Setting Off, Pretty Portland, and an Evening at Vena’s Fizz House

I realize that the last few posts I have made are somewhat somber. I needed to write them though, as they served a wonderful purpose- reflection and closure. It gives me great joy to report that life is still good and wonderful things are still happening, one of most wonderful being our Labor Day weekend motorcycle trip.

Here’s a little clip from the new intercom system that Chris wired into our helmets before we left:

“Exit to Route 91 North, 1 mile ahead on the right.”

“Roger.”

“Toll booth in 2 miles.”

“Prepare the E-ZPass.”

“Ten-Four.”

“Ground control to Major Tom…”

First of all, this came in very handy for navigational decisions. Secondly, it was fun. Because you couldn’t hear your own microphone in your own headset, it was impossible to hear your own voice when we were going 70mph, which was a very weird experience. But other than that, it was just nice to get to chat, which is something a driver and passenger on a motorcycle really don’t get to do.

We made it all the way to Greenfield, Mass, battling an unfortunate stretch of Connecticut traffic (which is extra unfortunate when you are on a motorcycle) and arriving just around 9pm. We settled in to our Hampton Inn, walked across the parking lot to enjoy dinner and preseason football at the Ninety-Nine (apparently this is a chain restaurant, I’d never seen one before!), and then promptly crashed.

It was so sunny that I had a hard time getting a photo out the window without a glare.

It was so sunny that I had a hard time getting a photo out the window of our Portland hotel room without a glare.

The next day we took a rather scenic journey to Portland, Maine. The weather was a little bit chilly, and it felt so welcome after the hot summer we’ve been having in Jersey. We pulled into the Hilton Garden Inn: Downtown Waterfront and were delighted to find that, because our motorcycle couldn’t be driven by the valets, we had doorside VIP parking! The drive from Greenfield to Portland was rather short, so after settling in we were able to spend the better part of the afternoon and evening wandering Portland’s cute downtown area, which was within walking distance of the Hilton. We stopped into a few cute shops, but none as awesome as Vena’s Fizz House.

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The mixology shop area was filled with all sorts of things that you need for making really classy and intricate drinks, like bitters and fruit syrups. They also had some neat barware for sale and tons of cocktail books. But the best part of the store was the soda bar. Here you chose from a menu full of fizzy options for all tastes- some alcoholic, some not, some fruity, some sour, some creamy, some thin…

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Every kind of fruit syrup or mixer you can think of!

Bitters or bittahs?

Bitters or bittahs? New England humor at its finest.

I am a huge fan of soda, and I am not ashamed to say so. I know it isn’t the best thing for me, but I enjoy it in moderation and I think that is okay. We chose two different concoctions to try. The Tootsie Soda Pop and the Blackberry Coconut were both delicious, but we agreed that we preferred the Tootsie- if you melted a bunch of orange Tootsie Pops, put them in a glass, and drank it, that is what it would taste like!

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So many choices on the non-alcoholic menu. Who knew not drinking at a bar could be so delicious?

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Blackberry coconut on the left, Tootsie Soda Pop on the right.

It was a truly delicious little diversion, the only thing that could have made it better was some snacks to share with our fizzy beverages. The bar area is truly unique as it touts itself as an all-ages bar, meaning we saw quite a few kiddos side by side with their parents, enjoying their own age appropriate concoctions with big smiles.

If you are going to Portland for an afternoon or evening (with or without the kids!) stop at Vena’s. Head over to www.VenasFizzHouse.com to check out the menu and see when you can visit. The shop is really fun to wander through even if you don’t want to partake in the fizz.

3 thoughts on “Setting Off, Pretty Portland, and an Evening at Vena’s Fizz House

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