I’ve been blogging around town for six years, and a few years back I began my annual Birthday Tour tradition. I can’t recommend this enough – take a day dedicated to you, make a list of your favourite things, places you’ve been wanting to visit, and as I like to say, be a tourist in your own city!
My fourth annual Birthday Tour was back in April – it was a crisp but sunny spring day, perfect for exploring, and I was accompanied by my friends Trish, Katie and Larissa, who were up for anything. As Tom and Donna of Parks & Rec would sing, “It’s the best day of the yeaaarrr!”
Logically, the best way to start the day. I chose new West Coast-style vegetarian/pescatarian Berkeley North on King William. The space is beautiful and bright – we snagged the window seat in the sun. They cook some of the most colourful dishes I’ve ever seen – bright and bold, and the food is super fresh and light. As the sign suggests – it started our Tour with good vibes only. (It looks like they have switched things up and no longer offer brunch, but I recommend checking them out any time of day.)
Any chance I get, I want to be down by the water. Our Waterfront is stunning in any season – it’s lovely to just stroll around and take in some peaceful time. We’re lucky to have these kinds of views just a short jaunt away from a busy downtown core.
- Locke Street
Last year’s Birthday Tour included Locke Street, and I knew the stunning Pure Home Couture had to be part of the day again. I treated myself to a new small batch fragrance and we enjoyed taking in the delicate sights and scents. You can pretend to be Marie Antoinette for a minute.
Birthdays aren’t complete without the sweet treats, so we knew Amo Gelato would have to be on the agenda. Their Instagram feed alone has me craving their delicious gelato creations, but if you’ve had them once, you know you’ve been thinking about it ever since. They get so creative with their flavours that I couldn’t resist sampling few before deciding which scoops. Birthday Cake was an obvious choice, and then being the Easter season, they had a marshmallow Peeps flavour. Perfection.
- Devil’s Punchbowl
Next, it was east to Stoney Creek to drive up to the Devil’s Punchbowl. First we stopped in at the adorable Punchbowl Market. It’s a total gem – you’ll find some of the most scrumptious baked goods around. I can’t be trusted when you let me loose in a bakery. Their Belgian Cookies are unreal – soft and buttery, with raspberry jam filling and almond icing. I got one to-go, but it inevitably did not last long.
From there, we walked up to the Devil’s Punchbowl to take in a classic Hamilton view, and of course some photo opps. From the north end to the east end, we saw some incredible views throughout the day. Sometimes we forget or take for granted what’s right in our own backyard.
- Mills Hardware
Naturally, music has to be part of the festivities, and serendipitously, I got the opportunity to DJ at Mills Hardware before one of my favourite local bands Ascot Royals took the stage. I first met these guys in 2008 or so, before the blogging days, and it has been a pleasure to book them and now to hear them on the radio. The show lead into Canadian Music Week and also featured The Blue Stones and Youngblood. It was another rad Birthday Tour for the books!