Monday, September 30, 2013

Northeast Life: Boston Dive Bars

It should come as no surprise that Boston is a very historical fact it's not uncommon to run into Ben Franklin on the street (he's camera shy...and charges $5 for a picture...lame). I snatched one of him anyway...

As someone who appreciates History, I always try to soak up all the cobblestone-y, New England-y goodness that is Boston....

Because of the history factor, The Green Dragon emerged as my favorite go-to bar in the city when I first moved here. Not only has it been around since 1773, but it was the spot where the Boston Tea Party was planned, AND where Paul Revere left for his midnight ride. My friends roll their eyes when we're halfway through a round of drinks and I get all sentimental...'but guys, Paul Revere drank RIGHT HERE'.  I think it's pretty cool...
Besides the historical greatness that is The Green Dragon, I find that it's always a good time on a Friday or Saturday night. In fact, I used to go so often that my friends and I know the bouncers and bartenders by name (let it be known that if you bake a bouncer a cookie, you will forever get into their bar for free...). The crowd is generally on the older side, but drinks are well priced, and there is always a live band (and they are always playing the greatest hits of the 80's and 90's). There is also rarely a line compared to the neighboring bars (probably because the crowd and music are old...but I prefer a good rock-out to Bryan Adam's Summer of '69 over David Guetta's newest remix...I'm a very old 23 raised on Guns and Roses, Aerosmith and Hootie).

Is the Green Dragon a place to meet a future
Is it a place to take your friends to impress them...definitely no.
Is it a place to rock out and dance your socks off to the live band until you're kicked out the betcha!

And if the British ever decide to attack again, there are plenty of revolutionary weapons on the wall to defend yourself! Now, go make Pauly R proud!

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Today's guest post comes from Jacky who writes the blog Keep Clam and Blog On. Jacky is a Northeast blogger living in New York who loves all things British, traveling and big comfy sweaters

Friday, September 27, 2013

Weekend Wander

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Friday 5s: Top Five Things to Experience in NEPA

Pennsylvania is a great travel destination. You can’t beat its geography (mountains, forests, rivers, lakes, canyons, caverns) or its location (New York, the Jersey shore, Boston, Baltimore and DC all within a few hours drive). It gets a full dose of every season and historically speaking, it has one of the most colored and storied histories. 

My major gripe with Pennsylvania tourism is that it all too often is focused on three distinct areas: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Lancaster. Now I’m a fan of all three of these locales and feel like their celebration is deserved. I just think that other parts of the state tend to get overlooked, in particular my beloved home land of Northeast PA (or NEPA as I’ll refer to it from here on out). NEPA is blissfully undeveloped which adds to its charm. The scenery is gorgeous and It’s got character in spades. On top of that is an easy and very affordable destination. Unfortunately many people only know it as the fictional location of The Office which has given it something of a rep as a region of simple people with simple problems. The spoofing of Joe Biden by Jason Sudeikis on SNL during the last election probably didn’t help. If you’re not aware what I’m referring to he mentioned that if you were at the 5th ring of hell you were still 45 minutes outside of Scranton. 

Now I realize that I left out another major part of PA that people go and visit, a part that partially encompasses NEPA: the Poconos. I did this on purpose as going to The Poconos (to me at least) equivocates relaxing for the weekend at a resort, hanging out at your cottage on the lake or going skiing. All of these things are great and especially showcase how beautiful Pennsylvania is, but this kind of getaway is not unique to PA. One could argue that you could experience the same type of relaxation at a house in the Adirondacks or weekend in the Berkshires. I strongly feel that more people should visit NEPA and venture out of their gated vacation communities and amenity filled hotels. There’s plenty of experiences that are intrinsically Northeastern Pennsylvanian, things that can’t be done elsewhere. It’s like the Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh or running the Rocky steps in Philly or visiting the farmers market in Intercourse. 

So, without further ado, here are my top five things to experience in NEPA. 

1) Scranton Parade Day -If you haven’t been to the Scranton St. Patrick’s Day parade yet, you’re really missing out. Taking place every second Saturday in March, It’s arguably the third largest in the country (after New York and Boston and reportedly tied with Savannah) and lasts about two hours. The best part of the celebration isn’t necessarily the parade itself but the crowds that fill the route and the raucous parties that local bars hold before and after (and during the parade). I also think the parade does an impressive job of showing just how secular Northeast PA as a region could be. Travel anywhere up and down the Lackawanna Valley for miles on the day of and you’ll encounter folks decked out in their green foolery, bar specials and traditional Irish music.   

2) Come for Picnic Season—If the above post is any indicator then you’re well aware that the residents of Northeast PA enjoy a good party. During the summer months local parishes and volunteer firefighters (mostly) help this cause by throwing weekend long picnics or block parties as a way to raise money. Unlike their relatives, the fair, these NEPA picnics are smaller, more community driven affairs that don’t cover acres of land and don’t draw national acts. Rather, the focus is on locally made food, cheap beer and local cover bands (and if you’re really lucky a local polka band). The picnics are also the best way to sample the ethnic Eastern European cuisine that’s standard in many family homes around the holiday but rarely makes it to local restaurant menus. Try some potato pancakes, homemade pierogi, cabbage and noodles (for those of you into that) or sausage and peppers. Two of the more colorful local picnics are Jessup’s St. Ubaldo’s festival and Jermyn’s Corn and Clam Slam.     

3) Lackawanna County Coal Mine Tour—In general I tried to stay away from worn out tourist traps so wasn’t planning on having any organized tours on my list. The Lackawanna County Coal Mine Tour, located just outside of downtown Scranton in McDade Park is not worn out or a tourist trap and is the best way to literally get inside NEPA’s history. Northeast PA came into her prominence as a lead exporter of Anthracite coal. A large number of residents can count miners as part of their family tree and the effects of this mining still scars the landscape. I grew up jogging on old railroad beds and sledding down coal mountains. The Coal Mining tour and its accompanying museum takes you down into one of the preserved mines and gives you a feel for how grueling and dangerous this work was. I worked at a summer camp during college and so attended this tour consecutive summers in a row but never failed to be impressed by it.   

4) Get Outside—NEPA is undeveloped compared to other parts of the state and so offers a wide variety of outdoor activities to choose from. If watersports are your thing then try one of the hundreds of lakes or rafting on the Delaware River either on either the New York or New Jersey border. Lake Wallenpaupack is a popular destination for boating and Elk Mountain offers “Vermont skiing in Pennsylvania.” The aforementioned abandoned railway tracks means miles have trails for hiking, biking or cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter months.   

5) Northern Tier Tour —There’s a number of small bars in northern Susquehanna and Wayne counties near where I grew up that also double as small hotels and inns. The northern tier tour is what my uncle has this barcrawl and while we locals find it something fun to do on a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon, it’d be a really cool way for visitors to experience and lodge in an authentic NEPA fashion. I’ve documented the stops on this little “tour” in one of my posts which could be found here. This getaway wouldn’t be completely about barhopping though as Chet’s offers snowshoe and cross country ski rentals, Stonebridge offers horseback riding and Arlo’s is a throwback to the one stop general store as it houses lodging, a gas station, ice cream parlor, tavern, bbq and mini golf course

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Today's Friday 5s comes from NE blogger Patrick who writes over at the blog PA Weekend Fun.  Patrick is a NE blogger from Pennsylvania who enjoys dive bars, tennis and mass Facebook messages.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

September Photography Challenge Link Up!

Welcome to the September edition of the Photography Challenge!

This months theme was: nature

Here's how to participate:
1. Link up your photo below!  You can link up a blog post containing your photo or a direct link to your instagram photo featuring this months theme.
2. Be sure to check out the other participants and leave them a nice comment on their photos!

One randomly selected photo will be specially featured in next months Photography Challenge post as the featured photo of the month!

Next month's theme is: movement and the link up will be posted on October 24th.  

See you then & don't forget to link up below and please spread the word! 

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Blog of the Week: Fashionably Late to the Party

This week our blog of the week comes to us from Brooklyn blogger Jen, who write over at Fashionably Late to the Party!  Meet Jen:

Hey, I'm Jen. I live in Brooklyn because that's where all the coolest freelance writers live. Also I'm from here, so it's conveniently located.

I write things, including a novel that I'm totally going to get right back to in a few days, no really, I mean it.

I refer to my husband as His Awesomeness because he kills bugs for me sometimes. And isn't that what we're searching for? Someone to take on some of the household vermin-disposal duties.

I'm on the Twitters, the Facebook and the Google+

Here's the story behind the eyepatch. I'm not still wearing it, but don't you agree that I look amazing in an eyepatch?

Thanks Jen!  Be sure to go over to her blog Fashionably Late to the Party and give her a follow and a hello!

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Blog of the week is randomly selected by the North East Bloggers Network admins. However, if you would like to be chosen please don't hesitate to let us know!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Weekend Wander!

Welcome to the Weekend Wander hop!  This hop is a great way to share your blog and meet your fellow North East Bloggers!  Let's hop to it!

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