Montreal 2018- Day 4

Hey guys!

Here we are, the last blog post of our trip to Montreal. It really was a fantastic four days, and this day did not disappoint!

Day Four:

We slept in! OK, I always start the posts off with how we woke up, may be weird but I think how we wake up sets the tone for the day. We had planned to get up early, but instead, no one set an alarm and we slept till around 8AM. Big win in my book since it’s Summer, and I have been naturally waking up at 5/5:30AM from the sunlight.

Which I love, I am actually an odd duck in that I am a night owl who wakes up like an early bird, because I sleep without my shades down on purpose to rise with the sun. This is something I love because I don’t need an alarm clock, which is the Devil’s creation. What a horrible sound!!

Ok, back to our last day.

We really had no plans other than eating breakfast somewhere different because we swapped our quad bike reservations to the night before. I had packed up the room the afternoon before when we came back to the room to cool off from the parade, so all we had to do was shower and go out for the day.

We went to check out a fun spot we read about that was nearby, Artisans. It is basically like an upscale food store, like Williams-Sonoma, that has cookware and linens, but also a places to eat: a creperie, a bakery, a charcuterie, a pasta area, a market, and a teaching glassed in classroom etc etc. super cute and amazing quality.

We loved it!

The girls got a sweet crepe, raspberry, and a waffle topped with strawberries. The raspberries were the sizes of champagne corks, and the fruits tasted like what I imagine Heaven tastes like. If Heaven has a taste. My husband got a savory crepe with French ham and cheese, and I got a savory crepe, which was a buckwheat pancake, and I filled it with spinach and mozzarella. It was all delicious and so light, that we felt great.

After breakfast we walked around the store, bought some stuff to take for the ride; like French bread and maple flavored homemade marshmallows. Then we walked around the city a bit before heading back to the hotel to leave. We had late check out, and plans to stop in VT along the way home.

It was a beautiful morning, Montreal is just a wonderful city. If you have never been, well, I hope you consider it a stop sometime. The people are wonderful. The sights are to be seen. The food is fantastic. And the bread! My gosh, for that alone I hope you go. Haha. But, seriously. It is like traveling to a European country, but just not as far. You get the European mentality mixed with Canadian, in a bubble where they appreciate food, art, sports, music and cultures from around the globe.

Now it was time for us to go. (Insert sighs and sad faces here.)

As I mentioned before, my husband and I have been going up to Montreal since we met. We were dating a few months when he asked me to go away with him. My first real boyfriend asked me to go to a foreign country!! I was so excited that I started prepping right away and told no one that I was going till the day before!! Sorry Mum! Haha.

The best part of that trip was all the surprises he had in store for me, things have not changed in 22 years. On the way up, he told me we would make a stop to rest and eat. Which was great. He surprised me with the location, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory in VT. I was so excited when I saw the signs (I am like a child about everything). So we walked over to this grassy area where they had tables, as I noticed he was carrying a cooler. He didn’t tell me was that his very Italian, very old, great-aunt Lucy, whom I liked a lot, packed us a picnic of my favorite things to eat. It was the sweetest gesture I had ever had in my life at this point and one of my favorite memories from dating.

Ok, now that we have all gone down memory lane… so, as we were going with our kids I wanted to surprise them with a stop at Ben and Jerry’s too! Since on the way up my husband ended up having a meeting change to earlier in the day, we couldn’t make it, so we planned going on the ride home.

The girls were ecstatic! And the place was totally different than how I remembered it. It seemed more built up. We took them on the tour. You start the tour off with a movie of how Ben met Jerry, and how they made ice cream… and how they sold to Unilever. I forgot they had. Then they walk you through the processes, packaging and advertising. The tour is super quick, cheap and totally worth a go. Plus, you get a super delicious ice cream sample at the end, which was the size of a kiddie cup! But we got ice creams after it anyways, because that is what we do.

It was a fantastic stop along the way home and a great way to end our quick getaway to Montreal.

Xoxo

Montreal 2018- Day 3

Alrighty, guys!  Here we are on day three.  This was by far my favorite day.

Day Three:

It was Saturday, and my husband did not have to work anywhere, so we were able to spend the whole day together from the start.  Our only plan was to grab coffee at Myriade then grab pastries for breakfast nearby.  We walked up to Myriade, which is in the basement level of Club Monaco.  Super swank store, if you don’t know it.  The basement level is their sale section, but right at the bottom of the stairs going down is the Myriade Cafe.  The coffee was so good. I got my usual latte, but I stupidly allowed my girls to have iced mochas, which I forgot to say decaf…so womp.  It didn’t haunt us till bedtime.

When we left Myriade, we realized that we were a short block away from the Barbie Expo.  So before grabbing food we went over to check it out.

WOW.

We had read about this expo, as it was listed as a fun free thing to do with kids in Montreal.  It is an exhibit of Barbie dolls dressed by all these world-renowned designers like Bob Mackey, Christian Dior, Armani, Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Louboutin, Zac Posen, and so many more.  There were a lot of celebrity look-alike Barbies, like Michael Jackson, Barbara Streisand, Prince William with Princess Kate and Cher, there were a few of Cher!  It was probably the most impressive collection of Barbie and Barbie Fashion any of us have ever seen.  I don’t know for sure, but there had to be- at least- a thousand dolls.  It was definitely a fun walk through for all of us. I grew up on Barbie, and my kids love her too.

From Barbie, we headed straight to Maison Christian Faure, a fun pastry shop, patisserie. This place was just a sweet tooth’s dream come true..and they had some amazing croissants.  We grabbed a chocolate twist croissant, chocolate filled croissant, a plain croissant, and a Napoleon…and another coffee! This place did not disappoint.

Feeling full and happy, we made our way back to the hotel. Our plan was to go swim a few hours, but we stopped to shop a little bit, souvenirs for the girls. Then on our walk towards the hotel, we heard these crazy sounds of a party. Then we saw a street blocked off, which we walked down towards the noise and it opened up to this cool sight. My husband had read somewhere that there was going to be a parade but we didn’t expect it to be so big. It was the Caribbean Parade on one of the major boulevards. Huge!! I am talking it went for miles! The sounds of the crowds, proud to see their country represented. The crazy awesome and different Caribbean music blasting from each truck bed. The traditional costumes on people walking along…and the dancing. IT WAS SO FUN!!!! We ended up staying to watch, and I danced, for an hour to each beat. It was a beautiful day, I personally love interacting with all cultures, so I truly appreciated what I was watching and learned some great moves.

When we got to the hotel, we decided to just chill a bit to refresh ourselves then head back out. We started our evening off by exploring the areas of old Montreal we hadn’t before. This part of Montreal is the best to walk around as there are parts not made for cars, so walking is nice. Lots of shops and restaurants, but mainly art galleries. The end of this walkable strip comes up to a piazza filled with artists, caricaturists, vendors and cafes. It felt like we were in Europe, not Canada. By this point we were hungry, so we decided to indulge on a late lunch/early dinner, or as we paraphrase it from Seinfeld, linner.

My husband got us reservations that morning for Terrasse Nelligan, it is a hotel rooftop restaurant that overlooks the city. My husband had stayed in this hotel a month ago during his last work trip. Super cool. We had a great time with the people and the food was really good. The girls loved it because they had music pumping, and a lot of the songs they knew. The girls got a shrimp taco and a cheeseburger. We got a carafe of red sangria and a wagyu burger each. We all enjoyed our meals and yet again the topic of dessert came up. I mean, did any of you eat dessert as much as these kids? It’s like a sweet toothed epidemic around me. But anyways, we promised them crepes..again because well they’re awesome!! Our kids are awesome, too.

We left the rooftop to walk the seaport/boardwalk area. We had pre reserved quad bike rides for the next morning but we swung by to see if we could use them this night instead. And we could. Yes!!

Some backstory… my girls LOVE to ride bikes. They have been riding bikes since they were able to run. Though we have a horrible driveway for riding and a stone paved patio, they persisted to learn and ride. Eventually, moving on to parking lots and side streets. Now, they go on daily rides together after school or camp for an hour or more exploring the neighborhoods or going to friends. So when I mentioned bike rentals as an option, they were all for it. Only thing, I was nervous to rent single bikes in the city for them, because I wasn’t quite sure what the city would be like with them; though now I wish I had brought their helmets! Next time!

Anyways, no single rentals because we decided to surprise them with renting quad bikes instead (the ones with dual rider pedals). We rented them for a half hour because it was late evening. It was the perfect amount of time. We got to take them through a huge paved lot facing the river, down a walking path and park along the water to this historic clock tower and back. With time to take picture and switch up riders, which means my husband and I got to ride alone. Finally alone!

As we returned the bikes, we opted to sit marina side for a while to enjoy the views and catch a sunset. Our plan was dessert then back for fireworks. Apparently, Montreal is home to an international fireworks competition every Wednesday and Saturday. This night’s theme was ABBA. We didn’t want to miss it.

When the sunset ended, we hopped across the street for crepes. Yup, back to Chez Catherine, but this time we only got two crepes, one filled w vanilla ice cream and maple syrup, the other filled with Belgian chocolate and cream. I had some glow sticks and necklaces for the kids that were opened at this point.

All garbed in glow, we ran to grab the perfect spot for the night’s attraction. The funny thing is that in the middle of the seaport there is this two floored metal structure, what it is for I don’t know, but we went up it and watched the show from there. It was perfect. You could hear the music softly (they had it pumping in from far away), and the fireworks were impressive. The cool thing was, do you remember I mentioned in my previous post that there was a lighting exhibit across Old Montreal? Well along the tree line in front of us where the ferris wheel was located, they had projected people’s faces onto the trees. They would move with emotion and it was just super cool to see. I tried capturing it in the pictures so you can see what I am talking about.

So Saturday. Woke up to sunshine, ate and drank delicious food and coffee, saw Barbie, danced to an insane parade, rode quad bikes AND watched fireworks… it was a good day. 🙂

Montreal 2018- Day 1

Hey WordPressland!

It is Summertime, my favorite time! We kicked off Summer with our Fourth of July BBQ which I shared this week, following that we took off on our first getaway of the season to Montreal, Canada.

Ahh, Montreal.  L’architecture, les cultures, l’histoire, l’amour… le pain.

This trip was a work trip for my husband, he had two important meetings, so our girls and I hopped along to enjoy the city …AND EAT BREAD…my God the bread.

Lordy lordy lordy.

It was so good. Like being in Italy or France good!

Gah.

Ok, let me focus.

Since we don’t live terribly far from Canada we drove up.  Part of the fun is the road trip,  right?  Getting to the destination.. and snacks.  At least that is what I was told.  The scenery through Vermont and Canada was beautiful; the amount of green farmland is breathtaking; along with red farms flanked with silos.  Picturesque.  My husband and I had driven up to Montreal for years; our first trip was a couple of months after we met, but I don’t ever remember all the beautiful landscapes like we saw this time.

Day one:

We stayed at the Hotel Bonaventure, right in downtown Montreal.  There aren’t many hotels with outdoor pools in the city.  We booked another hotel that had an indoor pool, but then when we saw the weather was going to be avg 90F all week, we rebooked to this hotel for the outdoor pool.

The girls and I arrived in Montreal itching to get our swim on.  So my husband checked us in then left for his meeting. We three girls went to get our white bodies to the sunshine!  The pool area was aesthetically pretty basic.  There was a pool with chairs around, a large hot tub and a cocktail bar, EXCEPT you are on the fourteenth floor of a high rise…super cool!  The pool was heated  which was nice, and it had an interior entrance point for Winter outdoor swimming. The hot tub was super hot, but I actually sat in it most of the time …yup in 93F, too!! I LOVE ME SOME HEAT!

Ok. So, MY ONLY COMPLAINT  this whole trip is that everyone and their grandmother staying on property was out there all day and night. So loungers or seating were pretty slim, if there was any at all.  This first day, I had pieced together three seats in an hour, just in time for us to eat some lunch.

After a few hours of swimming and sunbathing we got ready so once my husband got back we could head right out to dinner.  We explored the hotel a bit when he got back, then walked about three blocks to Rue Metcalf (Metcalf Street) to the Dominion Tavern Square.  This place was right up my alley; he always reserves fun places.  It was a historic, 1927, tavern. I love vintage pubs.  We sat at a round table in the middle against the wall, where my husband and I sat on a vintage booth style unattached bench, upholstered in vibrant orange leather.  I LOVED THIS SEAT!!  It was comfy. And I love sitting next to my husband since our kids like to split us up all the time.   It was nice they let me sit without racing their dad for the seat.  hahah

From dinner we decided to take a walk through our old stomping grounds.  I was surprised at how much of the city had changed, but it has been almost twenty years.  Erg, has it been that long? Wow, I AM old.  But, I liked the changes.

We walked down St. Catherine’s till we hit the JazzFest.  Which we had gone to on our first trip, and it was totally different!! They had the area zoned off, flanked on each side of the street with vendors then it spilled out to a huge stage at the center.  There were so many people and things to see.  We had a blast!

It was a great start to our Montreal getaway. 🙂