Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Adventures in Strolling by the Kyle

Once again, we had a hard time coming up with something to do this week (which is why you should be emailing/commenting us suggestions to do for our adventures). There was a Christmas stroll that was being held down the street from us in the Barnstable Village, so we decided to give it a try. It was absolutely freezing outside but we decided to brave the cold and enjoy ourselves. I love the Barnstable Village. It has a very postcard feel to it. There's a ton of history there and lots of gorgeous old buildings. If I had a lot of money I would definitely move into one of the historical houses in a heartbeat. Many of the businesses were open and had cider/cookies/etc for anyone to enjoy. There was a lot of music and cotton candy and Christmas lights. It was quite nice. I got to go into a lot of the buildings that have always interested me but I've never had any reason to go into them. For some reason there was a table that had two donkeys with them. They were very cute but boy Kyle and I couldn't figure out what they were doing there. That picture is of an ass...get it? Anyways, it was quite freezing out but we definitely enjoyed ourselves. It helped us get in the mood of Christmas coming up quickly. It also allowed us to explore a lot of the village that we had never seen before.

The thing that stood out to me the most was the fact that the General Store was not open. Almost every other business on that stretch of road was open, including the realtor's office that is part of the same building as the General Store. There have been some issues with the General Store the past few years and I don't think they did themselves any favors by closing for the stroll. A lovely coffee shop opened next door and immediately the owners of the General Store were up in arms because Nirvana (the coffee shop) was taking business away from them. While Nirvana does serve sandwiches and pastries, the selection is very limited. The coffee is far better than their neighbors' but I really don't see how they can be damaging sales as much as they are said to be. That was the first part of the whole kerfuffle that made me start to slowly remove myself as a customer of the General Store. Over the past summer Nirvana donated all their profits for an entire day to the Sturgis Library. Obviously I'm a bit biased but I think even if Kyle wasn't directly involved with the library I would have been really impressed by the move. There are other small grievances I could put forth but I don't see any reason to pile on. And now to be closed for the Holiday Stroll... I think they really need to do more for the community that they're a part of. I hope they can turn it around because having a store like that in the village is a great thing and I'll be quite sad if it goes away. Also, there were donkeys in the road.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Adventures with Harry Potter's Diet by the Kyles

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. This food-centric entry came about when Kyle discovered the book and found some delightful recipes. I've always loved breakfast foods so I lobbied for the rosemary roasted potatoes and a farmhouse bacon scramble. For dessert we had pumpkin pasties. After debating the pronunciation for a while we got to work. Kyle did the lion's share of the work but I prepped the bacon and the potatoes. She is also the much bigger Harry Potter fan so she could probably tell you when and where the different foods were eaten. (Side note, the new Harry Potter movie is very entertaining.) The food all turned out really well, and we can definitively say that we're 2 for 2 with our food adventures. There's something lovely about cooking things in bacon grease. And I'm realizing more and more that rosemary is my favorite herb. I love it on chicken, corn, potatoes, even in beer (find Babayaga by Pretty Things)! The pasties were lovely and just filling enough to top off a fun meal. It's a fun cookbook and I'd recommend checking it out. The recipes leave plenty of room to improvise and are easy enough for novice cooks like me to follow along. We still could use more suggestions from you guys. If there's something you'd like to see us do, send us an email at with your ideas.

I have been a big fan of Harry Potter for many years. So when I heard that there was a cookbook out, I knew that I had to get it and try out some recipes. There's a very wide selection of food to choose from. With each recipe, the author cites where the food is mentioned in the books and also gives some English history related to the food as well. Anyone who has ever read the books will be very familiar with the pumpkin pasties. They are mentioned many times throughout the series. This was the only super Harry Potter food we made for the night. Here is the recipe if you are interested in making them yourself:
Pastry Crust:
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tbs granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbs cold butter, cut into chunks
3 tbs vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into chunks
4-6 tbs ice water
1 c canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the butter and shortening over the flour mixture. Pulse about 15 times until the mixture resembles coarse yellow meal, with no white powdery bits remaining.
2. Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle 4 tbs cold water over the mixture. Toss the mixture together with the spatula until it starts clumping together. If it's too dry, add more water 1 tbs at a time. Gather the dough into a ball and pat it into a disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3. Combine the pumpkin, sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon into a mixing bowl. Mix well. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out the dough 1/8-inch thick. Use a saucer to cut out 6-inch circles.
4. Put 2-3 tbs of filling in the center of each circle of dough. Moisten the edges with water, fold the dough over the filling, and crimp with a fork to seal the edges. Cut slits to make vents. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 30 minutes or until browned.
Makes 6 pasties

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Adventures with The Frames by Girl Kyle

I was particularly excited about this week's adventure. Boy Kyle and I went to NYC to see The Frames. If you have never heard of them then I suggest that you go onto youtube right now and listen to some of their songs. I first got into them after watching the movie Once which came out in 2007. Glen Hansard, the lead singer of the band, plays a busker on the streets of Dublin and meets a fellow musician from the Czech Republic. The music in this movie is incredible. I unfortunately have never had the opportunity to see them live before. Boy Kyle was lucky enough to see Glen Harnsard's side project, Swell Season, about 2 years ago. Time went by achingly slow since we bought the tickets about 2 months ago. Kyle's cousin, Sarah, was gracious enough to let us crash at her apartment so we didn't have to get a hotel. This was proving to be a great weekend.
The train ride into the city was fine. When we got to Penn Station, we had no idea where to go from there. Boy Kyle contacted his brother to find out the easiest route to get to Terminal 5 where the band was performing. Google's directions were so convoluted that we just decided to walk there. We had to walk 22 blocks through the city. It wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't for the ridiculous amount of people and the very odd smells. We got to the club early even after we almost lost each other about 15 times in the crowds. We celebrated our achievement with two pints of Guinness. We figured it was fitting since we were seeing an Irish band. We were able to get incredible spots on the balcony. No one was obstructing our view and we were able to see the stage clearly. Whenever Kyle or I went to visit the bar or the bathroom, we had many people try to squeeze their way into our spot. We had to be aggressive in guarding our spots. I would have punched someone in the face if they tried to squeeze their way past me and obstruct my view. (I really wouldn't have of course, but it would have been very tempting.) There was one opening act that wasn't too bad. Thankfully they only played about 4-5 songs. Then The Frames got on stage and I freaked out. I was jumping up and down and yelling and clapping. Boy Kyle just stood there with a big smile on his face. It reflected our personalities perfectly.

The Frames are absolutely amazing live. Glen Hansard has an incredible presence while on stage. You can tell that he gets lost in the performance. I love when musicians do that because you can see that even though they've been playing for 20 years, they can still put just as much emotion into it as when they first started playing many years ago. I wasn't disappointed with their set list, either. They played for about 2.5 hours and had around 4-5 encores. The crowd was going crazy the whole time. It was a very exciting show. (Minus all the loud drunk people and then the sober people shushing even louder than the loud drunk people.)

We got out of the club around 11:30 and knew we had to walk back to Penn Station. The walk back was just as crazy as the walk to the show. After seeing that much of NYC I have come to the conclusion that I don't really enjoy it. It's too much for me to handle. It's too loud, there are too many people in one small area, and it smells pretty awful. I could go on. Jeez, I sound like an old lady. I've been on the Cape for far too long. The train ride back wasn't bad. We were both exhausted and couldn't wait to get to Sarah's apartment and sleep for a long time.
We had a fantastic time and I've never seen a show as good as that one. I really really hope that they will come back soon enough so I can enjoy their spectacular performance again.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Adventures in (failing at) Geocaching by the Kyles

Our apologies for the delay in posting a new activity. As we mentioned last week, we're running out of ideas, daylight, and expendable income. However we did find some time to go Geocaching this past weekend. "What is that ridiculous word that Kyle just made up?" you might ask; it is a glorified scavenger hunt, complete with its own website. I used to be a bit more active with my hunting but I lost my handheld GPS device about 5 years ago. I found it again recently and thought it would be fun to get back in the habit of exploring. I picked 3 places that were all within 3 miles of my house because I didn't want to spend a lot of time driving around. The first cache was reportedly located just off Rte. 132. After a quick walk around where it was supposed to be, I decided that most likely it wasn't still here since there was no dog park like the website said, only a Comfort Inn. The second place was a nature trail on Rte. 6A in Barnstable. As we pulled into the parking lot, we discovered that there was a man getting ready to go off into the woods to hunt. Since we would also be in the woods (hunting inanimate objects for the purpose of discovery, not their sweet flesh-meat) we were a bit nervous. But it takes more than the threat of getting our human faces mistaken for that of a deer/turkey/bear/sasquatch to deter us. We located the coordinates about a half mile into the woods and I began to look around. I soon gave up though because I'm impatient. The last place we looked was at the Wheldon Library in West Barnstable. This location was even more frustrating than the nature trail because there clearly was nowhere to hide a cache. I also remembered that sometimes the "cache" is just the location. Which is all well and good but dammit, I want an actual prize I can hold in my hand. Yeah, a library is great. Where's my effing plastic sheriff's badge? So I had to resign myself to the fact that I would have to look again some other time. Which I will. And I'll make note of it in whatever completely non-related entry it coincides with.

I have never personally been geocaching before so when boy Kyle suggested it, I thought it would be interesting to try it out. And it was the first nice day we had for quite a long time so it was a good excuse to go for a walk. Kyle did most of the work so I just followed and enjoyed the nice weather.

The only excitement of the day was when we came into contact with the hunter. Thankfully he was hunting for non-humans so we made it out of the woods alive.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Adventures in Laziness by the Kyles

So we apologize for being so lazy. We have been trying to figure out affordable things to do since it's now getting colder and colder, but alas we have failed. We have something lined up in a couple of weeks but other than that we're stumped. We'll keep trying to come up with something to do in the meantime. If you have any suggestions either post them in a comment here or email us at Please please please help us with some ideas!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Adventures with the Military and the Top Shelf Flea Market by the Kyles

This past weekend Girl Kyle and I went to an open house at the Otis Air Force Base. The purpose of the open house was to let people see some of the barracks and the equipment being used in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also there was a section where historical re-enactors set up recreations of a camp from their time period. There was a Civil War camp, both Union and Confederate soldiers; and a World War II camp, both American and German soldiers. I have to say that while I understand that someone always has to play the villain role, I don't think I could ever get into the mindset of portraying a Nazi, at least in a re-enactment capacity. I think it's just the idea of having to collect Nazi memorabilia in my spare time. There was a mock battle put on by the World War II re-enactors and it was great fun to watch. But at the same time it made me feel very uncomfortable. It had nothing to do with the people portraying the soldiers, it was actually the people who gathered to watch. I could see that the people participating in the skirmish were very serious about what they were doing and they had a healthy respect for what it was that they were doing. However there were several spectators, young and old, who had the attitude of "this is going to be awesome, I can't wait to see all those guys die!" It had a bit of a Roman Colosseum feel and it really upset me. For that reason I don't think I'd ever be able to do what those re-enactors do.
After the battle was over, we wandered to the modern barracks. There wasn't much to look at, just temporary housing mostly. But there were soldiers wandering around who are currently enlisted. I couldn't help thinking that it was entirely possible, even likely that these men and women could be overseas before Christmas. And that not all of them would make it home. It was a very heavy day for me and even though it's good to get some perspective now and again, I was grateful that I could leave the base, get a drink and go back home to watch Big Bang Theory. And it's because of the sacrifice of all the soldiers represented there, from the Revolutionary War to the present day, that I am able to enjoy the banalities of every day life.

Moving on to a more lighthearted topic, last Sunday was the Top Shelf Flea Market in Somerville. It was a small gathering of local vintage clothing merchants who brought items from their shops and sold them at pretty steep discounts. I was able to procure a splendid cotton bow tie for $7. I've recently started a quest to start dressing even more like an adult than I already do and regularly wearing a shirt and tie is part of the plan. There was a lot less at the flea market than I anticipated but it was still fun to see all the vintage clothing.
After leaving the market, we had lunch at Redbones; a barbecue restaurant with an impressive beer selection, including an Imperial version of one of our favorite beers, Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale. The food was great and the beers were even better. I found out the next day that my boss' old shop was right around the corner from Redbones so we'll have to check it out the next time we're in the neighborhood.

I (Girl Kyle) had a different experience than the other Kyle during the open house at Otis. My family and I did Civil War reenacting for about 7 years. I haven't been to a reenactment since we stopped participating so it was nice to see the encampments and the soldiers and campfires and things like that. My mom and I portrayed soldiers and participated in the battles. Surprisingly there were a fair amount of women soldiers in the ranks (this is becoming more and mo
re popular which I definitely approve). I have never been to a World War II reenactment before and I've always wanted to go. This was a great opportunity for me to see what they do and how they set up camp. I agree with Kyle, it was unsettling to see the Nazi flag waving about in the German camp. I personally wouldn't feel comfortable portraying the Nazis. But I guess someone has to do it. They had some really cool items out on display. They had lots of tanks and motorcycles and jeeps. During the battle that we saw they actually used the tanks which was very surprising. The battle was very exciting. I haven't seen a reenactment battle in quite a long time. I'm always the one in the battle. It's a completely different experience watching a battle happen rather than being in it. Watching a battle happen can be very emotional for me. It's really hard to watch something that you know happened in real life and many people were killed because of it. It's really easy to separate yourself from that idea while you're in the battle. It's a lot of fun and typically you know a lot of the people involved so it's like playing war on the playground. But when you're outside of it and just a spectator, you can see what it really looked like and how horrible it must have been to be involved in it. I can understand other people's excitement watching the fake battle but they should remember that what they're watching happened in real life. People were killed, families were ruined. It's easy to forget that when you're emotionally detached. Seeing the modern soldiers walking around was hard for the same reasons that Boy Kyle said. They are involved in a real war. The other people are just portraying people in war, they won't have to be shipped out a couple months from now. So while the day was fun, it was also heartbreaking.

We'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions so leave a comment or email us at

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Adventures with So You Think You Can Dance by Girl Kyle

Welcome to my guilty pleasure.

There is a show on Fox called So You Think You Can Dance that I've watched since the second season. It's not like Dancing with the Stars where the people can't dance and the music is pretty awful. It's a show with people who can dance quite well and the music is decent. After the show is over, the cast does a country-wide tour. My mom and dad wanted to go to the one in Boston so my sister-in-law Ally and I decided to join them.
The show was at the Agganis Arena on the BU campus. I've never seen any kind of show at a venue this big before so I knew it was going to be an interesting experience. There were many different ranges of people who showed up. There were 10 year old girls with their mothers and group of friends, there were many teenage girls, lots of women my age, older women, and a handful of men. The men that were there were probably either dragged by their wives to join them or, which is probably the smallest crowd, were there to actually enjoy the show. My dad was in the latter category but maybe a tiny bit in the former category too. The place was huge and really really loud. But what was I expecting with a huge crowd of teenage girls and men dancing with their shirts off?

Ally and I had better seats than my parents which doesn't happen very often. They were closer to the stage but they could only see the side of it. Ally and I were farther but we were facing the front of the stage. It was the kind of show where you could feel the music in your chest. You could barely hear the screaming anymore because the music was so loud. The dancing was incredible. I've never been to any kind of dancing performance other than school type things so it was really nice to see professionally trained dancers performing. They do the kind of performances where you get goosebumps because they put so much emotion into it.

We had a really great time. They performed a lot of the dances that I wanted to see. I had an odd buzzing in my ear for a handful of hours afterward but it was totally worth it. So for anyone who has never seen the show before, you should check it out. It's really impressive and the new season starts pretty soon.

(Boy Kyle went golfing.)

If you have any suggestions or you just want to say hi then you can email us at

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Adventures with the dapper Paul F Tompkins by the Kyles

I have been a fan of Paul F. Tompkins ever since I first heard him on the Never Not Funny podcast about 4 years ago. In those 4 years I've kept an eye out for the possibility of him performing in Boston or Rhode Island. This past Saturday, it finally happened. Tompkins has created the "Tompkins 300" format of booking shows which came about after joking with a fan. He said "if you can find 300 people in Vancouver who want to see me perform, I'll fly up there." And of course, 300 people agreed. The show in Boston stemmed from that show, as Facebook groups all over the country have started popping up saying "Bring Paul F. Tompkins to..." If 300 people sign up to be in the group (essentially promising to buy a ticket), then PFT will perform in that city. Now for this particular show, Kyle and I planned to drive to Wollaston, park at the T station and ride the train in. Sounds easy enough but it proved to be a bit more complicated. We left the Cape a little late since we wanted to grab dinner before heading in to town. Once we got to Wollaston we were informed that the trains weren't running between Braintree and JFK/UMass so we would have to take a shuttle from Wollaston to JFK/UMass, then take the train from there. It was pretty inconvenient but the people watching was top notch. On the shuttle there was a group of about 20 girls, approximately high school/early college age, most of whom were wearing North Face fleece jackets and Ugg Boots. It seems to be the uniform for girls of that age. We have decided that the best label for this uniform is UggFace. Once we got on the train there were 3 girls in varying degrees of disarray. The high (low?) lights in the group involved a tube top and a bright red sunburn, knee high tights with flip flops and a state of inebriation that included the phrase "it's so funny that we all have hot pink lipstick on!" They did not all have hot pink lipstick on, I believe only the speaker did. When we finally arrived at Harvard Station we discovered that the exit to the street that we needed was closed for construction. Neither Kyle or I are familiar with the area so we had to ask for directions at the Harvard gift shop. And of course the person I asked had no idea where the theater was. But we did find the venue with about 30 minutes to spare. When we got to the will-call window, however, we were stalled once again. "What name are the tickets under?" "Brennan, Kyle." Long silence, multiple page flips. "What was the last name again?" "Brennan." Another long pause. "And the first name?" "Kyle." Long pause. "Well I don't see that name on my list-" "Is it under Damron?" Long pause, multiple page flips. "First name on that?" "Kyle." Long pause. "Oh yeh, here you go. Enjoy the show." We had finally made it. I have to admit, I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to see the show, but we did and it was fantastic. I think the most amazing thing about what Paul F. Tompkins is doing now is that the first 30-40 minutes of his set was improvised. All the jokes he told in that portion were off the top of his head. He cracked himself up several times before saying what he thought, which was delightful because it seemed as if he was excited to tell us what was making him laugh. When he finally got in to his prepared material he formed a long narrative about the many jobs he's had. Almost 2 and a half hours of one of my favorite comedians, I could not have been happier. Or perhaps I could have. After the show, Paul stuck around to sell CD's and say hi to people. Since I didn't have any cash, I completely chickened out and we left without saying hello. I guess I just thought it would be awkward to walk up to his table and say "hi, great job, I really enjoyed the show. I'm not going to be buying a CD though." So with regret we left the theater and popped in to a local watering hole for a pint. And I managed to not lose my camera!
- Boy Kyle

This was a completely new experience for me. I have never seen a comedian live before and I was really excited about it. I used to watch Best Week Ever and Paul F Tompkins would be on it a lot. That's where I first heard about him. Ever since then I had seen him randomly on TV shows or while changing channels. The theater where we saw the show was really great. It was small and we were about 10 rows from the front. We had a great view and there weren't any hecklers. I'd love to see another comedian live. It was a really cool experience. So even after all the nonsense we went through to get there, it was completely worth it.
- Girl Kyle

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Adventures with Pretty Things by the Kyles

So we've noticed a trend with this blog, most of our posts revolve around or are related to beer in some way. And while this post is going to go along with this trend, the next couple of posts in the coming weeks will not. I think it just shows you our love and dedication to the golden elixir that is beer. But anyways, for this week we went to Allston because Pretty Things was having a launch party for their newest beer in the Once Upon a Time Series. Pretty Things is a different kind of beer company. They don't own an actual brewery. They rent out different breweries for a couple of weeks and then take over and brew as much of one beer as possible and then move on. Almost everything I've ever had from them is delicious. They have this thing called the Once Upon a Time series and this is when they resurrect a beer recipe from long ago and attempt to make it. Hopefully it will then be good enough to sell. The newest one in the series was the November 15th 1901 KK beer. A description of it can be found on their website.
It was announced that for the launch, since the beer had originally been brewed during Edwardian times, that they would prefer if people dressed up in period clothing. Kyle, Liz (our great friend) and I tried very hard for the weeks leading up to it to find something that could be called Edwardian, but we didn't succeed. So instead, we all just dressed a little fancier than usual. We had a great time. There were only a handful of people in Edwardian clothing and most of them were from the brewery itself. The people were incredibly nice and we talked to Dann Paquette, the head brewer, for a little while and he told us all about the beer. He also had an amazing mustache. I think it gave Kyle ideas for increasing the size of his own mustache.
So anyways. After an amazing time at the Pretty Things launch, we decided to go into town and have dinner and walk around for a bit. So that was our night. As you can see, there aren't many pictures up and that's because we (I'm not sure who exactly and I think it's better that way because the blame isn't on a specific person) lost the camera half way through the night. So we are without a camera. We hope to get a new camera before our next adventure which will be on Saturday. Let's hope we can succeed.

I just wanted to add that I was able to talk briefly with Dann, Martha Paquette and Julia Horvath at the end of our time at Deep Ellum. They were all lovely people and incredibly welcoming. I think that their joy and enthusiasm for what they do is enviable. I know that I would love to be able to attend any future launches and will definitely plan to make them. My thanks go out to them and the folks at Deep Ellum for hosting a great event. We did get some great pictures with our lost camera and unfortunately we won't be able to share them. So in closing, check out Pretty Things online and see what they're all about. Then pick up any of their products that you come across because you won't be disappointed and you'll be supporting some fantastic and creative people. Also if you have any questions or suggestions, email us at

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Adventures in Chicken by Boy Kyle

I just want to say up front that, yes, I cooked a whole roast chicken by myself. And I brined it, as well. I'll now give you all the chance to sarcastically say "oh wow, Kyle cooked dinner all by his self!"

OK, let's move on then, shall we? Brining a chicken, for those who aren't familiar with the process, is essentially the same as marinating. You concoct a very salty broth and the salt removes the existing juices in the chicken and allows the broth to soak into the bird. The brine that I made came from a recipe on the internet. It involved salt, sugar, thyme, rosemary, lemon, garlic, onion and beer. I chose an Autumn Maple ale from The Bruery, based out of Orange County, CA. I had to make some changes to the recipe because the recipe called for 64oz of beer and I only had 25. I would have gotten more but it was $15 per bottle so one would have to do.
After cooking up the brine I had to let the chicken sit in it for 24 hours. I probably could have left it in for more but we were hungry and wanted to eat.
You have to understand that I do cook more than Kyle will have you believe. It's just that I feel more comfortable cooking on a grill. I'm not entirely sure why, probably it's the primal thing but I think it has more to do with the fact that when I'm cooking on a grill I'm present through out the process. I can turn the chicken/steak/burger/hot dog/vegetables whenever I please and I have more control over it. Baking means I have to just rely on the oven. I can throw something in there and go watch Mad Men. Which is what I did. After about 40 minutes I pulled the chicken out of the oven and it smelled amazing.

It also tasted great, though a little salty for my liking. A result of the brining, I'm guessing. The best flavor came from the wings and drumsticks. I think it's because there was less meat so it was able to soak up more of the flavors. It was pretty juicy, which ordinarily I'm against but in this case I was pleased with it. A common complaint is that oven roasted chicken is dry. At least that's what I'm told. So overall I think my first attempt at brining and cooking a whole chicken in the oven was a success. There's still some left if anyone's interested, though they may have to wrestle Kyle for it.

Questions or suggestions? Email us at

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Adventures in Vermont by Boy Kyle

After driving for almost 5 hours from Belfast, Kyle and I decided that we needed to take a break from the car. Which is why the Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier, VT came in very handy. Not only was it convenient, it was also one of the absolute highlights of the entire trip. I will now give them a shameless plug. Go to the Three Penny Taproom if you are ever in the general vicinity. Scott Kerner (one of the owners) was behind the bar when we walked in and he was by far the greatest bartender I have ever encountered. He was very knowledgeable, friendly and seemed completely overjoyed to be able to get us beer. And the best part was that you could tell that it wasn't a faux personality that some bartenders and servers adopt to try and get more of a tip. Scott was genuinely having the time of his life talking to us about craft beer and getting to know us.

Unfortunately we did have to leave eventually. By the time we got to our hotel in Burlington we were exhausted and it was only 8pm. By a stroke of luck there was a restaurant at the hotel so we didn't have to bother trying to figure out what to do about dinner. The next day we ventured out to the Magic Hat Brewery, which happened to be about 2 blocks from where we were staying. Neither Kyle nor I have been a fan of Magic Hat but I thought that it might be an interesting tour. Plus maybe they'd have something we never heard about and would enjoy. We did discover an ale that we'd never heard of but we didn't like it at all. I can't say it was a bad beer but I can say that my taste buds were VERY displeased. No official tour but we got to walk around on a balcony and see the first batch of the day being bottled.

From Magic Hat to Otter Creek. Otter Creek was nice and they had a fantastic pumpkin ale, which we bought for the campsite. I don't really have much else to say about Otter Creek, they don't do tours anymore for insurance reasons, and the beer we had was quite good but unremarkable.

Then we arrived at our campsite. And quickly found out why it was labeled a "Premium Lean-To."

We also discovered that we had left our pillows in Burlington. I'm still paying for that mistake since I haven't had a proper night's sleep even as of last night. But what made the night even more uncomfortable was the rather loud and active pack of coyotes that were serenading us all night long. Throw in an overnight low of 40 degrees and you can see why neither of us slept well that night.

The next morning we went to the Long Trail Brewery. Long Trail makes great beer and after Magic Hat we were delighted to be able to start our afternoon off with something pleasant. The food was pretty average and the other patrons were a little annoying but it was a very nice time just the same. After the brewery we wandered around the little town of Woodstock. It was rather quaint and somewhat artsy. We found a great coffee shop downtown and relaxed for a bit before heading back to camp. Once there, we had dinner and got ready to call it an early night. At least that was the initial plan. Kyle was extremely concerned about having a repeat performance of the night before. I initially thought we could stick it out but the more we talked, the more I realized that there was no way she would be happy staying another night. I wasn't particularly excited about driving the 3-4 hours home but I didn't want the trip to end on a sour note. I hadn't slept well the previous night but Kyle had had a worse time of it than I did. I don't want to give the impression that I was disappointed at going home early because really there would have been very little difference between leaving that night and leaving first thing in the morning. So I opted for going home that night because I wanted to ease Kyle's mind and be sure that we would get a decent amount of quality sleep. So I drove as much as I could before fatigue set in and Kyle got us the rest of the way home. It was an amazing trip and I think I'd like to do something similar next year. Maybe some new destinations along with past favorites.
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Adventures in Vermont by Girl Kyle

For the second half of our trip we spent some time in lovely Vermont. The time it takes to go from Belfast Maine to our destination (Burlington Vermont) takes a little longer than 5 hours. I am terrible with long car rides so I was not looking forward to this part at all. This is typically how we entertain ourselves when we're in a car for long periods of time:

We decided to stop in Montpelier at the Three Penny Taproom to take a break from being in the car for so long. My car also needed a break because it was getting pretty angry at me for making it drive up many mountains for hours and hours. When we walked into the taproom, we were greeted by Scott, the bearded bartender. They had many great beers on tap and it took awhile for me to choose what I wanted. Kyle and I finally decided to share the Dogfish Head Red and White Ale that was pretty tasty. We then each got a flight. I got the Flemish sour ale, a single hop IPA, and I think a Belgian white. I was pretty impressed by everything I had. Before we left we introduced ourselves to Scott the bearded bartender. He was very friendly and had a huge smile on his face the whole time we were there. He gave us free stickers which I put on my car to shamelessly promote them. To get to Burlington, we had another hour of driving ahead of us. It wasn't a bad drive barring the fact that we both had to use the bathroom really really badly after having all that beer. Thankfully We made it to the hotel without any problems.
Our next stop was the Magic Hat Brewery. I've never been a fan of their beer so I wasn't super excited to go there. They had all of their beers on tap in the gift shop so we tried the Single Chair Ale and it was super yucky. Needless to say, going to their brewery did not change my opinion of their beer. The brewery itself though was pretty cool. They had a nice set up and you went onto this balcony in the brewing portion of the building so you could watch everyone and what they were doing.
Our next stop was to go to the middle of town in Burlington. I've never been there before and I heard it was a cool place so we decided to check it out. We ate lunch at the Skinny Pancake which is a crepery. They had fantastic food but their service was abysmal. There is a brewpub that we were hoping would have some yummy beer to offer. But alas, we were out of luck. I had an ESB and Kyle had an IPA. You would think it would be pretty tough to screw up those, but this place succeeded. Here is our wrap up of Burlington:

Our next stop was Plymouth Vermont. Before we got to our campsite we stopped by the Otter Creek Brewery. It was a nice little place and we sampled some beer. We left there with a spectacular six pack of Wolaver Pumpkin Ale and a pint glass. We stayed at Coolidge State Park which was about a mile up a mountain. We had a prime lean-to. We had a beautiful view of the mountains and we were right next to the bathroom. It was perfect. When it got dark outside while we were cooking dinner, we could hear a pack of coyotes having a field day scaring the crap out of us.

They sounded pretty close and it was pretty awful to hear that in the dark. Needless to say I slept terribly. I got up 4 times to pee and I was absolutely freezing. Our gorgeous campsite turned into a hell in the night. But our view in the morning made up for all the stuff I went through during the nighttime. (Well, maybe not completely since the next day I was totally exhausted.) Our first stop the next day was Long Trail Brewery which was about 5 minutes from where we were. I love Long Trail. Their beer is consistently good which is a rare thing. We had lunch at the brewery and they had a self guided tour so we checked that out. We had pretty much run out of things to do and took every map and tour guide we could find to plan our next outing since it was still around 12. We took a trip over to Woodstock which is about a 10 minute drive from Long Trail. Woodstock is a really nice little town. It's very artsy. We went to the library (very pretty), we went to the outdoor art show, got some tea and coffee, and then went to a thrift store. It was a nice end to our trip. When we got back to our campsite we had some dinner and I did everything in my power to talk Kyle into having us go home. We were supposed to spend another night at the campground but there was no way I could sleep in that tent again. I really wanted to sleep and be warm. We went back and forth but I finally got my way :). We didn't get back to the Cape until about 2AM but that was fine. I got to sleep in my nice comfy bed.
Kyle and I had a great time on our trip. We had some great beer and great food. By the end of it we were pretty sick of beer though which I didn't think was possible. It was just nice to go on a road trip and relax. We really needed it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Adventures in Maine by Girl Kyle

We went on this trip with the intention of visiting different breweries and brew pubs in New England. We decided to start off in Maine and continue on in Vermont. We were going to stay a night in each town on our list until we got to Plymouth Vermont where we would camp for two nights. So I will start off this post talking about Maine. Oh Maine how I love thee. I have only been to Maine once and that was when I was 13 or so and I was in Portland for about 3 hours waiting for a cruise to Nova Scotia. So I don't have much of a history with Maine. We visited Portland for the night and then went on to Belfast.
I was really excited about Portland and kind of indifferent to Belfast. The first bar we visited was a nice Irish bar near the waterfront. Naturally and to my great excitement they had Kilkenny on tap so of course I had to have that. I swear I never get sick of that beer. It was the beer I drank during most of my time in Ireland so it brings back good memories. After we left there, we went to Novare Res, which as Kyle mentioned is an amaaaaazing place. They have over 200 beers available by the bottle, 25 beers on tap, and two cask beers. We were in heaven. We stayed there for quite a long time and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

We made our way to Gritty McDuff's after leaving Novare Res. Kyle was more excited about this place than I was. They brew their beer in the basement. That sounds pretty sketchy but I'm pretty sure that's the way most brew pubs do it. I'm not the biggest fan of their beer. We had the Halloween Ale and after the Flemish sour we had at Novare Res, it was really hard to get super excited about this beer. Oh well. We were pretty tired after driving all day and then drinking beer so we decided to call it a night.
The next morning we went to Allagash to take their tour. This was the only official tour we had for the whole vacation. I'm really glad it was at this brewery because they tend to go outside of the box with their beer. We went with a big group of people that were from the store Hannafords. They were quite loud and slightly annoying but whatever. The tour guide was really nice and she showed us some interesting stuff so we were happy. It was my goal to get a bumper sticker from every brewery we went to on the vacation. I didn't succeed but I think I added 4 more stickers to my already highly decorated car. After we left Portland we made our way to Belfast.
Belfast was a very interesting place. We had to drive about 2.5 hours to get there so when we pulled up to the motel that we were going to stay at I was not a happy girl. This place looked like it was somewhere that people went to commit murders in horror movies.
To my very very pleasant surprise, it was surprisingly really clean, cute, and the people who worked there were very nice. I think that was my whole impression of Belfast. It looked like a place where people got murdered but then when you actually spend time there, it's actually quite nice. And it was my favorite place of the vacation. It was a really quaint little town. It was right on the water and it felt like it has been a fishing town for centuries. The Three Tides was where we had our first beers. I had an imperial IPA which I think is the best one I've ever had and Kyle had a barley wine.

When we left the Three Tides, we made our way into town to have dinner. There weren't that many places open and it felt like we were back on the Cape since it was so quiet and it was only about 6 or 7. We decided to eat at an Italian place that had yummy food. We each had a Shipyard there but by that time I think we were a little over done on beer for the day. We then left the restaurant and took a walk around the town. They had a big foot bridge over the water and we spent some time there. So all in all Maine proved to be a pretty awesome place. We found some fantastic beer there and I would love to go back to both Portland and Belfast.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Adventures in Maine by Boy Kyle

Portland, Maine. I've never spent any time there until last week and I'm really glad that it was part of the road trip that Kyle and I went on. Portland was the first stop on our whirlwind New England Brewery tour. Turns out due to lack of funding and time off from work we had to whittle the trip down a bit. But I'm glad that we did because by the end of the 6 days I was pretty tired and, I'll be honest, a bit sick of beer. I'm getting ahead of myself. Portland was great and it really started the trip off on the right note. After checking in to our hotel we went down to the waterfront and located an Irish tavern called Bull Feeney's and had a snack of fries. From there we wandered over to a brewpub called Gritty McDuff's. The clerk at the gift/souvenir shop recommended a bar up the street named Novare Res (latin for "to start a revolution"). Novare Res is tucked back behind everything and had great outdoor seating. The highlight, however, was the overwhelming selection of beers from all over the world. Kyle and I finally settled on a wild Flemish ale. It was a little pricey but delicious. Novare Res definitely gets a thumbs up from me, despite the online suggestions that it's filled with "pretentious dirty hipsters". I saw no evidence to back up those claims and found the staff working there to be delightfully friendly and helpful. Dinner back at Gritty McDuff's, a nice walk by the water and then off to sleep.

The next day we went on a tour of the Allagash Brewery. It was a great tour and we got to see the barrels where they age their specialty beers. Had I been more read up on the brewery I would have asked about seeing their koelschip room, which is where they do open air fermentations. Perhaps next trip.

After Allagash we went to the Shipyard Brewery and were disappointed to discover that we wouldn't be able to take a tour. But the gift shop was nice and we picked up a few souvenirs and headed out to our next destination.

Belfast, Maine. I'd never heard of Belfast before but had read about a great restaurant there so we added it to the itinerary. Driving in to Belfast, we had our doubts. It's a small fishing village with a lot of uninhabited and run down buildings and not much else. Or so it seemed. Once we got settled in we went out exploring and discovered that the Three Tides restaurant and Belfast itself was absolutely delightful. A very small downtown area but a lot of fun. Also there was a lovely foot bridge over the river.

It's hard to narrow down a single highlight from the trip to that point because everything about it was great. Besides the driving, that was a bummer. And not touring Shipyard. But Allagash was terrific, Novare Res was a brilliant stroke of luck, Three Tides and Marshall Wharf were fantastic, Belfast was a great surprise... All in all Maine was amazing. We were pretty sad about having to leave but it left us really excited for our next state... Vermont.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Adventures on the Rail Trail by Boy Kyle

The idea of a tandem bicycle is much better than the actual use of a tandem bicycle. Kyle was more leery of it than I was but it's understandable considering the size difference between us. So we quickly went back to the rental barn and switched to individual bikes. I chose a cruiser which felt enormous but was much more comfortable and fun than most bikes I've used in the past.
I knew from previous trips on the trail that about 6-8 miles from the entrance in Dennis there was a general store that sold sandwiches. It sits across the street from a decent sized pond. Could be a lake, I guess. The goal was to ride to the store, eat lunch by the pond, then head back. That didn't exactly happen.
I had to call my brother after realizing that we'd been pedaling for about an hour and a half and I wasn't recognizing landmarks. Also we had passed a sign that said "Now entering Chatham." The general store is in Harwich. For those who are unfamiliar with the Cape, Harwich is the town in between Dennis and Chatham. Obviously we'd gone too far, and apparently in the wrong direction. The kicker is that I had looked at a map around the 3 mile mark and still chose the wrong direction.

Luckily when I called my brother we discovered that there was a pizza place about a half mile down the trail. So we were able to have lunch and rest our weary legs for a time. Unfortunately we had to cycle the 10 miles back to the car. It was a gorgeous day and it felt really nice to be outside and be active but the frustration of getting lost and the realization of just how far we were from the car took away from the experience. It's a good thing that we got so much exercise though, because our friend Liz made us delicious, authentic Belgian Leige waffles that night.
Right now Kyle and I are on a New England road trip having more adventures that we can write about so keep an eye out for more updates coming by the end of this week!
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Adventures on the Rail Trail by Girl Kyle

Since I picked Plimoth Plantation last week, it was boy Kyle's turn to pick what we were going to do this week. He came up with the idea to go biking down the rail trail. I have done it before but it was quite awhile ago so I thought it would be fun. We rented a tandem bike and went our merry way down the bike path. About 5 minutes later I decided it was a pretty awful idea to rent the tandem bike. I was sitting on the back seat so the only view I had was of Kyle's back. Now, I'm not saying that he doesn't have a nice back because he does. It was just going to be a really boring ride if that was going to be my only view. And I felt like we were tipping over the whole time and I couldn't let go of the handlebars at any point in fear that we would fall over and crack our heads open. So I insisted we go back and rent regular bikes. The one I chose had a very wide seat which was awesome.

Once we started going I felt like I was a kid again. When my family used to go bike riding, my dad and I would have mini races and then my mom would scold us for going too fast. I forgot how great it felt to go really fast on a bike. It's very freeing (I'm not sure how else to explain so if that's not a real word then I hope you understand what I mean). Kyle had mapped out our trip so that we could stop at a general store that was about 8 miles from the starting point to have lunch and then turn around and go back. About 4 miles into the 8 mile we came across a little rotary where you could either go towards Harwich Center or Wellfleet Center. Kyle chose what he thought was the right way and off we went. About an hour later Kyle figured out that we had gone the wrong way. And here is me complaining about it.

I got cut off from making the video so here's the rest of it:

Of course after riding a bike for about 10 miles without having lunch and then realizing you've gone the wrong way can be a little frustrating. Thankfully we got a hold of Kyle's brother and he told us that there was a Sweet Tomatoes about a quarter of a mile down the path from where we were so at least we could eat something. We sat down for as long as possible because we knew that we had to do the whole thing over again. That's the only problem with biking a trail, well not the only problem but maybe the biggest one. You have fun but then you realize you have to get back to you car which means all those fantastic down-hills will turn into horrible up-hills.

After biking 20 miles (we calculated it when we got back and realized we went from South Dennis to Chatham) and very sore legs and butts, we made it back to the car. I got a pretty bad sunburn (why would I think to put on sunscreen on a really sunny day?) and Kyle got ridiculous looking hair from the wind. The positives: the weather was gorgeous, we ended up with pretty decent bikes, and we got to have beer halfway through the trip. The negatives: the wind, going the wrong way, a bad sunburn, the wind, and the wind. So I would say it was a success.

Week 2 Coming Soon!

Sorry for the delay in the second installment; we're quite busy getting ready for our vacation. The plan is to have our entries up by tomorrow afternoon, hopefully. Rest assured, we do plan on having adventures to write about this coming week as well so we shouldn't fall behind schedule. Thanks for your patience.
- Boy Kyle

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Adventures at Plimoth Plantation and the Mayflower by Boy Kyle

As Kyle mentioned, I was not immediately on board for going to Plymouth Plantation. Truth be told I wasn't really in the mood for doing anything yesterday. I think I just got up on the wrong side of the bed.

Another factor is that we went to Plymouth the night before to meet up with a dear friend of mine and the thought of driving back there didn't thrill me. But once we got into town I relaxed and allowed myself to enjoy it. The Plantation has never really held much significance to me so I had a feeling that I wouldn't have a strong reaction to it one way or the other. This proved to be the case but I don't want to give the impression that I didn't like it. I did have fun and it was lovely out but I think the thing I enjoyed the most about the day was walking around the downtown area. There was a festival going on at the waterfront which was a bit stressful since there were hundreds of people trying to squeeze past each other all along the road. We stopped in at the British Beer Company for a quick pint before venturing out again. We sat on Cole's Hill overlooking the Rock and the harbor discussing dinner options and the conversation gradually moved to the thought of living in Plymouth. My initial reaction is that I don't think I would enjoy it but when I stop to think about why that might be, there really isn't any reason. In fact there are plenty of reasons why I would like living there. It has some of the energy of a small Hyannis-like "city" but also the quaintness of most of the rest of Cape Cod. Summertime would bring lots of tourists but it can't be as drastic as Cape Cod. It's on the mainland so there would be no bridge traffic to fight and it's convenient to major highways. I would probably miss the privacy of the house here in Centerville but in Plymouth it would be mine. Soon our stomachs told us it was time to find nourishment so we went to a Texas barbecue restaurant and by then it was apparent that my mood had improved.

The food was decent and the prices were very reasonable. After dinner we made our way back to the Cape. All in all it was an enjoyable day and the company couldn't have been better. Kyle's niece welcomed us back when we got to Mashpee, which was quite adorable. Here is my wrap-up of the day:

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Adventures in Plimoth Plantation and the Mayflower by Girl Kyle

Our original plan was to go to Nantucket yesterday since I've never been there and boy Kyle went there about 10 years ago. The problem with going there was the times that the ferry left Hyannis for Nantucket. We wouldn't be getting to the island until 3 and we wouldn't be able to leave until 8. So instead I came up with the idea that we should go to Plimoth Plantation. It took a little convincing but Kyle finally agreed.

I have a nice long history with Plimoth Plantation and the Mayflower. My mom got a job at the Mayflower back when I was....I'm not sure how old I was but I was definitely young. She worked as a Pilgrim on the Mayflower for awhile and then worked in the ticket booth. After that, she worked at the Plantation as the group tickets lady. I spent a lot of my childhood around the Mayflower and walking all the paths at the Plantation. I was very excited to go back to both the Plantation and the Mayflower. I was really surprised when we got there how different yet similar everything was from when my mom used to work there. The visitor center and the food court and the gift shop all hadn't changed. The difference was in the village. The look of it hadn't changed much since the last time I had been there but we only came across 4 Pilgrims. When my mom worked there, you would come across interpreters all over the place. It was sad to see how quiet the village had become. Besides being sad about that fact, I felt like I was 10 again walking around the Plantation and the Mayflower. Everything smelled and looked the same (minus the lack of interpreters). The thing that surprised me the most was how they left out everything in the houses. They had pottery, furniture, clothing, weapons, books, etc just laying out in the open. There were no cameras so it would be incredibly easy to steal something and go on your merry way. They did a great job setting up everything to make it look like the person living in the house had just left to take a walk. They had a lot of chickens walking around so me and Kyle spent a lot of our time chasing them. They're probably used to it because they didn't run very far.

When we got to the Mayflower, it was really startling to see the lack of things they had set up. I remember there being a lot more props in the bottom of the ship. They didn't have bedding or games or barrels or anything like that lying around like they used to. They had some stuff in the place where they cook the food but there was no one in there cooking. Back when my mom used to work there, there was always someone cooking up something that smelled delicious. My mom used to cook in there actually. Even though we had a great time and it was a gorgeous day, it was really sad to see the huge difference in how the places have changed. It's a shadow of itself and it makes me sad.
I'll end this post with a video of me terrorizing some chickens.