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Intro to Coast to Coast

come travel with me

My name is Stephanie and I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I will be using this blog to share with you pictures and stories from my travels, both near and far. I’m hoping to do lots of travelling and exploring in 2018 so hopefully I do a better job with keeping up with this blog then I did with my food blog. I may occasionally post about other things but the majority will be travel related in some way. I hope you enjoy reading of my travels and if you have any suggestions on places to hike or travel too, please share with me. Happy travels!

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5 Things to do in Winnipeg in the Winter : Part Two

Last week I talked about something that you can do inside in the winter. Today’s post is going to be geared towards those of you who like to spend time outdoors and are also looking for ways to stay fit in the winter. My second recommendation ( & my favorite place in Winnipeg) is to visit “The Forks”.

 

 

ice castles

The Ice Castles:

The Forks is a great place to hang out anytime of the year and is personally my favorite place in all of Winnipeg. I’ve spent a lot of time at The Forks since I moved to Winnipeg in 2014, both in the Winter and Summer. The thing that made this Winter different than others was the addition of the ice castles. Me and Pascal were doing respite last month with two individuals (one who loves the movie “Frozen”) and we asked their caregiver if we could take them to the ice castles. We both really wanted to go and thought they would enjoy it as well. She thought it was a great idea so put on all our Winter gear (I recommend not going when its -30), and off we went. During the daytime on the weekends the have Elsa and Anna from “Frozen” there to greet you. The girl with us loved getting to meet them and even got to get her photo with them. I highly recommend going during the day on Saturday or Sunday between 1-4:30pm if you have kids (or you yourself) that love “Frozen”. Once inside, you are on your own, free to explore. There are lots of picture taking opportunities inside as well if you’re looking for the perfect Winter backdrop. Unfortunately I only took one picture that didn’t have the kids in it as this day was about them. Inside the ice castle there is 2 ice slides that you can ride. They provide you with a crazy carpet at the top to sit on. It’s a short slide but you can ride it as many times as you want. Once you’re in the castle you can stay as long as you want that day but once you leave you can’t re-enter. The ice castle is a really cool concept, especially when you think about all the work that went into building it. I would love to go back at night as they have fire performances Fridays and Saturdays, 7-10pm and the castle is lit up with multi-colored lights. I would also recommend buying your tickets online as you save $4.05 general admission and $3.05 for child 4-11 (0-3 is free). If you buy online, you don’t have to wait in line to buy there which is another added bonus! I would love to hear your experience if you went at night, leave a comment below!

trail conditions

The Red River Mutual Trail:

A few weeks later, me and Pascal decided to go back to The Forks and skate the river. We both are fairly good skaters but if you’re not and you want to learn, The Forks is a great place to do so. They have red chairs on the river that your can use to help you skate or you can rent something similar inside The Forks at Iceland (they also do skate rentals if you don’t own any or just aren’t ready to commit to buying any before learning). When you enter the trail from the dockside, you can either go left and skate on the Red River or go right and skate on the Assiniboine River. We decided to go left. Along the trail there are markers for when you hit each kilometer. I found this really motivating to see how far I skated in such a short amount of time. The complete trail is 3km each way meaning we skated 6km total. It was a great workout and alot more fun than being at the gym. It was extremely cold when we went so there wasn’t as many skaters on the trail as usual. Also, the trail wasn’t in the best condition but we managed to not fall down once (but it’s fine if you do, it’s all part of learning!)

 

The Warming Huts:

One of my favorite parts of skating at The Forks is getting to see the new warming huts each year. The warming huts started in 2009 and is a competition that welcomes designers around the world to summit their creations and than those selected come to Winnipeg and construct their art. Once completed they get put on display on the river for skaters and walkers to interact with or go inside to warm up. My favorite that was on display this year (I’m not sure if it was from this year’s competition or a previous year) was the bubble beach.

If you don’t like spending time outside in the winter, The Forks is still a great place to visit with lots to do inside. There is many unique local shops with a wide range of products (all of which are pretty cool). Also, with them now having “The Commons” you can stay inside, have a bite to eat and grab a drink. There are so many different types of restaurants inside, you’ll never get tired of eating there. So go ahead and try something new, whether it be learning how to skate or trying a new beer at The Commons. I would love to hear about your favorite things to do at The Forks and your favorite place to eat while there. Leave me a comment!

BONUS: Teeyah’s

I decided I’m going to throw in a bonus place to try in Winnipeg because we went there after visiting The Forks as it’s close by and I only recently discovered them. It’s a candy shop located on Graham Avenue. They’ve only been open about a year and only recently started selling ice cream as well. The make unique themed ice cream cones called “lengenDAIRY” cones. I ordered one and told her she could do whatever she wanted with it. For $10.50 I got 3 scoops of ice cream in a waffle cone, another cone on top of that, cotton candy, 3 lollipops, and lots of small candies on top. Definitely worth checking them out if you love ice cream as much as me. Who says ice cream should only be enjoyed in the Summer? Leave a comment and let me know what you think of them!

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5 Things to do in Winnipeg in the Winter : Part One

I am constantly hearing people say that there is nothing to do in the winter. That is far from the truth, especially in Winnipeg! Although our winters may feel unbearable most days, there are lots of things to do inside during the colder days and adventures to be had outside during the slightly warmer days. I decided to do a 5 part series, with each post focusing on something I took the time to try. First up, try a local restaurant you’ve never tried before.

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The Restaurant :

Pascal decided to surprise me and just drive to a restaurant. Since I still do not know the layout of the city very good, I had no idea where we were. He picked “The Merchant Kitchen”. He had been there once before when they were still fairly new and remembered them having exceptional fried chicken. “The Merchant Kitchen” is located  downtown Winnipeg. Their food is inspired by cities and countries across the globe and is served family style, which was a great way to get to taste a couple different dishes.

The Food & Drinks:

When choosing a drink, I had some troubles because all the drinks were so new and different to me. I asked the server for a recommendation for something fruity and he suggested the “Kamakura”. The “Kamakura” consists of belvedere vodka, junmai sake, agave, mango, fresh lemon, and rose. It wasn’t as fruity as I was hoping for but delicious nonetheless. We then decided to start off with some yuca fries. If you’re like me and have no idea what yuca is, it is the edible starchy root of a woody shrub called “Manihot Esculenta”. The fries were kind of plain but they were served with a tasty spicy asian ketchup that had just the right amount of zing. Seeing that the fried chicken is the reason that brought us there, we decided to get a half order and also try the spicy thai fried rice. The order of fried chicken came with 5 chicken thighs and was served with a side of soy syrup and garlic chilli sauce for dipping. The chicken alone was phenomenal but paired with the sauces it just made it that much better. As for the rice, it tasted a little burnt but was still enjoyable. It wasn’t overly spicy and the shrimp and egg mixed into it made for a perfect pair.

The Service:

We were seated very quickly and got a seat by the window so I could people watch (yes I’m that person). The server was very quick with coming to greet us and take our orders and was very laid back in a friendly way. He made sure that we were satisfied and taken care of. When we asked for suggestion or questions regarding the food he was very knowledgeable. You can tell that their staff take pride in their service. The restaurant also had tvs over the bar playing sports so if people watching isn’t your thing you could catch up on the current game. Overall it was a great experience and we would definitely dine there again. I also just started following their instagram account (@themerchantkitchen) and saw that they are participating in Winnipeg’s fried chicken week until January 28. They are featuring their Korean fried chicken in a chicken bowl and it look AMAZING so if you’re interested in trying their food, now is a great time!

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Kamakura

I would love to hear everyone’s local restaurant recommendations and what your favorite thing on the menu is. Also, if you happen to try “The Merchant Kitchen” fried chicken bowl for fried chicken week, please let me know if it’s as good as it looks!

Newfoundland Adventures (August 2017)

 

Why Newfoundland?

Before getting started on the details on our adventure, I wanted to give you guys a bit of background about myself. I was born and raised in Newfoundland. I moved away when I was 18 and am currently 22. Newfoundland will forever be home to me, no matter where I am. I moved to Winnipeg 3 years ago and started dating Pascal a year and a half ago. He had never been to Newfoundland before OR met my parents so it was without question that we needed to go. And so the journey began…

The Journey There

The trip there in itself was an adventure. We showed up at the airport for 4am, ready to board our early flight and make it to Newfoundland in time to spend the Saturday evening on George Street getting Pascal screeched in. When we arrived at the airport we discovered that our flight had been cancelled. The next earliest flight they could get us wouldn’t leave Winnipeg until the afternoon AND was going to take us to British Columbia first (the OTHER side of the country) before flying us to Newfoundland. We decided to go with this option as the Canada games were going on and all the other flights were full. We arrived in British Columbia later that day and had a 5 hour lay-over between flights. Instead of spending that 5 hours just sitting in the airport we decided to let our vacation start there. We called a taxi and headed towards the harbour. We walked the boardwalk and tried hard to decide which seafood restaurant to try (we wanted to compare the seafood on both the west coast and the east coast). We finally decided on a place and ordered their seafood platter, just to get a sampling of everything. It was amazing but personally east coast seafood wins for me (I may be a bit biased). We called our taxi and headed back to the airport to continue on with our journey to Newfoundland, featuring a very long plane ride.

The First Two Days in Newfoundland

We arrived in St.John’s,Newfoundland early Sunday morning. We considered the amount of time we slept on the planes to be enough sleep as we were already behind in our adventure. We picked up our rental car and headed to my friend’s apartment. A couple of hours later my brother came and picked the 3 of us up. I hadn’t seen my brother in 4 years! My brother took us around the city and showed us a couple of cool hiking spots. My brother loves hiking and being outdoors so it was a great way to start our vacation. We explored all over the city for about 5 hours before my brother dropped us back off at my friend’s place. Although it was a Sunday, me, Pascal and a couple of my high school friends headed to George Street that night to find a place that would screech Pascal in. For any of you who don’t know what it means to get “screeched in”, it is a Newfoundland tradition that anyone from outside of Newfoundland and partake in. It varies slightly depending on who conducts the ceremony for you but for the full ceremony you eat newfie steak (bologna), eat seal penis (vienna sausages), drink screech (a newfie rum), repeat some newfie sayings and kiss a cod (yes, the fish). After checking a couple of bars we finally found someone who was willing to do it and that night Pascal became an honorary Newfoundlander.

Hiking Gros Morne and Ziplining

The next day we left St.John’s and headed to Terra Nova National Park with the intentions of doing some camping. Sadly our plans got rained on, so we continued on to Gander for the night. While in Gander I got to visit my cousin who I  hadn’t seen in a couple of years which was nice. The next day we continued on to Gros Morne National Park. Gros Morne mountain is the second highest peak in Newfoundland, at 806m. I had hiked it the year before with a couple of friends and I knew that I had to bring Pascal to experience this breathtaking hike. After a long 4-5 hours of hiking up a rocky mountain side, we finally made it to the top and we were not disappointed. It was everything I remembered it being, maybe even windier. We decided to camp on the side on the mountain on our way down and spend the night. When we woke up the next morning, we were greeted by a moose outside our tent. He was very peaceful and watched us before walking up the mountain (and making it look like hiking that mountain was a joke). I wish I was able to get a picture before he left but it took me by such surprise. We woke up nice and early so that we could finish the rest of the hike in time to make it to our scheduled ziplining. I had also done the ziplining the year before but the views were so beautiful I could zipline the same lines every year and never get bored. It is a series of 9 lines that take you back and forth over a waterfall. Anyone who knows me knows that waterfalls are one of my favorite things about nature. It has the highest zip-line in Canada which I think is pretty cool in itself.  I really wish I had a go-pro or a smaller camera that I felt comfortable taking ziplining with me so that I could have gotten pictures. My goal in the new year is to purchase more of an adventure camera. I will definitely be doing these ziplines again in the future and getting some pictures.

Sandbanks Provincial Park

After our ziplining adventure, we drove on to Sandbanks Provincial Park. They are known for their long, sandy beaches. Although I lived in Newfoundland for 18 years, I never got the chance to check it out until this trip. Being by the ocean always has a way of making me instantly happy. We spent the evening running along the beach and chasing the waves. The simplicity in it was what made it one of my favorite moments. We spent the night camping there before heading to Baie Verte so that Pascal could meet my family and see where it was exactly that I grew up.

The Last Destination: Home

Finally, we made it to my hometown, Baie Verte. We picked up my mom from work and I got to show Pascal where my parents work. We spent that weekend in Coachman’s Cove which is where my Pop lives and also where our family cabin is. I don’t think I really appreciated the cabin and Coachman’s Cove when I was growing up. There is no cell phone service or internet there so I used to dread going. Now it is a blessing. My dad took us out in boat and me, Pascal and my parents spent the morning cod jigging. It was Pascal’s first time fishing this way and he was blown away by the size of the fish. Once we got to shore, my dad taught Pascal how to gut and fillet the fish. That evening for supper we had a variety of seafood, all delicious. My favorite was definitely the stuffed squid that my aunt made, a Newfoundland tradition. For my last night in Baie Verte, I went to a dance with my friends and drank and danced until they shut the place down (I won’t share a picture of that because I really don’t think we got one sensible photo).

I loved growing up here because of how safe I felt. Everybody knew everybody. Sure, it can be a pain sometimes when everyone knows your personal business as well, but for the most part it was good. I had pretty much the same friends from kindergarten to grade 12. I got to play a lot of sports and had a lot of opportunities to travel the province because of it. Sea cadets was also a big part of my life there. I also go to spend a lot of time outdoors, whether with friends or alone. It was peaceful and my heart will forever be in Newfoundland. Hoping the next time I visit will be in the winter so stay tuned for that!