Tag: As Seen on TV

Carlo’s Bakery – Hoboken, NJ

Carlo’s Bakery – Hoboken, NJ

As we were driving up to Vermont last fall, my husband asked me to give him a rough overview of what our route would be. I told him that we would be going through nearly the entire state of Delaware, most of New Jersey, and then New York before crossing over the border into Vermont.

“New Jersey?” my daughter piped up from the back seat. “Are we going through Hoboken?” She was excited at the possibility.

Most thirteen year olds don’t know a lot about Hoboken, let alone do they want to go there. But she had watched several seasons of “Cake Boss” on Netflix, so she was quite familiar with Hoboken and Buddy Valastro, owner of Carlo’s Bakery.

I checked. It was easily do-able. So I plugged the address for Carlo’s into the GPS and off we went.

Hoboken is really quite lovely. The views of New York City as you approach Hoboken are magnificent, and there is a nice little waterfront area. Carlo’s Bakery is, just as the sign says, across from city hall there.

We were traveling on a Saturday, and Carlos was packed. I mean, wall to wall people, as you can see:

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We took a number and headed to the nearby Walgreens for a rest room break, then killed some more time on the park benches outside city hall.

When we returned to the bakery, we inched our way up to the display cases and were treated (no pun intended) to some delicious looking desserts.

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Including some that were festively decorated for fall.

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Cupcakes were $3.00 each. That’s the same that my local gourmet baker charges for her cupcakes, and she is not famous, so I felt like it was a good deal.

We hung out while we waited for our number to be called and watched them making pies and such in the area at the far end of the bakery.

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And after a while, Mauro came out to talk to someone.

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I bought a caramel cupcake for me, a cannoli for my husband, a mini chocolate truffle cake for my daughter, and something called a sfogliatella just because there were a million layers of pastry and I had never seen anything like it before.  It was all so tasty and rich!

I think we were there for close to 90 minutes. If you’re in the area and have the time, I would recommend stopping by. For fans of the show, it’s a definite must-see!

Carlo’s Bakery is located at 95 Washington Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030.  Telephone 201-659-3671. The bakery opens daily at 7:00 am; closing hours vary by day.

The Triwizard Spirit Rally @ Universal’s Hogsmeade

The Triwizard Spirit Rally @ Universal’s Hogsmeade

One of the shows you can catch in Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando is the Triwizard Spirit Rally. There, representatives from competing schools Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and the Durmstrang Institute put on a show meant to impress and intimidate, albeit in two entirely different ways. We were first introduced to these two wizarding schools in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

First, the Beauxbatons ladies, who twirl and smile and sigh dramatically. Their strategy is clearly to overtake their rivals by charm. You could almost see little cartoon hearts and cupids floating around them.

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Then there are the Durmstrang boys, who are tough. They make loud, guttural noises and bang their sticks on the stage a lot. They intend to intimidate anyone with enough nerve to even consider competing with them.

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It’s not a must-see show, but it’s a nice way to kill time if you’re waiting for a family member to get off of a ride, or if you just want to soak up some of the Hogsmeade atmosphere.  Check it out!

Universal’s Islands of Adventure is located at 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819. Telephone 407-224-4233. The park is open normally at 9:00 am, but closing times vary.

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mackinac Island, Michigan

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is the perfect destination for families, for people who love nature, for history buffs … there is really something for everyone.  The jewel in the crown of the UP is Mackinac Island.  (Pronounced Mackinaw)

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When you first arrive on Mackinac Island by boat, you will notice a conspicuous lack of traffic on the streets, owing to the fact that cars are all but forbidden on the island. Instead, horse-drawn carriages and bicycles are the primary means of transportation.

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And as if that isn’t romantic enough, there’s the majestic Grand Hotel.  If you ever saw the 1980 movie “Somewhere in Time” starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, you will recognize it immediately.  If you can afford to stay there, do.  The Grand Hotel has been named one of the top hotels in the country by Conde Nast Traveler, Travel +Leisure, Wine Spectator, Gourmet magazine, and AAA.

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For those who are inspired by nature, make sure you tour enough of the island to see its iconic Arch Rock.  Standing 146 feet above Lake Huron, this is a rare natural limestone arch.


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Finally, for those who love history, be sure to check out Fort Mackinac.  The views from there are fantastic, and you will have an opportunity to learn about the fort’s role in the War of 1812.  Canon and rifle-firing demonstrations are held periodically each day, and you can tour many of the fort’s buildings, which are set up with recreations of what they would have looked like in the early 19th century.

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Additionally, if your curiosity veers toward the morbid at times, you might be interested to learn about Dr. William Beaumont, an Army surgeon who was stationed at the fort.  When a French Canadian fur trader named Alexis St. Martin was accidentally shot in the stomach and his open wound would not heal, the good doctor took advantage of the situation to experiment with and observe the physiological process of digestion.  Those experiments lasted over ten years and led to many important discoveries.