HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
I hope all of you have a wonderful new year of 2013 filled with health and happiness.
Yesterday I went cross country skiing in a lovely park in East Dearborn, Michigan and as I glided through the snow I couldn't help but think about the province of Quebec in Canada which at this time of year is a winter wonderland.
French speaking Quebec has a European feel to it. This is where Canadians engage in French as they indulge in their freshly made croissants, marvel at their magnificent cities and ski to their hearts content.
When I lived and worked in New York City and Vermont it wasn't that difficult to get to Quebec so I was delighted that I had a chance to explore this area a few times.
One of my favorite places in Quebec is the Laurentian Mountains region. These mountains are some of the oldest in the world and just a few days immersed in them will leave you feeling rejuvenated.
One of my favorite places is the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp in Val Morin, Quebec. I'm a certified yoga instructor with (Sivananda) and this yoga camp is where yoga teacher's training in North America began in 1969. Not only does the yoga camp offer a multitude of yoga teacher's training courses but they also have yoga vacations which are very popular. Surrounded by 250 forested acres and lakes the Sivananda camp offers a resort like feeling. A yoga vacation includes delicious vegetarian meals, daily yoga classes, lectures, meditation, and use of a swimming pool and sauna.
During the winter the cross country skiing is glorious in these parts. Far Hills Nordic Center has 63 kilometers of groomed trails for snow shoeing and cross country skiing.
There's even a nice hotel called Far Hills that's a popular place to stay in Val Morin.
For eating options Cal's Pizza at 6193 Boul Labelle is a crowd pleaser and for crepe lovers Creperie Au Tourneso at 5825 Boul Labelle can't be beat for their variety of tasty crepes and good salads.
The Montreal area has a lot of ski resorts and one of the best known is Mont Tremblant Ski Resort. This is the place to go for awesome skiing and people watching. Mont Tremblant has the highest peak in the Laurentian Mountains. It's one of the oldest ski resorts in North America and SKI magazine consistently ranks it one of the best ski mountains in eastern North America. The area is flooded with bed & breakfasts, hotels, shops, and restaurants. A bit of ski apres is always an added bonus.
MONTREAL is an international city with lots of attractions. It has elements of Paris France and North America rolled together. It's a city of cathedrals, cobblestone streets, old world markets, and shops galore. Each neighborhood presents a distinct world of its own character and uniqueness.
Old Montreal (Vieux -Montreal) is where the grand architecture is. The Basilique Notre-Dame (basilica) is filled with spectacular wonder and is one of the most popular sights to visit in Old Montreal. The old port has four piers and during the winter months Montrealers skate the outdoor rink.
Place D'Armes is a square framed with some of Old Montreal's most beautiful buildings. Place Royale in the west of Old Montreal is where the first fort was erected
in the 17th century.
Montreal is cold during the winter months and the underground city is the place to keep warm. The underground city has a network of cinemas's shops, restaurants, and theaters. This underground city attracts about 500,000 visitors per day to explore its maze and use its vast METRO subway system.
Like most major North American cities Montreal too has a Chinatown. Visitors from across the globe make Chinatown one of their stops when in Montreal. Some restaurants worth trying are Restaruant Beijing, La Maison Kam Fung, and Keung Kee.
A pot of jasmine tea goes along very nicely with a meal in Chinatown. A stop at a bakery for bubble tea is a fun thing to do in Chinatown as well.
Montrealer's love their bagels and word has it that no other place in the world can compete with bagels made in Montreal. Two of the most famous bagel shops in Montreal are Fairmont and St. Viateur. Local's like their bagels with cream cheese and lox.
The Downtown area has the Musee of Art Contemporain. It's the only museum in Canada devoted exclusively to contemporary art. The Museum of Fine Arts (Musee des Beaux Arts) dazzles with its broad range of exhibits and is one of the largest museums in Canada.
The famous Cirque du Soleil has its company offices in Montreal. Here new artists of the circus train in the acrobatic rehearsal rooms. This talented group of performers travels the globe but in their home base of Montreal they can be counted on to perform sometime during the months of April to June. The Cirque du Soleil is one incredible circus and their performances always keep audiences at the edge of their seats.
Montreal's nightlife offers everything from comedy clubs to classic music and opera. The diversity of cosmopolitan Montreal with its endless attractions feels part British, part Canadian, and part French yet there's such a global mix in this metropolis of business, fashion, arts, and culture that Montreal never stops amazing its residents or the thousands of tourists that visit each year. A big MERCI (Thank You) to marvelous MONTREAL.
Before heading three hours to Quebec City reserve a spot at one of Quebec's many sugar shacks. It's a breath of fresh air to watch sap coming out of the maples trees and than indulging in some maple candy or pure Canadian maple syrup pored on a stack of pancakes.
Pure Maple Syrup
Quebec City is North America's most European city and a day or two here will give you the chance to experience some beautiful architecture, good culture, and wonderful cafes. Perhaps a chocolate croissant with some cafe au lait for a feeling of Paris will do just fine.
QUEBEC IS A VERY NICE PROVINCE INDEED!