Big Day Downtown 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

I had a blast taking part in last year's Big Day Downtown promotion hosted by Downtown Halifax, so I was excited to get an invitation again this year. The twist this year is all participating bloggers are randomly paired up, making our adventures a team effort. My partner, Alison Delory, and I both have crazy schedules this month. We decided to meet for coffee, exchange lists of our favourite places downtown and each try a few of one another's suggestions, a great way to get to explore some new spots in the city as well as old favourites.

We met over hot chocolate at Choco Cafe to swap lists and spent some time perusing the goodies at the cafe. Alison wisely bought a brownie for the road. Sadly, I did not, a decision I regretted as soon as I was back in my car. But my white hot chocolate was fantastic.

For the second phase of our Big Day Downtown mission, Eli and I set out on a warm, sunny afternoon to try a few things from Alison's list. Our first stop was Historic Properties.

Confession: my knowledge of Historic Properties is pretty much limited to The Lower Deck in the wee hours of the morning, with its temperamental ATM and its bad decisions and the occasional throwing of a rum and diet into an unfortunate patron's face. Guess what? There's other stuff at Historic Properties! And it's open in the daytime!

We started at Carrefour Atlantic Emporium, which is packed full of books by local and regional authors, including lots of kids' books. If you have a wee one to buy gifts for, I highly recommend checking this store out - they have wonderful books from babies through to older children in addition to all the adult offerings. We went specifically to pick up Alison's book, Lunar Lifter, but I ended up choosing two more books for Eli while we were there: Crosby and Me by Hugh MacDonald and Theodore Too and the Excuse-Me Monster by Michelle Mulder, about the famous tugboat that just so happened to be parked almost right outside the shop that day.

So many books. Just looking at them is exhausting.
A Big Day Downtown is hardly successful if you're hungry or thirsty so our next stop was Two if By Sea cafe. When I worked in Dartmouth, TIBS coffee was a regular treat, but I've never visited the downtown location. I got a small coffee and a berry muffin, which was approximately the size of a large pumpkin.

Eli learning some important life lessons. #1. Butter=Good.

Eli and I strolled along the waterfront, checked out the boats and the submarine playground. No pictures from the playground because my hands were full wrangling my little explorer, but we had fun just enjoying the sights and sounds. We took a break in the courtyard by AGNS so I could drink my coffee instead of continuing to spill it all over Eli and his stroller.

Taking a break

Next destination: Mountain Equipment Co-op. Alison had suggested getting some cold-weather running gear at MEC, and after freezing my face and hands off on my run the previous weekend, that sounded like a fabulous idea. I don't like wearing hats when I run, because my head gets all kind of itchy and sweaty, so this MEC headband is perfect. I chose a pair of CTR gloves that are supposed to keep your skin dry and also have the little text-friendly pads on the thumb and forefinger, so I can don't have to take my gloves off if I'm running with my iPod touch - perfect. Remember, you need a membership to shop here, but it's only $5 and it never expires. I always forget MEC when I need to buy running gear but they have tons to choose from and the prices are very reasonable.

Heading home from a run. I'm smiling because I'm warm!
By this time, Eli was in the almost catatonic state that comes just before the meltdown when he gets overtired. I knew my window of time with a peaceful baby was coming to a close, so to round out our Big Day, we headed to the place I knew would be a sure bet for some good finds: Biscuit.

Biscuit is one of those stores with something for everyone, at every price point. I hemmed and hawed for quite some time before settling on a new tin of Smith's Rosebud Salve, which is the very best lip balm in the entire world, and two tea towels WITH FOXES ON THEM. Shut the front door. We finished up without any meltdowns, bundled Eli back into the car, and headed for home. I polished off my jumbo muffin on the drive.

The state of my front seat on the way home. That muffin was huge. And totally gone by the time I got to Quinpool.
Thanks, Downtown Halifax, for including me in Big Day Downtown this year, and thank you, Alison, for some fun ideas!

(You can read my 2011 Big Day Downtown post here.)

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  1. What a great idea (i.e. exchanging lists of things to do)! It's funny bc I also visited Biscuit on my BDDT and bought Rosebud salve! hah. I love that stuff - it smells soooo good and you can use it for pretty much anything

    1. Rosebud Salve is the best! I lost my old one so I was so happy to find it at Biscuit.

  2. Oh, memories! Listen, what I miss the most about Halifax? Is everything you mention in this post. When I lived there I SO MUCH enjoyed Saturdays that involved walking around the city, especially in the Fall, warm and toasty from a coffee and store hoppin'...
    When I lived in Dart, my go-to-spot was TIBS... Their chocolate croissants are to die for!
    I have a Halifax date with my bestie this weekend to do all of the above, and this post just made me extra excited!

    1. TIBS croissants are unreal!! We used to get them all the time on weekend mornings and then spend half the afternoon passed out in a butter coma. So worth it! I hope you have a good weekend in the city!

  3. And now I must go and get myself one of those headbands. I am impressed with what you managed to accomplish with Eli in tow. It was great meeting you Amy, swapping lists and being each other's tour guide. —Alison

    1. Great to meet you too! I can't recommend the headband enough. Best $13 I've spent in a long time.

  4. The rosebud salve: I have heard wonderful things about that stuff. I have used the rose salve from Bath and Body works, and it's pretty good.