Thursday, August 14, 2008

beantown and la belle province 6: headin' north


View of the Berkshires
Welcome to the Berkshires
Massachusetts Route 2 (Mohawk Trail)

Since I had never been through northwestern Massachusetts, the route back to Canada followed Route 2 through the Berkshires. The scenery and hilltop views were beautiful, especially along the Mohawk Trail segment of the highway. Few cheesy tourist traps playing on the area's native heritage lined the roadside. The road's winding nature tossed my travel time estimations out the window, which was OK thanks to hotel reservations in Montreal.

Mohawk Theatre (1) Mohawk Theatre (2)
I stopped for a stroll in downtown North Adams and found this vintage theatre marquee. The Mohawk operated as a cinema for fifty years, then as an event venue before shutting in the early 90s. Efforts to restore the theatre have been going on for years.

Once I reached Albany, I hopped onto I-87 and stayed on it most of the drive to the border. The exception was a short jaunt through Lake George to find one of the three remaining Howard Johnson restaurants (which may be down to two if the up-for-sale Maine location has shuttered). The HoJo was still there but was closed for the day - I considered driving to the other survivor in Lake Placid until I determined it was too far from the freeway given the time.

Montreal Hotel Room (1)
I arrived in Montreal around 10pm and settled in at the Chateau L'Argoat. A co-worker recommended it to me several years ago and it has become my usual rest spot. Funky artwork in the rooms, a small breakfast nook, free parking, reasonable rates, proximity to the Metro, within walking distance of most downtown attractions - works for me.

The next two days were spent wearing my feet down to nubs as I walked around the city, covering an area from slightly west of the Decarie Expressway to the Jacques Cartier Bridge. A few pictures from the rest of the trip...

Tweety Goes For A Spin
At the rate Tweety spun in the window of Encore (a book/music store on Sherbrooke), he tawt he taw sevwal putty tats.

Alas, Montreal is Stuck With Koodo Too
Sadly there was no escape from the Koodo ad campaign in Montreal, as this bus shelter on Atwater near Lionel-Groulx Metro station testifies.

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin C'est L'Halloween, On Veut Des Bonbons
Left: Who knew that late Russian president Boris Yeltsin had a secret desire to be Paul Stanley?

Right: Items featuring these demented children and other characters from Têtes à Claques (a Quebec-based humourous video site) were seen frequently around the city, though the number of deeply discounted products may have indicated a lull in popularity.

Föktöp
Couche-Tard convenience stores offer Sloche for those craving slushy sustainance. The colours are garish, ranging from neon green to pitch black. The flavours are sweet enough to induce a diabetic coma - if you have a sweet tooth, prepare to be addicted. The cups poke fun at IKEA product naming conventions, in this case decribing how you feel after drinking one too many.

Liberez Vos Pulsions Primitives
'Nuff said.

Mysterious Schoolyard Game
Any guesses about the rules for this schoolyard game at Roy and Drolet?

Suite 88 Chocolatier
After passing by Suite 88 Chocolatier on St. Denis several times, I had to stop in during my last night in the city. The server warned me about the spice level in the chili cayenne chocolate gelato, but I ordered it and discovered the spicy kick worked well with the dark chocolate base.

FIN

Next: One roadtrip ends, another begins. 

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