Exploring Ontario’s Lake Country with #LetsGoMaple

lgm the great outdoors

This time last week I was packing my bags for #LetsGoMaple, a sponsored two-day/three-night trip with 15 other Canadian bloggers to explore Ontario’s Lake Country (Orillia/Rama/Oro-Medonte and area, about a five-and-a-half-hour drive from Ottawa). As someone who struggles with anxiety (social and otherwise), I was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I needn’t have been. At the risk of sounding sappy, my travel companions and hosts were as sweet and warm as the maple syrup we poured over our pancakes at Shaw’s Sugar Bush. Which made trying small things loom less large, and a lot easier. Come along and see some of the fun and delicious goodness the area has to offer.  Continue reading “Exploring Ontario’s Lake Country with #LetsGoMaple”

Our mini vacay in beautiful Mont-Tremblant

My guys are pretty happy to spend the summer riding their bikes up and down the back lane with their friends, running around at the park and (let’s not kids ourselves) playing on the Nintendo DS and the tablet, but sometimes Mama needs a change of scenery. So when my mom offered to take the three of us for a little getaway a couple of weeks ago, I immediately suggested Tremblant. In all the years we’ve lived in Ottawa we’ve only been twice and it’s just a two-hour drive away, practically on our doorstep.

tremblant adventure is waiting

The first thing we did was take the panoramic gondola up the mountain. It’s the highest view in all of the Laurentians but a pricey trip (about $70 for the four of us) so you know, not something you do all the time. Apparently you can hike it in about three hours but it would probably take twice as long with my kiddos (and honestly, I don’t have the patience!) so we took the easy way up. The candy coloured rooftops you’re seeing here are part of the charming pedestrian village where we stayed.

tremblant top of the mountain tree tops

tremblant lily and james top of mountain

We wandered around up there for a while, taking in the views and the kids climbed some rocks. There’s a cafeteria where you can grab a hot dog but we’d packed plenty of food and made sandwiches instead. (We purposefully booked a hotel room with a wee kitchen to save on meals.)

tremblant waiting for gondola

There’s another gondola at the base of the pedestrian village that you can take to the top of the shops and back down to the bottom for no charge, and we took that a couple of times a day. The ride’s all of two minutes and it’s an easy walk but my guys love it so up and down we went. The line-up to get on can be long but it moves quickly.

tremblant going up the gondola

tremblant our pool

Hey, it’s our hotel pool! We stayed at the Marriot Residence Inn, which was comfortable, reasonably priced (about $170/night after a 35% discount for 3+ nights) and included a hot breakfast buffet with make-your-own Belgian waffles, pancakes, sausages — you name it. There are several comparably priced, family-friendly hotels to choose from but my daughter especially liked the pictures of the pool when we were researching online, so that’s the one we went with. We’d happily book it again. (Bonus: next year they’re renovating.)

tremblant another view from the gondola

tremblant good morning 2

tremblant musicians

We arrived on the first night of Les Rhythmes Tremblant, a 10-day music festival of free outdoor concerts each afternoon and evening. My mom and the kids took in several shows while I took some time for myself to browse the shops or relax in our room.

tremblant walking in the village

It’s such a pretty spot to walk around. We had dinner out two nights (Casey’s and Pizzateria), take-out on another (poutine from Beaver Tails) and ice cream at the popular Oh la vache!. I don’t know why I didn’t think to take any pictures, but everything was delicious.

tremblant hanging flowers

tremblant Lily and James mini golf

Two days we did 18 holes at the mini-putt, probably the highlight of the trip. And not just because all but one of us got a hole-in-one (I won’t say who, but her name rhymes with Silly), although that was part of it.

tremblant window boxes 3

While most of the shops and restaurants in the village appear to be thriving, this one has been closed for some time. It used to be the restaurant L’Avalanche Bistro-Lounge. Don’t you love window boxes and the shiny red roof? I could move in.

tremblant feet pool

I have some adorable pictures of my mom and the kids in the pool and going down the super fun skyline luge but we try to keep my guys’ faces off the Interwebs so you’ll have to look at my feet instead.

tremblant top of the mountain

And that view again. Just the change of scenery this mama needed.

Have you been to Tremblant? Tell me about your favourite mini-vacay!