Category Archives: quebec
November flew! My oldest daughter and I went on a Mom/Daughter road trip to celebrate her 30th birthday! She is a nurse and I picked her up at the hospital at 7:30 a.m. after an all night shift and we hit the 417 – Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada bound! She nodded off for a few moments but for the most part stayed awake to entertain me along the way. The weather was clear, the roads were dry and we arrived at the home of my youngest daughter not long after dark.
We spent 3 nights seeing the sights of Saint John (we have both been there before)…but our prime goal had been to watch the youngest daughter playing in a Football game on Saturday morning…..welllll……she went early and we wandered over once the game was started, couldn’t see her on the field…but there she was on the side lines….as we got closer we realized she was holding a big bag of ice on her knee and she looked in pain….DARN….she insisted upon staying at the game to watch her team mates (they won)…..then we headed to emerge to have the leg checked out….the emerge doctor prescribed crutches and recommended a visit to her doctor the following week….it was painful and she had a tough few weeks but luckily it didn’t require surgery. She was a trooper all weekend and she hobbled around on crutches and we stilled enjoyed ourselves.
Monday morning the oldest and I hopped into the car and headed to Prince Edward Island where we were going to go to our new cottage to see what had been left behind (the sale had closed on October 17th). We stopped in Shediac, NB for lunch and a photo shoot with the giant lobster, we dropped by a great 2nd hand/antique store in Charlottetown and then headed out to Savage Harbour, PEI to see the new cottage. My daughter hadn’t been there before, but she loved the cottage, the space and especially the BEACH! It was a cool November day and there were no lights or heat at the cottage (power off) so we really just did a walk-through, dropped off a few things we had brought down then we headed off on a tour of the the north shore, round to Summerside and then back to Charlottetown and off to dinner at a nice restaurant where we had lobster for the 2nd? or was it 3rd time in 4 days? 🙂
Early Tuesday we left Charlottetown, stopped at tourist store near the Confederation Bridge, did out ‘Anne of Green Gables’ dress up photos and turned the car toward Quebec City. Arrived in Quebec City around 5 pm ish…..checked into our awesome little boutique hotel in lower town Old Quebec…did some wandering, grabbed a bite to eat….and watched the U.S. Elections *sigh*…..SIGH…..SIGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
Wednesday morning, breakfast, wandered around Quebec City for a while longer then hopped into the car and headed back home to Ottawa.
SO……today, it’s December 12th……..weeks have gone by……..winter has started and my husband and I are counting the sleeps until we head off to spend our first Christmas on a Sandy Beach! Last year I made the decision that 2016 was going to be the away for Christmas trip…future years we may have grand children and feel the ‘tug’ to be near the family…..so …December 24th @ 6 a.m. we head off to Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic…..2 weeks…..yipppeeeee! Home again on January 7, 2017…..STAY TUNED!
We manage to find ourselves at Lac Philippe at least once every year for a walk or a hike. It’s a beautiful little lake in the National Capital Commission (NCC) ‘s Gatineau Park. This weekend we camped there for the first time! We arrived Thursday around 5:30 (after a very very stressful work day)….the weather was beautiful and it wasn’t long before we were cooking beans on the Coleman stove and sausage over the fire. We only saw one other couple that night and they weren’t camping anywhere near us. We were all alone in our sector of the park. It was idyllic, quiet, dark – oh so peaceful!
Friday we rented little kayaks and paddled around the lake. We paddled around the entire perimeter of the lake, saw many beaver huts (no beavers though), a loon happily diving for fish, a big blue fish which we have no idea what kind he was (coloured fish are fairly unusual in Canadian lakes that I know of), birds galore! At the far end (near the entrance to Lusk Caves) we banked the kayaks and had a picnic on the beach, then headed back down up the other side. We stopped at a little island and did some exploring and took the kayaks back. It was a great day…oh so quiet out there!
Saturday was big hike day – we hiked to Lac Taylor (another lake within the same area), passing Lac Renaud on the way. We picnicked at an empty campsite overlooking the Taylor Lake and then looped back through the forest trail and old logging road back to our campsite. We think it was about 11 k altogether. Lots of wildlife along the way (as is evidenced below).
Our evenings consisted of reading by the fire (with our geeky headlamps on)! Nights got COLD….down to about 9c (with the day times in the mid to high 20’s). Sunday morning we awoke to a lot of sounds..weren’t really too aware of what it was…and then it started to rain…once we looked out we realized that everyone who was near us (those that arrived Friday night) had all been smart enough to pack up and head out before the BIG RAIN started. Needless to say we left with a lot of wet gear. It was only 9:30 in the morning, so we grabbed Tim Horton’s breakie and coffee near Wakefield and decided to go for a drive up the valley to Maniwaki. If you live in the Ottawa area and haven’t driven up there it really is a nice drive (in spite of the crazy drivers). I had no idea that Maniwaki was so large, with traffic lights, Canadian Tire. A section near the main street was cordoned off with police blockade and a huge police bus. When we got home we read that a young man had been found dead in the area. Sad 😦
Once home we stowed the gear, showered the wood smoke off and headed to Murray Street kitchen for a delectible meal!
That’s it – no more camping until July 7th. City work & fun until then!
I should have left some space between our last hiking photo and our dinner the next day 🙂
Below – Johnny’s meal on top – Fred’s Pork – my meal below – Joe’s Fish. The menu has changes/additions almost daily. The ‘names’ of the dishes stay the same – but the dish itself may change. My walleye (pickerel) was amazing..YUM YUM!
Our weekend didn’t turn out quite as expected. Original plans had been booked oh so long ago – we were supposed to go camping at Sandbanks Provincial Park. As the weeks passed it was evident that neither the weather nor my work schedule was going to accommodate that plan. In fact, it was my work that was the straw that broke the camel’s back (so to speak)…and we cancelled our camping trip. Johnny still had his Friday off (he’s doing a compressed work week this summer for every 2nd Friday off.
So…next plan – Friday was looking clear – we would take the day and go for a week hike and picnic in the Gatineau Hills. Well, that would have worked except for the fact that I ended having a sale extended and having to boogie to get some signatures Friday morning, then a last minute call from a couple only in town for the day wanting to see one of my listings within the next hour, topped off by clients I had been working with for 4 months wanting to put an offer in on something that day! So….no hike in the woods for us!
We did have a lovely dinner in the market (Byward Market, Ottawa) after I was done work though. Alas, Saturday dawned, the weather looked less than ideal, no messages, phone calls or pages calling me away, so we loaded up the packs and headed to the Gatineaus. One of our favourite places is Lac Philippe in the Gatineau Hills of Quebec. It’s less than 30 minutes away so easy to get to. We decided to do the hike to Lusk Caves, starting off the inland up hill side, getting to the caves and then walking back along the narrow roadway/path along the Lake. Photos below are in a very random order but you get the gist.
However, as a Canadian….I may have been somewhat more prepared had I actually packed bug spray….black flies being the worst…mosquitos following behind…….was a bit crazy. Interesting factoid….bugs come to me, sit on me..but don’t bite me….guess they don’t care for my chemistry. Johnny however is not immune to these things, poor guy got quite a few black fly bites. It’s quite interesting though, they seem to amass in one section. You can walk along..and nothing, then all of a sudden you enter a cloud of flies..shades of my youth in the near north of Ontario. Johnny has a theory that I was probably bitten so often as a child that I’m simply immune to them now – let’s go with that.
OK….before you start looking at my beautiful photos taken on the Samsun Galaxy S6 phone…..we forgot to bring the lunch..so OH DARN….had to stop by Wakefield on the way home and eat at the old train station…the food their was absolutely scrumptious, highly recommend! It’s name is Cafe Pot-au-Feu clickem HERE A well deserved break after our 10+ k damp buggy hike! In fact, I’m not complaining at all, I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE walking at this time of year and I think that the world can be more beautiful on a gray day than it is on a sunny day. I believe my photos below may confirm that 🙂 !!
We grudgingly packed up and left the lovely Lubec, Maine for the trip toward home. Our next hotel booking at an Inn on Lac Megantic in Quebec. This location was selected because it was more or less a halfway point between Lubec and our home city of Ottawa, Ontario. Prior to July 6, 2013 I had never heard of Lac Megantic. Unfortunately, after that day the whole country and perhaps those even further away had heard about the tragic train disaster that resulted in the loss of many innocent lives. 47 people died, some of them absolutely obliterated from earth. In a blink of an eye everything that one knows can change.
Not a great way to start a travel post, but the truth was obvious. Upon arrival from the Maine side we drove up the Lake and the beautiful Inn we were staying at was just before you reached the town. Auberge Les Victorines du Lac is absolutely charming, built in 1996 it was designed to replicate an old world Inn and they did a great job of it. The setting is wonderful with big trees, gorgeous lake views, nice grounds with chairs, benches, patios to lounge around. We were greeted by the Innkeeper and escorted to our room. It was late in the day so we freshened up and headed out to sit reading by the water. We were both pretty tired, so went in and grabbed a quick nap before dinner. Dinner was wonderful, we both had the Chef’s Special which was Duck…done to perfection. It was a multi-course meal each course consisting of something sumptuous. I would highly recommend this Inn as a relaxing retreat night or weekend.
We really didn’t spend any time in Lac Megantic, we simply drove through town passing the area where the train disaster had occurred, the entire area has been flattened and the downtown has been moved to another spot. it was so sad to see this huge space flattened with fresh gravel spread all over it….it wasn’t until I got home that I sat down and read what I could about the town, the people who lost their lives, the reactions of their families. Lac Megantic is a beautiful community which now has a big hole in the centre of it….a blink of an eye . . . .I didn’t take any pictures of the town, it didn’t feel right, I didn’t want to be a voyeur….an article from the Montreal Gazette.
A few photos of our trip home….I’m never really very fond of returning home…..I could live out of a suitcase forever (or until I got too frail to carry it)…..while doing the laundry tonight, we started to plan our next adventure……stay tuned 🙂
After two lovely old world nights in Quebec City we excitedly headed off for the Gaspe Peninsula leg of our journey! This was my first time East of Quebec City (in Canada) so I was VERY excited! For us, it’s all about the view! The trip along the shoreline of the Gaspe Peninsula was filled with breathtaking views, quaint villages with the unique french style of homes, historic churches in ever village, majestic rock and vistas that went on forever! Our kind of drive. We had booked two hotels along the way. The first Hotel Motel Belle Plage in Matane, QC and Hotel Motel La cote Surprise in Perce, QC. Trying to find a place to stay in that area of Quebec is a bit of a challenge. #1 reason french is the first language and not all places have an english page/presence. #2 is that it is a very long way away from larger cities and there are mostly small cabins, motels #3 is that itt is August and a busy time of year. However, I’m happy to say we were totally pleased with our selections!
The theme for this trip was still, ‘taking twice as long to get anywhere as expected’ and the drive from Quebec City to Matane, QC was no exception! We left about 9:00 in the morning and finally ended up in Matane just in time to have a cocktail on our balcony before dinner! A lot of the photos taken were taken as we whizzed by in the car or from the numerous roadside stops and lookouts! We brought a cooler on the trip and made our lunch on route so there were no long lunch stops. Matane is a port town and certainly has an industrial feel as you drive into it. However, Hotel Motel Belle Plage is a largish hotel on a great waterfront setting with a big seaside beach. Not so much what I would call a swimming beach, but a great walking/viewing beach. We were surprised that the hotel was bustling and that reservations were required for dinner. Dinner was in a great dining room with windows on 3 sides! We had a wonderful table with views to the sunset! The food was unexpectedly wonderful and a great wine selection. The rooms weren’t fancy, but we did have a waterfront room with a little balcony (where were enjoyed our pre-dinner cocktails)! After dinner we strolled along the beach!
The next day we had a great breakfast (included) and then headed off on our next leg to Perce, QC. The scenery again was wonderful and we did one offroad stop at http://www.pointe-a-la-renommee.com/ a beautiful light house with hiking trails, washrooms & a gift shop! We went for a hike and enjoyed the views! Then back on the road to Perce! I had never heard of Perce Quebec, however it’s a place I could spend a little more time! It is a lovely tourist town at the top of the Gaspe Peninsula, lots of places to stay, restaurants, the beautiful Perce Rock in view from almost everywhere. Our hotel wasn’t right downtown, but perched on a hill on the edge of the village. Nothing fancy about the hotel, but it was clean & had decent food and also required reservations for dinner. The hotel website really doesn’t do the place justice! After dinner, we walked down to the village and strolled the boardwalk. There are a ton of things to do in the village, boat tours, etc! Definitely worth a visit! The next morning we had our breakfast and headed off with our daughter Chloe’s address in the GPS (Saint John, NB). This was our most ambitious day and there was no room for sightseeing along the way. We had to be there in time to see Chloe & Kyle place in their beach volleyball finals at 6:30 pm. There was a TON of construction along the way and once you left Quebec, it was pretty much just driving on 2 and 4 lane highways of New Brunswick with little to see. We arrived at Chloe & Kyle’s place JUST in time to walk the 5 minutes to their volleyball game, enjoyed watching it in the fog/light rain, they won their first 2 play off games, but lost with a narrow margin in the 3 game! We headed off to a great restaurant – Saint John Alehouse & had a really nice meal! The remainder of our Saint John visit to follow!!
After a very long drive we arrived in Quebec City. I hadn’t been there for over 30 years….Johnny, who is from Europe had never been and I think he was surprised at how old world Europe it was. We stayed in a wonderful little hotel Chateau de tourelles that was once an 8 room B&B, but had grown to 12 rooms which qualified it for hotel status while still retaining the features of a B&B. One has to ring the doorbell to get into the building and moments later a tattooed, pierced fellow named William with a wool cap on greeted us and carried our luggage upstairs where he proceeded to check us in. There is no on-site car parking but William directed us to the hotel parking about 2 or 3 blocks away. Once back to our 3rd floor front of the building room which we reached by ascending wonky and wonderful stairs with oriental style carpeting over old wood we arrived at our room which had 3 big windows that we flung open as soon as we arrived…love my fresh air and light! We hastily unpacked, cleaned up and changed our clothing and headed down St Jean to the gated walls of the old city! We stayed at Chateau de tourelles for 2 nights nights and enjoyed wine from its roof top terrace with commanding view of the city. A yummy breakfast was served daily in the rustic style breakfast room. William`s friend was our server and from Japan so Johnny was able to practise his Japanese with her!
Our two days in Quebec City was comprised mostly of just wandering around but we did do a double decker bus tour to learn the history of the old city from Plains of Abraham to Chateau Frontenac, we try to do these types of tours whenever available in a new city, gets you off on the right foot. Saturday evening we did a ghost tour of the city, it was a chilly night and the tour a bit too at 2 hours and not really as polished as it might have been, it took us from the top down to the lower city and had us creeping through alley ways and encountering the ghosts of historic Quebec City. Overall, a lovely place to visit, lots of great places to eat & drink, shopping galore….but for us, not the type of places we need to go to often. We far prefer the more rural and rustic settings. When in Quebec City I highly recommend your most comfortable walking shoes as you are up and down the hills and through the cobble stone streets always! The very strange photos we take below…not sure they are all that representative of Quebec City 🙂
Honestly, road tripping was a bit of a challenge this time out….for a variety of reasons. #1 it took us twice as long as we had predicted to get to our daily destinations. This due to construction, leg stretching pee breaks, lunch, photo ops…etc etc etc 🙂 #2 I think we are getting old….well I am anyway 🙂 I would have liked to spend at least 2 days everywhere, or only travel for about 2 hours a day in order to enjoy the destination, take photos, relax! This is the first of of our 14 day road trip reports. I was so tired along the way I didn’t even have time to do my blog, so I’m finally starting it on Day 12 of the trip!!
Day 1 we headed of by 9 am destination Quebec City. I hadn’t been to Quebec City since I was in my 20’s (where my first husband broke up with me on the train home while we were dating)….it didn’t last long 🙂 In any case, we took the Quebec route and travelled along Highway 50, a terrific quiet highway. Once we were past Montreal we decided to take Chemin du Roy which is the cultural/heritage route between Montreal and Quebec City. We got on a bit early, in hindsiight we probably would have got on about halfway between the two cities. It does have some quaint villages, amazing architecture with the old french canadian style homes, lovely views of the St Lawrence, a TON of places to stop to stretch your legs, take photos & go to the washroom. It it is however a very slow route going through a myriad of villages. We finally arrived in Quebec around 5:30 pm…a long day…a few photos. There would have been better ones had I not left my camera SD card in my home computer!!! We didn’t start using the Nikon 5500 until Quebec City! I would have stopped to take photos of dozens and dozens of old homes had we had time *sigh* . . . . .
5 more sleeps until we pack up the tiny ATS with everything we need for 2 weeks on the road! Then we hop in and commence our 14 day road trip!!! Johnny & I just love going from place to place and seeing new things (as was evidenced yesterday by an 11 hour ride from a place 2 hours away 🙂 As you can see our preference is for coastal experiences and we are squeezing as much of that in as possible. Odds are, if there isn’t water, I’m not staying anywhere long!
Google Screen Shot #1 – Routing for our August 7th to 21st Roadtrip
Google Screen Shot #2 – Routing from our trip home from a 1 night camping trip at Bonnechere Provincial Park
We had a one night stand (sleep 🙂 in Fitzroy Provincial Park! My daughter had friends from out of town visiting so we gave up our place for the night and headed out to the park for a campfire night! Guess what? You need to bring as much stuff for one night as you do for one week! Still, it was worth it and we enjoyed the campfire, the hike in the morning and the relaxation! We took the long route home, Quyon Ferry through the Gatineaus, took a drive around Meech Lake (would have stopped but NO parking)…..then back home! We may just do another ‘one nighter’ in a few weeks (I’m booked to work every Sunday until our vacay in August)! The usual photos of our wandering! This time taken with my new phone – Samsun Galaxy S6 (forgot the Nikon D5500 in our haste to pack)!
Daughter Sandra and her husband Morgan surprised Johnny by taking us out for a Sunday morning adventure to celebrate Father’s Day! It was fun (once we figured out how to steer the paddle boat 🙂 If you like solving puzzles, this is a fun couple, family or group activity! Click here for the details of Eco Odyssey just outside of Wakefield! We stopped for a picnic lunch in Wakefield on the way home!