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With the temperatures in the teens across much of the Northeast, even those of us sitting inside today are no doubt feeling the chill. This contributor is staring out the window and watching the wind rip through and blow the snow off the trees, but somehow it seems warmer than the image captured in the photo above -- a snapshot from the ice canoe races that take place every year at the Quebec Winter Carnival in Quebec City, set to take place a month from now January 31st to February 16th.
We gave you a glimpse of what goes down at the carnival a few years ago, including ice sculptures, winter-oriented carnival rides (think dog sledding), horse jarring shows, hot caribou in a cane, snow raves, and an extremely festive atmosphere throughout the city. We certainly bundled up for the cold on our visit, but nothing could stop our knees from buckling during the yearly ice canoe races.
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Yet more international city badges have just dropped, in time for your summer travels! Location-based social network Foursquare is deep into the city badge awarding, and the last week has seen six new ones, for your checking-in pleasure.
These newest city badges go to Kingston, Jamaica; Trois-Rivières, Quebec; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Portland, OR, USA; Riga, Latvia; and Ghent, Belgium.
How to get the badges: First, follow 4sqCities, and just to be safe, it wouldn't hurt to also follow the individual city lists: Kingston (list); Trois-Rivieres (list); Las Vegas (list); Portland (list); Riga (list); and Ghent (list). Then travel to the cities and clickety-click to check-in to the places on the recommended lists. Five places earns the badge.
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Besides the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day—we could take or leave that last one—February doesn’t have too much going on. It’s a great month to head somewhere warm to escape the winter weather, but it seems like this season hasn’t even been that chilly or snowy. That’s why we’re suggesting the old standby—drinking—to get you through this month. Here’s three beer festivals where you can toast to February:
Cincy Winter Beerfest
They’re preparing plenty of kegs, glasses, and other beer paraphernalia in preparation for this month’s frothy festival in Cincinnati. The fun takes place on February 10 and 11, and there are still plenty of tickets available for you and your drinking buddies. This year tickets will set you back $35 in advance of the party, and that’ll get you a snazzy souvenir cup—capable of holding five ounces—that you can refill up to 25 times. Things get underway each evening around 7:30pm, and the last call is just after 10pm so be sure to pace yourself.
The drinking take place at the Duke Energy Convention Center, and this year’s festival marks the end of the inaugural edition of the city’s beer week. Expect at least 300 different craft beers from here, there, and everywhere, and organizers are hoping for at least 10,000 beer fans to be in attendance. Brewers like Dogfish Head, Elevator, and Three Floyds are just some of the attendees planning to show off their lagers and ales. Organizers even have a spreadsheet of those planning to attend, so you can even take time to prepare your plan of attack.
Trying to flee the freezing temperatures sweeping across the country is natural, but predictable. Instead, do what folks in these frigid destinations do—embrace it and get INTO the cold. The trick to staying toasty is chill-killing gear and lots of bone warming activity. So stop moping around waiting for summer to arrive and head to these five crazy cold places and get your winter wonderland on.
Cold Meter: Extreme:
It’s damned cold in the Outaouais region of western Quebec province, no matter what the locals say. But, don’t panic when hearing reports of -20 degree temperatures. French Canadians speak in Celsius, so that would be only a chillez -4 F to Americans. But peeps around these parts don’t fret about such things. They see it as another chance to hang around a warm fire or tiny cafe after a day outside. Copious amounts of wine makes all things bearable here, too.
Despite frigid temperatures (it plummeted to -4F on Saturday), locals didn’t seem to mind the weather, instead numbing the cold with the potent Port and brandy-infused Caribou liquor
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This is for those of you north of the border, or who just can't swing heading to Paris for a little falling leaf action: go instead to Quebec. More specifically, grab a Greyhound bus from Montreal to the little, but heavily-touristed, ski village of Mont-Tremblant.
Peak fall colors season is in early to mid-October, so you'll be well enough ahead of the snowfalls to enjoy riding the ski lifts up and over the foliage sans snowboard and ski suit.
Whiteoutabout a murder in Antarcticanot the old school liquid stuff that covers typos, opens in theaters nationwide today. The movie stars Kate Beckinsale, who has yet to mention whether or not her boogers froze while filming, as a Deputy Marshal sent to investigate the murder. To capture the feeling of the Antarctic, they filmed the movie in various locations across Quebec and Manitoba, including Lake Winnipeg, just outside of Winnipeg, Lake Manitoba and Boucherville.
Winnipeg used to be thought of as the armpit of Canada (see New Jersey, Canada had one too) but recently the city has actually become a cultural hub with world class restaurants, festivals and an arts district in the center of town.
We tell you where to follow White Out around Quebec: