Yoho and Radium

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On my birthday, I wanted to see the sunrise, so we started driving in the total darkness.

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Weather did not cooperate; since it was so cloudy there really was no sunrise.

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But we did get to check one thing off my list…

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Canoeing at Emerald Lake was $60 CAD (as of Sept 2017), muchhhh cheaper than Lake Louise which charged $105 CAD (per hour).

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I loved the color of this lake – so much more than all the other lakes we saw on this trip. It was also less touristy and not as crowded.

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After hitting up Takakkaw Falls, we decided we still had time to go to Radium…

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Dinner at Old Salzburg Restaurant – Austrian food which means schnitzel, spatzel, strudel!

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It was around $6 CAD to get into the Radium Hot Springs.

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It was pretty awesome soaking in a hot pool while staring off into the mountains.

On this Canadian Rockies trip, we checked off a lot of things on our bucket list! The next time we come back (and I hope we do), I want to:

  • Finally get to Maligne Lake
  • Hike to Lake O’Hara
  • See the Northern Lights
  • See more sunrises and sunsets!

Cienfuegos, the Paris of Cuba

Cuba

The taxi driver that I booked came to pick us up in Trinidad and asked if we wanted to take a look at Cienfuegos, since it was on the way back to Havana. We pretty much had him for the whole day and could go wherever we wanted at no extra charge, so why not? Inside my head I was screaming with joy because I had researched about the city before, and it was nicknamed “the Paris of Cuba”.

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Cuba

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The colonial town of Cienfuegos was founded in 1819 as a Spanish territory but was settled by immigrants of French origin. Since it was a coastal city, it became a trading place for sugar cane, tobacco and coffee. I love that there were so many beautiful buildings with French influence!

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My favorite building.

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There’s always music everywhere you go in Cuba.

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We walked into a random restaurant because we were hungry and wanted a sandwich.

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Cuba

It was just a cheap, simple sandwich with ham, cheese and… tuna?!?! That sandwich ended up to be one of the BEST things we ate on this trip. For some reason it just worked. We should’ve ordered more. It’s called El Palatino, in case you ever want to check it out!

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Back in Havana, we ate at an unlimited buffet place called Ana’s. It was recommended by our host and very affordable ($10 per person). All the meats were dry and salty… but the view of the Malecón was great. I would not recommend it.

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Cuba

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Lavender & Wine: North Fork, NY (June 2016)

went to North Fork almost 3 years ago and had been meaning to go back since then. I love it there! It’s quite a long drive from Queens (2.5-3 hours), but worth it.

I love road trips (when I don’t have to drive)!

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I’m responsible for feeding driver.

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We found a campground in Suffolk to camp out the night before. Wildwood State Park! No grill at the campsites though, only in the designated picnic area.

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No unicorns were harmed during the trip.

I liked this campground because it has clean & spacious bathrooms and is next to a beach. But mostly because of clean bathrooms.

The next morning:

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Lavender by the Bay opens at 9am — go to their website for hours and facebook for updates on blooming. Due to my busy work schedule, we only had this one weekend to spare. The lavender field just had its first bloom of the summer, so some parts you’ll see are still bare. It usually lasts for a month depending on the weather, so there’s still time to see them!

$5 admission.

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

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North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

Obligatory frolicking pic.

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

Some parts were not blooming yet.

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They also sell them!

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

You can find SOME of these products at the Union Square market in Manhattan, but they have more here!

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

After that, we went to Wednesday’s Table for lunch. IT WAS AMAZING. Seriously, go there.

Wednesday’s Table
53345 Main Rd 
Southold, NY 11971

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Mushroom truffle grilled cheese – Truffle-scented mushrooms, caramelized onions, sharp gruyere and soft provolone cheese on sliced sourdough bread

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Fried jumbo shrimp roll – Panko-crusted jumbo shrimp, pickled kale, daikon, & carrots drizzled with a wasabi-soy mayo nestled in a toasted long brioche roll

& Arnold Palmer (with green tea)!!!!!! So refreshing.

Next: wine time!

Mattebella Vineyards
46005 NY-25
Southold, NY 11971

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Mattebella for their sangria:

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This sangria sure is unique — it’s made with triple sec. The mint and apples were so good.

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They make amazing wine.

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

I liked that it’s a small family vineyard with comfy chairs and sofas outside (don’t worry, there’s shade!). I also really appreciated the music in the background.

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North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

After one drink each, we drove to the nearby Sannino Vineyard for flight tasting (now one of my FAVORITES).

Sannino Vineyard
1375 Peconic Ln
Peconic, NY 11958

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

The ladies there were so nice and friendly! Definitely felt the warmness from their staff.

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

They give you a blank sheet of 6 wine spaces where you fill in the number and they’ll give you the corresponding wine in each spot. Love that there were lots to choose from.

North Fork 2016

His.

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Took a stroll in the vineyard.

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

North Fork 2016

We quickly stopped by Harbes Family Farm for some fresh strawberries…

Harbes Family Farm
715 Sound Ave
Mattituck, NY 11952

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SO SWEET.

Driving back to NYC, we had to eat again of course.

Lobster Roll Northside. Despite the mediocre Yelp reviews, I really liked it!!

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If you go to Lobster Roll Northside, of course get a lobster roll.

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Martha Clara white blend, $6 and SO GOOD.

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Soft shell crab sandwich was real good.

North Fork 2016

 

 

Memorial Day Weekend Part 2: Whitecliff Vineyard & Dia:Beacon (NY)

This was a hidden campsite off the side of some road that I will probably never be able to find again. No itineraries, just winging it. I set my alarm for midnight to watch the stars. It was spectacular but I suffered the wrath of mosquitoes afterwards (one on my palm!!!?!)…

Anyway.

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

In the morning we ate another Mountain House product for breakfast:

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The breakfast skillet. It was SO delicious! Well, for what it is.

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Hashbrown!!!! Just add hot water.

Then we headed over to Wallkill View Farm Market in New Paltz.

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

Cinnamon apple cider donuts!

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

ICE CREAM! The bourbon pecan and kahlua calypso were soooo good. Ice cream for breakfast!

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

They also sell jam, sauces, anything you can cook with or bake with, they have.

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

I wanted to buy some plants too – they got rosemary, thyme, all the herbs!

Next up: Whitecliff Vineyard

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

(You get to keep the glass if you buy a tasting flight, which you should anyway)

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The menu for wine flights. I got the fruity one and Rosé one. I enjoyed the 2014 Traminette the most out of all of them. They’re also known for the Awosting White and Redtrail.

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

Now I have glasses from Robibero (also nearby!) and Whitecliff.

After that, we went to Dia:Beacon. $15 admissions. As we approached the museum, we saw lots of people walking over from the nearby Metro-North station. We were about to be turned away from the full parking lot when one car came out and we got to take the spot!

I loooooved this place. All natural light. The exhibitions were spaced out so that you’re not crowding around people trying to get a good look.

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

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I thought it was cool how the lights show up as different colors on phone pictures (the top was taken with a DSLR, this one was taken with my phone)

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Notice the difference when you tilt the phone vertically vs horizontally.

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Secret agent pic.

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I highly recommend Dia:Beacon if you are hiking nearby or visiting the wine trails.

For lunch, we went to the nearby Kitchen Sink (recommended to us by the nice lady at Whitecliff).

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

Chicken liver biscuit sliders

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

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Memorial Day Weekend 2016

Grandma’s Brisket Grilled Cheese — SO delicious

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24-Hour Banger Banh Xeo

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

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Panna cotta with rhubarb

Travelogue: Valparaíso, Chile (Dec 2015)

We booked a tour through our hotel in Santiago (~$50 USD) to go to Viña del Mar and Valparaíso. Nicknamed “The Jewel of the Pacific”, Valparaíso was declared a World Heritage Site in 2003. What I really wanted to see were the street art and wall murals!

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Isn’t he/she cute though?

Our tour guide picked us up with a small van.

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That’s not our tour guide, but it’s too adorable not to post.

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Quinta Vergara Amphitheater — where they hold the International Song Festival every year. It is the largest and best known music festival in Latin America.

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Legend has it that if you take a picture with this clock, you will one day return to Viña del Mar. We had lunch here and walked on the beach.

Without further ado, our next stop: Valparaíso.

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A city built on hills, people use these funicular lifts called ascensores (steeply inclined carriages) to get up and down.

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Colorful houses!

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Every corner there is art.

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We got on a funicular lift.

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Love the downtown architecture.

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Finally got one! It’s called “Mote con huesillos”. There’s a peach in there along with beans… very sweet and refreshing drink (and cheap too!). They sell them all over the streets of Chile.

Travelogue: Victoria, British Columbia (June 2015)

Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada, and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada’s Pacific coast. From Port Angeles (Washington), we took the car ferry there. I reserved ahead of time here. Sailing time is 90 minutes. You just park your car and sit upstairs or you can walk around and take pictures.

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We arrive in downtown, Victoria, right by the water and close to Chinatown and the Parliament building.

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It’s pretty cool that there are houses right on top of water.

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Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown.

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The Empress Tea Room – I made a reservation ahead of time for afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress. We got a table by the window and I loved the whole experience. They treat you like royalty.

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The sandwiches were delicious!

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At the end, they gave us tea to bring back home.

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The Parliament Building.

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We bought a Groupon deal for half off admission to the Butterfly Garden — well worth it. You’re free to roam around and see butterflies up close.

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Right near the Butterfly Garden is Butchart Gardens. At this point, I had gone to so many botanical gardens that I didn’t find this extraordinary. However, it was still a nice place to visit and take a stroll through its many gardens.

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Prettiest garbage can ever.

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After that, we took the car ferry to Vancouver. This time, we took BC ferries from Swartz Bay (Victoria) to Tsawwassen (Vancouver). This ferry had more food and gift shops for you to enjoy, and even a cafeteria. You can reserve here. Make sure to check their schedules and time it so that you can enjoy a full day at Victoria. We got to see the sunset when we arrived in Vancouver.

Governor’s Island: Fête Paradiso

“This summer, Fête Paradiso, the world’s first traveling festival of vintage carnival rides and carousels, will make its American debut on Governors Island in New York City. The rare, museum-quality collection, which includes a diverse array of attractions from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, such as carousels, flying swings and a pipe organ, will be available for the public to ride and enjoy every weekend from July 13 – September 29.”

You can get to Governor’s Island two ways: Manhattan ferry and Brooklyn ferry. We chose Brooklyn.

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The ferry ride is only about 10 minutes, and on a sunny, breezy day, it was beautiful. It was also free.

Right this way…

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We didn’t go on any rides. Our goal was just to take lots of awesome pictures.

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Desserts and carnival eats!

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The island resembles an ice cream cone.

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Horsie wants to get on that carousel.

Other than this exhibition, there are also tons of other things to see and do on the island. We got food from the trucks before this, and took pictures of the cloud exhibit. You can also rent a bike and ride around the island, which is something I’ll most likely do next summer!

Weekend Trip: one day at North Fork

North Fork.

A 30-mile long peninsula in the northeast part of Suffolk County, NY, about 75 miles east of Manhattan. It took us about an hour and a half from Queens with no traffic.

What’s there to do, you ask? Seafood, wineries, and quaint little shoppes. It’s the part of New York that you don’t see on TV.

We were famished when we got to the area, so we refueled at Claudio’s, right by the water.

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It was pretty much a tourist trap — pricey and mediocre. However, I enjoyed the wine and sweet potato waffle fries. Too bad the wine was from Sonoma and not local…

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We walked around and went into a toy store…

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Cute handcrafted souvenirs!

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An artisan boutique that I’ve been telling everyone to go to if they ever were to visit North Fork — The White Weathered Barn.

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And then this sign caught my eye…

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It was time for coffee.

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I don’t know how I feel about this coffee being the “best” in town…

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Boats and carousels make great photo ops for newlyweds.

Finally, what we came here for. We picked a random winery that we found through Yelp called Sparkling Pointe. They only serve sparkling wines here, but there are more than 30 vineyards out here to choose from (most if not all close at 6pm).

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I love this photo of my friend and her boyfriend.

As we drove away from the vineyard, we stopped at one last spot: Harbes Family Farm. They make the best roasted sweet corn!

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I would love to come back next summer and try the other vineyards! Such a quaint little town, and it was perfect weather for a lazy Saturday stroll. There are thrift shops and antique stores, handcrafted jewelry, restaurants, coffee shops, farms and wineries. Most people stay over for a night or the weekend, which is not a bad idea.