Monday, December 31, 2018

The Ultimate Winter Getaway- Mont Tremblant in Canada

Happy Holidays, all!

I hope everyone had a relaxing, joyous, happy holiday.  That each of you was able to unplug, recharge, experience respite, have a chance to reflect and relax, as well as do things which brought you contentment and joy.  Whoever your time was spent with, I am hoping it was a fulfilling and wonderful experience.  That you were able to connect and spend time with the people you most love, and revel in such.

For those who were able to take a trip, whether a small or longer one, I wish that each of you had a fabulous time.  Whether somewhere warm and luxurious, or wintery and magical.

Having ventured to Mont Tremblant in Canada myself, I would highly recommend such.  For those into skiing, snowboarding, or even just for a romantic, winter wonderland esque retreat, this is a top-notch place to trek.  The activity opportunities are endless: dog sledding, snowshoeing, heading to a spa for the evening, eating delicious food, holing up in a cozy cafe, and as mentioned, all manner of winter sports.

The village of Mont Tremblant is colorful, picturesque, fantastical, and eye-catching.  Throughout the village, you will find a smattering of sweet shops selling all manner of candies and enticing goodies, a couple of quaint cafes, and restaurants which personally, I found to be a bit lacking.  The restaurants within the village itself were touristy, overpriced, and had a chain-restaurant feel to them.  Not especially high quality food.  So for meals, I recommend venturing outside the village, which lies at the base of Mont Tremblant.  That aside though, it is an incredibly romantic place to adventure.

Maxx and I drove 5.5 hours one way, from New York up to Canada.  We arrived in Mont Tremblant around 3pm on Christmas Day.  The afternoon was spent wandering and strolling the village together.  Despite the two of us remarking more than once of the bitingly brisk cold, we were enamored.  We stepped onto a little aluminum can shaped gondola, which whisked us up to the top of a small hill at the peak of the village.  Myself gasping in delight as it picked up speed, akin to a minor rollercoaster takeoff in my mind ;-).

That evening, we went to the restaurant Patrick Bermand, a cozy little French Canadian restaurant, akin to a little log cabin.  We ate by candlelight in the dimly lit restaurant. For an appetizer, we dinedon creamy roasted vegetable soup, which we both agreed was superb.  Our second course was a duck liver pate, which after one bite of, I skipped, though Maxx seemed to find decently yummy, so I offered him mine which he gladly accepted.  Our main course was turkey with a cranberry and herb stuffing.  And finally for dessert, we sampled a small slice of yule log cake.  This, we agreed, was tasty, though left us wanting.  What we both liked best about this meal were the soup and the ambiance.  We rated the food a 7.5 out of 10.

The next day, December 26, we hit the slopes of Mont Tremblant!  The day was spent skiing, which both of us absolutely loved.  Despite that the day was absolutely freezing, we had a blast.  Maxx, who refused to wear a scarf, had a beard caked in snow come late afternoon.  We raced down black diamonds together, a few blue squares, and a couple leisurely green circle rated trails.  At the mountain peak, snow billowed and blew about.  We were feeling pretty good though with our hand and feet warmers.

We skiied from roughly 9:30am until 3pm, with a 45 minute break around 1pm for little chocolate mousse cakes and teas in a cramped cafe close by.  We agreed the break was much needed, which felt totally cozy and wonderful.  The two of us sitting close in freezing stupor, de-thawing and relaxing into the cafes warmth.

That evening, we had dinner at Cest La Vie, a French/Canadian/European restaurant.  Maxx had a pasta topped with pork and a zesty tomato sauce.  I dined on salmon with a goat cheese pesto sauce, which was quite yummy.  For an appetizer, we each had French onion soup, which we agreed was good (loved the slice of cheesy bread it was served with), though concured we had eaten better of this dish before as well.  For dessert, Maxx enjoyed an extravagent cherry ice cream sundae, and I had a slice of rich chocolate cake to go (though, most of which I devoured in the car ride ;-)).  We agreed this meal was also about a 7.5.  Possibly an 8.

Next, we headed to our last excursion of the day.  A major splurge for both of us.  The Scandinave Spa of Mont Tremblant.  After parking and walking from the car toward what appeared to be a collection of large log cabins clustered together, we wound our way along the winding walk lined with evergreen trees, each swirled with white lights.  All of the trees were blanketed in glittering white, as it had snowed throughout the day.  The entire scene feeling like a hushed, dream-like, twinkling, from-the-forest magical nighttime scene.  Maxx even exclaiming, "ok, this is awesome."  (Usually I am the far more outwardly expressive one, especially of excitement ;-p).

We paid and were handed towels and plush hooded robes, then directed to separate locker rooms to change.  The locker rooms were warm, heavily wooden, and cozy.  After changing into our bathingsuits, we met outside on the stone lain patio where there were several steam wafting pools of water, lit in varying colors.  Maxx and I initially walked over to one, which we didnt realize was ice cold, dipped our feet in and, jerking them back out, rushed over to a pool on the other side of the patio which we hoped would be hot.  It was.

We hung out in the pool for some 20 minutes, luxurating in the heat and bubbles, until it was time for our massages.  The massages were one hour long, and in the same room together.  I had never experienced this before and was unsure what to expect.  It was marvelous though.  The massage was absolutely great.  Certainly too expensive for what I would normally pay, but for a one time splurge, it was fantastic to be sure.  Totally relaxing, cozy, swanky, and just a great atmosphere.  I loved this experience with Maxx.

Then, we headed back to our room, which was decked out with a fireplace :-D.  We got incredibly lucky.  They offered us a free upgrade on checking in!  On looking up the normal room rate cost, this one exhorberantly priced, and not one we would ever be able to afford.  So this was a pretty sweet and unexpected surprise.  Both nights, we laid by the fireplace for a few hours.  Side by side, on a blanket lain out on the floor.  I read my book, Maxx read articles on his phone, we played board games, talked, dozed, and just absolutely reveled in it.

On Thursday, December 27, we awoke and, after wandering the village of Mont Tremblant one last time (we stopped for tea and sweets at Oh La Vache Cafe in the little village- the pastries here look DIVINE), headed into the city center.

Oh La Vache, the little blue and white cottage on the left.  So cute inside, with enticing looking French pastries in all manner of assortment.

There was a cafe I was dying to check out after having seen it online, Couleur Cafe.  It looked right up my alley.  Cozy, rustic, trendy, not overly priced, homey, with great ambiance/atmosphere, and delicious.  It turned out to be just that.  The food, we both agreed, was delicious.  Our most flavorful meal of the trip.  I had a Cesar salad, which was gigantic, and loaded with all sorts of yummy ingredients.  Maxx had the Croque Madame with Thai soup on the side.  To finish, we had slices of chocolate mousse cake.  So tasty.  We gave this overall meal an 8.5 or 9.

During the drive both to and from Canada, we listened to BearTown by Fredrik Backman.  Both of us are officially hooked.  Each of us agreed the character development is rich and gripping, incredibly well done.  You become invested and very interested in several of them, most of whom are quite compelling.  We are really enjoying it thus far.  Personally, the character development, relationships, and "world" of the story remind me something of Friday Night Lights (the Emmy award winning TV show, and one of my favorites ever).

The trip was superb.  Maxx exclaimed, "this is like the best vacation ever."  I agree.  It was a stellar, memorable, romatic, cozy, totally relaxing, absolutely awesome trip.  We unplugged, were totally relaxed and tuned into one another, we laughed a lot, lounged, were never in a hurry or on a strict schedule.  It was a welcome remove from the routine of daily life.  We loved every minute of it.

If you have the opportunity, absolutely check out Mont Tremblant for a few days!!  Its a great place.

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