Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Coffee Time Bake Shop

Yesterday, it snowed for the fist time this winter. Though it is normal in most places for snow to fall in December, it was especially surreal to see it happen Tuesday as four days earlier on Christmas it was 65 degrees! It was that slushy, wet  kind of snow that qualifies the shoveling I did that day as a workout. I was in Salem that morning, but before I drove home, I went to Coffee Time Bake Shop to enjoy my favorite meal of the day. 

I'm one of those people who gets mushy on New Year's Eve because it means I have to wait another year for Christmas so appreciated all of Coffee Time's decorations, especially these frosted, gummed dropped gingerbread houses.  
I ordered egg and cheese on a croissant after hearing they make the best croissants.
My iced green tea. 

 Coffee Time uses only the finest ingredients and time-tested recipes in their muffins, hand-cut donuts, bagels, scones, bismarks, cannolis, eclairs, tiramisu, and cakes. Their coffees are just rich as they are strictly brewed from Swiss water processed Columbian beans. 

Another thing to love is it's a family owned and operated bake shop that has been serving the North Shore for over thirty years. You can feel that sense of community and endearment in the way the employees take customers' requests and thru the holiday cards they receive, which were displayed on their counter. Though I have no knowledge as to what the winter of 2016 will bring (living in New England means expect the unexpected in terms of weather), I know that I can rely on Coffee Time to keep me satisfied. This eatery not only leaves every customer happy and satisfied, but it is also "open late." 

Happy New Year's Eve, Everyone! 

Coffee Time Bake Shop 
96 Bridge Street 
Salem, MA 01970 

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Munich Part Two

During my second day in Munich, I got to climb to the top of St. Peter's Church, the oldest church in the city. It stands on the hill where Munich’s original monks are believed to have settled back in the ninth century. St. Peter’s is part of the soul of the city; there’s even a popular song about it that goes, ‘Munich is not Munich without St. Peter’s.’

The climb to the top was a little longer than the Heiliggeistkirche in Heidelberg with 305 steps (read all about my trip to Heidelberg here: I climbed it with my friend Jesse and I don't know how he survived it. He is an avid photographer so his backpack is always stocked with a tripod, lights, and various lens. 

Though there was two way traffic on the stairs, there was more breathing room on the St. Peter's stairs then on the Heiliggeistkirche staircase, and an equally dynamic vista.  I got to see the New Town Hall’s famous glockenspiel. Every day at 11am and 12pm (and at 5 o’clock May-Oct), the tower chimes and colorful figures come out of the balcony and dance. The spiel of the glockenspiel tells the story of a noble wedding that actually took place on the market square in 1568. 

At night, I went swimming in Munich's Isar River. The most recognized strip of the Isar River is the Eisbach, which flows into the English Garten. Just like the Garten, the Isar River is a popular place for having a picnic, rafting, and drinking a beer.

It was a significant moment swimming in it during the wee hours of July 14th, as it was the first time I ever hung out with my boyfriend, Michael. It was his idea, Mr. Spontaneous. During my first class on the History and Geography of Germany, which was three days before the departure, one of the professors and I were taking about how we both need to work on being more spontaneous. I feel since meeting Michael, I am not so nervous when it comes to confronting the unexpected. Though I was unsure then if it was legal or not to swim in the river, I took the dive anyways. We had to walk over some sharp rocks to get to the mainland after our swim, but once he put his arm around me, I never felt more stable on ground. Little did I know then, but Michael was laying down the solid foundation that would pave the road for the strong, healthy  relationship we have now. 

Munich is the capital of Bavaria and it's beautiful, romantic, and has one of the most fascinating stories in all of Europe. It is no wonder it has been voted multiple times as the most livable city in the world. 

St. Peter's Church 
Rindermarkt 1, 80331 München, Germany
49 89 210237760 

Dachau Concentration Camp 
Alte Römerstraße 75, 85221 Dachau, Germany
49 8131 669970 

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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Munich- Part One

Before we drove to Munich from Heidelberg on July 12th, my travel group had an hour long pitstop in Augsburg. I ate at a traditional German restaurant and my waiter was a true country boy. I noted in Augsburg that the Germans from the south regions posses the same hospitality and charm that US southerners have. Though my waiter told me that he didn't drink, he declared Munich as the most beautiful city in the world. His high regards of the Bavarian city were not overhype;  of all the cities I visited in Germany, Munich was the one I wish I spent more time in. 

The first place I went in Munich was their newest museum- the Nazi Documentation Center. I had been excited to go there as I was curious to see how the Nazi Party would be represented.  

The Nazi  Documentation Center is located in the former site of the Nazi Party headquarters. It opened on April 30, the 70th anniversary of the liberation by the US troops and Hitler's suicide. The museum had four floors of rich content that covered the rise and fall of Nazism with a focus on Munich’s role. Inside, I noticed that the Germans that were there were reading the panels intensely. It was nice seeing them show such interest in their country’s history as Primo Levi- a chemist, writer, and survivor of the Holocaust- once said: “it happened, therefore it can happen again.” 

After the Documentation Center, I went to my hotel to freshen up and then walked around the English Garten. The English Garten is the largest park city on the European continent. Everyday you can find this place packed with locals and tourists, as well as surfers and nude sunbathers. The English Garten is four times the size of New York City’s Central Park. I stayed in there till midnight and never felt unsafe.  It was Sunday that day, and across the Atlantic Sundays are a day devoted to taking it easy and spending time with loved ones. Walking through the Garten, I saw a group of friends having a picnic with candles, blankets and wine; crowds salsa dancing in a gazebo;  middle aged couples playing bocce under fairy lights; and people in their finest clothes attending an outdoor Mozart and Bach tribute concert. 
Munich is a dream city for bikers. The strip of pathway closest to the street on a sidewalk is reserved for bikes. Bikers ring their cherry bells to warn pedestrians when they are in the way. If you don’t get out of the way, you can expect to be hit and receive no apologizes. No, this didn't happen to me, but it did happen to a drunk British tourist who wounded up with a gash on the top of his head. It was quite a sight before I went to bed! 

To add to my fist night in Munich, it was also Gay Pride Day! In the Marienplatz, the central square in Munich, there was an ABBA cover band performing and rainbow flags waving. Although same-sex marriage is not legal in Germany, seven decades ago it was a terrifying time to be gay in Munich. It is unclear how many of the 5,000 to 15,000 of homosexuals enslaved in concentrations camps perished, but scholar Rudiger Lautmann believes that the death rate of homosexuals in concentration camps may have been as high as 60%! Having visited the Documentation Center hours earlier, it was  beautiful seeing Germans not only own up to their past, but be fully embracive of a group that was severely ostracized by members of their country not too long ago. As 2015 comes to a close, I know I will look back on it as the gayest year. Having experienced less than a month before the trip America legalizing same-sex marriage, I could only hope that the rest of Germany would one day be able to celebrate those rights. 

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Red Rocks Park

On the weekend of December 4th-6th, my boyfriend and I went to Burlington, Vermont. We were up there to help his parents cut down Christmas trees and to recharge with some countryside calm before we had to endure the toughest week of the semester, finals. His mom had been insisting since our first visit together that we walk around Red Rocks Park, so on the morning of December 5th we bundled up in our chunky knits to spear an hour for a wintery stroll.

Red Rocks is a 100-acre community park with 2.5 miles worth of hiking trails, vistas of Lake Champlain (the sixth largest lake in the US), a picnic area, and a public beach. 

We almost studied instead, but seductive whispers of procrastination urged us to explore Red Rocks. I couldn't be happier we went though the rest of the day was packed with activities because retiring to the outdoors with my boyfriend has been my anecdote for this semester's woes. I felt sad leaving Vermont on Sunday, but singing along to the Beatles, my all-time favorite band, on the ride home helped. When the sweet opening chords to "Two Of Us" came on, my mind wandered back to Red Rocks. Paul McCartney wrote the song in 1969 about the retreats he and his future wife, Linda, took to the countryside. Though I don't know when I will return to Vermont, I know my boyfriend and I will one day share enough memories there to stretch the road that lies out ahead. 


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Monday, December 21, 2015

The Blue Stone

On my boyfriend and I's first road trip to upstate Vermont, it was a long weekend, and because of that it took us twice as long to get to the Green Mountain state than it normally would. We were on our fifth hour of driving when we arrived in the town of Waterbury. Our bodies were so tired and our stomachs empty, we didn't even check out the reviews of the restaurant we went into, the Blue Stone. In today's world, it's a rarity for millennials to put their money towards anything without probing the internet for its' ratings, but my boyfriend and I were merely looking for a place to eat before we had to hit the road for a final hour. So how was this restaurant you ask? Well, I'll tell you; the Blue Stone offered up some of the best comfort food my boyfriend and I ever had, and since that first trip, we have  made it a tradition to eat there at least once while we are north visiting my boyfriend's family! 

The Blue Stone is a rustic pizza shop and tavern. This restaurant received its' name after a well stone that was located in a 1770's farm house in Rutland, Vermont, which is an hour and a half away from Waterbury. Today, that stone makes up one of the tables in the eatery. Photograph courtesy of the Blue Stone's Facebook. 

Something that the Blue Stone knows how to concoct is appetizers. My boyfriend and I
love munching on their Barn Board-pickled veggies, roasted garlic humus and the best golden, crispy flatbread chips I have ever tasted. 

Of course the best beverage to drink with pizza is beer! The Blue Stone has nine  draft beers from Vermont, six from the northeast, and four from California. My boyfriend, whose favorite pastime is brewery crawling, ordered Focal Banger, which is an IPA style beer brewed by the Alchemist brewery in Waterbury.

"I have always really liked Heady Topper: the cult classic double IPA by the Alchemist brewery in Waterbury, Vermont. As a result I love Focal Banger, there single IPA! It's just as smooth as Topper, and it has the same distinct hop forward profile only the Alchemist can capture" ~My boyfriend. 

The pizza we ordered was the Bio Dome- basil pesto, mozzarella, spinach, roasted tomatoes, red onion, feta cheese, and artichoke hearts. The Blue Stone's dough, bread and sauce are made by hand every day. 

What will make future trips to the Blue Stone exciting for my boyfriend and I is that their menu will change each season to accommodate for "whatever's fresh, local and in season to create new farm-inspired variations on what pizza used to be." Though I have only eaten at the Blue Stone during the fall, I know I will devour whatever comes out of their ovens any season because their motto is-"changing the world one slice at a time." 

Happy Winter, Everyone! 

The Blue Stone 
15 Stowe Street
Waterbury, VT 05676


The Alchemist Brewery 
35 Crossroad Road 
Waterbury, VT 05676 

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Marblehead Rail Trail

Look hard enough and you’ll find a serene escape buried behind Salem, Massachusetts’ bewitching downtown and its' ever-expanding university- the Marblehead Rail Trail- a 4.1 mile trail that connects Marblehead, Salem, and Swampscott.  

The first time  I ever walked the Marblehead Rail Trail was back in August, which was the first time my boyfriend and I hung out together Stateside. I met my boyfriend on the Germany trip I went on with my college back in July, and we spent hours along the Marblehead Rail Trail talking about anything under the sun. 

I am a senior at Salem State University, and every year I make it a goal to find new things to love about Salem because I've had moments during my fours years where I have taken my historically rich and cultural city for granted. It is that reason I started my blog last year-to prevent myself from falling out of love with my home. I never want to forget the hidden gems that are around me even though I've now been to Europe.

For my boyfriend and I, going new places is one of the ways we keep the spark alive. We both love the outdoors, and in particular, being by the water. We like to describe our relationship as being aquatic as many of the first milestones in our relationship have taken place by the water; the first time we hung out in Germany was when we went swimming in Munich's Isar River, the first time we kissed was by the Boston Harbor after we went on a Duck Tour, and he asked me to be his girlfriend after a day spent on Plum Island (read my blog about Plum Island here: 

The Marblehead Rail Trail not only provides views of the Atlantic, but it is also one of those secret places along the North Shore just waiting to be unearthed by you and a person you wish to be close to. 


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