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NEW ENGLAND | The Travel Empire


New Haven, Connecticut: Anchor Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge

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544528_637166339637849_189304246_nA retro dive bar in downtown New Haven, Anchor Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge is a low key drinking den with limited draft options but strong enough well drinks to keep you coming back. A tiny bar is tucked away in the back of the room and throwback blue vinyl booths line the walls. The bar is presided over by a single bartender and sole cocktail waiter, two gentlemen decked out in black and white caterer’s outfits. The jukebox, loaded with Motown is a crowd favorite, even among the diverse crowd of hipsters, Yale students, derelicts and the budget conscious that frequent the spot. Food is available but certainly not what you show up for.

272 College St

Stratford, CT: Two Roads Brewing Company

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IMG_1649Deriving their name and philosophy from Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken, Two Roads Brewing Company found a home in the 112-year-old U.S. Baird building in 2012, renovating the former factory of the machinery manufacturer and transforming it into a functional brewery complete with a tasting room, store and outdoor beer garden. The renovations preserved many of the historic features of the building such as the wooden floors, even re-purposing sections that had to be removed to make room for the brewing equipment into the wooden bar that anchors the tasting room.

1234625_10100379577989515_1518381067_nThe expansive tasting room on the second floor of the building features floor-to-ceiling windows that allow visitors a sweeping view of the working brewery below. Guided tours, offered on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, gives visitors access to the brewery floor as the beer making process and history of the building are explained, all while sampling Two Roads’ craft beer creations. Two Roads also offers an outdoor beer garden on weekends where a parked airstream trailer serves as the bar and a rotating selection of food trucks offer the perfect pairing to your beer of choice.

The brewery currently offers five year-round choices-Worker’s Comp, a saison, Road 2 Ruin, a IMG_1647double IPA, Ol’ Factory, a pils, Honeyspot Road, a white IPA and most recently adding the formerly seasonal No Limits hefeweizen to the regular offerings. Additional seasonal brews make appearances throughout the year. Visitors to the tasting room can order any of the beers on draft by the glass, choose a sampler of all the beers or purchase a growler to go.

1700 Stratford Ave

Tues-Fri: 3-8pm

Sat: 12-8pm, Sun: 12-5pm

Tours available; Full info here.

Stamford Connecticut’s Bartaco: Beach Vibe in Downtown

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628x471Slip away from the chaotic streets of downtown Stamford into Bartaco, a laid-back Mexican restaurant focused around fresh tacos, fresh cocktails and ice cold beer (even offered by the bucket). The central focus of the restaurant is the large bar, where you can get an up-close look at the bartenders pressing fresh juice for your cocktail of choice. The dining area is open with small two-top photo-2tables and larger booths along the wall. Diners are provided pencils and an ordering sheet to easily mark food choices for quick collection by the waitstaff. Tacos are $2.50 each or $7 for 3, a great value as they suggest 3-5 tacos per person depending on your appetite. Appetite aside, it is hard to narrow the choice down to any less than three with a selection that includes baja fish, red snapper, thai shrimp, pork belly, lamb barbacoa or even cactus pad to name a few. There are a few non-taco options on the menu, including various tamales and rice bowls in addition to side dishes like pickled carrots, onions & jalapenos or grilled corn with lime, cayenne & cotija cheese. The orders are delivered on long trays and if there are just too many options to think about you can save time by ordering a small or large tray, which will include the chef’s selection of tacos, guacamole, tamales and sides so you can direct your attention on working through the fresh cocktail list.

222 Summer Street, Stamford, CT

Connecticut’s PEZ Visitor Center & Manufacturing Facility

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DSC02035The building is marked by a striking sign made of three stacked over-sized packages of the iconic candy. In the entrance, where tickets for the self-guided tour can be purchased, visitors pass by a colorful floor to ceiling wall holding over 700 PEZ dispensers before passing into the Visitor’s Center where they come face-to-face with the largest PEZ dispenser in the world, a blue baseball player that stands 12 feet tall. The self guided tour is organized chronologically by decade beginning in the 1920’s when the candy was first invented in Austria by Eduard Haas III as an adult breath mint and alternative DSC02023to smoking. The name is derived from the German word for peppermint, “pfefferminz,” and was created from a combination of the first, middle and last letters. In line with the original objectives, early PEZ dispensers resembled cigarette lighters before the company’s presence in the U.S. market began to grow in the 1950’s, a time when PEZ came out with fruity flavors and character themed dispensers, such as the full body robot and Santa Claus. Over time, the variety of dispensers continued to grow in addition to the evolution of the design. Soon PEZ became not only a widely popular candy among children and adults but also a favorite of a DSC02031growing population of collectors, which led to the first PEZ collector convention in 1991. Today, PEZ in the U.S. is available in 14 flavors: Cherry, Strawberry, Raspberry, Grape, Orange, Lemon, Strawberry-Vanilla, Raspberry-Lemon, Chocolate, Cola, Sour Blue Raspberry, Sour Green Apple, Sour Pineapple and Sour Watermelon. Free samples are offered with the tour and all flavors can be purchased at the Visitor’s Center.

Although the factory is operational and therefore entrance to the manufacturing floor is not allowed, in addition to the history of the candy and impressive display of dispensers and company history, large windows allow visitors to easily see the various stages of the production and packaging process from the Visitor Center floor.

35 Prindle Hill Rd, Orange, CT

Yale v. Harvard: The Game, a football tradition since 1875

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DSC03502The annual collegiate showdown represents one of The Ivy League’s most highly anticipated rivalries and carries on over a century of storied football tradition. The first game, which was won by Harvard, was played on November 13, 1875 and the tradition of what has become known simply as “The Game” has continued on for more than one hundred celebrated encounters between the two teams. From its inception there have been numerous memorable moments between the two teams. In 1885 The Game was on hiatus resulting from Harvard’s ban of football as a brutal and demoralizing sport. In 1963, The Game was postponed for the first time in its history following the assassination of JFK. Yet, one of the most well known moments was the tie reached in the 1968 lh-yale-harvard-1920encounter and the brazen Harvard headline “Harvard beats Yale 29-29,” after Harvard came back to score 16 points in the last 42 seconds of the fourth¬†quarter.

Win or loss, fans and alumni from both universities are always well represented at the games and over the years have elevated the pre-game tradition of tailgating to a spectacle in and of itself. Elaborate set-ups include not only the expected grilling and drinking but also notable artifacts of past games proudly displayed by alumni and former players.

The games are played in New Haven, CT (Yale) on odd years and in Allston, MA (Harvard) in even years.