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. 🙂

 

Cape Cod – August 2017

Hey Everyone!
So.. our August trip down the Cape has come and gone.  Wow, this trip absolutely flew by…  super womp.  We tried our best to soak up as much fun as possible, seeing as this is the last big Summer trip.  For me that means to sunbath and drink by the ocean…  ahh yeas, my vacation style is pretty simple.  
Our time together was great; the kids had a lot of fun being kids swimming, collecting fish and shells, and we had a lot of fun relaxing, laughing and being on vacation mode. My parents came down for the day, which was fun and a nice way to end our trip.  On that same day my in laws, who were staying close by, came to visit too.  The kids were super happy about them all together to see them swim and do their pool tricks.  I was sort of nervous, cause we have never had anyone visit us over the past 6 years of going to that resort.  They are pretty strict about that stuff, but it was pretty great.  My parents loved it and talked about renting a room next year…  which would be a lot of fun. I love my family so much, you can see it on my face in the below pics.
The one snag this trip is that we had to change rooms..TWICE.  I know, it sounds like a huge pain but it wasn’t a huge issue because the rooms we ended up in were dreamy.   I honestly have no idea what happened, but the short of it is that our original room (ocean view) was booked that Sunday, so they hooked us up with beachfront view that first night.  Sick right?  Then for some reason that last night they contacted us to say they were moving us to a beach/river side view because someone had a complaint and wanted their old room,which is where we were staying (when? I have no idea).  Uhm, a free upgrade again?  Sure I am game!  We don’t spend that much time in the rooms anyways, and they moved our stuff for us while we were at the beach, so that didn’t hurt much either.  I loved everything about each move, so none of us were complaining.  (Ok, I may have bitched a tiny bit till I got to that sick room that last day haha)  
So here is our trip in photos.. each one is captioned.  
Thanks for reading!  
First Day
Day two
Day Three
Day four
Last Day

Weekend Getaway

Hey Everyone!
What a great weekend!
We took a drive up North to see friends who invited us up for the weekend; Well, we left after my husband’s job Saturday night and returned home last night around 7PM. This friend is my husband’s bestie from HS, and his family house is up in Weld, Maine, about 3.5 hours away, which isn’t such a bad ride. This was our third time together up there, once when our kids were 3yr and 1yr, and then last year.  We had such a great time last year, our kids especially. So much so, that we had to make this trip this Summer for the kids.
This trip was great.  I never relaxed so much in such a short amount of time ever.  Never.  My only goal this weekend was to enjoy some downtime with friends, eat and drink like I was 26, and maybe, maybe, get a tan.  We spent one full day there flanked by the two nights, and that one full day was literally the best Summer day!  It started off cool but then progressively got warmer and sunnier, till it felt like 85 by 11 AM(though it was only 76~).  Their house is right on Webb Lake, literally.  You walk out the back porch to a ten foot patch of grass then boom there is the sandy beach overlooking this massively beautiful lake and mountains-scape.  There were times Sunday that I was alone on the beach,  just getting lost looking at the view; watching an eagle fly by or listening to a family of loons squawking in the distance.    I’d then realize where I was and just get lost again looking at the sun glimmering off the water.  JUST PERFECT

Here is a slide show of the weekend.  You can click through or let it stream, that is up to you!  🙂  

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Next time you hear from me here I will be back to the Cape for one last Summer week away, ending the week with my husband’s big 40th bday party!  Wooo! Then it is our last Summer weekend with Labor Day and then IT’S BACK TO SCHOOL!  The girls go back September 7 this year.  We haven’t had an after Labor Day start since my oldest started Kindergarten.  Which is great!  Except it’s my baby’s big tenth birthday on the first day, which she keeps groaning about.  So I am going to try my best to make it the greatest first day of school ever for her.  On the flip side, my oldest is going into her first year at the middle school, and she can’t contain her excitement.  We literally haven’t had a day go by where she hasn’t talked about starting school- I had to take her supply shopping already!!  (She is an academically inclined kid, very smart, so she keeps telling me in a sweet way how much she likes Summer, but can’t wait for school to start cause she LOOOOOOOVES school.  Yes, she is my child!! tyvm).  
I can’t believe I just talked about back to school, it’s still Summer here!! No more jumping ahead.  
And.. Yup, I married a young one. :)~ 
Ok, tty all real soon!  xxoxoxoxo

Vacation Diary-Day 8- At Sea

Day 8!?  

Well, everyone, this post is short because we spent the whole day at sea, without a place to be. How awesome!?  We enjoyed every 79F sunny moment poolside with cocktails, friends, and music right after breakfast. Just trying to get that last full feel of vacation in.  Between drinks and the pool, we toured the lido deck one last time to soak up the moment.  

What a beautiful ship.  

Since we had to be out of the room by 8AM the next morning, and no matter how much I packed up it never felt like I had enough in the bags.  I am just clearing up why you keep reading me say I was packing up since yesterday. lol  I am not a morning person.  So, once we saw the kids needed a little break, around 4PM, we went to the room to pack up as much as we could while they relaxed watching some movies.  They had a great movie selection on board.  We did a nightly watch of something at bedtime; which bedtime was always midnight, and I am not sure who had more fun.. the kids or me!  

This night we decided to end our trip with our last dinner at Symphony.  It was a wonderful last night dinner with our good friends and all the kids.  Marvin stopped by for a chat, and the kids were so happy to see him before we left.  He found us every day on the ship just to say hello.  What a wonderful person. 

Well, this is it.  See why I am so sad that it’s over?  We really enjoyed so much time with our kids and friends all in new places, both things I love so much to do.  Yup…Our last night on the ship and my last day blogging about it. 😦  

Tomorrow I will tell you about our trip to Orlando.  The Orlando half of the trip was three days, but I am just putting it on one post to make it easy on me since we spent it all at Universal.  What an amazing time that was too!  

xoxox

Vacation Diary-Day 7- Cozumel, Mexico

Hey Everyone!!

We are onto day 7! This was our last day off the cruise ship, and it was so much fun.  I know, I keep saying everything was so much fun..but it was! This day we spent it at a pre booked private resort for the day, Nachi Cocom.

March 25- This day the ship arrived at Cozumel, Mexico, at 7AM.  We disembarked after breakfast somewhere around 10AM, it was a gorgeous 82F!  Ahh yeah!!  The port was set up with the duty-free shop as our point of entry.  It was a liquor store at the front that turned into a souvenir shop.  They had people placed all around giving liquor tastings..which of course I partook.  There was one liquor that I tried, that I kick myself for not buying on the way back, cream tequila.  I will buy some though around here, it was THAT good.

I got to use my Spanish skills to get a taxi for the nine of us for $40 (each direction) to the resort.  We showed up to the resort happily in twenty minutes.  It was private, and clean.  We were greeted by their photographer, who took a cute group shot of us. At registration, we were greeted with spumante and directed to the beach.  Wow, what views.  Their beach was amazingly clear and blue. The resort’s stretch along the mile beach was about a quarter mile.  The use of the beach with the lounge chairs and thatched umbrellas, pool, hot tub, playground, food and drinks were part of the package that we booked ahead of time, which was $50 adult, $25 child, and if you wanted any water sports equipment it was $35.  

Beyond the registration stand, they had a large step down bar in the dining room, a big pool with hot tub on the other side outside of the thatched covering.  Once we sat in the dining room, I noticed a sandy playground for the kids, the gift shop, bathrooms, and a large shower to rinse off in.  

Lots of good things here. 

We started out beach side with frozen margaritas, the kids with virgin pina coladas and lemonades, swimming and using some of the free wifi (score!).  The kids ran right to the sands and water, they had a blast.  Before we knew it, it was lunch!  Before heading back to the ship, we browsed the gift shop and ordered lunch.  Wow, now, I really love Mexican food and I REALLY love a freshly shaken lime margarita, but wow.  The food was authentic and delicious with the richest flavors.  I wish I could’ve eaten it all, but it was just too much.  We did ask before if they used only bottled water, which they cooked, washed and used only filtered bottled water. Thank God!

Ready! Salt, Lime and Down the Hatch! 

The tequila.  I love tequila, guys.  Not like I am having it all the time, but if I am in the partying mood, and you offer..I am taking it.  haha   It doesn’t go to my head right away, and since we were just being beach bums, I jumped in with both feet with my crew.  Amazing.  I did have to half ass the last shot because holy crap the time flew so we had to leave for the taxi!  

We headed back to the ship, but all I can remember was giggling with my gf and her oldest daughter the whole way back being nerds.  So maybe the tequila was starting to kick in?  haha   

We stopped at a shop, but then quickly ran up to the lido deck for the pool area once we got off the taxi.  We hung out at the pool, I may have had another margarita.. and then stayed till 7PM in the hot tub watching a movie as a whole group. All nine of us. We got that close. haha  We were all a little out of it, and I think I was the only one really watching the movie. It was the De Niro movie he filmed down the street from our house in North Reading called Joy.   We all parted midway through the movie, for those who needed some rest, then we were going to meet back up on the lido deck for movie under the stars and an outdoor dinner from the grill. I didn’t get to finish the movie till the next day when it was on our DVR, and I watched the rest while I was packing.  A depressingly good movie.

This night was a tad disconnected because my crew got dressed in sweats and as I said, we planned to eat burgers by the pool just to unwind;  my outfit of the night was literally yoga pants, a tank top and my Red Sox sweatshirt.. classy.  But the other crew didn’t get the memo, and my gf wasn’t feeling all that well.  We ended up having fun anyway, we broke off into our families and did our own thing.  We looked around the cruise again, where they had this wonderful show set up in the piazza that we caught.  These truly impressive acrobats grabbed our attention with their strength, contortion, and humor.  They were pretty funny.  (and they were easy on the eyes) Then we called it a night. Which means we headed back to our room to start packing it up a little while the kids rested with some TV and writing in their journals.

Wow, day seven already?  Well this is flying as fast as it did for us on board.  Tomorrow is day 8, our last full day on the ship.  😦

xoxoxox