We are Montreal-bound this weekend to see my son’s piano recital at McGill. It’s an easy-ish drive from Boston, and especially when someone else (ahem, my daughter) is driving. On the way we drove for miles (MANY miles — like 170) through the mist and showers greening the Vermont rolling hills while low clouds kissed the budding treetops. It was SO pretty with all the shades of green and early red buds on the trees, and impossible to capture from inside the speeding car, though I made a valiant effort!
Montreal is undyingly quaint. A very European, cosmopolitan city with gorgeous architecture, parks, and culture, and charming and delicious cafes everywhere you go. And going is simple — on foot or by clean and reliable public transit. The way city life SHOULD be!
The Montreal Airbnb
We stayed at a wonderful Airbnb for a fraction of the price of the hotel rooms in the same building AND it came with free parking in a garage beneath the building. Free parking? In a city? Does it get any better than that? It even had an electric tea kettle. I have, of course, rearranged a bit of the furniture (occupational hazard), and it needs the refrigerator door handle reversed, the art rearranged, and an ottoman for the sofa or at least a coffee table (aha… found a suitable stand-in in one of the bedrooms!) — the furniture is rather spare — you could bowl in the floor space in the master bedroom. The entire place seems to be courtesy of IKEA, including the floodwater drapes — but it is comfortable, spacious, pleasant and clean. And did I mention it has an electric teakettle? I travel with my teabags so this made me very happy — also, and most importantly, they got the light bulbs right THANK YOU! If you read THIS, you know how important light bulbs are to how a place feels! It is sooooo close to just right — give me $500 to spend and a hammer and screwdriver, and I could take it to outstanding.
Tonight we had dinner at Dirty Dogs for the best poutine (according to my son, the SECOND best poutine). In case you live under a rock, poutine, at its most basic, is a traditional Quebec dish comprised of french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. There are a staggering number of variations and nearly every restaurant offers their own version(s). The one we shared was labeled “Queb” poutine and was smothered in smoked meat, caramelized onions, their signature BBQ sauce, cheddar and monterey jack cheeses, and bacon…yes, a heart attack in a bowl, but what a way to go. In the spirit of horrifying calorie consumption, I added a chocolate milkshake laced with Baileys Irish Cream. OMGosh.
Fortunately, we walked a good distance and uphill to get there and meandered through the quaint streets and a lovely park in a circuitous route back, so we got SOME semblance of exercise, which I realize in no way makes up for what we ingested. :) I love walking just after dusk when you can see in the windows for a peek at how the inside of these charming homes look!
Tomorrow we will squeeze in some culture along with food (which I believe will include beignets and arepas — not together of course)! We will see my son’s recital — which will be wonderful, naturally — he’ll be playing Bach, Debussy, Chopin, and Brahms.
We have visited the beautiful Notre-Dame Basilica on a previous trip and are planning to take in the laser light show there this time — which looks fantastic — here’s a video preview!
And we may check out one of the many museums the city has to offer, or just go gawk at more architecture and fantasize about living in a place that just oozes charm!
In any case, if you are looking for a charming city getaway, Montreal is a wonderful destination and an easy weekend trip if you live in the northeastern US!