Dan Schaumann

Official site of avid traveller and singer/songwriter, Dan Schaumann. Debut album "A Thousand Days Beneath The Sun" out now on CD and iTunes.

United States

No McDonalds in Montpelier

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February 9th, 2014 Posted 9:20 pm

Late last year I started planning a weekend getaway to somewhere in Canada or the US in late January or early February. I was tossing up between three or four cities within an affordable travelling distance from Toronto, when I chanced upon this tweet in my timeline:

@OMGFacts: Montpeiler, Vermont is the only US state capital without a McDonald’s.

Montpelier, eh? Iā€™d never even heard of it before. A quick spot of research led me to find that not only was it the sole US capital without a McDonalds, but it was also the smallest American capital city with a population of around 7,800. What’s more, it was only 500km from Toronto, and Porter Airlines had some decent prices on flights to the nearby city of Burlington, about 45 minutes north-west of the capital.

If there’s no McDonalds in Montpelier, I wondered, then what on earth do the locals do for food & entertainment?

That familiar sense of intrigue sparked within me and I knew my next weekend getaway would be to the New England state of Vermont. And so it was that on Friday last week I set upon my first of three days in Montpelier: an absolutely delightful little town that would ultimately take the #1 spot on my list of favourite cities in the United States.

In case you were also wondering what there is to do in and around Montpelier sans-Mickey D’s, I’ve compiled here a list of the beautiful sights, delicious food and inspiring attractions that I was lucky enough to see, eat and visit during my trip!

 

Montpelier Panorama

A Montpelier panorama as seen from Cliff St, on the way down from Hubbard Park

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The world’s tallest filing cabinet

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February 3rd, 2014 Posted 10:10 pm

If there was ever a reason to visit the city of Burlington in the picturesque north-eastern US state of Vermont, it’s gotta be for the chance to see the world’s tallest filing cabinet.

Worlds Tallest Filing Cabinet-7

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A day in Detroit

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October 25th, 2013 Posted 8:56 pm

With my final few days of freedom last week before beginning work in Toronto, I decided to book a trip to the US on the Greyhound. My ultimate destination was Chicago but I was also very curious to stop over in the city of Detroit, Michigan, for one night. With 2,137 cases of violent crime reported per 100,000 people in 2012, Detroit is famous for being the second most dangerous city in the States – second only to the city of Flint, merely 70 miles north-east. Not only that, but the city filed for bankruptcy earlier this year with around $18 billion dollars in debt, making it the largest Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing in United States history. With these two statistics in mind, I wished to experience its seemingly bleak atmosphere for myself.

During the 20 hours I spent in town, I came to see first-hand how it maintained such a notorious reputation. Amongst the abandoned buildings, ramshackle neighbourhoods and suspicious-looking individuals I passed on the street, I couldn’t begin to imagine how the recent economic woes have further affected a city that’s already suffered so much hardship over the years. Yet despite its tribulations, I was surprised to witness many pockets of joy within its streets – from a beautiful community garden sponsored by the downtown Compuware headquarters, to an entire street in an eastern ghetto dedicated to community art and peace.

In all my years of travels I’ve never felt more uncomfortable than walking through the suburban streets of Detroit – but that ambience of constantly being on edge is what I loved so much about my visit. Here are a handful of stories telling of the crazy characters I met and the beautiful places I saw during my day in Detroit.

Heidelberg Project 05

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The Chicago skyline on LSD

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October 21st, 2013 Posted 8:44 pm

I had a few hours to spare the other night in Chicago and took the opportunity to venture up North Michigan Avenue and check out the John Hancock Observatory. 94 floors above the famous Magnificent Mile, it’s a spectacular destination for anyone wanting a birds-eye view of Illinois’ most illustrious city.

I didn’t have a tripod to steady my camera for the long exposures required at such a time of day, so I decided to have some fun instead.

I present to you: the Chicago skyline on LSD.

Chicago Skyline On Drugs 01

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The streets of NYC

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October 3rd, 2013 Posted 8:19 pm

During the final week of September 2013 I spent some time in the mammoth, perpetual metropolis that is New York City.

Armed with my camera I set foot in a decent portion of the neighbourhoods that make up Manhattan, from Harlem down to the Financial District; occasionally venturing further to the boroughs of Brooklyn in the south Queens in the west.

For me, it was a city of extremes. There were aspects of NYC that I adored more than anywhere I’ve been, from the glorious range of cuisines available at my fingertips to the remarkable ease of navigation thanks to the famous numbered streets & avenues. On the other extreme, I was taken aback at how tarnished the city was – it’s as though the urban thoroughfares hadn’t seen a scrubbing brush since the 1940’s! At the end of the day though, I must say the grimy streets do add to the charm and help make the most populous city in the United States what it is today.

I’ll definitely return soon to see more – but until then, this is what I’ve seen already:

New York-4

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Baseball

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October 2nd, 2013 Posted 10:57 am

Last Sunday I went to my very first baseball game at Citi Field in Queens, New York City! Before I left work in Sydney, my very kind colleagues had chipped in for a ticket to see the New York Mets vs the Milwaukee Brewers as my leaving gift. I thought I’d share some observations & pics here so that everyone back at home can see what the experience was like šŸ™‚

Pretty much everything I knew about baseball up until this point, I’d learnt either from The Simpsons or from the baseball game on Wii Sports. I’d never even seen a match on TV before. Well, I did actually play a bit of softball in year 7 but it is a different game and I can barely remember a thing about it – so I will admit to being a true baseball virgin as I made my way along the crowded #7 subway line headed to Mets – Willets Point station.

01 Baseball

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