If the city heat getting to you, a day trip might be all you need to regroup, refresh and rewind. No more than three hours from Montreal are an array of beautiful cycling paths, spa retreats and natural wonders sure to take your mind off work, relationships, whatever your baggage might be. Pick a weekend to leave the city stress behind while embarking on a much-needed and well-deserved mini-vacation. Leave the ulcers to everyone else — because l’enfer, c’est les ulcers, right?
Cycle and Spa
Just a stone’s throw outside Montreal is the beautiful 120-mile trail from Mont Laurier to Saint-Jerome. Known as Le P’tit Train du Nord, the trail is surrounded by a landscape of pine forests, rivers and historic villages. Now, we know we promised you relaxation and maybe a three-day bike ride isn’t what you had in mind; still, this spectacular trail is marked with a variety of spas boasting treatments perfectly suited for the two-pedal biker type. Be sure not to miss Le Pimbina Spa and Massage, offering a one-hour cyclist-specific massage that works on “handlebar” shoulders, leg muscles and hip joints. Auberge de la Gare, a heritage railway station converted into a Bed and Breakfast, is also worth a visit with home-style breakfasts, an extensive Belgian beer selection and a patio overlooking the bike path.
If you’ve got a taste for the outdoors, Quebec’s outdoor wonderland ,Gatineau Park, is only two hours from Montreal. This wilderness oasis offers almost every outdoor activity thinkable including canoeing, camping, mountain biking and hiking. Take some time out to visit one of the park’s breathtaking lakes including Pink Lake, ironically a vividly green body of water, similar to the glacier lakes in BC. Catch the sunset 335 metres above sea level at Champlain Lookout, which offers undisturbed views of the Ottawa River. This is outdoor living at its finest.
There’s a lot of good things to say about spending the summer on the green with your buddies. Two hours from Montreal is an oasis of golf: Mont Tremblant, home to two of SCOREgolf’s top 100 golf courses: Golf Le Diable and Golf Le Géant. Diable offers a unique 7056-yard course designed by acclaimed architects Micheal Hurdzana and Dany Fry. Le Géant’s 18-hole champion course, known for its breathtaking views of the Laurentians, is sculpted right into the mountainside, providing a visually stimulating and challenging experience for golf pros and beginners alike (starting at $49/person).
One of the best parts of living in Montreal is its close proximity to beautiful Vermont. Quechee Gorge, also known as Vermont’s “little Grand Canyon” and “Vermont’s greatest natural wonder,” is a mere three-hour drive from Montreal. Enjoy the panoramic view 168 feet above the Ottaquechee River, or take a hike on one of its many surrounding trails. If physical exertion is not your thing, Quechee Village offers enough shops, restaurants, wineries and hotels to keep any city-slicker satisfied, including the Putney Mountain Winery, Route 4 Glassblowing Studio and the Vermont Train Museum. 5573 Woodstock Road, Quechee, VT.
Image courtesy of Team Traveller.