Halifax Trip Report

Old Jan 17th, 2006, 08:18 AM
  #1  
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Halifax Trip Report

Itinerary: Friday Jan 13 - 16 - Weekend jaunt to Halifax to shop, light gambling & visit with family/friends.

Friday Jan 13 - arrived Hamilton airport - if you're west of GTA you may want to consider this fabulous gateway. Small, easy to get to [NO TRAFFIC] parking was a breeze. Basically a "farmers field" with the lovely "farmers daughters" manning the stations. Very efficient, friendly and quaint. Been a while since I walked the tarmac to stairs to board a plane. Lovely little spot. And no 401/427!

We flew WestJet - more friendly efficient service in the current day of no frills sky service (a moment of silence for the golden years of wardair....sigh). check in suggested we have extra leg room seats (DH is 6'4") without us having to request it. All seats are leather - Bell Expressvu satellite TV service on board - nice touch. Complimentary light snacks (cookies/pretzels) and non alc bev in flight. Only negative was the fellow passenger who mistakenly assumed her tiny offspring (read - devil spawn) would sit quietly through a 2 hour plus flight with no stimulation - WRONG! Sigh - no toys, no bottle, no soother, no book, no teddybear - what's a child to do? You guessed it - scream and squeal non stop the entire trip - well one can hardly blame the tike - shame on you lady! Next time plan a little better for your little one - pretty please?

Arrive Halifax on time smooth as silk landing, I picked up the rental car whilst DH collected our bag. All told - 15 minutes. A quick visit to the immaculately clean bathrooms and one migraine pill later (yes 2 hours of ear splitting screeching will do that to you) off we go to Halifax.

Oops - I screwed up! Blame the migraine or the 4pm (5pm halifax time) sun but I couldn't quite make out the traffic sign so after a diversion of 3km the wrong way up the hwy and getting turned around - ah that's it - I think we're alright ..... Yes - yes we can now safely say again - "off we go to Halifax". (note to self and others - bear left lane out of the airport for Halifax - good to know.)

Checked in at Delta Halifax - a nice no tax package includes: 1 basic "delta room" with 2 double beds in a well appointed room on the 5th floor, valet parking, $25 food credit per day and no additional taxes - all in for CDN$119 per day. You'd be mad not to stay here - Friendly staff, well maintained hotel, linked to the "pedway" to the casino, shopping etc. and right downtown on barrington street so everything is within a 5 to 10 minute walk.

After settling in, we made a few calls/returned messages - seems cousin and his son will be coming down for a visit this evening for 7pm. It's now just before 6pm (with the 1 hour time difference - oh yeah - set watch ahead - now we're ticking!)Since we wanted to stay close to the room for those calls to organize everyone, we decided to order room service - phenominal! DH had a hamburger (huge and cooked to perfection) - I opted for the scallops and risotto with a fennel infused sauce - scrumptious! Fast service - hot delicious food. Cousin/son arrived for visit just as we finished our meal. Off we went to downstairs pub for a drink and catch up chat (I won't regale you with those details). Cousin/son were picking up wife and MIL at the casino (they were there for a "nearly neil" show - a Neil Diamond tribute performance which I hear tell was very good.) So we hitched a ride down to casino to try our luck. A quick kiss kiss hug hug with everyone at the casino entrance with plans to get together the following evening and off we go into the casino.

Casino is set by the harbour and is under new management - lots of changes ongoing - apparently they are in the process of building a new poker room. As with any changes - some are well received others are creating grumbles but all we see as "tourists" is a well run, clean friendly gambling hall. Time to invest our hard earned $ in the local economy - I wander around the slots keeping pretty much even with small payouts here and there and finally land beside DH at a "let it ride" table game. Well no more than 15 minutes into our play doesnt' DH win $850 with a 4 of kind! How exciting! (especially since we share our winnings!). I am flabbergasted when no more than 15 minutes later he gets a second 4 of kind (yes - that's CDN$1700 - for those of you keeping track). Whoo Hoo - we play a tiny bit more and decide it is time to head back to our hotel for the night (it's past midnight of a very hectic day). We collect our coats and head along the pedway away from the mist and rain to the hotel - I make use of the lovely spa products in the room (the facial soap), put on my pjs and nestle in for what will be a blissful nights sleep dreaming of how I'll spend my half of the winnings. hmmmmm a trip to fireworks gallery (my favourite jewellery store on barrington street) is definitely on the agenda for tomorrow........
End of Day one.

A note here on the weather - for January in Canada, in HALIFAX it is unseasonably warm - plus 5-10 degrees celsius each day. I have to remove the lining from my winter coat (thank god it zips out or I'd be sweltering!).

More to follow

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Old Jan 17th, 2006, 04:38 PM
  #2  
BAK
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,944
Emergency little kid amusement -- I used to travel with little kids quite a bit.

A child can sit for a long time carefully ripping a newspaper into shreds, and it's easy to cleanup afterwards. Even a two year old.

AboutWardair; my 11 year old just finished a school project on Max Ward, including reference to the fine service, good food, extra big seats for a only a little extra money, etc.

The boy got an A.

Maybe three decades from now he'll have a son doing a project on WestJet.

BAK

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Old Jan 17th, 2006, 05:40 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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"...a trip to fireworks gallery ..."

My wedding ring comes from Fireworks Gallery. It's a wonderful place.

Anselm (in Halifax)
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 06:26 AM
  #4  
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Saturday Jan 14 - Day Two

We woke up after a lovely sleep to an overcast but very mild day. We opted to dine in the hotel restaurant - offering a buffet breakfast (upscale). Lovely granola, homemade oatmeal, fluffy fresh scrambled eggs, lean crisp bacon, sausages, pancakes and french toast. Also a tempting assortment of baked goods and loads of fruit. Quite a smorgasbord! We nibbled away until sated and then off to shop!

Walking along Barrington - our first stop is Fireworks Gallery. Whenever I wear a piece I've purchased there I receive compliments. Their quaint little shop holds an assortment of unique treasures. I particularly like that most of the pieces are unique designs by Canadian artisans - and yes I think of this jewellery as works of art - very unique strong designs. The store is well staffed with helpful friendly experts ready to assist you with your selection. And today we're in luck - 30% off the entire store! After much admiring and trying on, I select two rings and happily part with some of the casino winnings from the night before. I like the one ring so much I wear it out of the store. We continue browsing and stopping along barrington - there are a lot of boutiques and collectible stores to explore and we turn north onto Spring Garden Road. Past the standard chip truck (always there) and the lovely statue of Winston Churchill (looking forboding and strong) we work our way up to Jennifers of Nova Scotia - a favorite artisan store of mine. Sadly they are in the process of doing inventory after xmas and much of their stock will not be replenished until the end of the month. Still worth a look around - but the hand knit catnip mouse I wanted for my cat is out of stock. But the clerk provides me with a card and encourages me to order online or call - "we ship worldwide" she says with a smile. "so maybe your cat can have his mouse for valentines....".

We continue perusing the shops until we reach the Halifax Public Gardens - we take a stroll through the quiet victorian park. Lovely - even at this time of year. Sadly, many of the trees planted by kings and queens were destroyed by hurricane juan a few years back, however, they now appear to be recovering and the gardens are filling out to their former glory.

We stroll back to our hotel along the route we came, taking time for my DH to stop for a donair. Now this is a "delicacy" of the locals - allegedly invented in Halifax (see this site: http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/~gpetitpas/Links/Donair.html). I personally can't stomach them, however, if you are adventurous do try one while your here. Also, you should really try to pick up some Chris Brothers Pepperoni (see this site: http://www.chrisbrothers.com/index.php)a true local taste - this is best bbq'd with mustard. Wash it all down with a Keith's Indian Pale Ale - "those who like it, like it a lot". (in fact you can visit the brewery for a tour - see this link: www.keiths.ca)Back to the hotel for a rest. We spend the rest of the day and evening visiting with friends and family returning back to the hotel by 1am.

End of day two.

Day Three. Sunday January 15 - Later start with same breakfast at 10:30 (we are on "vacation" after all)- My SIL and nephew joined us and we all change and go down to the pool/fitness area to enjoy a swim and a sauna. The pool is on the refreshing side of cool but once we were in it was nice. The pool area of the hotel is located on the floor 1 - one level above the lobby. It is a large pool with a glass enclosure so lots of light pours in. We finish our visit with a sauna - tip if you are going to use the sauna, turn it on prior to your swim (it took some time to warm up but once it did it was lovely). Back up to our room to change. We say our goodbyes to our visitors and spend the afternoon strolling down to the harbour and historic properties (the only shops open on a Sunday). Halifax harbour is quaint, picturesque and friendly - even on a drizzly grey January day. (see the harbour live on the webcam here: http://www.halifaxwebcam.ca). We are feeling lazy from our swim and our walk so we head back to the hotel to watch a football game (hey it is playoffs - Indy and Pittsburgh). We are meeting my other SIL and her husband for dinner at the Five Fisherman. This is a must do for anyone visiting halifax. We enjoy a bottle of nova scotia wine - from Jost winery, complimentary salad bar and mussels (steamed with your choice of sauce - and frankly, the main reason we come back - plump and full of flavour yum!), I opt for the Brome Lake Duck Breast and our server happily substitutes a purple potato cake in lieu of the accompanying risotto (since I just had risotto on Friday)DH has the filet mignon with two gigantic prawns, SIL has scallops with polenta cake and BIL has the seafood pasta. SIL, DH and I all have dessert - they have the caramelized apple - I have the lemon parfait. Fabulous Fabulous meal - very enjoyable. We linger over coffee getting caught up on all the family news and gossip. We decide we aren't quite ready to pack in the night just yet - so DH and I are dropped off at the casino to try our luck again. I have steady luck basically recirculating the same amount of money through the machines and getting loads and loads of play - a note here that the staff at the casino (as seems everywhere in this wonderful city) are friendly efficient and seem genuinely happy. DH reinvests a couple hundred of his friday nights winnings but does not enjoy his previous luck from Friday night. We travel the pedway home to the hotel for our last sleep before home.

Day Four - Monday Jan 16. Our last day. We rise late again (10am), pack and call for our car (the valet parking throughout the trip was wonderful). We are meeting my DH's aunt for breakfast/brunch and a visit before our drive to the airport. Not much to report here, we drop off the car, receive the same wonderful checkin service (with extra legroom again!) and spend some time browsing the airport shops while we wait for the plane. Uneventful ride home (save for another screaming demon baby - lord help me) and we arrive in Hamilton on time. DH gets our bag while I get the car from parking - all told 10-15 minutes from airport to highway (I LOVE this gateway!!!).
Home again and off to bed - work tomorrow.

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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 07:27 AM
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PXYca. I enjoyed your trip report very much, but I'm intrigued by the claim of some Haligonians that they "invented" the donair some 30 years ago. Now I understand that there may be a special Halifax version, but I first encountered what was called a doner kebab in the Middle East years before that.

It probably dates back for centuries, and it may be that the Turks invented it as döner kebap, but it's also known as shawarma in Arabic and gyro in Greek, and with other Middle Eastern dishes, has spread around the world, even to Halifax.


Perhaps there is a culinary delight which was invented in Halifax, and I'd be interested if anyone can suggest one, or to broaden the search, any Canadian city or town which can lay claim to a particular dish.
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 07:48 AM
  #6  
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laverendrye,

Yes I am familiar with Gyro etc too and I was quickly corrected when I compared the two - they are very proud of their donairs - the Halifax "element" might be the white sauce.

However, as any maritimer will tell you - the pepperoni is more of a true local phenomenon (if you have ever watched an episode of trailerpark boys you will see the stereotypical pepperoni often).

It's always a great trip to this part of Canada and I hope my report shows that you can enjoy it even off season!

Regards,

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