Niagara-on-the-Lake Getaway Weekend

When you’re in the middle of condo renovations, training for a new job and temporarily living with your parents, nothing is more appealing than a mini vacation in Ontario’s wine country. Up until last week, I believed the majority of my Victoria Day long weekend would be comprised of trips to kitchen supply stores. In an impulse to avoid that and have a little break, I booked a one-night stay at the Inn on the Twenty in Jordan and lunch at Ravine Vineyard. In our relaxing 24hr trip, we managed to visit eight wineries. There's nothing better than drinking wine in the glowing sunshine all day!

I personally recommend exploring Niagara’s cultural and culinary attractions. Avoid the touristy spots and experience my favourite treasures that are so close to home.  Ontario’s wine country is located less than two hours away from downtown and can be more fun than you think. Before you judge this region for its early bird dinners and retirement crowd, read below to gain insight on how this treasured wine town is an ideal escape this summer.

Where to Stay: Inn on the Twenty

The Inn on the Twenty has been a property that I’ve wanted to stay at since I studied hospitality back in 2012. The Inn on the Twenty has an intimate setting yet appeals to the guest who doesn’t want to stay at a cozy bed and breakfast. The staff all welcome you with the biggest smile and are happy to assist whenever they can. We even got upgraded to the Vintners Suite! This suite was a palace for just the two of us (but I'm not complaining!). Equipped with two bathrooms, a kitchenette, high ceilings and a living room...it felt like a dream!

Our stay included a wine tasting at Cave Spring winery (four tasting wines per person) and breakfast (yummy buckwheat pancakes). The lush green valley views while eating breakfast was magnificent, I definitely forget we were in Ontario. I recommend using the renowned spa facility if you have more time. This property was the first luxury inn to open in the region.

During our stay, we opted for a casual dinner (chicken curry and mac and cheese) and ridiculously good caesars the Jordan House Tavern (also owned by the Inn on the Twenty). After dinner, we went for an evening stroll while witnessing the fireworks explode over the charming village of Jordan. The Inn on the Twenty is a great spot for anyone that wants to avoid the crowds of downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake but also wants to be within close proximity of the wineries. 

Go-to Wineries


We ventured to eight wineries in our short 24hrs. Not too shabby!  The wineries I've listed below are the perfect escape from the city. They're not packed with tourists like other local wineries and are fully stocked with delicious wine ready to be tasted. 


Ravine Vineyard:  Highlights included our incredible lunch. I’m talking about one of the best burgers I’ve ever had! That’s worth the trip itself! We also split their local beet salad (with an interesting twist of crunchy oats on top), their vegan poutine (with amazing roasted cauliflower florets) and the trout (served with a memorable dill potato salad and seasonal asparagus). I loved the historic buildings on the property. One of the historic building on the property was originally owned by Laura Secord’s uncle and has been transported across Ontario. We loved the vibe of this organic winery so much that we joined their wine club. We cannot wait to head back to Ravine for the summer campfires, ping pong tournament and the other fun events that come with this membership.


Stratus Winery: This winery is so stunning! It’s modern but has a warm ambiance that will make you want to keep going back.  While it was crowded at the tasting bar when we arrived, we were helped right away and scored some prime seats on their beautiful deck. The sommelier brought us eight wines to try. It was literally a picture perfect afternoon. I could have spent the entire day sipping our wine, staring out into the vineyards and listening to the smooth jazz play on the outdoor speakers. 


Henry of Pelham: One of my go-to affordable wines at the LCBO is “Baco Noir” by Henry of Pelham. I love that even though this winery is mass marketed in the LCBO, the family-owned vineyard still remains warm and inviting. We loved the Baco Noir reserve and sparkling (both not available at the LCBO). I will definitely revisit this winery and make a point to stay for a cute lunch date at the café.


Recommendations for Local Dining:


The Charles Inn: The HobNob Patio is perfect for summer
Treadwell: Located downtown NOTL

Insider Guide: Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

Have you ever slept under the stars? Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort may not be a household name, but it's a magical place. If you have an interest in travel, you've probably seen it on multiple bucket lists. This resort is located deep within the Arctic Circle at the Northern tip of Europe and it's totally worth the trek.

A few years ago, my friend Louise and I were living in Switzerland and decided we had to visit. It was a now or never situation - or at least it felt that way.

We started our journey with a flight from Geneva to Helsinki, followed by another to Ivalo. From there, we hopped on a bus (keep in mind it's now midnight) to get to the resort. Everyone thought we were crazy for traveling all that way for four days but, YOLO. 

For the first night, we slept under the stars (literally) in a heated igloo with a translucent ceiling. The igloos are setup to enjoy the best view on earth, the Northern lights. Unfortunately, we weren't lucky enough to witness the lights, but it was still absolutely amazing. The remaining two nights, we slept in a rustic cabin equipped with a personal sauna.

We spent our days tobogganing, going on long walks, dog sledding (including falling off the dog sled and having to be rescued - whoops), throwing snowballs and being cozy near the fire. 

Our meals during the day consisted of chocolate, Pringles and an assortment of Finnish candy. I would recommend real food for anyone else making the trip. At night, we strolled to the dining room at the largest log cabin restaurant, surrounded by couples. Despite the rose petals and candles spread across our table, we had a great meal.  

If it isn't already clear, I would highly recommend a trip to Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. It's the trip of a lifetime for anyone looking for a unique adventure.

Our Sassy Igloo Room 

Our Sassy Igloo Room 

Entrance to our Igloo!

Entrance to our Igloo!

So cozy

So cozy

Rare daylight

Rare daylight

Stunning sunsets at 3pm 

Stunning sunsets at 3pm 

Graphic washrooms 

Graphic washrooms 

Row of igloos 

Row of igloos 

Our cabin 

Our cabin 

Going for walks in no man's land 

Going for walks in no man's land 

Romantic bestie dinner 

Romantic bestie dinner 

Snacking on Finnish candy 

Snacking on Finnish candy 

Inner camper came out 

Inner camper came out 

Our Diet: Chocolate, Books & Gilmore Girls 

Our Diet: Chocolate, Books & Gilmore Girls 

Tea time to stay warm 

Tea time to stay warm 

Time to get cozy! 

Time to get cozy! 

Post dog sled cuddles 

Post dog sled cuddles 

Never wanted to leave

Never wanted to leave

Happy Guy 

Happy Guy 

Weeeeeee 

Weeeeeee 

Bye! 

Bye! 

Hotel Insider: 4 Tips To Have The Best Stay

A poor hotel stay can have a major impact on your overall vacation experience. When you are in an unknown destination, your hotel should be something you can rely on. No one enjoys paying hundreds of a dollars (or more) for a vacation and feeling disappointed.

After studying hotel management and working at various hotel properties, I'm a true believer that you should be blown away throughout your whole stay. Regardless of the brand you choose, the team at the property should be focused on servicing its guests and enhancing your experience. Below, I've listed my insider tips to ensure your next hotel stay is truly memorable.

MAKING YOUR RESERVATION

When booking for your vacation, you'll want to do your research. Once you've determined the hotel you want to stay at, make the reservation directly with the hotel. When a front desk staff member sees that you booked through a third party (Expedia, Bookings.com, Hotwire etc), they will likely place you in a crappier room location and won't be as motivated to go above and beyond. That's the sad truth. Typically, they will see this guest as a one-time visitor or someone just looking for a deal. Although these third party websites can be slightly more cost-effective, check the hotel's website for specials or ask the staff member you're booking with because sometimes they have better prices than you think.

Staying at the Kakslauttanen Igloo Hotel in Finland 

Staying at the Kakslauttanen Igloo Hotel in Finland 

CELEBRATING SOMETHING SPECIAL 

We typically go on vacation to celebrate something special. ALWAYS inform the hotel - it doesn't matter if it's a birthday or a 10-year anniversary. What you'll want to do is call the hotel directly and ask for the general manager and front desk manager's e-mail addresses. Send them both an e-mail describing your celebration and ask if there is anything the hotel can do to make your occasion even more special. Normally, you will be sent an amenity or a room upgrade. This is great, however, it's the service from the hotel staff that will really knock your stay out of the park. Hotel employees love knowing the reason for your visit so don't be afraid to tell them. Even if you're not celebrating anything, don't be shy about telling them the reason why you choose to stay at that property and how excited you are for your stay.

One of my favourite properties: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise 

One of my favourite properties: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise 

UTILIZE THE CONCIERGE

You know all the research you do before your trip? Whether it be trying to find the best restaurant in town or the cutest boutiques to shop, it can be overwhelming. The hotel's concierge should be very familiar with the property's surrounding areas. Don't be afraid to reach out to the hotel and e-mail them questions or ask the concierge to make a reservation for you. Hotels have a good partnership with restaurants so even if you think a restaurant is booked for the night, try asking the concierge for help! 

Loved this hotel: Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni

Loved this hotel: Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni

DON'T LIKE SOMETHING? SPEAK UP! 

So if you're at the hotel and disappointed in your stay or feel that you wasted your money, speak up! Perhaps they placed you in a room outside the elevators or you have a nosy neighbour. As I mentioned above, hotels are all about service! Be polite and fair and they will likely be happy to move you or go above and beyond to ensure your stay improves. Just make sure you tell them during your stay - don't wait in frustration and try to burn them online! That won't solve the problem.

The Beautiful Savoy Hotel 

The Beautiful Savoy Hotel 

10 Under-Rated Places to Visit in Canada

Traveling is one of the most enjoyable and worthwhile ways to spend your time. You explore new places, meet new people and experience different cultures. Best of all, you get a break from your routine and can unwind and just relax! Instead of visiting the states or looking internationally, why not travel within Canada? Not only is the dollar not great, making international travel expensive - we live in the second largest country in the world and it offers some absolutely amazing experiences. So, instead of visiting the same place for the eighth time or getting stuck in a tourist trap, check out some of the most underrated places in Canada:

Lunenberg, Nova Scotia

Why Visit? Your Lunenburg vacation will be easy: beautiful scenery, friendly folks and a pace of life that’s relaxing and easy-going. Home to the Blue Nose II

Fogo Island, Newfoundland

Why Visit? A hub for gourmet, culture, art and adventure seekers. This location has been on my travel bucket list for quite some time. The Fogo Island Inn is a luxury property recognized worldwide. Only a quick ferry from St. John's, it's known as one of the four corners of the Earth. 

Osoyoos, BC

Why Visit? Osoyoos is known as the Canadian dessert. Any desert that is close to gorgeous bodies of water and stunning vineyards is my kind of desert! Very close to the US border, travelers can continue their wine adventures down to Washington State for some quirky but delicious Pinot Noir. 

Iles de la Madeleine, QUEBEC

Why Visit? Although closer to PEI and Nova Scotia, this set of six islands is actually part of the province of Quebec. Visit this breathtaking location for its wide array of outdoor activities, fresh food and culture. You can even go surfing here! 

Sunshine Coast, BC

Why Visit? Whale-watching, camping, hiking, kayaking, biking....these are only a small portion of the activities available in this west coast destination. You'll instantly feel more at ease once you step off the ferry and arrive at this sunny spot. 

Rocher Percé, Quebec

Why Visit? Although most travelers visit this iconic Quebec town for the split rock monument, there is a ot more this small town has to offer. Boat excursions let you get up close to the rock or if you're feeling adventurous you can camp on the cliff!

Wawa, Ontario

Why Visit? This northern Ontario landmark is often passed by. Visitors see the famous goose monument from the highway and keep driving. For those who decide to stop, there is the opportunity to explore the area through great hikes to waterfalls, multiple beaches or Lake Superior Provincial Park.

Bay of Fundy, NEW BRUNSWICK

Why Visit? Explore this UNESCO world-heritage site that is one of the world's most dramatic and dynamic coastlines. The Bay of Fundy is home to the some of the highest tides in the world. Get a taste for delicious east coast food and friendly locals while checking out the Hopewell Rocks. 

Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo-Jump, alberta

Why Visit? Named a UNESCO world-heritage site like Stonehedge and the Galapagos Islands. This preserved landmark shares an unbelievable example of hunting techniques employed by Aboriginal people of the Northern Plains for thousands of years. Located off the beaten track, but totally worth it. 

Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

Why Visit?  Named one of the top twenty destinations to visit in the world for 2015 by National Geographic. The forests are jaw-droppingly gorgeous and the Haida culture can be experienced across the islands. Hang with the locals as much as possible as they are some of the friendliest in Canada. 

5 Ideas for a Girlfriends' Weekend Getaway

Planning a weekend away with your gal pals shouldn't have to wait until summer. There is nothing better than relaxing with your besties and laughing your heads off while consuming lots of wine. It's important to strengthen these relationships and carve out quality time for each other. Life gets busy with well...life! So set aside some time to make new memories with your life-long friends.

Source: Inslee

Source: Inslee

Since everyone in their twenties is on a budget, why not take advantage of what Ontario has to offer? There's easy access to incredible food, art, culture, fashion, music and more. Whether you live in Stratford or Toronto, everyone needs a little leisure time and exploring a new place with friends can be quite revitalizing! So without further ado, I've listed five great locations to laugh, drink and most importantly - put down your phones and spend some quality time with the girls. 

STAY IN A TREEHOUSE

Source: Lynne Knowlton Blog "Design The Life You Want to Live" 

Source: Lynne Knowlton Blog "Design The Life You Want to Live" 

This luxury treehouse located in Durham, Ontario screams relaxing weekend away. It comes with running water, a gorgeous pool and over 100 acres to roam wild. I'm currently trying to setup a weekend to visit this amazing property! 

SPA WEEKEND

Source: Staying Native 

Source: Staying Native 

I mean, who doesn't love getting pampered? Walking out of a treatment room at a spa after having a massage is one of the BEST feelings in the world. Anyway, if you're ready to live in robes for the weekend, you should go here. St. Anne's Spa is one of the most iconic and well rated spas in Ontario. 

GO GLAMPING

Source: Glamping Hub 

Source: Glamping Hub 

Ever had the urge to stay in a yurt or to see what glamping is all about? Glamping Hub offers many unique destinations all around the world. This particular getaway is close to Lake Erie's shoreline and wineries and features zip-lining and lots of options for outdoor activities. It's a great option for something in-between camping and staying in a hotel.  

GOURMET GETAWAY

Source: Langdon Hall

Source: Langdon Hall

Langdon Hall - visit this property for relaxing spa treatments, outstanding service and an impeccable gourmet experience. Are you sold yet? While it is not cheap, it is one of my favourite properties to visit.

ADVENTURE WEEKEND

Source: Umich Edu

Source: Umich Edu

Visit the blue waters of Tobermory in the Bruce Peninsula to jump into your girls' weekend adventure. This is perfect for a group of friends that have a sense of excitement and want to get outside after working the 9-5 grind. Although it's quite a trek from the city, this destination is breathtaking and worth every bit of the drive. Check out this link for great cottage rentals in the area. 

Travel Guide: Ireland

Now that the Bachelor's final rose has been given out (I hope? I don't get cable!), we can now focus on the next best thing... St. Patrick's Day! I visited Ireland in 2013 with about ten other Canadian girls for a very stereotypical Irish vacation. I fell in love with the country's charm and the spirit and warmth of the locals. Check out my travel guide for this jovial country below:

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Explore

Literary Dublin: Browse books, letters and literary masterpieces in the Georgian mansion housing the Dublin Writers Museum. Wander Trinity College's stunning old library which is home to the book of Kells. 

Brú na Bóinne: Predating Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids, Brú na Bóinne is a mind shattering geological example of prehistoric humans. 

Giant's Causeway: Situated between Belfast and the walled city of Derry, the Giant's Causeway is a UNESCO protected wonder.

Galway City: Drive along the long and winding coast to find some of Ireland's most outstanding scenic drives.

Cliffs of Moher: The vertical Cliffs of Moher in County Clare soar to a dramatic height of 203m. On a clear day the views are magnificent, with the Aran Islands surfacing the waters of Galway Bay. 

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Guinness all around  

Guinness all around  

Eat 

Delicious Dublin Tour: If you're anything like me and want to dive into the local culinary scene, you should definitely do this tour! 

Farmgate Cork Cafe: Voted one of the best restaurants in Ireland. This restaurant creates some of the best local dishes that Ireland has to offer.

The Brewers House: This gastropub is nestled in the village of Donaghmore. Locals love it for its quaint and casual environment while serving Irish favourites. 

The Woollen Mills: Voted as the best restaurant in Dublin, this restaurant is located in one of the most iconic buildings in the city. The Woollen Mills is quintessentially Irish. 

The Fumbally: Perfect spot for breakfast and lunch. Ingredients are all organic, sustainable and ethical. 

Brú na Bóinne

Brú na Bóinne

Brú na Bóinne

Brú na Bóinne

Stay

Ashford Castle: Overlooking Lough Corrib, on vast acres of green space, this five-star property occupies a 13th-century castle. Very close to Headford town centre and central Galway.

Harveys Point: Located on the shoreline of Lake Eske, the luxury hotel and restaurant are close to both Donegal town centre and Murvagh beach. 

Kellys Hotel Dublin: This trendy, brick-fronted boutique hotel sits on a vibrant street corner in the city centre's south side. It's a quick stumble home from the Temple Bar nightlife spot. The bar with no name is also located here which serves some of Dublin's best cocktails.

The River Lee Hotel: Set on the banks of the River Lee, this modern property is a quick walk from Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral and Cork Opera House. 

Mount Juliet Hotel Kilkenny: Full of heritage, this property is one of the most luxurious country estates in Ireland. 

Shop

Charlie Bryne Bookshop: Located in the heart of Galway City, the shop has been voted the best independent bookstore in Ireland. It holds more than 10,000 literary titles. 

Ardkeen Quality Food Store: This fine food store houses Ireland's best ingredients. It's been voted the best gourmet food store in the country.  

The Irish Design Shop: This is the go-to spot for unique gifts. It sells a variety of one of a kind treasures that you can't find in major department stores. 

The Powerscourt Centre: Inside this beautiful building, you will find authentic Irish boutiques.

Brown Thomas Dublin: Essentially Selfridges' hip sister. This store not only has the big brands, but also Irish goods that will be perfectly unique when you wear the them back home. 

8 Hikes to try this spring

Five long working days filled with meetings and subway rides. Sitting at a desk (for most of us) and staring out the window can really beat down on you. Everyone needs to escape and get a dose of fresh air. Grab a buddy and head out to some of the closest yet beautiful hiking trails this Spring. 

Hilton Falls

Hilton Falls is located in Campbellville, Ontario. The loop is 5.3km and features a beautiful 10m waterfall that cascades over the Niagara Escarpment. 

East Don River Trail

Located just out of the city center, this is the perfect hike or walk to witness wildlife. The total distance is 11km but it's flat enough to be perfect for beginners or those struggling from the night before. 

Rouge Park

Get outside and walk this 200 year old logging route. Large trees were cut here and then floated down the river to the lake to be shipped off to Europe. This is soon to be Canada's first national urban park. 

East Point Park

Take a walk in the open meadow and natural open space. This hike consists of a 5km loop that lets you enjoy walking near the beach and witness soaring views from the cliff lookout points. Fun fact, it's a popular destination for the monarch butterfly in September. 

Kotright Center

For those up for a longer hike, this area provides hikers with a 16km of boardwalk to marsh hills. Experience the Caledon Hills and stunning Humber River. This spot is also a popular destination for outdoor weddings in the summer. 

Rattray Marsh Conservation Area

Rattray Marsh offers a rare natural cobble beach on 90 acres of Lake Ontario shoreline in Mississauga. As the last remaining lakefront marsh between Toronto and Burlington, this environmentally-sensitive wetland offers a unique urban experience for nature lovers.

Bennett Heritage Travel

Opened to the public on Canada Day in 1992, this trail offers the opportunity to explore the Scottsdale farm which was donated to the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1982. Bordering the Niagara Escarpment and sharing many of its qualities, the property covers 1300 hectares and has been a working farm for over two centuries. The trail is 13 kilometers and is moderately difficult.

Cheltenham Badlands

The Cheltenham Badlands is located on the Niagara Escarpment northwest of Brampton, near the villages of Inglewood and Cheltenham, Ontario. Hard to image this piece of 36.6 hectare badlands was caused by bad farming practices and overgrazing by livestock in the early 1900s. Temporarily closed. 

Road Trip: Part 2 ft. Tofino

Tofino is the most iconic and picturesque destination I've ever traveled to in Canada. Tofino can be just a short flight from Vancouver, which makes getting there quite simple. Bordered by the ocean on three sides and the Pacific Rim National Park to the South, this destination attracts anyone from outdoor MEC-wearing enthusiasts to art lovers and farm-to-table organic foodies. 

IMG_2190.jpg

Accommodation

I've travelled to Tofino twice and my parents were also staying at another property while we  soaked up this beautiful spot during our short visit. 

The Wickaninnish Inn

'The Wick' is the most luxurious property in Tofino. The location cannot be beat and as a guest you can grab an almond milk latte at the Driftwood Cafe and then stroll right onto Chesterman Beach for a morning walk. Guests can unwind at the Ancient Cedars Spa or celebrate something special at the famous Pointe restaurant. 

Osprey Beach Suite 

This deluxe one bedroom suite is perfect for two people. The massive king sized bed, heated bathroom floors and jacuzzi overlooking Chesterman Beach will make you never want to leave. It's also the property right beside the Wickaninnish Inn so you can rent this suite with more space but pay half the price of the Wick. 

Cedar Shack 

The Cedar Shack is perfect for a four person family or traveling couples. It's less than a minute away from Chesterman beach so surfing everyday is definitely an option. Our favourite features were the DVD selection while it rained, propane fireplace, jacuzzi with private backyard and spacious two bedrooms. 

Dining

My favourite meals of our road trip were the ones we savored in Tofino! I would go back to the restaurants below in a heartbeat:

Wolf in the Fog 

Holy moly everything from the potato crusted oyster (I could have eaten a million of these little guys) to the wild Tofino salmon or the sticky toffee sundae was amazing. Oh, and not to mention a couple of their famous cedar sours - absolutely delicious. 

The Pointe 

A must try for any Tofino first-timers. Brunch was a great way to get the juices rolling after traveling, especially since it involved Blue Mountain Brut. The view of surfers riding Canadian waves while chowing down on eggs benny makes for quite the experience - not your average brunch!

Tacofino 

Cam and I waited for over an hour to grab our lunch from this trendy food truck (twice!). It was well worth the wait for this local favourite. My favourites included the fish and tuna tacos. 

Long Beach Lodge

My favourite spot to unwind and watch the sunset. Famous for their fresh seafood and basil gin caesars. I've recreated the delicious cocktail here

Activities

Tofino is one of those travel spots where once you arrive, it's totally acceptable to just do nothing at all. My family and I had fun walking Chesterman beach everyday with the pups and watching the surfers. However, there is no shortage of activities. Some of the other things I enjoyed during our stay were:

Surfing with the Pacific Surf School

Our day surfing was an incredible experience and I found it to be pretty addicting. Once you're in the water, you want to just keep trying to either stand up or stand up longer than your last wave. Our day flew by with our private instructor and the water seemed completely warm with our head to toe wetsuit. 

Yoga at the Ancient Cedars Spa 

Daily yoga classes are held in the rainforest haven room. My morning yoga class was semi-private and energized my body and mind for a more calming day. It's also a great way to experience the Wickaninnish Inn without being a guest.

Hot Springs Cove 

This geographical gem is located 27 nautical miles from Tofino so it's only accessible by boat. Soak your worries away in the series of pools while gazing at the waterfall. Doesn't sound half bad, right?

Tofino Brewing Company 

This ultra hip and trendy spot features craft beer designed for a west coast lifestyle. Come visit this warehouse looking building for a flight of all of their beers or grab a pint and some cool swag. 

Think Tofino sounds like your kind of travel spot? Check out Tofino Tourism for more information on the food scene, five star spas and rewarding hikes in the Tofino area. 

Road Trip: Part 1 ft. Okanagan

This September, I had the luxury of driving around beautiful British Columbia after my sister got married in Canmore, Alberta. I wanted to feature a separate post on each of the main hubs we visited. After nursing our post-wedding bodies, we ventured on the first part of our truly Canadian adventure! 

The Okanagan Valley is a 200 km long and 20 km wide region with a series of lakes known for it's dry, desert-like climate and sunny weather. This geographical area creates a micro climate perfect to grow tasty produce and GRAPES to make delicious wine. Driving in the Okanagan area, you will witness dozens of vineyards surrounding the lakes... quite the sight for sore eyes! Below are my recommendations and highlights from our short but sweet visit there. 

Accommodation  

Sparkling Hill Resort and Spa

This stunning resort is designed with the principal theme of Swarovski crystals and European-inspired sophistication. The resort overlooks Lake Okanagan and encourages personal wellness.  My favourite feature of this resort is the KurSpa which is the largest spa in Canada and has everything from an infinity pool overlooking Lake Okanagan to a European Cryotherapy Cold Sauna (-110). This was definitely an ideal place to stay after the wedding as they're the leader for healthy living and wellness hospitality. 

sparkling-hill-resort.jpg

VRBO  

Airbnb tends to dominate the Eastern Canadian market but we found VRBO came to our rescue when we were desperately researching for a central and comfortable accommodation. Our rental was nestled in the Okanagan region of Peachland. The perks of the property included a waterfront oasis with a large swimming dock and a location that was perfectly situated near some of the major wineries.

Dining 

Below features a list of the restaurants we absolutely enjoyed on our trip. Click on the restaurant for a glimpse of their menu and let your mouth water. 

Our favourite activity of our trip was the day we spent with Experience Wine Tours. Everything from picking us up at our front door to having an AMAZING spread for lunch -- I'm talking the most delicious charcuterie board you've ever tasted.  Probably because the owners, Shannon and Matt, carefully select the most delicious local products and ingredients to serve their clients. We visited six wineries while riding in style in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Matt was a great tour guide and is incredibly knowledgable not only about wine (being a sommelier), but he is well versed the nuances of the region and was spot on with his recommendations. This experience was most definitely the highlight of our time in the Okanagan. 

Cam and I made it to 15 wineries throughout our stay and I've listed our favourites below (in no particular order). Most of the wineries below will sell online and ship to Ontario and many have one or two different bottles available at the LCBO (check them out here: BC reds, BC whites, BC rose, BC sparkling). We could have stayed for three more weeks trying all the wineries (over 150!). Needless to stay we went way over our baggage weight maximum on our flight and we've run out of room to store all of our wine in our condo! 

La Stella - An Italian-style winery with great wines, particularly their Alegretto and Maestoso Merlots.

Le Vieux Pin - A sister winery to La Stella featuring French-style wines. The team's passion for wine is evident. Ava and their Syrahs were my favourites.

Poplar Grove - A beautiful spot and our favourite of the trip! Try the Legacy and Cab Franc. Everything was delicious, you can't go wrong here.

Culmina - The latest passion project from the Triggs family. Check out their Hypothesis and Saignée.

See Ya Later Ranch - Everything is dog themed (so cute) with good wines for everyone. Our favourites were Rover and Jimmy my Pal. Unfortunately, See Ya Later will not ship to Ontario.

Mission Hill - One of the best known wineries in the country and winner of many awards. I recommend doing a tour of their incredible facilities and then springing for the Legacy tasting ($10) to try their top-tier wines with one of their sommeliers.

Quails Gate - Great view and restaurant. Check out their Pinot Noir.

Blasted Church - The home of clever wine names and labels. They've gone well beyond marketing ploys though; we actually enjoyed all of their wines. Their OMG bubbles and Big Bang Theory were real standouts.

Laughing Stock - Their well thought out finance theme got me going as a banker. Really good wines all around, particularly the reds. Check out Portfolio.

Liquidity - Relatively new winery with a beautiful facility/view and crazy artwork. Viogner was a favourite.

Gray Monk - The oldest family-owned winery in BC. They offer a great complimentary tour and solid wines. Pinot Gris and Odyssey wines are worth the trip.

Blue Mountain - Incredible view and great wines. The Bruts here are fantastic.

I would definitely travel back to this beautiful area of Canada. There is still so much to do and see. It's a must for anyone looking for a travel destination with delicious wine, friendly locals and magnificent scenery!


Fall Roadtrips

For the past two weeks, nothing makes me happier then opening the front door to see our two pumpkins in the front hall. Fall is my absolute favourite season!  One of the greatest perks of living on the East coast is the beautiful assortment of colours we get to witness every year. So this year, I'm driving away from the big smoke to visit the below destinations to witness the beautiful and crisp fall foliage. 

High Park, Toronto

This park screams Sunday morning stroll with a hot cuppa coffee and good conversation. You can't get any closer to downtown and it's the ideal destination when you're limited on time. 

Glamping in Sudbury, Ontario

Recently, I was surprised with an upcoming trip for a weekend away glamping in a yurt in Sudbury. The yurt faces the lake and comes with all the furnishings, even a fireplace! How cozy! Imagine canoeing with some wine, a good friend and witnessing the changing leaves...  

Eastern Townships, Quebec

My favourite spot in the world primarily because my family has owned our cottage here for my entire life. Even though the skiing is spectacular and the summers resemble a Canadian version of Cape Cod, the fall is truly breathtaking. A 5 hour trip using the VIA or a 3 hour trip with Porter, this is a must see destination for anyone looking for a little RnR and culture.

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Collingwood, Ontario

Looking for a quick weekend getaway from the city to recharge? Collingwood is only a mere two hours away and offers endless activities for any type of personality. My bucket list goal is to check out the suspension bridge and be completely surrounded with orange, red and yellow leaves.

Cheltenham Badlands, Caledon

This unique geographical landscape has been on my to-do list for a long time. The rock formations prove to be a dramatic topographical spot for any locals. 

Packing Prep

When I go away, my inner virgo really comes out. I start to become an extreme organizer. I have a habit now of printing out extra boarding passes and photocopying my passport and then, placing them in a protective plastic cover. Sounds crazy right? Well, I've never had any major issues with my travels since I started exploring the world without my parents. 

Now, I have the tendency of making packing lists. Just like my mom did for me before I went to summer camp for a month. Making lists really helps because if I go to bed and then have an early start, I can just run down my list for a moment to settle any panic that I'm leaving something behind. No one wants a Home Alone issue on their hands, am I right?

On my list, I categorize everything and then place a number next to the items I'm bringing with me. I like to pack classic pieces that will really look good in any destination (i.e. a crisp white shirt) and then pack a bunch of statement necklaces to mix it up. 

This month alone, I've traveled to Chicago and Boston so I decided to show what I pack in my carry on and wear on the day of departure:

  1. My monogrammed J. Crew bag that fits everything and has an extra pocket just for your passport. You can find a similar one here
  2. Rain boots. April is just a month of showers so it's always better to be prepared.  You can find similar rain boots here
  3. My Canon 60D. I love looking back on old travel photos and exploring the destination just makes it more fun when you have a fun camera to play with. 
  4. A Colourful Scarf. A scarf can not only add warmth but it dresses up your trench coat and adds a pop of colour to your photos.
  5. A Good Book. The plane is the perfect place to catch up on any upcoming book club reads. I'm currently reading this book. 
  6. An Umbrella. Under my umbrella, ella ella eh eh. Make sure to always pack one. Haven't you heard? If you come prepared for the rain, it won't rain. 
  7. Lipstick. Throw on some lipstick after your plane ride and you'll look instantly refreshed.
  8. Classic shirts. Wear a classic and comfortable shirt for the plane that you can easily stroll into a restaurant in afterwards.  Don't wear sweatpants for a quick flight. You'll end up just feeling lazy and groggy.
  9. Sunglasses. For instant style and practicality.
  10. A floppy hat. This is one of my favourite ways to take an outfit from good to great. Just make sure it doesn't need a hat box because then it will be more of a challenge than benefit to bring. 

Weekends in Boston

Over the past couple of years, I've been visiting Boston quite regularly. If you only have a weekend, it's the perfect travel destination. Boston is a city that is full of new and old combinations. The modern skyscrapers are intertwined with the brick-sidewalked streets of 19th century row houses.  It's a great walking and public transportation city where driving isn't really necessary. Below, I've created a suggestive itinerary below to help with your next visit to Beantown which includes all of my favourite spots. 

Friday

  • If you arrive via Boston's International Logan Airport, I'd suggest taking the "T" which is the city's public transportation system. It's free and cabs can range from $30-40 to downtown hotels. 
  • Once you head into the city, I would recommend stayed at Fifteen Beacon, the city's first luxury boutique hotel or the Battery Wharf Hotel which is situated right on the water. I found this link useful when researching hotels. I'm a strong believer that a good hotel can make or break your vacation so choose wisely.
  • If you arrive early enough, I strongly suggest going for a walk to loosen up those travelers legs. Take a stroll in Boston's historic district while starting at Beacon and Charles Street, which sits at the foot of Beacon Hill.
  • Before the weekend tourists roars into the city, climb to the 50th floor of the Prudential Tower to witness a 360 degree view of the Boston area. 
  • A drink or meal awaits at Legal Sea Foods in the Copley Square mall. This famous eatery was established in 1968 and is voted the "best clam chowda". That's reason enough for a visit!
  • If you have time before it closes, I suggest heading to the Museum of Fine Arts. It's free during the last hour of operation. This museum is famous for it's French impressionists and American masterpieces. 

Saturday

  • Once you roll out of that 5 star bed, you'll want to venture to Blackbird Doughnuts.  Amazing flavours, fresh and so good that you'll seriously want seconds. My favourites included the classic salted toffee and raspberry dark chocolate. 
  • With your Blackbird coffee to go, head over to Newbury Street. Make sure to check out the Restoration Hardware on Berkeley St. Give yourself 20-30minutes to wander these dream worthy showrooms. Once you've mentally redesigned your house, go window shopping on Newbury.
  • Time for lunch? Head to Flour Bakery on Clarendon St. It's inexpensive, full of delicious food and always popular with the locals. 
  • Why not head to Fenway Park for a game. Not your thing? Take the subway to Harvard for a tour of this stunning campus.
  • I suggest heading back to your hotel to get ready for an early dinner. You'll want to go to Neptune Oyster and if you don't head there early enough, there will be no chance of getting in. This tiny restaurant was filmed in the movie "The Town" but is also famous for it's delicious seafood. 
  • Once you're satisfied with your lovely intimate dinner, walk over to The Beehive. This is Boston's popular Bohemian eatery and bar. It was rated one of the top 100 best jazz bars in the world. My favourite cocktail was the Valentino Martini. This consisted of vodka, blood orange and passion fruit.

Sunday 

  • Mmmm did someone say brunch? Treat yourself at the rooftop Champagne Sunday brunch at the Taj Hotel. This overlooks the Boston Public gardens. 
  • Walk off that brunch with a stroll through the Boston Public gardens and Beacon Hill. You'll definitely feel the urge to google houses for sale near Beacon Hill after witnessing these. 
  • Head over to the Brattle Book shop which is one of America's oldest and largest used book store. The outdoor sale lot is Instragram worthy for sure.
  • Before you have to catch your flight home, head to the Mary Baker Eddy library to visit the mapparium. This is a three story, stained-glass globe! 

Global Hotel Recommendations

Nothing beats traveling a long way then slipping your room key through the door to unveil a room that is purely extraordinary. Sure, sometimes it makes sense to stay at a mediocre hotel serving continental stale bagels for a night but I'm a firm believer in that your hotel stay can make or break your vacation. I studied at Les Roches International School of Hotel Management and for a year we had to study everything from guest relations to cooking. Therefore, my recommendations below mean that all these properties got the stamp of approval from all aspects of my stay. 

In no particular order, see my favourite hotels I've ever stayed at! 

North America

Wickaninnish Inn - Tofino, British Columbia 

  • Direct access to Chesterman Beach including panoramic ocean or beach views from every guest room 
  • Features the cutest Canadian "Lookout Library" full of books and dvds for any stormy nights during the winter (Tofino is famous for storm watching)
  • Delicious Pacific Northwest cuisine featured at the Pointe Restaurant that has a beautiful viewscape of the Pacific Ocean (you'll hear the waves throughout dinner)
  • Experienced the best yoga class of my life here at the Ancient Cedars Spa which overlooking the water and trees  

Fairmont Pacific Rim - Vancouver, British Columbia 

  • Total luxury and sophistication with state of the art technology
  • Highlights included a night swim in the outdoor rooftop pool overlooking the water
  • Ipads that operated everything in the room and I could even watch an episode of Friends while I was in the shower
  • A moment of utter bliss was when the hotel concierge drove me both ways in a fancy sedan to the ferry so I could grab a couple of things at Granville Island 

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise - Lake Louise, Alberta

  • I've had the pleasure of being an employee and a guest at this romantic chateau
  • This hotel is in the most ideal location because it's surrounding by so much natural beauty
  • Make sure you save and reserve a gold floor room. You'll feel extra cozy in the exclusive lounge which includes a daily breakfast and hors d'oeuvres
  • The best shower of my life was here. You'll feel lavish with Le Labo body products and white marble bathrooms with views of the mystical trees staring back at you 

Andaz Wall Street, New York, New York

  • Do you like free mini bars? Do you like huge modern spaces? Do you like showers that are the size of a walk in closet? If yes, then this place is for you!
  • This property is  full of friendly hospitality, modern technology and everything you wish you had during every hotel stay
  • The hotel restaurant is actually great for once. Make sure to try the hamburger for some extra energy before tackling the streets of Manhattan 

EUROPE

Hotel Kakslauttanen, Finland 

  • Originally, my dear friend Louise and I saw this hotel on Pinterest as one of those  "bucket list destinations". Well it certainly was! 
  • We stayed in the heated igloo our first night and the log cabin the following two nights. 
  • The resorts activities include dog sledding, wandering around this majestical area, drinking cocktails with names such as "reindeer piss" and hopefully catching a glimpse of the beautiful Northern Lights
  • It's the ultimate travel destination for something completely different, to seriously disconnect from the world and to explore the Arctic circle, in style 

Raphael Hotel, Rome

  • Located in central Rome, you'll start your stay with Prosecco and light bites before exploring this ancient city
  • The rooms itself are a very generous size. Most come with two bathrooms or a terrace. This is the real dolce vita
  • Breakfast is divine. You'll order cafe latte and cappuccino's one after another while enjoying your company and seriously relaxing. 
  • The restaurant attached to this property is where Julia Roberts indulged in her mouth watering spaghetti in Eat, Pray, Love 

Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, Lake Como 

  • I mean, if you're going to stalk George Clooney, you might as well be sipping a Negroni by the pool
  • This hotel is 10 out of 10. If I could take the whole month of August off every year, this is where I'd spend it
  • Large hotel rooms are accompanied with views of Lake Como or the beautiful courtyard
  • It's perfectly located so you can casually stroll past the shops and restaurants  
  • The gardens will make you feel like you've entered paradise 
  • Lastly, another fantastic breakfast is included and it's served in a room that is so beautiful you'll never want to leave!

The Savoy, London

  • Walking into this historic property, you'll be brought to your room while walking on beautiful black and white marbled floors and waved at by friendly staff 
  • The room is heaven after a long flight. Bathrooms are large, classic but yet modern. My friends are I always say that the sleep we had here was the best sleep we've ever had. The beds are seriously from another world 
  • Treat yourself to afternoon tea at the Savoy, it's an experience of a lifetime. They definitely know how to treat their guests like you're special 

Esbelli Evi Suites, Turkey 

  • We were fortunate enough to spend the night in the "Fantasy Cave Suite".  This is their largest suite with has a master bedroom, living room with a "rabbit hole" sleeping cave, large kitchen, large bathroom with a huge bathtub and walk-in shower and two private garden terraces with panoramic views. We stayed here since we we're going hot air ballooning with "Butterfly Balloons" in Cappadocia 
  • This property is something completely different.  Imagine sleeping the night in a cave made from golden stone
  • Breakfast is delicious but the best part, you're facing gorgeous views the whole time! 
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AFRICA 

Little Vumbura, Okavango Delta, Botswana 

  • Situated on a beautiful island in a secluded inlet in the northern reaches of the Okavango Delta
  • Water-based activities provides spectacular and diverse wildlife sightings 
  • The main camp is a beautiful six-roomed tented camp. A plunge pool, reading area and en-suite facilities provide a lavish setting for guests 

DumaTau Camp, Linyanti, Botswana 

  • DumaTau, means "roar of the lion"
  • This luxury tented camp is situated in the private Linyanti Wildlife Reserve that borders the western boundary of Chobe National Park
  • It's in the ideal setting to witness elephants and lions
  • One of my favourite moments was the family style meals with other guests and stargazing at night 

SOUTH AMERICA

Club Med, Rio Das Pedras, Brazil 

  • This picturesque resort is located in a tropical rainforest in the heart of Brazil's second largest protected ecological reserve
  • The large seafront swimming pool lies next to the open water where guests can participate in water-skiing
  • Other activities include everything from archery, beach front massages and hiking
  • This is the ultimate destination for a luxury ecological retreat 

Road trip through the Eastern Townships

Let me introduce you to the place where I grew up skiing in the winter and daydreaming in the summer. I'm fortunate enough to have my cottage in this region of Quebec but I thought I'd feature it on the blog incase you're itching for a trip but on a tight budget and schedule.

The Eastern Townships or the "Cantons-des-l'Est' is an area that is roughly 80km southeast of Montreal. It's on the way to Vermont and New Hampshire. This place is a dream for anyone who loves that New England vibe with covered bridges, rolling hills and surrounding mountain ranges. 

Here, you'll find a vast region that is filled with activities during all the seasons. Take a look below at the highlights of this destination:

Winter

  • A go-to spot for anyone that loves to ski or board. The Eastern Township holds some of the best and most affordable ski trails in Canada. Check out: Mont Sutton, Owl's Head (best poutine ever is made here), Orford and Bromont. Incase you're feeling like more of a leisure afternoon, cross-country skiing is huge in this region of Quebec due to the abundance of breathtaking trails.
  • Looking for some RnR after a long day on the slopes? These spas are some of my favourites for their scenic views and relaxing treatments: Le Spa des Chutes de Bolton and Spa Eastman.

Spring 

  • A visit in the Spring proves to be rewarding for "sugaring off", which means the preparation of maple syrup. A must do is to visit a local maple sugar shack and enjoy tire d'erable. Which essentially means, twirling sticky maple syrup that is sitting on a neat pile of snow onto a stick and eating it. 
  • Spring can also be a wonderful time to go skiing as the temperatures have warmed up so you can finally feel your toes again and have that beautiful sunshine beaming on your face.

Summer 

  • Summer in the Eastern Townships is like a quaint Muskoka. No crowds but still full of natural beauty. 
  • Grab some friends and check out the Eastern Townships wine route (la route des vins) which comprises of 21 vineyards. This area represents 60% of Quebec's wine production. 
  • Golfing plays a large part of the Eastern Townships lifestyle in the summer. Voted some of the best golf courses with views are: Club de Golf Lac Brome, Owls Head Golf Club and Club de Golf Dufferin Heights. 
  • I definitely recommend going swimming or boating in Lake Memphremagog. It's a fresh water glacial lake located between Vermont and Magog. 
  • After a long day in the sun, head to Magog's downtown to enjoy some drinks and water views at "The Liquor Store" (a popular hangout spot).

Fall

  • Probably my favourite season to spend time in the Eastern Townships as the fall foliage is out of this world. I recommend taking a drive down the rolling hills even if you don't need to go anywhere. You'll witness red barns, lakes and big blue mountains along the way.
  • For any cycling enthusiast, this region will surely satisfy. It can be a bit dangerous as you'll have trouble keeping your eyes on the road, with your gaze being drawn to the astounding landscapes around you.
  • Residents celebrate the fall foliage with multiple festivals such as: Owl's Head Autumnfest Outdoor Festival and Mont Sutton Fall Festival.

Accommodation

  • Manoir Hovey, a Relais-Chateaux property that has been voted the #1 hotel in Eastern Canada. 
  • Auberge Aux 4 Saisons Orford, a rustic lodge perfect for a stay close to the slopes. 
  • Le Pleasant Hotel & Cafe, voted the best hotel in the Eastern Townships on Trip Advisor.


An Insider's Guide to YYC

Calgary's combustion of high energy citizens and it's charming western hospitality provides an ultimate travel destination. I was fortunate to live in Calgary for a year and with my sister currently still living there, it proves to be a city I frequently travel to. Therefore, next time you're visiting the Rockies, why not spend a day or two enjoying what this city has to offer.

Here are some of my favourite Calgary hotspots:

Shops

Metrovino, The Cookbook Company. Both of these gourmet stores are connected to each other which makes it dangerously tempting not to go a bit crazy. Metrovino is a gorgeous wine boutique carrying some of the hard-to-find small producers. They also host exciting wine tastings and you'll leave wondering where the last two hours escaped to. The Cookbook Company is attached and sells an abundance of cookware, kitchen gadgets and of course, cookbooks.  Why not try something new and take one of their many cooking classes as well. Located at: 722 11 Avenue, Southwest

Steeling Home. I always get tremendously excited when I make a stop in this upscale general goods market. It's literally the perfect spot for one of a kind treasures and gifts. They sell everything from rugs, books, jewelry and other home decor items. It was recently featured in Enroute Magazine's must see's in the city. Located at: 1010 17 Avenue, Southwest.

Silk Road Spice Merchant. This flavorful retailer is the home of fine spices, rubs, herbs and seasonings. They offer only the best quality products and so many varieties. A destination that will definitely open your eyes to new possibilities for old dishes. Located at: 1403A 9th Avenue, Southeast

Coffee Shops 

Analog Coffee. Analog prides itself for working directly with the farmers to make delicious java. Stop by this hipster but amazing cafe before discovering 17th avenue to get that extra kick of energy. Located at: 740 17th Avenue, Southwest

Higher Ground Cafe. Such a cozy spot in the Kensington district. All the beans here are organic and fair trade certified. This place is perfect to grab some breakfast, lunch or even a night cap with a friend. Located at: 1126 Kensington Road, Northwest

Restaurants

Vintage Chophouse. You can't come to Calgary without having a proper steak experience. If you're vegetarian, than I suggest you forget your values for one meal and go eat here too. This mouthwatering restaurant was voted for serving Calgary's best steak by the 2014 "Where to Dine" awards. When I worked at the hotel nearby, repeated guests would demand reservations here each stay. Located at: 320 11 Avenue, Southwest.

River Cafe. Nestled in Prince's Island Park this "cabin" in the woods is an extraordinary setting in the summer and winter months. It's been voted one of the best restaurants by a series of well respected sources. A perfect spot to bring guests, celebrate exciting news or even for a brunch to get away from it all. Located at: 25 Prince's Island Park

Farm. This restaurant is like your down to earth friend that you love hanging out with because they make you feel all good inside. It serves classics like bubbly mac n cheese with homemade pickles (extra please) and farm to table charcuterie boards. Located at: 1006 17th Avenue, Southwest 

Glam squad

Frilly Lilly. The name itself got me to book my first appointment. This pink house in the mission area of Calgary is ultra whimsical and welcoming. They specialize in waxing, mani and pedis. While you're waiting for your appointment, browse at their large selection of jewelry, purses and body products. I mean, if you're going to suffer throughout a wax you might as well be in a adorable setting to distract you from the pain. Located at: 2105 4th Street, Southwest. 

Hedkandi, Hotel Arts. Stylist at Hedkandi know how to make you feel like a million bucks. The head massage that you'll experience during the washing stage is worth it in itself. This was my go to spot for a refreshing hair pick-me-up. Located at: #146 13th Avenue, Southwest.

Activities 

Stampede. An obvious choice. The Calgary Stampede takes place the first two weeks of July every summer. Skip the traditional carnival activities and buy a ticket to the rodeo. It's an great experience to immerse yourself in the Western culture. Also do yourself a favor, try a bison burger, you won't regret it.

Floating in Bow River. On a hot lazy summer day, grab some of your friends and float down the river. You'll not only have an awesome time outdoors but you'll get a new perspective on the city.

Glenmore Reservoir. This reservoir the primary source of drinking water for Calgarians. This area is popular with residents for it's scenic biking trails and water sports. 


Weekends away in Collingwood

Only two short hours away. Collingwood is the ideal setting to just get away from it all. Over recent years, I've discovered some of my favourite spots in this charming town. 

Restaurants 

Ashanti Coffee. This place has one of the best cups of java. The best part it's all fair trade and comes from the best quality beans. Located on First street. 

Dags and Willow. This boutique is a fine cheese shop focusing on gourmet goods. It's the perfect spot to pick something up for a dinner party.  

Ravenna Country Market. This place is home to some of the best butter tarts you will ever taste. It's the perfect break before heading to visit Eugenia Falls.

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Pure Food Bar. Delicious raw food. Great spot for a quick and nutritious breakfast or lunch. 

Tremont Cafe. The building itself is enough reason to go. Situated in a historic space, this restaurant even holds it own book room. 

Things to do 

Loree Forest Loop. A moderate 7km hike that loop from Grey Road 2 to Victoria Corners. You'll witness stunning views of Georgian Bay. 

Ski. The Collingwood area is packed with some of Ontario's best slopes. Including Craigleith, Blue Mountain, Osler etc. Why not make a day outside and then go to the Alporn Horn for some apres ski. 

Pamper yourself. Who doesn't love to be surrounded by trees and enjoying the outdoors while soaking in a big hot pool. Scandinave Spa is a must for anyone who needs a little RnR.

Collingwood Sunsets. In the summer, make sure to pour yourself a glass of wine or go for a walk during the evening. Collingwood is one of the best spots in Ontario to watch the sun come down. 

Crushing on Cape Cod.

Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. These are all destinations where I dream of being a Kennedy... sailing by day and hosting lavish parties by night. I had the opportunity of renting a winsome cottage in Dennisport in September. The days we're filled with exploring the town, trying new ice cream flavors and watching the waves roll in with my best gal pal. 

The Cape offers a variety of activities for everyone. It's the perfect location to spend a summer taking each day as it comes. It's for simple pleasures, taking a stroll in the town or chowing down on a lobster roll. 

Always travel in style.

The cottage we rented was a New England dream. I felt as though we we're on the set for Dawson's Creek. It comprised of three large bedrooms, two full bathrooms, two large living spaces (including a working fireplace), full basement, kitchen and yard (with a barbecue). It was an authentic Cape Cod experience. 

The highlight of the Cape Cod getaway was driving through the main streets of Falmouth alongside the sparkling water all while singing along to T Swift. We splurged one night at the Ocean House restaurant. A location where the beautiful and well-groomed New Englanders come to suck down oysters while ordering bottles of crisp white wines.

On Saturday, we spent the most perfect day in Edgar town, Martha's Vineyard. I am infatuated with this location, that I wish I could spend each summer there. Just a hop and skip over from Cape Cod, we landed in the quintessential island of J.Crew dressing yuppies, charming boutiques and restaurants with the most spectacular water views and cockatails... a fantasyland. 

We zipped from Oak Bluffs to Edgar town in our adorable cruisers. Pretending we we're summer locals, blending in with our floppy hats and smiling ear-to-ear. We cruised right into the main street, my eyes bulging and my heart pounding of the town's overall  degree of loveliness. Having just a couple of hours to throw down some creamy chowdah, gawk in the nautical themed stores and snap a couple of pics. It was safe to say that we both fell in love. To end the day trip, we pushed our peddles all the way back to Oak Bluffs to catch the last ferry, racing against mother nature as the clouds appeared to be getting gloomier. The ferry ride back to Falmouth was quiet as we realized how smitten we had become. A traveler's lust.