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Six Seattle Parks Activities For Sunny Days

Seattle is known for its rain, but locals know that the best time of year for Seattle is the summer months between July to September. That’s when the weather is at its best, and the sun shines brightly on the Emerald City. On sunny days, locals head out to the local park to take advantage of the sunshine. Here are six Seattle parks activities that you can do on a sunny day.

Fly a kite at Gas Works Park

The best place to fly a kite, and consequently, the best place to catch a view of the city, is on top of Kite Hill at Gas Works Park. The hill, which features a giant sun dial at the top, is man made and was created by the city of Seattle when they turned the former gas plant into a city park.

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Visitors flying a kite at Seattle’s Gas Works Park

 

Play volleyball at Green Lake Park

Green Lake Park is a hub for outdoor sports and activities. With plenty of baseball and softball fields, soccer fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, and even a putting green, Green Lake Park has virtually everything for everyone. A favorite sunny day past time among locals is to play volleyball. With just a net and a ball, and some enthusiastic teammates, you can have a rousing game of volleyball just about anywhere at the park.

Rent a paddle board at Green Lake Park

If land activities are not your thing, you can also tour Green Lake by boat, to enjoy views of its idyllic waters and lush trees. The Green Lake Boat House offers kayaks, pedal boats, canoes, row boats, and stand up paddle boards for rent. Sailboats are also available for rent through the Boat House.

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Lake Union Park in Seattle

 

Go canoeing at Lake Union

Another boating option is to rent a kayak or canoe and tour Lake Union. There are plenty of companies along the lake that offer kayak and canoe rentals including the Northwest Outdoor Center, Moss Bay, and Agua Verde Paddle Club. However, the best value is to go through the University of Washington Waterfront Activities Center and rent a canoe or rowboat. Hourly rentals for the general public are $9 on weekdays, and $11 on weekends, a fraction of the cost of the other companies.

Hike to the light house at Discovery Park

With over 500 acres of land, Discovery Park is a favorite among locals for hiking within the city. A focal point of the park is the West Point Light House, which has been guiding ships along the Puget Sound since 1881. Visitors love Discovery Park, with its many trails, as it affords them a refuge from the sights and sounds of the city.

Watch boats go by at the Ballard Locks

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, known as the Ballard Locks, are a popular spot for tourists, regardless of whether it’s sunny or rainy. Children and adults alike enjoy watching the engineering marvel of the boats rising and falling through the sheer force of water, as they make their way through the locks. The Ballard Locks connects the salt water of the Puget Sound with the fresh water of Lake Union. During the summer months, visitors can see salmon making their way up the fish ladder as they journey from the sea on to their spawning grounds in the Duwamish River.

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“Salmon Waves” sculpture at Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Seattle

 

Despite being subject to rain nine months out of the year, Seattle is quite a beautiful place to spend a sunny day. With its lush greenery and scenic views of water and mountains, it’s no wonder the locals can’t get enough of the outdoors. On a sunny Seattle day, the best thing to do is to go out into the city and try one of these Seattle parks activities for yourself.

Looking for more travel ideas? Check out the Leaf Canoe App for tips about Seattle and other cities.

 

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Ten Family-Friendly Seattle Center Activities

Seattle is a great place for families.  With its many parks, museums, restaurants, and shops, finding an activity to do with your family is not difficult.  One of the local favorites, the Seattle Center, offers many activities for families to enjoy.  Here are ten family-friendly Seattle Center activities worth checking out.

Go to the top of the Space Needle

The Space Needle is a popular attraction for families.  Visitors can catch panoramic views of the city from the top of the needle, situated over 500 feet in the air.  Or they can enjoy a delicious lunch at the SkyCity Restaurant, which features fine regional cuisine.

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The Space Needle, a popular family-friendly attraction

 

Marvel at the glass art at Chihuly Garden and Glass

Local artist, Dale Chihuly, is world-renowned for his work with glass.   At the Chihuly Garden and Glass, visitors can see his work on display in both indoor and outdoor exhibits.  With its colorful and whimsical glass sculptures, the glass garden is sure to delight kids and adults alike.

Play music at the Experience Music Project

The Experience Music Project has a number of interactive musical exhibits, but one of the favorites among families is the Sound Lab.  Here, kids can practice jamming on drums and guitars, or try their hand at being a dj.

Hang out with a Tyrannosaurus Rex at the Pacific Science Center

The Pacific Science Center’s family-friendly exhibits are both educational and interactive. Permanent exhibits include a butterfly house, a dinosaur exhibit, and a model tide pool.  The Pacific Science Center also houses an IMAX theater, laser dome, and planetarium, that offer thrilling and exciting shows.

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The Sonic Bloom exhibit at the Pacific Science Center

 

Catch a show or a game at the Key Arena

The Key Arena is home to Seattle’s WNBA team, the Storms, as well as their roller derby team, the Rat City Roller Girls.  With a seating capacity of over 17,000 people, the Key Arena is also a great place to catch a show.  Past performers have included U2 and Diana Ross, as well as Selena Gomez.

Explore and learn at the Children’s Museum

The Children’s Museum, located in the Armory building, is an excellent place to take young kids. With exhibits such as the Global Village, where kids can see how life is like in other parts of the world, and Cog City, where kids learn about the mechanics of pulleys and vacuums, the Children’s Museum encourages kids to explore in a very hands on way.

Splash around at the International Fountain

A favorite past time for families during the summer months is to play at the International Fountain.  The fountain consists of a 10 feet tall, 27 feet wide dome with over 270 water shooters that are synchronized to music. Surrounding the fountain is a bowl that is 220 feet in diameter where children can play in the spray from the fountain. It’s the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day.

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Families playing at the International Fountain

 

Watch a play at the Children’s Theater

The Seattle Children’s Theater is known for its professional programming geared towards younger audiences, and recognized as leaders in their field by Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, Time Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. Their shows are characterized by stories that both empower kids and encourage them to explore the world.

Check out a festival

Throughout the year, the Seattle Center hosts a number of cultural, musical, and culinary festivals. Festal is a yearlong celebration that highlights a region of the world each month, with free presentations of music and dance. Another popular festival taking place in the late summer is Bumbershoot, a music festival that brings in some of the best new bands in the United States. Other festivals worth checking out are the Northwest Folklife Festival, Bite of Seattle, and Seattle PrideFest.

Watch a free concert at the Mural

During the summer months, local radio station, KEXP, hosts outdoor concerts at the Seattle Center’s Mural Amphitheater.  These events draw crowds of families and adults interested in listening to local music.  The concerts are free, and all you really need is a nice picnic blanket to enjoy some good music.

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Free concerts at the Mural Amphitheater, hosted by KEXP

 

Looking for more family-friendly activities to do in Seattle?  Download the Leaf Canoe app for more tips.

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Lunchtime in Boston

It’s the middle of the day, and it’s time to eat. If traveling through the great city of Boston, you might be saving fancy establishments for dinner to empty out your wallet. But what if you still want to explore some culinary delights in the city and not break the bank? We have four great places to grab a tasty bite throughout Boston.

Make sure you check out my ‘leaf’, naming even more great places to nosh throughout the city on the LeafCanoe app! Filled with photos and tips, it’s the perfect way to map out meals while on the road.

Anna’s Taqueria

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There’s burritos, then there’s Anna’s. These hotspots for real authentic Mexican fast food are scattered throughout the city, but all offer the best burritos, quesadillas and tacos around. They have fresh vegetables and perfectly spiced meats to stuff them all. Pair these hearty lunch items with one of their signature Mexican drinks, such as the Horchata, similar to a sweet almond milk.

Shake Shack

Originally a famous chain in New York City, Boston has now welcomed a few restaurants of its own. The interior is much classier than other burger joints and the ingredients used are fresh. Although a little more costly then the golden arches, it’s well worth a few more dollars for their signature crinkly fries, burgers and a ‘concrete’. These milkshakes are so thick they need a spoon, thus the namesake. Choose one mixed with red velvet cake or a lobster tail pastry made in the nearby North End.

Figaro’s

It’s a standard sandwich shop with a delicious twist. Everything is made to order and massive, satisfying the cravings of those working in the financial district and tourist alike. Most of their hot subs, rollups and deli delights are named after famous Italians. Take with you the steak and cheese “Al Capone” or the imported prosciutto “Pavarotti”.

Pho Pasteur

Best Lunch boston

It can be a hit or miss when wandering through the Chinatown neighborhood, but many of these places offer hot, quick lunches for affordable prices. This place borders the Theater district, but is easily found on Washington Street. There pho bowls range in size, but a small is plenty fo even a large lunch. Fill it with beef, chicken or a mix of tasty items, smothered in flavorful broth and noodles. They have great chicken wings or shrimp cakes to start as well, fried up crispy.

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Dine out without breaking the bank in Hell’s Kitchen

Once a rough and tumble quarter full of Irish immigrants and hot dog carts, Hell’s Kitchen is now a fashionable Midtown neighborhood that boasts some of the best eateries on the isle of Manhattan. Its proximity to the theater district and the famed Actors Studio has long made Hell’s Kitchen a haven for the artistically minded, and now that the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has made its home there, the area is even more of a hot spot for Manhattanites and tourists alike. But, you can’t drain your wallet every time you want a night out in the city, so here is a list of some of the best inexpensive (and fun) restaurants in Hell’s Kitchen that could please even the fussiest foodie.

Empanada Mama

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While Empanada Mama on 9th Ave has a full menu, including entrees, salads, and desserts, you really need to try some of their famous empanadas. With over 40 flavors to choose from, you will be able to satisfy your appetite for something savory with the Caribbean-style pork filled Brasil empanada, something spicy with the Spicy Chicken Empanada, and something sweet with the American as apple pie USA empanada. Allergies? Fear not, empanadas come in both wheat and corn flour. Picky eaters? There is a plain old burger on the menu too. All empanadas are priced between $2 and $3 each, which will leave you plenty of cash to try one of their delicious drinks too!

Stecchino

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 Stecchino’s is known for its Italian-style burgers. While you can grab an entree here, the best bang for your buck is one of the burger plates which range between $12.50 and $14.50. These burgers range from the adventurous, The Butchers Block pork and black truffle burger, to the aristocratic, Caesar’s Palazzo with shredded romaine and Caesar dressing. Each plate comes with a generous helping of the familiar and the unexpected, and every burger satisfies. IF by some chance you are still hungry after dinner, you can always top things off with a traditional cannoli for dessert.

Merilu Pizza Al Metro

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Pizza is always the perfect choice, whether you are dining with a large group or a small one, and New York always knows how to do pizza right. At Merilu’s you can go for a plain NY Pie for as little as $12 or a Prosciutto di Param Pizza for $23, or grab one of their delicious salads or homemade Italian dishes to satisfy your appetite. The folks at Merilu’s have a huge menu for you to choose from, and even offer gluten free options, because no one should have to live without pizza. You can round off the night with some Classic Nutella.

 

 

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Top 4 unique workout routines in NYC

Even on vacation, travelers who are always on the move will be looking for somewhere to burn off their energy. In New York, a concrete jungle full of tasty cuisine, hot nightclubs and attractions to explore, it can be easy to throw out your usual fitness routine. However, locals know that there are countless places to work out that are way beyond the realms of treadmills and aerobics. Here are some fun spots to meet others while burning calories in Manhattan.

Anti-Gravity Aerial Yoga

Have you ever gone to a Circe du Solei show and dreamed of flying through the air like the acrobats? A studio on west 37th street has developed an ‘Anti-gravity” method of yoga that uses similar hammock-like materials to suspend participants in the air. They go through moves typically found in yoga, but defy the elements and work new muscle groups, reliving gravity’s tension and pull. Jump into a class and quickly learn the ropes to have a blast working out.

Indoor rock climbing at Chelsea Piers

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This gigantic indoor rock wall can be found at a big sports complex on the water, complete with ice rink, gold club and spa, to name a few. Have the expert staff teach you climbing basics, then work toward conquering the wall, which offers more than 11,000 square feet of fun to cover.

Try movement mixed with drama

Perhaps you’d like to avoid gym-like setting all together on a trip to New York City. Join other theater goers for a unique and interactive experience at Sleep No More, a Shakespeare play set inside a massive warehouse. This is not a vigorous workout, but it is a way to immerse in a play while walking and running through a live, haunting and theatric environment. Each performance lasts three hours, which is a great amount of time to be on your feet. Follow actors and let them actually lead you by the hand through room to figure out the story.

Simply have a run at Central Park

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The biggest and most iconic green spot in Manhattan is a haven for fitness buffs. Connect with the Central Park runner’s group to stay safe and let them show you the best routes for running. See all the beautiful scenery of this area while energizing your body and getting away from the city for a spell.

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Take a Look at a Book in New York City

Nothing beats the smell of old books stacked high in a sunny bookstore on a charming summer day. New York City is full of bibliophiles who love to frequent independent and big-names book shops throughout Manhattan, on the hunt for the latest release or just a calm spot to read. Some of coffee and desserts inside, while others may be bare bones but offer free wifi and a chance to browse. Every local swears by their favorite, so travelers will have to try a few to decide on their own preferred book haven in the Big Apple.

Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books

Travelers with a sense of humor and a love of all things quirky will want to make a beeline for 34 Carmine Street in the East Village. The shop is called “Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books”. Really. It says so on their sign. It’s open really late as well, even until midnight on the weekends, so it can be worth stopping by for a book to conclude the night with back at your hotel. Most literary finds only run a few dollars and staff are more than willing to offer a few recommendations. It might not carry the newest bestsellers on your list, but it’s perfect for discovering a hidden gem not many have read.

Bluestockings

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Ladies flock to this shop, as it used to be a strictly feminist hangout and bookstore. Nowadays it has a more inclusive stance, but has still stayed true to its global justice and equality roots. There are more than 6,000 titles ranging from magazines about women’s rights to biographies of those incarcerated. This is the place to learn, as they also hosts various workshops, discussions and even performances on the daily.

St. Mark’s

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Among the student crowd in the Lower East Side is this shop, holding some wonderfully written masterpieces just dying to be picked up. St Mark’s Bookstore has been around for decades and has withstood the test of time and popularization of Kindles. Every month, they welcome an author to do a reading and signing as well, which would be a fun alternative activity to try while in the city. The décor is simple and unpretentious, allowing for a safe space to curl up with a new read and get lost in its story.

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Top small music venues in NYC

Manhattan has some of the most creative and musical residents in the world. People travel from all corners of the globe to make it big as rockstars, on Broadway or anything in between. This gives everyone a chance to showcase their talents and also be witness to some incredible live music in almost every corner of the city. No matter if you are into rock, indie, soul, hip hop or even orchestral, there is a place for you to treat your ears to fantastic entertainment.

Beekman Beer Garden

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Most people do not head to NYC for the beaches, but there is in fact a city man-made shore overlooking the East River that doubles as a music venue. The Beekman has featured acts such as Eric Prydz, Moe., and even George Clinton on the past to patrons hanging out on the sand and in glowing, funky chairs outside. More energetic travelers can enjoy the massive dance space, or challenge a friend to a ping-pong or pool game on the premises. It’s located off of South St.

Gramercy Theater

Live Nation is dominating in ticket sales throughout NYC and the country – so they’ve decided to take creating concert venues into their own hands. The Gramercy Theater was born out of an old movie theater from the 1930s and re-designed to accommodate about 600 music fans at once. Some bands coming up on the calendar include Bassface, Wheatus and Switchfoot.

Living Room

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On Ludlow Street is a little gem that has a great coffee house feel and an intimate setting. Made famous by Norah Jones, the Living Room now features relaxed, singer-songwriter acts throughout the week. Some shows are so laid-back that the singer will make up songs on the spot, so guests can be sure they’re hearing completely original tunes. During the day, kids can even get in on the fun and hear some friendly jingles from famous rockers, like Nada Surf and the Hold Steady.

Jalopy

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Big lights and exciting bands are the draw to most NYC shows, but sometimes locals and travelers also want to get away from it all. Jalopy offers this ambiance on Columbus St. with its curtained stage and charming libations served in mason jars. People who get inspired can stick around for music classes as well, with instruments available to rent in concentrations of mandolin, ukelele, guitar and fiddle.

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Give NYC theater venues a closer look

The shows inside New York’s theaters are the real draw, but many of these venues are a sight to see alone. Draped in historical significance and beautiful design, theaters that hold Broadway shows, intimate products and even the occasional movie are well worth taking a peek during a trip to Manhattan. Some even have tours specifically for the drama buffs and architectural aficionados.

The Beacon Theater

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See rock and roll at its finest at the Beacon. It’s been the venue for recent Tony Awards and hosts a wide variety of concerts, such as The Allman Brothers and Duran Duran. The marquee shines bright, covered in old style flashbulbs. Some call it the ‘older sister’ to Radio City Music Hall. It has a deep history dating back to the 1920s that began with operas and musicals, especially because it boasts impeccable acoustics.

59E59

The layout of this venue is not the most impressive, but its three different theaters allow for a wonderfully intimate and unique show experience is such a large and chaotic city. Escape the streets and duck into this space, famous for its off-Broadway performances. Each space only holds a hundred or so guests, so they can have a truly immersive experience and connect with the actors. While big, flashy shows are thrilling, many wander to 59E39 for a different kind of performance.

David H. Koch Theater

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Ballet lovers and fans of classic performing arts will want to catch a show at this special area near the Lincoln Center. Since the 1960s, it’s been an iconic figure downtown, with an impressive front façade of white columns and a dramatic fountain area. Inside, note the elegant marble flooring and golf-leaf ceilings – an environment that warrants wearing your Sunday best for one of the spectacular shows on the bill. This is the official venue for the New York City Ballet.

The Ziegfeld

This is the place for flicks in the city that gives movie-goers a sense of the old school viewing pleasures. Covered in stunning red accents, chandeliers and sporting comfy seats, the features are limited and the space is often reserved for special events. Arrive a little early to admire the ambiance and watch the light fall for the film. Find it right on 6th Avenue for a perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon escaping reality.

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A journey to the top of the Empire State Building

Travelers know they have really made it to Manhattan when they view it from above at the top of the Empire State Building. While it’s no longer the tallest or most modern around, it holds true to its roots and is well recognized worldwide for being a feat of 20th century design.

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What to Expect

Access is right on 5th avenue and towers over guests that enter through the glittering gold lobby. There are some lines inside and places to buy tickets for the observation deck. Travelers can get authentic souvenirs inside as well, but these can be bought more affordably on the streets too. People from all over the world come here, so it’s most likely you will where dozens of different languages talking excitedly about the experience. There is a security check too, so wear removable jackets and keep belongings to a minimum to streamline the process.

Who Will Love It

Anyone on a first or 50th visit to New York City can’t help but be blown away by the incredible panoramic views offered from the 86th and 102th floor. There are other decks to see the city from, but this is the best by far. It’s centrally located and easy to get to as well. Movie buffs will have a blast remembering countless scenes filmed at this location, including Sleepless in Seattle, Elf, King Kong and Bright Lights, Big City.

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Who Will Be Disappointed

It’s hard to be let down at a place with so much architectural beauty and history. But it can be tough to keep track of children on the observation deck, which can lead to a little stress. Tickets are very overpriced, due to its iconic popularity, so it can cost a family a couple of hundred dollars just to reach the top deck. When on a budget, this might want to be avoided, but the lobby space is free to visit.

Travel Tips

As this is one of the top places to visit in Manhattan, travelers will often have to battle long lines and grumpy staff members. However, after the sun goes down, the lines great diminish and the observation is almost clear. Have kids take a nap and bring everyone straight to the top after 9PM for great nighttime views and less hassle. In addition, buy tickets in advance to avoid lines further and zoom right to the top.

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Have a cuppa at NYC’s top tea spots

High tea tend to be a British tradition where people enjoy some high-end snacks and herbal teas in the late afternoon between meals. it gives those a chance to catch up and indulge in a light meal with friends or family. When traveling around New York City, it can get hetic fitting in all the sights to see. Taking a break for a cup of tea can be the perfect excuse for slowing down and exploring some of Manhattan’s swankiest establishments at the same time.

Cha-An

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The Brits are not the only ones who have perfected the art of teatime. Japanese culture also holds drinking tea in high regard with similar, yet exotic customs to experience as well. At Cha-An, groups of four can reserve time twice a month on Sunday to witness a traditional tea cermony, complete with a selection of drinks and sweets, like the delectable apple cakes. It can be a refreshingly new way to have a Eastern-style tea break in the Big Apple.

Lady Mendi’s Tea Salon

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The red carpet is really rolled out for clinets who have high tea at lady mendi’s. This is the place to see and be seen as a couple over a romantic and elaborate 5-course affair. It’s drawn out with each cucumber sandwich, scone, cake and hand-steeped tea being served indiivually so you can linger and savor the moment. Arguably one of the most popular tea houses in the city, it’s more high-end than most but also offers the most bang for its buck, and can easily subsitute a meal with all of it’s complex foodie offerings.

The American Girl Place

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There might be nothing more memorable on a family trip to New York than time spent with your daughter. You can treat her to an unforgettable tea service at this girl-friendly restaurant inspired by the popular dolls. Treats are named after the dolls adventures and are easy to please choices for the younger crowd. Moms, daughters, and anyone in between who wants to join in can start tea time with a warm cinnamon roll and finish with anyhitng from fruite to cakes. Tea is served, of course, but lemonade, juices and hot cocoa are also on the menu.

Tea and Sympathy

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It does not get more quintessentially Biritsh than this. If you need to brush up on your knowledge of UK food items like clotted cream, Yorkshire pudding and Scotch eggs, you have come to the right place. Electic decor and a no-frills, delicious and relaxing servcie is what makes this spot a favorite among residents and guests who wander in from out of town. There breakfast, lunch and dinner menu is also impressive if looking for a bit more to nibble on.

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