6 Travel Mistakes You Don't Want to Make

6 Travel Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

Heather and I generally travel well together. We do our research, weigh our options, and come to decisions that we both feel good about.  On trips we often praise ourselves for the fine job we did planning such a spectacular vacation. (Sadly, that’s true. We actually do.)

But, nobody’s perfect.

We have made our share of travel mistakes. We share them here in the hopes that you can avoid them on your own travels.

1. Traveling North for New Year’s

Our most recent oops. Last month we reviewed our impressions of Montreal. The city certainly has a lot of destination appeal. However, amid a record breaking cold snap this appeal plummets. We thought: how much colder can Montreal be compared to Boston at New Year’s? Answer: Nose snapping instant frostbite colder.

There’s a reason that people in the Northeast go south in the winter. I accept the logic now.

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Chasers Poker Room Review

Chasers Poker Room Review

In the fall of 2017, Chasers entered the competitive Southern New Hampshire poker scene with a bang. Granted a smallish bang, at only 16 poker tables, but the immediate returns have been very good. On any given night Chasers fills a large portion of those tables with active cash games. Although, we don’t play a lot of cash poker, we came away impressed on the Tuesday evening we stopped in to the new venue for a tournament. There was a lot of energy in the room and the cash players were clearly excited about this new Salem, NH poker room.

Setting

Chasers Poker Room occupies the basement of a now defunct Chinese restaurant.  From the outside, the building does not inspire confidence. As you enter, the initial impression is “this is dark.” But the dark feeling quickly yields to a nice homey feel, atypical for your average poker room.  There is a small bar immediately to the right of the door, with seating and a few high top tables. Along the right wall is an attractive brick fireplace which we assume will never be used. In front of this wall are the table games: roulette, blackjack, and a couple of poker variations played against the dealer.

Although the room has a dark feel, the tables are very well lit from above. We had no problems seeing the cards. The chairs are padded and very comfortable, especially in comparison to some of the surrounding New Hampshire rooms. The footprint of the room is not huge, however, so the tables are a bit cramped. Read More

Six Ways to Save Money on Gas

6 Ways to Save Money on Gas

Gas is one of the most unpredictable and challenging budget items to control. We’re all at the mercy of fluctuating world markets. Just when you think you have a handle on your gas expenditures, prices jump 50 cents per gallon and there goes the budget. However, there are definitely ways you can save money on gas. In 2016, our household’s average monthly gas spend for two cars was $218. In 2017 we brought it down 26% to $162 a month, despite an increase of average gas prices from $2.18 in 2016 to $2.45 last year. If prices had remained at 2016 levels our raw gains would have been more like 32%. As it was, we saved close to $700 on gas in 2017.

How did we do it? Well, buying a more efficient car was clearly the key. However, we also used a number of other strategies that really solidified our savings: Read More

Borgata Poker Room Review

The Borgata Poker Room Review

The Borgata is widely thought of as one of the East Coast’s premier poker destinations. I think this is primarily because… it’s true!

The Borgata Poker room is an attractive, spacious 80+ table venue that is quite comfortable and professionally run. To remain top dog in the Northeast, the Borgata must withstand pressure from newer venues like Maryland Live! and National Harbor. It is up to the challenge.

Setting

The poker room occupies such a large space within the Borgata that it almost feels like a separate venue. When playing there you likely will not hear the clatter of the slot machines or hubbub of table games. For those of us focused solely on poker, this is Nirvana.

Add to that very high ceilings and wide spaces between tables, and you have the perfect spot to play poker. I usually do not care about decor in poker rooms. However, the Borgata poker room’s thick carpet, soft tan hues and stately columns render the room quite pleasant. The chairs are comfortable, but not so large you knock into your neighbors. Extras like charger ports at your seat are a plus for those of use whose cell phones are always near death.

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Habitat 67 in Montreal

Montreal: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Montreal is one of the most complex cities I have ever visited. It is culturally rich, steeped in history, and ground zero for French-English bi-culturalism and its attendant debates. It is also an industrial port, forged by its strategic location on the St. Lawrence river. It’s modern and international yet traditional and insular. The beautiful and ugly co-exist in single perspective views of Montreal as in few other places.

I have been to Montreal 5-6 times in my life and three times within the past two years with Heather. Our recent sojourns were driven by initial curiosity about the poker scene after seeing the Playground Poker Club on a televised tournament. It turns out that the Casino Montreal also has a decent poker room. Enjoying both, and the fact that Montreal is only a 5 hour drive from our house, we have returned twice in the summer and most recently over the New Year’s weekend.

However, I must admit I am still divided on Montreal as a vacation destination. Let’s start with the positives.

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