Tag Archives: Summer

Fantastic Fun in Philly

As I usually do each summer, I recently went on a road trip to the United States, and while at the beginning of the summer I went to the western part of Pennsylvania, this time I headed east. We went to Philadelphia, but on the way I took my daughter to visit Hershey Park and Hershey’s Chocolate World (I can’t lie, I was more interested in visiting Hershey!).

In Hershey, there are three main attractions, one of which is Hershey Park. If you love roller-coasters, they have a dozen to choose from, and they also have a great water park to cool off in.

When you’re finished with the thrill rides,  there’s Hershey’s Chocolate World, where there are tours, chocolate tasting, photo studios, and a create-your-own-candy-bar factory….a fun time for both young and old.

If you’re into history, there’s also the Hershey museum, where you can walk through and learn about the family, the company, and the city.

Since my wife isn’t into roller-coasters, on the day that I went to the park, her and a friend decided to check out some other attractions in the city, of which there are several.  My wife started the day by being adventurous, by going spelunking and exploring the caves at Indian Echo Caverns.  After working up an appetite, she then visited Tröegs Brewery, where she took a tour to get a firsthand glimpse into the work that goes into the production process, tried several beers, and enjoyed some great food.

After we spent a couple days at Hershey’s we set off for Philadelphia, and I wasn’t sure of what to expect, but it’s a really interesting place with a lot of history.  Most people know the city as the home of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were signed, but there is so much more to Philly!

Down the street from the Liberty Bell are two cool buildings you must see: one one side of the street is the mint, where coins are made, and on the other side of the street is the federal reserve where they destroy money.  Both buildings offer free tours, and you can pick up some spiffy souvenirs…but no free samples.

Another historical site is the Betsy Ross House, where Betsy Ross lived when she sewed the first American flag.  Lastly, for those into history, a short drive from Philadelphia is Valley Forge, the encampment for George Washington’s Continental Army spent the winter.  An interesting fact that I learned on the trip is contrary to public belief, no fighting took place at Valley Forge…it was actually where they prepared for upcoming battles.

Of course, when you’re in Philadelphia no trip would be complete without a run up the Rocky Steps: 72 stone steps before the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  The museum is one of many in the area, all of which are interesting and have their own quirks.  As an example, you can walk through a human heart in The Franklin Institute.

There are many other sites to check out in the city, including the waterfront area where they have The Rail Park– it’s a green park stretching three miles across Philadelphia on an old rail line.

If you like sports there’s the major league baseball Philadelphia Phillies, the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team, the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team, and the Supberbowl champion, Philadelphia Eagles football team.

As everyone knows, one of my favourite pastimes is food, and one must-visit place is the Reading (pronounced redding) Terminal Market, where it’s a combination of a farmer’s market and food kiosks.  Drop by and pick up anything from a deli sandwich to chicken wings, to a philly cheese steak. I highly recommend visiting Beiler’s Bakery at the market, for specialty donuts such as the pumpkin pecan maple donut, the key lime pie donut, and the caramel latte donut.

If you’re up for trying something a bit different, there’s Pho 75, where you can get a combination of noodles, protein and veggies in soup for under $12.00 a person.  Lastly, there’s John’s Roast Pork, which has a great pork sandwich but is famous for it’s Philly cheese steak.  Be prepared to line up…. it’s that popular!

Finally, when it comes to food, take a trip down memory lane and visit The Franklin Fountain, an old-style soda shop that serves ice cream, malts, and sundaes. They’re known for they’re spectacular Root Beer floats which have been featured on a number of television shows.

Lastly, one thing that I often find very useful for city trips is to take the hop-on-hop-off tours.  We took ours with Big Bus Tours and the tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and the route featured almost 30 stops to well….hop on and off as you please.

I highly recommend visiting Philadelphia if you get the chance. It’s a beautiful city with lots to offer.

 

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The Grass is Greener with Scotts Lawn Care Products

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always taken great pride in my lawn. I vividly recall the day when we first bought our house, almost 10 years ago. The previous owners were an older couple and didn’t seem to take much care of the grass or do much landscaping. That first spring I spent countless hours pulling the weeds, fertilizing, seeding, and watering. I was satisfied when my neighbours commented how the house went from having the worst lawn on the street to the best.

While I do the work myself such as cutting the grass, landscaping, and taking general care of the lawn. I’ve had some challenges over the past two or three years. In particular, I’ve had chinch bugs. For those who don’t know, they’re very tiny bugs that eat the root systems of your grass. Then eventually your grass dies leaving nothing, but a brown patch..

Unfortunately, the only telltale sign that you have chinch bugs is when you start to see patches of grass that look dry and it quickly dies. Before you know it, it’s too late to do anything. While there are products on the marketplace that will supposedly kill the chinch bugs, most people will tell you it’s very difficult to get rid of the problem.

Last year, I managed to get rid of the chinch bugs loitering around my lawn, but a good third of my front yard was ruined.  As a result, I had to put down lawn seed and I typically use Scotts lawn care products. While hindsight is 20/20, I thought it was going to be much more work to put down sod, so I got a big supply of triple mix soil and a couple bags of lawn seed to see if I could rehabilitate my grass.

After a few fruitless tries, I sent up the white flag and called Scotts directly to see if they could help me out because despite all my efforts the lawn was looking absolutely wretched. I guess they got some entertainment in the way I approached them, and I ended up getting a call from Scott from Scotts. He is not in any way related to the owner of the company, but certainly knows the lawn care business!

Scott took some time to give me some helpful tips and suggestions. He told me they wanted me to be happy with the product and that it’s not usually the product, but how it is handled. Based on what I told him I was doing, it sounded as if I might not have watered it enough or used enough topsoil, and so he gave me some hints on how to effectively use the product.

Scott said I also might get a call from customer service, and that they might send me some more lawn seed. True to his word, the very next day I got a call from someone at their head office. They apologized for my disappointment with the product, even though I had made it clear that it had been my fault for using it incorrectly. The woman who called insisted on paying me back for the product and even sent me a cheque so I could buy more lawn seed.

Between them going out of their way to give me some helpful hints and reimbursing me for a product that was clearly not faulty, they’ve kept me extremely happy as a customer. Given that the hot summer continues to pose challenges to my lawn rehabilitation efforts, there is no doubt that I’ll be purchasing more lawn care products from them in the weeks and months ahead.

Between their excellent customer service philosophy and how amazing they are to deal with, I recommend Scotts for all of your lawn care needs.

Scotts
1-866-436-7645
www.scotts.com

 

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Top 5 Must-Attend July Events in Toronto

School is out, and the summer is here! How will you be enjoying the next few months? Whether it’s spending time with your kids, or taking a tour of the city, our list will provide some fun ideas. This week, we are presenting fellow Torontonians our pick of the top 5 must-attend July events!

1. Matilda The Musical: Starting July 5th, experience this musical hosted by Mirvish Productions that features a fascinating story about a girl armed with a vivid imagination. Be inspired by how Matilda dares to challenge fate and forge her own path. Being the winner of over 50 international awards, this musical is a must-see.

2. Summerlicious: Running between July 8th to 24th, this prix fixe food event is something that should not be missed by anyone. For the next few mouth-watering weeks, you can enjoy great food and drinks, take part of a photography contest, and even experience three-course menus at over 220 restaurants in Toronto!

3. Honda Indy Toronto: Between July 15th and 17th, race through all that Honda has to offer you. From a world of automobiles, motorcycles, power products, and even racing simulators, to live entertainment, driver autograph sessions, and interactive exhibits, what this event has to offer is off the beaten track!

4. Cirque du Soleil – Luzia: Starting July 29th, you can experience a dream-like performance that takes you to an imaginary Mexico. Explore and test your senses as you become enveloped in beautiful acts inspired by the combination of “light” (luz) and “rain” (lluvia).

5. VELD Music Festival: Between July 30th and 31st, be electrified with this showcase of over 30 internationally acclaimed EDM acts. Love electronic music by The Chainsmokers, DeadMau5, Flume, and DVBBS? The VELD Music Festival will feature them along with many other artists!

 

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Top 5 Rooftop Patios in Toronto

Here is another one of our “Top Lists”! Summer is almost here, and the desire to catch up with friends has never been greater. When you are in the company of an amazing friend, a must-have is a restaurant that is just as amazing. Toronto is famous for its many restaurants – from board game cafés such as Snakes and Lattes to pitch-black dining rooms at the O.Noir. However, it is Toronto’s rooftop patios that are on our radar this week. They do not only offer amazing food, but also allow you to fully enjoy the summer sun. Here is our pick of Toronto’s top 5 rooftop patios:

1. Paupers Pub: Located at 539 Bloor Street West, this rooftop patio is in the heart of the Toronto Annex. It is the perfect place to try out the pub’s delicious beverages menu on a Friday night or the weekend. From non-alcoholic drinks to draughts, to tallboys, Paupers Pub has a beverage for everyone.

2. Madison Avenue Pub: This pub is located at 14 Madison Avenue, and it is home to not only a lovely rooftop patio, but the home of fantastic food and live music. This pub also has a distinct British flair. The decorated walls, brass fittings, and comfortable booths make for a memorable experience.

3. The Flight Deck: Part of The Pilot and located at 22 Cumberland Street, the Flight Deck is the restaurant’s recipe for success. You would not only get to bask in the sunlight, enjoy the cool breeze, have some cold drinks, and make new friends, but also enjoy how it is away from the hustle and bustle of the city’s streets.

4. Sky Yard: Located at 1150 Queen Street West is the Drake Hotel’s roof top patio. The Sky Yard is truly a hidden gem in Toronto, as it is decorated with a very modern aesthetic, and has speedy and friendly customer service.

5. Jazz Bistro: If you and your friends love jazz music, then this rooftop patio located at 251 Victoria Street is the place to be on a hot summer’s day. Its unique atmosphere, coupled with a seasonal cocktail menu, give it a well-deserved place in our top 5 picks. The knowledgeable staff members are a fantastic bonus.

Other worthy mentions include Jack Astor’s and Milestones, both of which have locations in downtown Toronto and are always ready to provide stellar customer service.

 

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