Road Tripping: A Getaway Guide to the Blue Mountains

If you live in the Toronto area you probably have visited the Blue Mountains once or twice in your life. The Blue Mountains are located in Collingwood, Ontario, a quick two hour drive from the city. The Blue Mountain Resort is particularly known for boasting an Aspen inspired village at the base of the mountain where you can find multiple restaurants, bars, and shops. Matt and I had visited the Blue Mountain resort once together in the past and loved every minute of our stay so a few months back when we were both craving a weekend away we decided to book!

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The previous time we visited the Blue Mountains village we stayed at the Westin Trillium House which was obviously a little nicer then anything we had stayed at in the past but to keep our wallets happy we decided to stay at the Blue Mountain Inn (a 5-minute walk from the village). I did some research prior to booking and read that they had done extensive renovations to the hotel. Some areas of the hotel were more updated then others. It was no Westin but for the price we paid I couldn’t complain!

The first night we arrived we decided to take a stroll in the village, grab a bite to eat and indulge in happy hour. We found ourselves at the Twist Martini Restaurant & Lounge. This restaurant had a great atmosphere with reasonably priced drinks and apps and probably one of the best live bands I have ever heard! This guy played hit after hit. Highly recommend this spot in the resort. After going back to our hotel and getting ready for the night we went back out to Kaytoo Restaurant & Bar to grab some more food. We ordered two apps that were good but nothing overly exciting.

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The next day we spent the better part of the afternoon hanging out in the hot tubs. I think one of Matt’s favourite things he looks forward to when we go away during the winter months is basking hours away in the hot tubs – I certainly don’t complain about that. Hours later we decided to get ready and head back to the village to get something to eat. This time we hit up the well-known Rusty’s, which is located at the base of the mountain where you can find all the ski bums coming in for a pint. The atmosphere is fun, light and turns into a popular spot at night. Definitely a must on your list when you are visiting the Blue Mountain village. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering the village and taking in the picturesque views which undeniably turn into some photo ops!

Later that evening we went back to our hotel to get ready for dinner at Tholos. I was a bit hesitant to go to this restaurant as it doesn’t offer a vibrant atmosphere like many other restaurants in the village. Sure enough I was wrong, it ended up being our favourite meal of the weekend. The Greek inspired menu provides variety and fresh ingredients in comparison to the pub-like food we ate the majority of the weekend. Overall the meal was well worth the agony of my indecisiveness.

The next morning was our last day in Collingwood and we had booked a snowmobile and snowshoe excursion for the day. It was very mild out which made the activities much more enjoyable (I am typically cold ALL the time). I had never been on a snowmobile before or used snowshoes. The snowmobiling was really fun – those machines can go fast!- and the snowshoeing, what a crazy good workout!

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Some tips when visiting the Blue Mountain resort:

  • Make reservations for dinner’s during high season. There were times where Matt and I would try multiple restaurants before finding one that could seat us.
  • Check the resort website before your trip. I was really excited to go skating on the pond to learn that it was closed for the season.
  • If you are living on a budget definitely consider the Blue Mountain Inn for accommodations but if you are looking for the “Aspen village” feel then I recommend staying in one of the village hotels.
  • If you are staying longer then a weekend I would consider staying in a hotel with a kitchenette. The meals can be pricy and you may begin to feel that there is a lack of variety, unless you are willing to hop into your car and travel to Collingwood.
  • Parking, parking, parking. During high season free parking comes at a cost – driving around for upwards of an hour tracking down the next person who is leaving. Give yourself a lot of time to find parking and be patient!

Matt and I loved our mini vacation out of the city. I’ve been blessed to grow up with a family cottage so sometimes I forget how nice it is to get out of the city. Change it up every now and then, hop in your car and go on a road trip!

What are your favourite locations to road trip to in Ontario? Let me know in the comments below!

Michelle xo

Boston Pt. 2

As promised here is part two from my travel guide on one of my favourite cities, Boston!

The next morning we planned to spend more time wandering through the city and visit Harvard University. Walking is really the best way to see and get to know a city. It also helps to have someone who lives in the city to guide you – that I was very thankful for. I remember when we went to NYC in December and feeling as though we didn’t know where to begin. NYC, being as big as it is, can also be very touristy. I’m not one to typically jump on tour buses. I like to absorb things at my own pace. But sometimes you have no choice especially in a city like NYC. I felt like our trip to Boston was more at my pace and I was really able to take in the city for what it was.

When we woke up that morning it was sunny and fairly mild outside so we knew it was going to be a good day! We started out the day by walking along the harbour area. Chris knew a good spot where we could get a view of the city, so naturally I was game. Me and my love with an awesome view.

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We kept walking, taking in the sights and stopping for lunch to re-fuel. *Side note: As I mentioned in part one of this post we went to Boston over Easter weekend. So everyone was off, out and about enjoying the beautiful mild weather. And surprisingly the city didn’t seem busy. Of course there was areas where people were concentrating too but I never once felt like I was walking with crowds of people. This was really nice for us because people who know me well know that I get anxious and stressed when I am in chaotic, busy areas. Anyways, the reason why I say this is because we decided to pick up lunch at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. This is a very well known market in Boston, that happened to be very busy. So instead we walked through quickly, I picked up a “Boston” mug from Starbucks (I might have a slight obsession with collecting mugs – Matt knows this well) and we found an hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant with cheap margarita pitchers and awesome tacos.

Now it was time to venture to Harvard. Seeing Harvard has always been on my bucket list. Let me tell you it didn’t disappoint. Beautiful buildings – it felt pretty surreal to see it with my own eyes.

After visiting Harvard we walked quickly past MIT and headed home, it was another long day of walking so we were ready to crash. The view on our walk back….I couldn’t get enough of the cobblestone and brownstone buildings.

Our last day in Boston we planned on touring Fenway Park. Living in Toronto most people are Blue Jays fans, including us. Being a Jays fan you are use to watching games in the Rogers Centre which seats about 50,000 people. That is all we have ever known. I was excited to visit Fenway but I didn’t necessarily have high expectations thinking it was another Rogers Centre. I was definitely wrong. I would say that our visit and tour of Fenway was probably a highlight of our trip for me. There is so much history, my eyes and ears were glued to the tour guide the entire time! Fenway also has such an intimate feel, a feeling we don’t get at home in the Rogers Centre. I can only imagine how cool it would be to see a game there. That’s on my bucket visit for my next visit to Boston.

The view inside Fenway Park…

Sitting in the famous “Green Monster”!

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That evening we had to pack up and head home :(. I was sad to leave Boston and can’t wait to go back!

 

Boston Pt. 1

Last April my boyfriend Matt and I traveled to Boston to visit his brother who is currently living there. We went over the Easter weekend to save some days off work. It was a bit risky knowing how cold it can be there but it ended up being the warmest weather they had in months and was sunny most of the weekend. So we really lucked out! We had recently returned from a trip to NYC over Christmas so I didn’t really know what to expect from the city of Boston. I can now say it is one of my favourite places to visit! The city is walkable, has great restaurants and shopping, and I love the old world feel with the cobble stone paths and brownstone buildings. This travel guide will be split into two parts so stay tuned for part two!

The first day we arrived in the afternoon so we spent some time casually walking the city, taking in all the sites and grabbed some food and drinks to catch up with Matt’s brother. We started off in Copley Square. This church took my breathe away, so beautiful! Copley square is a public square which is a central spot within the city.

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After we grabbed some food we went over to The Hawthorne for drinks. This place was really cool. It had an old men’s club feel and incredible drinks. These were the type of drinks that instead of being flooded with sweet juices and sodas are a blend of flavours based purely from various liquors. My drink was definitely strong but it was refreshing to have something so authentic. That night were crashed pretty quickly knowing that we had a full day of adventures ahead.

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The next day we had planned to do a tour of a local brewery, Harpoon Brewery, located in the south end of Boston. On our walk there (which was way longer then we had predicted) we passed by the Boston Tea Party Museum.

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Once we got to the brewery we quickly realized how popular the place was and scheduled the tour for a couple of hours later. So what else to do but kill time and go for some drinks! We walked down the street to a local pub. *Side note: A few years ago I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant due to some pretty terrible digestive issues I was going through. Now I am able to manage those issues much better through diet and supplements. With that being said I still try and stay away from gluten if the option is there especially with beer as I find it bothers my stomach the most. So when I saw on the menu they had a gluten-free beer I had to try it! Turns out it was the best gluten-free beer I have ever tried. Sadly I have not found it in Toronto yet.

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After we killed some time we went back over to the brewery. Now I’ve been on my fair share of wine and beer tours but I must say this is the best one I have ever been on! Although I do think the best part was actually after the tour when we got to just hang out and sip beers in the beer hall (I had a cider which was really good too). This hall was packed end to end with long wooden harvest tables that everyone sat at together. I felt like I was back in my high school cafeteria. Overall a really fun experience!

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Matt’s brother then decided to take us on the scenic tour through the south end of Boston. It was a great way to see the city but it was a longggg walk! I kept thinking to myself “He better be taking us to a cool spot”. Along the way we came across an urban park with a “donut swing”. I had way too much fun here.

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After what seemed like an eternity we made it to our destination – Dorchester Heights. This is the type of place that is underrated and boasts an awesome view of the city. It was worth the hike.

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Well that wraps up part one of my Boston travel guide! Stayed tuned for part two…

What are some of your favourite spots in Boston?

Dreaming of…the Drake Dev

This past fall my sister, cousin and I took a quick road trip from the city to the Drake Devonshire Inn in Prince Edward County. Let me tell you, this place was gorgeous! It was a hot & sunny day in October and my cousin was preparing to leave for Whistler for the winter. We couldn’t have picked a better outing for the day. As you might know the Drake Dev is in association with the well known Drake Hotel in Toronto. So I was expecting good food, good drinks and a relaxed vibe. It did not disappoint & we were lucky enough to snag a spot on the patio overlooking Lake Ontario.

Since we went over Thanksgiving weekend we all ordered their seasonal punch to start. The punch had an apple cider base with hints of seasonal spices, some of my favourite flavours blended together. It was really tasty. Next, time to order some food! The menu is small but has a good variety of dishes. We all tried different items from the menu which allowed us to taste each other’s. My sister definitely had the best dish, their ‘Buckwheat Pasta Carbonara’ – it was soooo good.

After lunch we took some time to wander the beautiful property, enjoy their art exhibits and appreciate the “summer weather”. They even had a photo booth inside where we obviously took some goofy photos.

Sitting here right now on a cold winter night, I’m dreaming of this beautiful day and location. I will definitely be going back very soon. I highly recommend to take a trip out of the city to visit this picture-perfect place!

Have you ever been to Prince Edward County or the Drake Dev? What was your favourite spot?