Monday, July 26, 2010

Horny Girl Scout Anyone?

Mind out of the gutter...talking about specialty shot #25 out of sixty offered at the Looney Bin Bar & Grille in Laconia/Weirs Beach.

Located directly across from FunSpot, the Looney Bin, Laconia is a popular stop for bikers cruising the lakes region. It is a bit small inside, may even have to wait to get in during bike week, but there was plenty of room and hospitality during our July trip to the mountains.

Our recent visit found us intrigued with the list of specialty drink shots - list shown below. With names such as 'Moose Fart' and 'Bong Water', it is hard to believe but true that all are real shots pulled from the bartenders mixing guide. Anyone that tries 50 out of the 60 shots will receive a sweatshirt and a special mention on the property website. Not to one is leaving the bar having done 50 shots! Each visit, patrons are allowed a maximum of five shots and possibly less, at bartenders discretion. There is a card system used to keep track of shots and the duration of the promotion appears to be unlimited. The day we started our shots card, the bartender said it took him five years to fill his up. Basically, it amounts to a $250 sweatshirt as shots are $5 each, but it is fun and who doesn't love a bit of competition among friends. Only managed to knock off three while I was there but my card is filed away with them for my next visit to Laconia.

For those not interested in shots or hard liquor, the Looney Bin, Laconia has a wide selection of draft on tap, as well as a large selection of bottled beers. Food is very reasonably priced with everything under $10. Menu consists mainly of sandwiches, subs and appetizers. They offer many specials throughout the week, which can be found on their website. Currently, they are offering half-price appetizers on Wednesdays. Chicken wings, chicken fingers for less than $4 bucks...can't beat it.

During warmer months, the outdoor patio is open. Has a few picnic tables and I think an area for smokers.

The Looney Bin, Laconia has easy access, directly off Route 3. Parking is paved and plentiful with an area directly outside the windows for bike parking. Hours are a bit uncertain - we were told if there were less than 5 guests they would close early, which is understandable, so calling ahead is recommended if you are heading there near closing time: 9pm on weekdays and 11pm on weeknights. They will also stay later if they are busy.

Contact Info:
The Looney Bin Bar & Grille
Route 3
Weirs Beach, NH

Monday, July 12, 2010

Boys and their toys...

Bike Week - a time when men can be boys. Time to bring the toys out to play, drink a little too much, act a little crazy and from this woman's point of is okay. We all need some time to unwind, act outside the norm, maybe release the inner crazy, don't we? It is at bike week that you will find the biggest, the loudest, the fastest, and the shiniest 'toys' around. It is a time when the big guns are brought out. The original, crazy, and custom designs are why people return for more.

As a back seat rider, my favorite part of attending bike week is checking out the bikes. I am always amazed at the creativity shown by riders. Some bikes are built for show, others for speed, and most are a reflection of some part of the owner's personality. What do you think this bike says about this guy?

Man's Best Friend...while many men choose to ride with their woman on back, several seem to prefer the more furry type. Think he puts his lady in there too?!

Wonder if this fine feathered friend knows any special phrases to impress the ladies?

Trick or treat in style...

Ode to the commode...

And wow, what a way to spend a February winter day...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Back Roads, Covered Bridges, and Country Stores

Just back from Vermont...Killington area, and it is amazing to me that the place is like a ghost town. Apparently this area comes to life in the Winter and all about shuts down at the end of ski season. Boy, are people missing out!

Weather is fantastic, warm and sunny...roads are free and clear of traffic, and the green mountains are the perfect backdrop to days spent touring the area.

While some businesses do shut down, we were able to find some fun places that remain open during the slow season.

Casey's Caboose is located right off Killington Road. Quirky, fun little place that offers a happy hour from 4pm-6pm. As state law dictates, they are not allowed to offer drink specials but instead offer food specials. The evening we were there, buffalo wings were 25 cents a a piece. Not great, but wasn't expecting a lot. Bartender was very friendly, gave lots of advice and tips on local attractions and bars.
The building resembles an old train car, and even has a model train set-up around the ceiling perimeter. Guests at the bar are encouraged to toss quarters at a level that will put the train into action as it lets off an authentic sounding whistle.

The parking in Casey's Caboose is not paved but it was solid and easy to maneuver bike.

After a quick stop in Casey's, we hopped back on the bike looking for the next pit stop. Just a short drive away, on same side of the road, is a sports bar and pub called -Moguls. Again, driveway is not paved but is packed solid and easy to get into and out of.

This place would be great to go with a group. There is horseshoes, mini-golf and ping-pong out back; inside there is a pool table, flat screen TVS, and a large bar area. Drinks were a little on the pricey side, although were not weak. They have freshly popped popcorn that smells delicious and is just as tasty. We did not have any food here, but can say it looked delicious, portions were huge and posted specials seemed reasonably priced. There was a good mix of patrons including families, singles, couples, bikers, young and old. It was a comfortable environment. Bartenders were okay, waitresses seemed very friendly. Fun place!

Of course, the best part of Vermont is cruising through the small towns discovering spectacular scenery. Farmers markets, covered bridges, country stores and friendly locals made for a fun adventure in the Green state.

We look forward to going back as soon as we can....the view alone is worth the trip!

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Mirage Amidst the Pines in the North Georgia Mountains

Northern Georgia is a perfect riding destination - smooth pavement, windy roads, scenic mountain views and warm weather. If you find yourself in this part of the state, hop on route 75 which leads to a surprising little town called 'Helen'. Cobble-stone walkways and replications of Bavarian mountain buildings create this unique alpine village making it a special place in the North Georgia Mountains.

Each year the town is host to several events including the upcoming rally 'Destination Helen'. Held in August each year, this four day motorcycle rally hosts poker runs, scavenger hunts and even a Ms. Destination Helen bikini contest. 'Destination Helen' is sponsored the Chattahoochee Biker Gear store, which is located one block off strip. The store has everything a biking enthusiast needs, including a wide of apparel, boots, and accessories. Outside is plenty of paved parking and several shaded picnic tables.
Another big event is held each year in October. For the entire month, the town rolls out the red carpet for guests wishing to experience an 'Oktoberfest' without leaving the country. Complete with a biergarten, knockworsts and St. Pauly girls, Helen's Oktoberfest attracts huge crowds with guests from all over the country. The festivities and the fall foliage make Helen a very biker-friendly destination.

If you're looking for a more-low key visit, Helen hosts many other events throughout the year, including a hot-air balloon festival. Outside of the many special events, Helen has a host of other attractions, including a winery, a state park and a dinner theater. Off-peak season is a great time to visit as the town is full of quaint shops and restaurants, including some with authentic German cuisine.

There are plenty of biker-friendly accommodations in Helen ranging from low-cost motels to secluded mountain cabins. Several hotels are convenient to downtown and are walking distance to all the activities. For the more adventurous, nearby Unicoi State Park offers camping sites.

If your travels find you anywhere near the North Georgia Mountains, Helen is a town you don't want to miss.

Visit this Troll under the Bridge in Helen, GA

Located along the banks of the Chattahoochee river in Helen, Georgia, the Troll Tavern is a great place to grab a drink or have some lunch.

If you've never been to Helen, it is a kitschy little Bavarian town in the North Georgia mountains. Some might say tacky, but we love the uniqueness and quaintness of the locale.

There is plenty of parking for bikes in the public lots, about a block from the center. Easy walk, and cheap. I think on a weekday we paid $3 and around $5 on the weekend.

The Troll Tavern is the best setting in town if you like to sit outdoors. There is plenty of seating; we especially enjoyed watching the tubers float down the river.

Contrary to other reviews on the web, we enjoyed our meal at the Troll Tavern in Helen. Nothing fancy or gourmet...tavern food. It was good for what it is...prices weren't too bad. It has an eclectic menu with German food as the focus, but also has Italian and American dishes. Lunch (sandwiches) ran us about $9-$12 a piece - dinners range from $12-$20. Service was slow, and the place is always busy so don't think it was a one-off. Make sure to have some extra time, and bring your patience with you!

A variety of draft is on tap at the Troll Tavern, along with bottled domestic beers priced around $4 and a nice selection of imports priced around $5. A bit pricey but in line with other local establishments. Noticed a party next to us ordering a pitcher of margaritas...definitely going to try that the next time we are there.

Should your travels find you in this quaint Bavarian town, head to the Troll Tavern, grab a seat by the river and watch the Chattahoochee flow by.

Contact Info:
Troll Tavern
8590 North Main Street
Helen, GA 30545
(706) 878-3117