10 Places To Talk Like a Pirate

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September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. What started off as a joke between friends (John “Ol’ Chumbucket’ Baur and Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers) has gained international exposure. If you need some fun in your day, talk like a pirate with your friends (or strangers). If you want to take it to the next level here are some great places to spend the day (of course you can talk like a pirate at these places year round).

Disneyland (California, USA)

Since I’m from California I had to start with Disneyland. The happiest place on earth also has a great pirates ride (maybe you’ve hear of it – they also made a few movies), Pirates of the Caribbean.

Disneyland Paris – Pirate Galleon (France)

Disneyland Paris has a great hands on experience. The Pirate Galleon is open to kids of all ages from port to starboard.

New England Pirate Museum (Massachusetts, USA)

Salem is better known for the witch trials, but you can also find pirates. Wander through the recreated dockside village, search for pirate treasure in the 80 foot cave or board the pirate ship.

St Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum (Florida, USA)

Start your own personal treasure hunt at the Pirate & Treasure Museum in St Augustine where pirates like Sir Francis Drake and Robert Searles once roamed the streets.

Pirates of Nassau (Bahamas)

This Nassau was home to some of the most notorious pirates. You can explore the historical exhibits or enjoy interactive entertainment for all ages during the day. At night the adults can head over to the Smuggles Club.

Pirate’s Quest (Newquay, England)

Pirate’s Quest offers truly immersive experience. There are live performers, special effects and “detailed 360 degree sets in an authentic, atmospheric adventure transporting visitors back 300 years.”

Cheung Po Tsai Pirate Cave (Hong Kong, China)

On an island 30 minutes from Hong Kong you’ll find the hideout of one of Hong Kong’s notorious pirate, Cheng Po Tsai. According to legend he kept his pirate treasure on this island, but it has never been found.

Black Pearl Party Cruises (Barbados)

This four our cruise includes meals, music and walking the plank (if you dare). You can swim with the turtles or dance the night away aboard the “Jolly Roger 1”.

Cayman Islands Pirates Week Festival

This annual festival takes place in November and opens with a mock “pirate invasion”. There are parades, fireworks, street dances, costume contests and much more!

2018 Legends of Pirate’s Past – Pirate Tour

You still have time to book a trip with Cheap Caribbean on their Pirate Tour (booking dates September 19 – October 30 2018). This tour includes stays at all inclusive resorts and excursions through historic pirate sites (travel days December 6 – December 11, 2018)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Three Things You Might Not Know About Kansas City (MO)

Bird and Lime scooters have both arrived in Kansas City. So, I’ve had a lot of fun zipping around seeing the sites. Between the scooters and the KC Street Car it was really easy to get around. I had a picnic by the river. I explored the City Market – one word – Gelato! I also found out three things you might not know about Kansas City.

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1 – Kansas City has an amazing downtown library. I know what you’re thinking. Libraries are not travel destinations. Well the downtown branch will change your mind. A local suggested that I visit and I was not disappointed. If you like architecture, it’s impressive and there are lots of fun places for photo ops. Built in 1906, for First National Bank, there are large columns both inside and out as well as stunning chandeliers in the lobby. The bank vault has been turned into a movie theater used by local film societies and there’s large chess on the roof top. Even the parking garage is interesting with giant book spines lining the side.

2 – Kansas City is known for its BBQ (which I’ll talk about later), but it also has a pretty awesome tea scene  (if you like that sort of thing, which I think we all know by now, I do). There are several tea shops that carry loose leaf teas including: Hugo Tea, Dragonfly Tea Zone, the Tea Market and Anna Marie’s Tea. Centered Spirit is a cultural and holistic center. They have a tea room where you can sip Emilie’s French Teas and relax. The American Slang Modern Brasserie at the InterContinental “where local collides with European” has an afternoon tea service daily from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

While I usally opt for afternnoon tea I’m also very interested in Chinese culture. I took chinese in high school and college (I also did not call American Slang the required 48 hours in advance to make a reservation). So, I had a lovely time wandering around the cute retail shop and eating lunch at Shang Dim Sum Tea House. I had the Chai Chicken soup, a dumpling and two chocolate and red bean mood cakes. I choose an herbal white tea – Honeysuckle ginger – to go with lunch. Everything was delicious. The atmosphere was quiet and peaceful. Shang Dim Sum Tea House is located at Crown Center which brings us to the third thing you might not know about Kansas City (I didn’t).

3 – The headquarters for Hallmark is in Kansas City, MO. Hallmark? Yes. The greeting card store? Yes. Do people still buy cards? About 7 billion a year and over half of them from Hallmark. Their headquarters is in Kansas City, MO and Crown Center is named for the crown in the Hallmark logo. Hallmark founder Joyce C. Hall, helped turn the run-down area around their main office into what is now a mixed-use community with hotels, office space, retail, residential and entertainment includes Sea Life Kansas City (a two-story aquarium) and Legoland Discovery Center. There is also an annual Hallmarket Art Festival featuring hand-made artwork created by more than 100 Hallmark employees’ and retirees’.

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Crown Center

No visit to Kansas City is complete without sampling their famous barbecue. The hardest part is deciding where to go. They have 7 barbecue spots that have been featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. There’s also a website devoted to nothing but Kansas City barbecue and many more online BBQ related lists. I went in at Jack Stacks for dinner. They have been featured on the Food Network and “Zagat Survey” named them the “highest-rated BBQ in the country.” They have several locations. I went to the freight house. It was dimly lit (dare I say man cave) and packed. I managed to find a seat at the bar. The bartender was very attentive the whole time, even though it was busy. I ordered the Jack Stack sandwich with brisket and polish sausage. It came with cheesy corn bake and fires. The brisket was so tender it was falling apart and perfectly seasoned. There was so much I couldn’t finish it all, but it tasted great the next day too. I had never heard of cheesy corn bake. It’s pretty much what it sounds like: cheese, corn and a little ham. You can’t really go wrong when you cover a dish with melted cheese. It was “soooo” good. As a side note, this is not the kind of meal where you look at the calories on the menu. You’ll ruin your dinner. Just eat it and enjoy! I did.

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Jack Stack Brisket and Polish Sausage Sandwich

If you’re planning to visit Kansas City soon here are a few more places you might want to check out:

  • Union Station. I went because I like trains and of course for the architecture. You know the saying go big or stay home? Well they went big. The architect modeled it after Grand Central Station in New York. Built in 1914, there are huge archways, a 95-foot ceiling and three 3,500-pound chandeliers. Union Station was the second busiest railroad center in America until it closed in the 1980s. “During WWII, an estimated one million travelers – many of them soldiers – passed through the station.” It reopened in 1999 and today you can still catch the train there, but you can also visit a planetarium, science center, go to the movies and attend live theatre. It is also currently home to Dinosaurs Revealed a cool new exhibit open daily through January 6, 2019.
  • Open Spaces KC. I lucked out and happened to be here during this two-month citywide celebration of visual and performing arts taking place August 25 – October 28, 2018. There are exhibits all over the city. Many of them are free.
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ARAMINTA; Artist – Joyce J Scott; Araminta is the birth name of American abolitionist and political activist Harriet Tubman. This pieces is currently located at Union Station as part of the Open Spaces KC exhibition.

  • The Nelson Atkins museum had me at van Gogh. It turns out one of his painting, Olive Trees, has a grasshopper under the paint. It was an interesting detail to discover and for some reason I like the idea of Vincent van Gogh painting outside (trying to pick bugs out before the paint dries). Once again, I ran into “the Thinker”. The original was created by Rodin but there are over 50 copies in museums throughout the world. There were approximately 20 were made under his supervision and the rest were cast after he passed away.

 

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Kansas City_Nelson Atkins_inside

  • Kemper Museum. In addition to viewing the art you should also dine at Café Sebastienne.
  • Andre’s Confiserie Suisse. If you really really like chocolate.
  • KC BCycle. Want to explore the city by bike? They have a 24/7 public bike share system.

English Breakfast in Lexington, Kentucky? Yes, and Afternoon Tea Too!

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Lexington Visitor Center

One of the first things I noticed about Lexington is how green it is here. It really stood out after my six week tour through Texas. I like architecture and there are also a lot of beautiful old churches. One of the antique stores I went to was in a wonderful building that used to be a church. Another impressive building I was admiring turned out to be the visitor center so I went in to chat with the staff. They gave me a great dinning guide and a little history about a large statue of a horse painted blue they call Big Lex. Lexington is known as the horse capital of the world and there was a real horse named Lexington that helped the city earn this title. This may have been the horse the statue originally portrayed, but when the visitor center moved to its current location they moved the horse too and painted it blue. It turns out there is also a myth about a horse named Big Lex that turned blue from all the Bluegrass he ate. I love a good myth!

Breakfast at Shakespeare & Co

The traditional English breakfast is my favorite, but it’s a rare find in the United States. So, I was very surprised to find it on the menu at a café in Lexington, Kentucky. When I went in for breakfast at 9:00 am it was empty, which was just fine by me. They are better known for lunch, happy hour and live music in the evenings. They also serve as a venue for weddings and other events. Shakespeare & Co has a Victorian themed décor with Middle Eastern influences which is both elegant and comfortable. It looks like a place that would serve a good cup of tea, which they do (English and Moroccan), but aside from the English Breakfast, their menu is actually a mix of American and Middle Eastern cuisine. They offer a lot of options so, I asked about their signature dishes. My waitress said their avocado toast, eggs benedict (for breakfast), and Mediterranean chicken skewers (for lunch/dinner) have been very popular. I noticed earlier, when looking at their website, that the only US locations were in Kentucky (there are two, one downtown and one in Hamburg). The rest of the locations are in places like Abu Dhabi and Dubai. So, of all the US cities (New York, Chicago, Los Angles), why Lexington? According to the staff, the owner, businessman Edward Saad, went to the University of Kentucky and met his wife there. He is fond of the area, but it also turned out to be a good business decision since they were able to open the second location and both seem to be doing well.

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My meal was very close to the traditional English Breakfast I enjoyed while living in London minus the tomato slices and with extra mushrooms. I like mushrooms, but a whole bowl, probably too much. Potatoes can be tricky and theirs were cooked really well. You have to ask for bacon and sausage since it’s not automatically included. A lovely pot of English breakfast tea made a perfect finishing touch.

I would have preferred soft instrumental over the loud 80’s music that was playing, but the service was great. Yes, I was the only one there, but amazingly that does not always guarantee good service (go figure). I enjoyed the meal, the décor and the plush seating. Who does not like a big comfy chair? I would defiantly go back and sample their dinner menu the next time I’m in Lexington. They are planning to expand and add more locations in the US and Canada. So hopefully, I’ll come across this restaurant again as I travel.

  • Location: 367 West Short Street, Lexington, Kentucky USA
  • Phone: +1 859 367 0413
  • Online: https://www.shakespeare-and-co.com/

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ShakespeareCo_decor1

Lunch at Saul Good Pub

Saul Good Pub had me at “baked” Macaroni and Cheese served in a skillet. Baked Mac & Cheese is my weakness and theirs was amazing. I also ordered their Turkey Club. The first bite was perfect because I got a little of everything – the turkey, bacon, feta and avocado. That’s probably not the combination they’re talking about when they promote their “world fusion” menu, but it the perfect comfort food meal for the that day. Saul Good Pub actually has an eclectic menu. You’ll find everything from pizza and burgers to chicken and waffles. You can get beer cheese and steak nachos or shrimp and grits. Their dessert menu includes chocolate fondue. You don’t see that everywhere and you can’t go wrong with chocolate.

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Baked Macaroni and Cheese

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Turkey Club

I managed to get a seat at the bar after the lunch rush and before happy hour. I liked the atmosphere and the décor. There are giant mirrors with ornate frames and elegant chandeliers. I thought it had kind of a 1920’s feel, which was cool. The service was great. I appreciate a wait staff that keeps you water glass filled without even asking. Saul Good Pub was all good!

  • Downtown location: 123 N Broadway; Lexington, KY 40507
  • Phone: +1 859.252.4663
  • Online: http://saulgoodpub.com/

Afternoon Tea at Greentree Tearoom

If you want to go to afternoon tea at the Greentree Tearoom you will definitely need a reservation. It’s a popular place. The Greentree Tearoom is located in a cottage built in 1901 that was once owned by Mary Todd Lincoln’s grandmother and the décor is elegant. They create a unique seasonal menu for each month and their scones are served warm.

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If you enjoy afternoon tea on a regular basis, the tea service will be different than what you are used to and only one type of tea is served. Instead of bringing the food out on a three-tier stand the soup, a scone and quiche were served as individual courses. The tea sandwiches and desserts were served buffet style.

While I enjoy the more traditional presentation, the nice thing about the buffet was being able to pick out the items you liked. There were a couple of items I could not have and it was nice that I did not have to pay for food I was not going to eat.  The staff was polite, attentive and quick to refill my teapot.

  • Location: 521 West Short Street; Lexington, Kentucky 40507
  • Phone: +1 859.455.9660
  • Online: http://www.greentreetearoom.com/

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Additional Restaurant to try and places to visit in Lexington: