Tag Archives: vacation

new islands

A couple weeks after HAR had discovered Quebec City on foot – and had a selfie with Bill and Hilary — I arrived for a two-day conference on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, at the battle site of the Plains of Abraham.

The first day took us across the bridge, just north of the city, to the amazing microclimate world of Ile d’Orleans. The mostly agricultural island sits in the middle of the St. Lawrence River and captures a unique growing environment. Salt water flows in this fresh water river until about Quebec City.

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It reminded me of other islands we love, that create a world within a world – Prince Edward Island and Nevis.

I would love to go back as soon as I finish the amazing samples I brought back — the ultimate artisanal Le Paillasson cheese from Les fromages de l’isle d’Orleans that was gently grilled and served warm, and a fortified black currant wine from Cassis Monna & Filles that tastes like port.

Thank you to the farmers of Ile d’Orleans – keep creating!

CJR

 

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friday favourite – mini vacations

I love the big holidays that take you away from it all, suspending you in timeless travel where your life stands still as you step into another space.

This summer, I’ve realized that I can get that same experience in smaller, shorter vacations. And these little getaways are my Friday favourite.

We already wrote about our PEI trip – for me, just over two and a half days that felt like a week.

And this week, I started a week’s vacation with about 36 hours away. We paddled into a cabin on Saturday afternoon. The lack of electricity calmed the day and my mind as the sun set over the lake. And rose again to start a perfect paddling day.

We packed up, paddled out and headed to part two of the mini vacation. A day-long, guided kayak trip around the Franklin Islands on Georgian Bay thanks to White Squall Paddling Centre. It was my second trip with these outfitters and they make the whole experience seamless, safe and really quite perfect. At many points, the paddling actually felt effortless. How is that possible?

These hours away were a great change of pace. And the scenery certainly helped take my mind off anything else. The short trip did the trick and I was ready to head home content and energized for the rest of my vacation week.

Next up: long weekend in CA. Stay tuned.

CJR

islands

There’s something so very “vacationy” about travelling to an island.

If you fly in, there’s the stunning banked approach as the airplane slants towards the sea on one side and reaches straight up into the sky on the other side. If you drive to your island destination, there’s inevitably a spectacular bridge crossing.

Last week, HAR and I took at trip to Prince Edward Island on Canada’s east coast. My sister, her husband and another couple did the drive, including a crossing of Confederation Bridge, and I flew into Charlottetown.

PEI is known for it’s red sand (high iron-oxide content), amazing seafood, beaches, lighthouses and potatoes. Lots of potatoes fields. Beautiful potato fields that run into the Atlantic Ocean.

We packed a lot of lobster, beaches, shucked oysters, and kayaking into our three days on the island. We stayed at the Inn at Bay Fortune – chef Michael Smith’s cedar shake inn that sits atop of the gentle hill looking down into Fortune Bay.

If you go – splurge on a room at the top of the north or south tower building. Stunning sun rises await.

Take a paddle up the Fortune River with Paddles, a brand new paddling/kayaking business just steps from the Inn. Our morning kayak took up just far enough to spot a bald eagle, perched along the tree-lined salt water river.

And make the drive to Greenwich National Park where you are likely to have the beach to yourself after an amazing walk across the boardwalk to the dunes…and the ocean.

We’ll have more on all the great food stops later this week.

CJR

 

 

friday favourite – a vicarious vacation

So it’s been a week of dreary, grey, rainy, dark and damp weather. I don’t think I’m alone in the January blahness. Like I said on Monday – give me a real winter.

And while I admit it’s been a little torturous to open and save the stream of sunshine pictures from my sister’s vacation this week on Nevis … I kinda really love it. And it makes me want to go back to this perfect Caribbean paradise sometime soon. It’s my Friday favourite because it’s a long time family favourite.

CJR

friday favourite – changing up the scenery

It doesn’t have to be much, even one night away can feel like such a vacation. The change of pace, different mug for your morning coffee, new scenery — it’s all good for the soul.

This week, we got away for a few days to Martha’s Vineyard, including a visit with this great piece of public art. It’s my favourite change of scenery this week.

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HAR

 

travelling with (small) groups

When you travel with family, you know what you get. It has taken me to places I wouldn’t necessarily have made it on my own. Hiking in Cinque Terre. Riding the gondola in Venice. And eating cheese fondue in Gruyere, Switzerland.

It’s great when you find friends you can travel with too.

I just got back from an annual golf/no golf trip to Naples, Florida. I golf a little, but love the bird watching at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary so much more. And it works with this group.

I travel with another group of friends to cottages to work on our bridge technique and logging more hiking miles.

Here are a few things I’ve learned that make travelling in small groups work so well – with family or friends.

  • Talk about what everyone might want to do, before you go. Not to plan every second, but to have a basic idea of what might happen each day.
  • Pool the money. On most group trips I do, somebody pays for each expense (groceries, lunch, liquor store, car rental) and we add it all up at the end and divide evenly.
  • Know what you need. It’s taken me a long time to realize I need the first few days of my holiday to work on unwinding. I know I don’t want to be really busy, not every day. Figure out what will make your vacation a memorable one for you, and balance it with what the group is doing.
  • Keep the group small. Well, that’s just our preference. Multiples of four work well. And every new group of four usually means another rental car (depending on where you are).
And always leave time for impromptu activities…like sunset on the beach.
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CJR