One of the reasons I was most excited about attending Mohawk College for the first time four years ago was because a new city to experience seemed like a great thrill for a small town girl like myself.
If you ever read my student blog while I was attending the college you may already know about my love for Locke Street. I always feel like I’m in some small town in a European country when I take a stroll down it. I will never be able to narrow down my favourite shop on that street because it’s hard to decide between cupcakes, pizza, cheese, etc., but I decided to focus on the first shop I just HAD to visit – The Vintage Garden Tea Room. When you first enter a polite staff, and an abundance of vintage tea ware are waiting to greet you. In fact, every individual at your table will get a different teacup and pot. The sets are usually mixed and never coupled together.
I’m someone who owns a never-ending stock of tea (currently at about 60 different blends) but will never find an excuse to not try a teashop. I am truly in love with the VGTR’s atmosphere and the soft jazz music they usually play in the background. The first time I walked in was with my sister, and since then I’ve taken my boyfriend and all my roommates to give it a try (even a coffee lover!). With over 50 different teas, there certainly is a blend for everyone out there. What’s my favourite loose leaf from there? It’s a toss between Monk’s Blend and White Swiss Truffle!
After a few pots of teas are indulged, and if I for some reason decide not to have the Vintage Garden Tea Room’s amazing carrot cake for dessert, Bean Bar is definitely my next stop! I have eaten dinner there a few times, but really, I just love going there for dessert. Their shelf space for a wide variety of cakes is outstanding! Even though I can never keep up with the server explaining each individual one they all look too good to pass up. The place itself is beautiful. It has an electric, and funky feel to it but in my experience it gets pretty packed fast. So make sure if you do go during dinner hour to try and make a reservation ahead of time.
So you’ve had your tea, dinner and dessert and now it’s time for some entertainment. The Art Gallery of Hamilton is Ontario’s third largest public art gallery. One reason for my love for any art gallery is because I enjoy supporting local artists. The AGH is located right in downtown Hamilton, but can be easy to miss so let’s just call this beauty a “hidden jem.” If you have a couple hours to spare and want to get your money worth I highly recommend the AGH. With it’s friendly staff, incredible artwork ranging from sculptures, paintings, and photography it’s hard not to adore. Also, if I’m not mistaken, the second floor is free to visit and the first Fridays of each month the gallery is free to the public as well. Don’t forget to stop at the gift shop on your way out, too!
I know there are many other places that should be mentioned and believe me it was definitely hard to narrow down a few of my favourite places in Hamilton so I decided to stick to the areas I visited the most. If you have any recommendations of your own, please let me know so I can add them to my list of places to see in #HamOnt.
– Lu Ann Pannunzio
Follow Lu Ann @teaaholic