Driving Distance, Montreal: Wakefield

Tired of construction-induced traffic, the resurgence of university culture and another weekend spent doing the same old, same old? It just might be time for an overnight getaway. Before winter sets in, try to make it out to Wakefield, QC — only a two-and-a-half hour drive west of Montreal — for a change of pace. Being as picturesque as it is, we were skeptical of what the village had to offer in terms of entertainment. Read through our list of things to do to see how pleasantly surprised we were, and you’ll be.

ARRIVAL/LUNCH: Pipolinka Bakery
Pipolinka recently moved into a larger building, as it becomes increasingly popular every year. The bakery can now not only seat more patrons, but also expand its already delicious (and extensive) menu. Here you can find lemon tarts, croissants, pizzas, sandwiches, fresh-made breads — there really is something for everyone, or, if you’re hungry enough, everything for someone. We fell in love with the staff as they beamed proudly behind the counter, obviously well-aware of their quality pastries, but modest enough to let us pick for ourselves. 757 Riverside Drive, 819-459-3961.

This ice cream parlour started off as an opportunity to showcase what Milkshake — a branding and creative strategy agency — can do when it puts its mind to something. Each cone is designed to be representative of Milkshake’s attention to detail from conception to execution, and the thought that has gone into the project definitely shows. Enjoy your sundae indoors or, as we like to do, walk down to the lake and cool off by the waterside. 761 Riverside Drive, 819-459-2564.

NIGHTLIFE: The Black Sheep Inn
Perhaps the most notorious Canadian venue located outside of capital cities, The Black Sheep Inn hosts a wide variety of folk, blues, indie and country music performances. Because of the small pub’s reputation, they often offer once-in-a-lifetime chances to see well-known bands in an intimate atmosphere. We recommend checking out Broken Social Scene’s Jason Collett on September 30. 753 Riverside Drive, 819-459-3228.

OVERNIGHT: Moulin Wakefield Mill
In terms of accommodations, Wakefield is admittedly a little sparse. If you’re looking for a step up from a B&B, the Moulin Wakefield Mill has the full treatment, including fine dining, massage therapy and a beautifully designed interior. With suites that feature large picture windows looking out onto the river, the Mill is a perfect spot for relaxing at the end of a long day — or impressing the missus. 60 Mill Road, 819-459-1838.

Need a place to refuel before heading home? Café Molo serves fresh-brewed fair trade Santropol coffee — the best in Canada — throughout the day, guaranteed to put a smile on your face and keep it there for the duration of the ride. If you aren’t one for caffeine, try any one of their spectacular locally made goods. They also have a patio that overlooks the Gatineau River if you aren’t in a rush, and why would you be? We suggest using this chance to savour the scenery one last time before you take off. Sometimes, just sometimes, being picturesque can have its moments, too. 1 Valley Drive, 819-459-1028.


Image courtesy of Lawrence Sinclair.

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