Monkey Shoulder: Vanna White, er Eli, exhibiting the favorite scotch of our host at the farm. It is a triple malt blend of two different vintages of Glen Grant and one of Glenfiddich. Also, it has the most badass name – monkey shoulder is the nickname of a condition that afflicts those who turn the mash during the distillation process. Like tennis elbow, except more hardcore and no skirts.
Glasgow Botanic Gardens: beautiful, endless, immaculate, free, and apparently not as awesome as Edinburgh’s, but we still recommend it.
Demijohn: basically a pantry of alcohol and oil infusions – like honey vanilla bourbon, rhubarb vodka, exotic herb combination olive oils, and the like. All are held in huge glass jars that are tapped and ready for tasting. Grown-up candy store of deliciousness.
Glasgow CCA (center for contemporary arts): The ultimate arts combination package – without being too big, too expensive, too commercial or too pretentious. Arty films, gallery spaces, a relaxed bar and cafe, community rooms, and a small shop all filling a cool building right next to the Glasgow School of Art.
Pier Hotel (Skye): Accordion jam session, anyone? Only if you are a cool old Scottish man and know what you are doing, of course.
The Mustard Seed (Inverness): Date night after two weeks on the farm. Total yum and not too spendy!
Highland Print Studios (Inverness): Right around the corner from the Mustard Seed, on the river is this incredibly well organized, super crispy clean, multi-level print studio. All types of printing, all skill levels, all enticing.
Macleod Organics (Ardersier): We are, of course, a little biased to the fine folks at the farm who taught us and put us up and put up with us. A huge thanks to Donnie, Nathan, Jessie, Morven, Uwe, Tom, Sheena, and Robbie; our co-WWOOFERs, Mónika, Leslie and Sylvain; and certainly our younger pals, Katie and Billy.
Connage Highland Dairy (Ardersier): The local cheese and yogurt that we got to enjoy the entire time we were in Ardersier. Happy cows a mile down the road and a great little shop filled with local goodies.
Céilidh: A traditional Scottish barn dance. We were lucky enough to get the invite from Donnie and Sheena for the one up the road where we proceeded to learn the Canadian Barn Dance, the Pride of Erin Waltz, and, wait for it…the Boston Two Step. Do not ask us to demonstrate these. Do take the opportunity to go to a Ceilidh should it present itself.
The Nairn Leisure Park: see below … need we say more?
The Royal Oak: Without the music and the company we had, this would’ve been a ho-hum evening…catch it on the right night, be sure to feel social when you go and you’ll be as excited about it as we are.
Dovecot Cafe by Stag Espresso: A new cafe in a weaving studio and gallery space. More importantly, run by a super nice guy who makes delicious food and hosts local treats. Try a Flat White featuring locally roasted beans from Edinburgh’s Artisan Roast.
Holyrood Park: Hard to miss, considering it is home to one of Edinburgh’s two main hills. Fair warning – the lack of maps at certain entrances, ahem, may lead you to hike the wrong trail and think you’ve made it to Arthur’s Seat when you’ve really walked the Salisbury Crags route. However, it doesn’t matter too much, since being able to hike around while also in a city is pretty satisfying on its own.