It’s been a few weeks since our trip to Montreal, but I thought I’d still write up a little “Montreal Travel Guide/Trip Report” – better late than never, right?
All in all, we had a fantastic weekend. Friday morning, we hit the road pretty early, after stopping for some breakfast at Hi-Rise (a tradition, at this point, on any non-work morning). We drove through New Hampshire (best state motto in the union: “Live Free or Die”), and then Vermont. Vermont is even more sparsely populated than we had imagined, and the capitol building in Montpelier (which we drove through) is smaller than the SF City Hall (which I suppose shouldn’t be that surprising since Vermont has fewer people than the city of San Francisco). We didn’t see this in person, but let me just point out that Vermont has some peculiar tourism initiatives.
Just after noon, we pulled up to the Canadian border. Unlike the border crossing on I-5 into BC, this border station was on a two-lane road, in the middle of nowhere, and there was absolutely no wait. The Canadian official at the station was perhaps the most pleasant immigration official with whom we’ve ever come into contact.
We had poutine at a little local fast food joint, stopped to taste ice cider and wine at a few places in the Eastern townships, and then headed to Nid de Poule, where we were both dining and sleeping that evening. We stayed at NdP 3 years ago on our honeymoon, and since it was on the way to Montreal, thought it would be a fun place to revisit. We weren’t disappointed – the “rustic table” dinner was amazing (though a bit overly heavy), and breakfast the next morning was fantastic as well.
We headed into Montreal mid-morning, and before checking in at the hotel, stopped by Marche Jean Talon, where we enjoyed lots of fresh fruit and vegetable samples, some pastries, and the best french fries in the world.
For the next several days, we explored Montreal. Some highlights:
*Renting “Bixi” bikes and pedaling across town
*Running up Mont Royal and the great view of the city from the top
*Dinner at O’Thym (our favorite meal in Montreal, and a BYO establishment, to boot)
*Walking by the Jazz Festival in the evenings
*Breakfast at Le Cartet
*Fireworks over the St. Lawrence River on Saturday night
Here’s a map of our trip (plus a few places that we didn’t have a chance to visit but hear great things about).
On July 4, we headed back across the border (an appropriate day to return to the States, we thought). All in all, we had a fantastic time – both in Montreal, but also on the drives to and from…didn’t hit a single bit of traffic the entire time, and NH and VT are really pleasant states to drive through.