Born To let Go: Quebec Trip
I received a message from Bella during the early Summer asking me if I would be interested in joining in on a trip to Quebec with herself and 4 other women, to explore a few regions within Quebec (through @tourismequebec). I immediately jumped on the opportunity, as I had never spent much time in the province, other then when visiting Montreal and Quebec City years ago. The trip was set for August 26-31st which was perfect timing, right before the school year started up and once things kind of slowed down for me during the Summer. I have spent a lot of time traveling internationally, though little time exploring other provinces, especially when it comes to the East coast of Canada.
The other 4 women on the trip were Bella (@bellabucchiotti) from Vancouver, Krystle (@dineandfash) from Toronto, Isabelle (@allons.y) from Toronto, and Julia (@juliathompson) also from Vancouver. Braedin @braedin came as the photographer on the trip, helping us with content (photos and videos) along the way, he is also from Vancouver!
We all flew into Montreal on August 26th, in the later afternoon and once we all arrived we made our way to our first region, The Laurentians, where we stayed at Camping du Domaine Lausanne (@campinglausanne), the ECO-CHIC Outdoor Centre they say is characterized by its mountains, it felt as though we were completely immersed in nature. We stayed in a floating cabin, which was the neatest thing, as I had never had the experience to do so before.
The next morning we woke up early so we could catch sunrise on the water – which was around 6am. The fog that ended up rolling in on the lake made for such a neat mood and for some great morning shots. We ended up walking down to a dock further down the lake and had some coffee and breakfast before getting picked up for 8am.
Our drive was only an hour, to Mont Tremblant National Park (@parcmonttremblant), where we were going to be doing some hiking. We dropped in at the visitor centre where we met up with our guide. We learned that within the park there are 40 mammal species, 6 rivers and more then 400 lakes and streams, which makes for a canoer’s dream! When we were hiking, we were able to spot some canoer’s down below enjoying the water. I was a little jealous and hope to be able to return one day to spend more time within the park, and get out on the water as well.
The hike we did was titled ‘La Corniche’, one of the most popular in the area and for a very good reason. It is only 3.2km round trip, can be done year round and offers wonderful views of the lake down below.
After the hike we headed to lunch, at The Resto Pub, a restaurant at Hotel Mont Tremblant (@hotelmonttremblant) , which is within the heart of Mont Tremblant Village. We hung out in the sun and enjoyed a little break before we headed off again to go scootering. The scootering was self guided, though we did a little ‘intro session’ to begin before they let us go off on our own. This was done with the company Geo Explora (@geoexplora). It was another different experience, where we were given i-pads that directed us on the road, and once we arrived at certain locations we had trivia questions to answer. These trivia questions had us learning about the history of the area, all while exploring the back country roads.
After the scootering we had only a one hour drive to our next accommodation, in the upper Laurentians, a place which I was very excited about staying at. Les Toits du Monde is the name of the location, offering a variety of ‘accommodations’ such as a tipi, tree houses, a Mongolian yourte, and a hobbit house. Braedin stayed in a tipi, while the rest of us stayed in the yourte, though even though we all slept there we were able to get out and explore/see some of the other cute accommodations. The enchanted setting is perfect for couples traveling, families, or just any adventurous person wanting something a little different then your usual hotel or cabin. The owners of the property were SO welcoming and had everything prepared for us when we arrived. You have to park your vehicle in a main parking lot and they provide you with little ‘wagons’ where you load your stuff in and then ‘hike’ to your accommodation, which are all different lengths of time away. It took about ten minutes to get to our yurt where we were able to get settled in.
Below are photos of the other accommodations on site. Their newest treehouse was finished just recently (which we visited the first evening right after we arrived), whereas their older cabin they have had for almost 8 years (we visited the next morning)! They have built the accommodations themselves and are very proud of their enchanted forest, which they have created for people to come and enjoy from all over.
After stopping in at the newer treehouse we headed for a little sunset hike (Rocher Capitaine), which the owner took us on. The hike started just across from the property. We enjoyed a beautiful view of the lake, and had some wine and snacks which he carried up for us. His pup Yuka also joined in on the fun, their husky who lives on site as well (photos by @braedin).
Once we got back down from the hike we enjoyed a nice dinner, which the owner had prepared for us, a cheese fondue, salad and home made bread! The yourte did not have running water, which means yes no running water for showers or washing dinners. We had to boil water to wash dishes, and they also provide you with a kettle, so can boil water if you are wanting to shower/rinse off – there is a shower ‘bag’ and area you can do so if you please, though we did opt out of that. Some of the other accommodations on site have running water, just the yurt did not. After dinner we enjoyed a fire, and yessss we made smores!
Again we woke up early (a usual thing everyday on the trip). It was a cozy night in the yurt, as we fell asleep to the sound of rain. It was raining in the morning as well, but was kind of nice, as we were pretty covered in the forest. We decided to make our way over to the other accommodations, the tree house, and the hobbit house (both pictured below).
At 10am we departed to our next region, Abitibi-Temiscamingue (@tourismeat). This was a long driving day. We drove for approximately 2.5 hours before stopping for lunch, then after we continued another 2.5 hours on the road before arriving to our next stop, Refuge Pageau (@refuge_Pageau), a place that has an incredible relationship with animals, they take in lost or injured wildlife, and are rehabilitated and then returned once they are safe to do so, or are provided long term shelter. The diversity of wildlife within the refuge is incredible, from bald eagles, to owls, foxes, wolves, bears, porcupines, squirrels racoons and more. Photo’s by @braedin.
Once we were done at the shelter we continued onto Rouyn-Noranda, a town where we stayed for the night. We slept at the Quality Inn, rested up, showered and enjoyed a complimentary breakfast before another long driving morning. When I got to the hotel that evening I decided I was in much need of a work out so I hit up the hotel gym, to get ‘back on track’, sometimes a person just needs a little sweat session, a good shower and a comfy bed to feel like a million bucks again!
After breakfast at the hotel we headed for Opemican National Park. This was another very long driving morning, but well worth it. We stopped for lunch in Ville-Marie, where we enjoyed a nice meal at Chez Eugene. I would be lying if I said I loved long drives… as beautiful as the scenery is and the endless lakes and lush forests throughout the regions as we drove, I get motion sickness quite easily so was poppin’ the gravol to keep my head on straight.
After lunch we continued another few hours and arrived at Opemican National Park (@parcnationalopemican) . We checked into our accommodations for the night, which were brand new ‘Ready-To-Camp’ Etoile, cabins on Kipawa Lake. When we got there we went and asked about renting paddleboards, canoes, bikes etc. which are all available for anyone staying in the area. We checked into the cabins, got settled then headed back to the visitor centre to grab paddleboards, and headed out for a bit on the water. We also got bikes, to ‘bum’ around on from the cabin, to the water, to the visitor centre etc. everything is within walking distance of each other, though having a bike sure makes it that much easier.
After we had dinner we headed back down to the water for a little paddle in the canoes. We weren’t too sure of the weather we were going to have, but decided to hope for the best and enjoy whatever it is that we were given. It drizzled a bit, though there ended up being a beautiful rainbow of which we got to enjoy. After we headed back to our cabins, and started a fire which we hung out by for a while, though again we had another early morning next day so I headed to bed at a decent hour. Sunrise was waiting for us again!
We woke up at 545 to check whether or not the sky was clear to shoot sunrise, though it wasn’t… but we were up anyways. The bus was also picking us up at 7am, so we rose, cleaned up around the cabin, had breakfast and I headed down to the water on the bike to take in some of the morning light. We got on the bus at 715 and prepared ourselves for another long drive. 5 hours to our next stop!
We were off to our third and final region of the trip – Outaouais (@outaouais) . At 12:30pm we arrived in Chelsea, where we popped in at the visitor centre. We met up with Christine, a tourism employee who was going to show us around this region. She took us over to lunch across the street at a little restaurant called Biscotti & Cie (@biscottichelsea). The meal was DELICIOUS! Nothing like a good iced chai latte, charcuterie and a tofu kale salad to perk a person up during a long drive. Oh and there desserts are to die for – there selection in store was endless!
After lunch we headed for Pink Lake, which was in Gatineau Park. The hike was only 2.5km but was the perfect little after lunch ‘leg stretch’.
After the hike we headed for our final accomodation, Fairmont Montebello (@fairmontmontebello), which was a one hour drive.
This was the PERFECT place to end the week, after ‘glamping’ and bussing, and late nights and early mornings, spending a evening and morning relaxing at Fairmont Montebello was exactly what we needed. Since I am often so busy during the days when I am exploring or in the mountains I rarely stay in hotels or even cabins, where instead I am often sleeping in a tent, in my SUV or a cost friendly accommodation. So this was a nice treat. The Fairmont is conveniently located between Ottawa and Montreal, which makes it a nice pit stop for those traveling in between the two. It is the largest log castle in the world, making it even more special to stay at. I could have spent hours just hanging out in the lobby (pictured below). It is known for its rustic, yet luxurious accommodations, and it excellent service.
When we arrived we got checked in, and enjoyed a drink and snack on the patio, before we had some free time before dinner. I chose to go for a run, which helped as we have had some longer travel days. There are some great trails throughout the property, a 3 and a 5km loop. I did the 5km loop, came back showered up and got ready for dinner.
The dinner was AMAZING, I was blown away and surely went to bed with a full stomach. It was a BBQ out on the terrace – with a lake view. They had ALL the options.
We woke up early yet again, around 530 in order to get down and meet in the lobby for 550, we had a little coffee (as always) and then headed outside to find a spot to catch sunrise on the water. It was the perfect way to start the day! After some of the group went for breakfast, while I chose to get another run in, an 8km around the property – circling the 5km loop and then adding on the 3km loop. After I got showered up and headed down to the buffet breakfast for some food. They had it all – name any breakfast food and it was there.
We left the Fairmont at around 9am, in order to get to Omega Park (@parcomega ) for 930am. It is a place to discover Canada’s wildlife in their natural habitat. Animals such as moose, elk, bison, wolves, bears etc. The park offers several activities for all ages such as animations, picnic areas, hiking trails, everyday of the year. You can drive your vehicle right into the park, and observe from the comfort of your own seat, or choose to get different types of transport such as ‘caged’ trucks (where you are in a metal cage and driving amongst the animals), or a safari bus (which we took). As you enter the park several deer and elk will greet you, where you are able to feed them carrots, which can be purchased from the Park House. The drive is 15km by car throughout the park and takes about 1.5 hours, to ensure your safety though they ask you remain in the car at all times, besides one point where you are able to get out and feed the deer (this was my favourite part).
At the end of the tour they took us to visit their new ‘Wolf cabins’ they have on site – where you can rent your own cabin and sleep behind a giant glass window where wolves are roaming. If you are a wolf lover like me you could be all over this, though others may be right freaked out! They currently only have two cabins ready to go, though are building 4 more due to increased interest in the experience.
Once we were done at the cabins we headed for the airport where we said our goodbyes and parted ways. What an experience it was to get to travel through three regions of Quebec – @tourismelaurentides , @tourismeat and @outaouais , with all of these ladies! Like I said at the beginning, I have traveled a lot, and more so internationally, having left my own country on the back burner a bit too much. I am already dreaming of returning to Quebec and exploring even more so. The endless lakes, lush forests, and adventure experiences is endless.
Thanks again to Braedin (@braedin) for helping us capture all the beauty through your photos and video on the trip.
If you have any questions at all regarding our itinerary, where we stayed, what we did, feel free to reach out!
Thanks for reading,