Aliens graphic novel author Andrew Foley.

This weekend is Harvest Fair at Fort Edmonton Park. Celebrate the most bountiful time of the year like the olden days with savoury food at many locations in the park. There's something for the whole family all weekend. 

*Image spotted on Paris In Four Months' Instagram

go :: E-Town Festival

There is no conference in Edmonton like E-Town. That's probably why they call it a festival, not a conference. It's two days at Shaw Conference Centre that celebrates and encourages creativity, innovation, and disruptive thinking.

Last year's festival was very inspiring for all the entrepreneurs, creative minds, and business professionals that attended. This year, we can only expect more inspiration and creative thinking from the great lineup of speakers so far:

  • Peter Diamandis - The definition of a big thinker, he'll be sharing some insight into his world of private space flight and scientific competitions.
  • Tom Peters - An unconventional thinker who is redefining how people approach management and leadership.
  • Hayley Wickenheiser - One of the best female hockey players in the world, four time Olympic gold medallist, and Flag Bearer in the last Olympic Winter Games opening ceremony.
  • Estelle Metayer - an expert in the field of competitive intelligence, she'll be wowing the crowd with her strategic prowess and public speaking skills.
  • Bob Nicholson - He's the Vice Chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group, having a long history in the hockey world (previously President & CEO of Hockey Canada).
  • Raine Maida - Besides being the lead singer of Our Lady Peace, he's regarded as a great songwriter, creative thinker, and humanitarian. He'll be talking about how to start your creative journey and making a difference in today's global community.
  • Shane Koyczan - best known for his spoken word poetry, Shane is refreshing the image of poet with his viral videos and critically acclaimed performances.

In addition to the day and a half of speakers, Raine Maida and Chantel Kreviazuk (his wife) will be performing together in a rare concert on Thursday evening. There are a limited number of concert-only tickets if you can't make it to the festival.

Read more about the speakers and schedule for a peek at what's to come. Tickets are going fast, so register yourself ASAP!

E-Town Festival
When: September 11 (4pm start) and September 12 (all day). Full schedule here.
Where: Shaw Conference Centre
Tickets: Available here

drink :: Pinot Gris

What is it that makes us deem something as “classic?” Timelessness. The wine world is classic in and of itself, as so many of us longingly romance about the ‘stories behind the bottle.’ Today we explore one of the ‘King Classics:’ Pinot Gris. A varietal so sought after that in the 1300s, Emperor Charles IV had vine cuttings imported from France and replanted in Hungary by Ciscerian monks along the mountainside. With over 71,000 acres planted globally, it is one of the few grapes that are grown worldwide. Pinot Gris remains one of the trickiest varietals for Sommelier’s to decipher in blind tastings because of it’s varying nature.

Pinot Gris, a mutation of Pinot Noir, has grown in the Burgundy region of France since the Middle Ages. It is named for its signature bluish-gray grapes that grow in pine cone shaped clusters (Pinot Gris = Gray Pinecone in French). Depending on where the grapes are grown, the character can vary greatly; from floral and honey to saline and herbaceous.

Some go-to tasting notes to remember when buying/pairing Pinot Gris:

  • Alsatian (French) Pinot Gris is full-bodied with floral bouquet, honey notes, and oily texture.
  • Italian Pinot Grigio is much lighter in body, very dry, with zesty citrus notes.
  • American Pinot Gris has less acidity than the others, with big fruit profiles.

When pairing food and wine, the easiest standby to follow is acidity matching. For example, a big acidic steak requires the acid of a bold red wine to cut the fat of the meat. Thus, a dry and zesty wine such as Pinot Gris pairs well with fish, white meat, vegetables (both raw and cooked) fennel, thyme, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, all-spice, and semi-soft goat’s and sheep’s milk cheeses.

Go celebrate the grape that captivated so many of our ancestors!

May we suggest...

Wrap up August with fish tacos or some DIY sushi with some Okanagan favourites such as Burrowing Owl and Gray Monk’s Pinot Gris. And for the adventurous, throw a Gris tasting party with bottles from various countries and compare with friends!

Photos: Top Left, Top Right, Bottom

Edmonton Weekend Guide :: August 21-24

Cheer: FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 
Celebrate: Shades of Grey 4th Anniversary Sale
Attend: Latitude 53's Last Patio Party of the season
Shop: YEG Market in the Back Alley

The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is time trippin' to the 70s with Fringed and Confused. It's the last weekend of Fringe fun! Check the schedule to choose from all kinds of productions, secure your tickets, and read their guide for how to fringe before you go. 

On Sunday from 10-4, you can stop by High Street for their first annual Pop N Shop. Many stores will be hosting a little info session on a variety of topics from how to pack a suitcase to history of candy to mixing a cocktail. Check the list and plan your trip to High Street!

Blink is hosting The ImMACulate Garden Party - a party at Fairmont Hotel MacDonald. Expect nibbles, signature cocktails, entertainment and activities that will help you explore the terrace and learn more about the hotel (Sunday).

Photo by henry bourne for nytimes via dustjacket