Winter in Ottawa can be cold, snowy, icy, slushy and just miserable after 3 months in with still more to go. But there is one amazing and fun bright spot in it all, the Rideau Canal Skateway. I’m not a fan of winter. The long nights and endless cold really take their toll on me. Sure snow can be pretty but I’d be happy only to see it at Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ottawa but we get pretty harsh winters here. Thankfully we also know how to have fun in winter when the 7.8km long Rideau Canal gets turned into the world’s longest skating rink every winter (for as long as the weather is cold enough to keep it frozen). I only learned to love skating a few years ago and I’m still not very strong so I’ve yet to skate the entire length of the canal but the section around Patterson Creek in the Glebe is so pretty that I don’t really feel like I need to. This winter I’ve managed to make it over to the canal a few times and here are some of my photos. Also find my tips for visiting the Rideau Canal Skateway at the bottom of this post!
Prince Edward County is one of my favourite little vacation destinations, and you’ll know that all ready if you’ve ever read this blog since a large number of posts are devoted to this little wine region in Ontario. After a day trip to the County earlier in the summer we spend another weekend exploring with our family at the end of September when the region was in full harvest mode.
Prince Edward County has quickly become one of my favourite and most visited travel spots. Over the last four years I’ve visited this little picturesque wine region six times. I’ve been in summer, fall, holiday weekends, with a group, as a couple, with dogs, stayed in Airbnbs, B&Bs, and visited a good chunk of the wineries here. I wouldn’t call myself an expert and I definitely don’t have the same amount of knowledge that a local would but I’ve learned a lot about how to visit PEC and what to expect. So here are my top tips for visiting and making your vacation hopefully a little easier.
Île d’Orléans is a small island just outside of Québec City known for its amazing produce and rich francophone history. All over the island you’ll find little villages and big farms growing some of the best strawberries and blackcurrants in the summer and apples in the autumn. Although not very big there are many great places to discover and it’s an easy day trip only 30 minutes Québec City.
After visiting Québec City a few times in the last several years we decided to go a bit further on our little summer road trip and drive up through the Bas-Saint-Laurent region of Québec. We took the day and drove from Québec City to Grand-Métis where we visited the Jardins du Métis the next day. We made many stops along to way to eat, explore and hike. We really only scratched the surface on what there is to do in this region since we only had the day but here is our road trip through the Bas-Saint-Laurent.
During our Québec City/ Bas-Saint-Laurent road trip this past summer we wanted to spend as much time as possible outside since we wanted to enjoy the nice weather but also because of covid. So we planned to do a hike in Parc national du Bic, one of Québec’s national parks. The park is right on the Saint-Laurent River and really easy to access if you’re travelling through the Bas-Saint-Laurent region. We chose to do Le Grand Tour hike which is 8.7km (about 3 hours) and listed as the most difficult and longest hike in the park. The hike also has unique time restraints since you need to complete it during low tide as it is mostly right along the coastline over the rocks.
With pandemic restrictions starting to loosen up across Canada we decided to take our summer vacation close-ish to home still. Since it’s still not a normal summer we decided just to do a small trip and to try to remain outside as much as possible. What better place to do that than a beautiful garden. I’ve wanted to visit the Jardins de Métis / Reford Gardens in Québec’s Bas-Saint-Laurent region for a long time so we decided to basically plan a little trip around visiting it.
Another summer of mostly staying close to home means lots of walks around the city. Golden hour walks around downtown Ottawa are the best when the light changes, the weather cools down a bit and people are chilling in the park and on patios. My favourite places are along Wellington Street, Major’s Hill Park, around the National Gallery of Canada and the Byward Market, down along the Rideau Canal close to the NAC and of course the Ottawa Locks by the Chateau Laurier. Here are some snapshots of summer evenings in Ottawa.
If you’ve visited this blog before you’ll know that I love Prince Edward County, it’s the perfect country escape in Ontario with wineries, breweries and good food galore! Although we have plans to visit at the end of September with family we couldn’t resist doing a little day trip in PEC. We told ourselves it was to scout places to visit with our family but that was really just a lame excuse. On this trip we did make a point of visiting some new places, or at least new to us. So come along for a little review of our day in PEC. I’ll also be updating my full PEC Travel Guide and my PEC Winery Guide in September after our next visit.
While going through some old photos I came across slides that my Grandpa took decades ago in Paris, probably in the 1970s. It made me think about my first trip to France about 10 years ago in 2011. I thought it would be fun to share some of my old photos from the amazing trip around France with my family. It was really a dream trip, 3 weeks around France. We started in Paris and then went north to Giverny, Honfleur and Mont Saint Michel. Then we traveled south to the Loire Valley to see chateaux then to the walled city of Carcassonne and to Provence. There were visited Arles, Nimes, Avignon the Pont du Gard and Orange and continued to Nice for some riviera sunshine. To finish off we head back north to Chartres before flying home from Paris again. It’s always fun looking back on old photos and memories from great travels. I’d love to return to France and see more of this beautiful country.