This year our little VW Rabbit was given a new home. My sister adopted him and for the remainder of her life she will be driven infrequently and be sheltered in a garage. She is in good hands. The newest addition to our little family is BIG MAN MAZDA (Not yet named, maybe leave your ideas). An SUV was just more practical for our country lifestyle and after ALOT of research, we decided to bring this beast home. Of course we needed to break it in as soon as possible so the decision was quickly made to go on a road trip before our busy season at the inn started.
All packed and ready to go, we headed for our nations capital Ottawa, a 2.5 hour drive from Prince Edward County.
Ottawa is a great place to set up a base camp for really interesting day trips, that include nature and food, which were really our only two requirements. Staying downtown was a plus because while we explored the city we were able to keep the car parked and walk everywhere. We got there smoothly and safely in the evening and only thing we were really up for was a good pub close by, followed by a good nights sleep.
Day One - Montebello Quebec
Parc Omega here we come. Giggle inducing, this 15 km marked path car tour has you in the comfort of your own vehicle, while you interact with a herd of elk and deer, marvel at the size of a Bison and seriously squeal with the little wild boar piglets running around.
Don't skip the carrots! Hands down feeding these doe eyed creatures is the highlight, these super friendly, people and car accustomed elk and deer know what they are doing. And they are not shy. The roaming wild boars with their happy go lucky piglets bouncing around were comical and more than delighted to receive a carrot or two.
Open 365 days of the year, this park is great for EVERYONE.
Almost 100% of any travelling I have done, I have done it for the food. I have a dream to literally eat my way around the world. Food is such a wonderfully neutral way of building bridges, forming friendships and appreciation of cultures and nationalities. So it was funny when planning this day trip we didn't research where we would eat. We packed a picnic lunch from Scone Witch (accidentally could not wait any longer and ate in the car), and the rest we were going to leave up to fate. And I tell you the fates were looking down on us! By chance, (because it was considerably past lunchtime) in the cute, picturesque town of Montebello a beautiful yellow house was serving happy looking patrons on the the beautiful covered veranda. Le Cafe Entre Amis, is a delightful down to earth bistro, both visitors and locals were dining and being serviced both in English and French. Being in Quebec I decided to get the Crepe with wild mushrooms and chicken cooked in a cognac sauce, it was plated like art work and the flavours danced in my mouth. The service was impeccable, both warmly inviting and tastefully professional. We hope to make it to Montebello again soon so that we can try another dish!
Back in Ottawa after a beautiful day exploring, our appetites were again fired up, so we headed out for dinner to a highly recommended spot on Elgin Street called Datsun, Mike and I lived dangerously and ordered pretty much the entire menu to share. We will have to head back for the ones we just couldn't squeeze in. Also note the cocktail menu and this delicious lemonade made with Sake, it was super refreshing.
Day Two - Chelsea Quebec
Another early start to the day had us driving across the Quebec/Ontario border into a picture perfect, movie scene town called Chelsea, this one stop town literally has something special for everyone, and right away we knew we chosen the right stop.
We headed this direction because of the beautiful Gatineau Park. And I had hiking in mind. We have already done a handful of different trails but we wanted get some information so we headed to Chelsea to the Welcome Center. The large map in the parking lot was useful except for the fact it was not up to date with seasonal closures (so probably better to head into the center). After discovering the trail we had selected was still closed for the season, we drove around to find another trail head. The hike we went on was approximately two hours the first half completed in the rain. But when the rain subsided, the birds came out and sang to us for the final stretch. We even saw a bear in the distance up a tree. Next time I go I am going to be more prepared deciding on the trail system.
Lunch at the Chelsea Pub. Where a decedent bowl of the Chefs special poutine and local cider from McKeown's Cider was the absolute best way to energize after a hike, the setting was filled with locals and tourists alike.
Dinner with a view, as recommended we decided to grab some fancy ass hot dogs from Tavern on the Hill, the patio was hopping with live Jazz music and was filled with sun lovers. The gourmet dogs are to go style and we decided the nice quiet park right next door would be perfect. Still with a fantastic view.
Do you have a "thing" you like to do when travelling? When I was younger, I used to try and white water raft on the local river. My older self focuses on food, and something new I have noticed is the almost sure booking of a haunted or ghost tour of the city I am visiting. I find that you gather a super amount of information in an entertaining way. You learn about history, architecture, local stories and customs. The Haunted Walk of Ottawa, was no exception. For about 90 minutes our tour guide led us through the "original" haunted walk, it was well paced, filled with interesting stories of the unexplained and we covered areas that I hadn't seen yet on my numerous trips to Ottawa. After a day of eating tremendously, a haunted walking tour was exactly what I need to burn those extra, extra calories.
Day Three - Ottawa
Popped into Le Moulin de Provence Byward Market to start our day, home of the famous Obama Cookie, this bakery/prepared food cafe is quick and easy but VERY touristy. We like to go in the morning before the market stalls open to avoid crowds. My favourite part about this place is that their large lattes are literally the size of a soup bowl.
Also another notable shop in the market is called Milk Shop Ottawa, beautiful and cute feminine clothes and jewelry. I make a stop and subsequently a purchase every time I visit Ottawa. You can tell the sister owners have the best time sourcing the products.
The National Gallery of Canada is always a highlight when we visit Ottawa, incredibly curated with world pieces as well as a large collections of Canadian, and North American works. I love taking my time and listening to the audio guide, to learn more about the artists and pieces. This time around we spent an extra amount of time admiring the works from the Group of Seven.
A vacation that was originally planned for two weeks, and was whittled slowly down to four days, turned out to be one of my favourite trips. I had enough time to reset, while we explored nature and urban life.
Please keep an eye out for an #InspireInterview coming up soon. As our grand finale meal turned out to be more about inspiration and a lesson on following your truths and values to live you best life then just another good dish. In the meantime check out Clover food and Drink the food is exceptional, the service was A+ and cannot wait to get back for another treat.
Thanks for following along!! Luv K8e