Big Day Downtown 2014: People's Choice!

Friday, September 12, 2014

When I learned that I'd been selected to participate in Downtown Halifax's Big Day Downtown event again this summer, I was thrilled. Over the past few summers, I have been introduced to some of my new favourite downtown spots through this promotion: Biscuit General Store, Spirit Spa, and Sugah!, to name just a few. 

Every year, Downtown Halifax selects local bloggers to receive prepaid Visa cards that can be spent anywhere downtown, and they always put a cool twist on the promotion. This year's theme was People's Choice and the objective was to let our online followers help us choose where to spend the money. 

I put out the call on Instagram and Twitter and immediately got a bunch of responses from people who thought I should go on a Segway tour of the waterfront. I thought about it...but I'm clumsy at the best of times. Me + Wheels + Motor + Tons of tourists + Close proximity to water = recipe for disaster and a definite lawsuit waiting to happen. 

Luckily, I had a few other Twitter suggestions that were more up my alley, which included drinking wine AND beer and picking out some artwork. Now, those things I can do. 

Part one of my Big Day Downtown was all about the beverages. I started off my afternoon on the Halifax waterfront with a Skinny Green juice from Juice Press Inc. (full disclosure - this wasn't one of my People's Choice suggestions, but I had to fuel up with something other than booze!) It was my first trip to Juice Press Inc. and I will absolutely be back! I have a juicer at home but I rarely use it (soooo many veggies, takes a gazillion hours to clean it, etc. - this was so much easier) They also blend up fresh smoothies, and they even offer juice cleanse packages of varying lengths, if you're interested in taking your juicing journey to the next level. I swear I felt healthier after just one green juice.

I met up with Joel at Smiling Goat (one of the best places to get coffee in Halifax, hands down) and we headed for the brand-new Gahan House on Lower Water Street. I have visited the original Gahan House in Charlottetown and loved the brews and the food, so I was really excited to give this pub a shot. It didn't disappoint! They have a terrific menu, an extensive beer list, and an amazing waterfront patio. We tried the New Kids on the Block sampler, which offers four 6-ounce sample glasses of different Gahan House beers. I picked the lighter two of the bunch: Beach Chair Lager and Blueberry Ale. Both were fantastic and I will definitely be enjoying a few Beach Chair Lagers on the deck next summer! 

Next up, we headed to Bishop's Cellar to pick out some wines. I love Bishop's Cellar for so many reasons, namely that their staff is so helpful. I've gone in before with nothing more than a price point and some vague direction ("Our friends like red wine and they're making a roast for dinner") and they're always able to recommend a winner. I picked out two bottles: McManis Cabernet Sauvignon (my FAVOURITE red of all time) and Blomidon Tidal Bay, a local Nova Scotia white that's crisp and refreshing. Each bottle was $20, and I'd recommend both! 

It was time to meet up with some friends at Stillwell on Barrington Street for a birthday drink. It was my first time to this beer bar and I can't wait to go back! I had the Bulwark Blush cider, which had a light berry flavour. I'm not generally a huge cider person, but this is good. Be sure to check out the arcade games downstairs! 

For part two of my Big Day Downtown, I decided to take my followers' advice and check out Inkwell Boutique. Sad fact: I've never been to Inkwell before, but it'll be a guaranteed stop when I'm doing my Christmas shopping this year. This little shop is jam packed with prints, cards, and all sorts of unique gift ideas, and I could have stayed there all afternoon. I ended up choosing a Halifax House print for my new office, a forest animal for Eli's room (we're turning his "baby room" into his "big boy room" and this will be perfect), a birthday card for my niece, and a sweet potato candle. I know what you're thinking - sweet potatoes aren't fragrant. Well, I wish you could smell this candle through your monitor, because it smells awesome. They have all kinds of unique scents, like honey and kale, that are absolutely delicious and not too perfumey. 

I went on kind of a spree at Inkwell, but because I spent more than $60, I got a free gift: this adorable Port City tote bag. They are limited edition, so now is the perfect time to do some shopping and snag one of these bags! 

Thanks, Downtown Halifax, for another chance to take part in Big Day Downtown! Check out other bloggers' Big Day Downtown experiences here

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  1. It's been wayyyyy too long since I've been to Hali. I am making a trip home next summer for a wedding/family reunion in PEI, I think I might have to make a trip over there! All these spots sound so cool. I know a couple of the other bloggers in the list - Joel of course, and Aimee (food blogger). We went to STU in Fredericton together. :)

    1. If you're going to be on the east coast you definitely have to come to Halifax!

  2. Bookmarked! Can't wait to hit up some of these spots on my next visit to the city! Also, the wine suggestions are appreciated. I'm always happy to try other folks favorites in search for my own. Sounds like a great day! :)

    1. Awesome! I love getting wine suggestions too, otherwise I just buy based on the label design :) Which, to be honest, usually works out...after a glass or two I'll drink just about anything.