I have always suffered from a weird thing where travel doesn’t traditionally feel like vacation unless I pack my passport and leave the country. It is has always been difficult for me to really feel like I’m away from home when I know I’m just a stone’s throw away.
Well cut to a couple weekend’s ago where to my surprise I found myself relaxing in Mont Tremblant, a secluded mountain village just an hour from Toronto via Porter Airlines.
From the moment we landed I was feeling a million miles away from the ordinary and looking back now, I should’ve seen this as an indication of just what was to come for the next few days.
If you follow me on Instagram you caught a little tease of this on my Insta Stories and know that I embarked on a Porter Escapes weekend to break out of my ordinary and discover adventure right in my own backyard.
And since I was traveling via Porter, it was easy to feel like Mont Tremblant was just a short way’s away.
I was able to literally skip to my trip from my downtown apartment since the Billy Bishop Airport flies right out of the city. I had to bat my lashes twice and before I knew it I was checked in and chilling in the Porter Lounge. Since we had an early morning flight, I happily snacked on some granola, got a piping hot coffee (ok
two three) and took advantage of the free wifi to set my Out of Office email alert (a.k..a. the MOST liberating feeling in the whole world). We quickly boarded our flight and within the hour we were landing directly at the Tremblant Airport.
My sister joined me on the trip as she is one who can definitely push me out of my comfort zone to try new things and that was what I wanted the weekend to be about. We arrived in Mont Tremblant to sunshine and fresh air. I’m not kidding, the air just felt better and you felt the crispness with every breath. If you’re not familiar, Mont Tremblant is an elevated mountainous area in Quebec, Canada. There is a quaint little ski village at the heart of it with everything from restaurants to bars, groceries and shops so you have everything you need right outside your doorstep and you can simply enjoy the experience.
Our hotel room wasn’t ready when we arrived but we made due exploring the village and grabbing a quick bite to eat.
The Tremblant International Blues Festival was happening so we sat on a patio and took in a few shows before heading to our first activity to kick off the weekend.
Our first stop on the itinerary was an afternoon at the Scandinave Spa Mont Tremblant. This secluded oasis offers traditional Scandinavian baths in a peaceful and natural environment. We had to hand over our cell phones and step in to a world of hydratherapy, which is when you go through a series of pools – ranging from hot to cold to room temperature – which interestingly enough soothes your muscles, tightens your skin and relaxes your mind.
It’s no secret I struggle with relaxation. I am a product of my generation, constantly needing to be on the go or doing a task, so being told I can’t have my cell phone for three hours was a terrifying concept. Cut to three hours later when after going through the hydratherapy series I found myself waking up from the best nap of my life on one of the many day beds at the resort.
I seriously spoke about that nap for the next 72 hours because it had been too long since the last time I completely shut off and allowed myself to be present and relax in the moment.
I didn’t know how anything would top that nap but our time was up at the spa and it was time to head back to the village for dinner.
We found ourselves totally zen’d out and luckily only had to check-in, change and make our way a few steps across the village to the Fairmont.
Since the hotel was recently renovated we snooped around and enjoyed some cocktails in the lobby at the new Axe Lounge Bar.
This space was so chic I could definitely see the Montreal influence and I honestly just felt cooler being in the lounge with such amazing decor.
After drinks we were seated in the restaurant and were told we were getting a special treat: the chef personally came out and let us know that a new restaurant was slated to be open the following week but we were going to get the taste from the menu tonight.
Way to make us feel super special. I have never experienced such wonderful news from incredibly talented and genuine people.
The new Choux Gras Brasserie features fresh, local products used to create meals inspired by traditional Quebec cuisine.
The food was fantastic.
The staff were incredible.
And the experience of the tasting was out of this world.
When you visit, I recommend the arugula pesto gnocchi. It was life-changing. I basically needed a wheel barrel to roll me out of there but we decided instead to walk off some of the meal and take in more of the Blue Festival. It was so interesting because the village was alive and there were performances around every corner. While Blues isn’t my everyday music of choice, these artists were majorly talented and I’m so glad that this festival fell on the same weekend because we always had something to do if we just wanted to walk around and explore.
After a perfect first Friday in Tremblant, Saturday we woke up determined to work off some of that decadent meal. This is what happens when you travel with a personal trainer LOL. Lucky for us, the Lolë store in the village puts on a free yoga class every Saturday at 9 AM.
We stretched, we planked and we downward facing dogged and then it was time for the one activity I feared the most when booking this weekend’s itinerary.
YOU GUYS, I WENT ON A HELICOPTER RIDE.
Now you know, you KNOW, my fear of flying and the anxiety that leads up to and during my flights. I had already traveled to Tremblant by plane and I knew I had to take one back so why, why put myself in another situation that scared me?
Because I was genuinely determined to get over this fear and challenge myself to try new things this weekend. It’s something I’ve been working on all year long and this was one obstacle I had to overcome.
Thankfully we had the most wonderful pilot, Nathan, at Heli-Tremblant, who took us through a thorough safety procedure and ensured me that we were in safe hands.
Before I knew it we were up in the air, overlooking the entire village of Mont Tremblant and the surrounding area.
It was INCREDIBLE. I have never seen so much beauty from so high (since I actively opt-out of sitting in the window seat on an airplane) and it was a real milestone for me personally to be able to take in the lush mountains, luxurious lake houses and learn all the little fun facts about the area.
It was something I will never forget and beyond the opportunity, the fact that my sissy and I got to share it together meant so much to me.
Since it was only day two and I had accomplished something I never thought I’d be able to do we knew it was time to celebrate!
We quickly headed back to the village and popped in the La Diable Microbrewery. That’s right people, Tremblant has its’ own microbrewery and you bet your butt I was going to sample a flight of their most popular brews and taste a little of everything.
Did I also mention for my non-Canadian readers that poutine was invented in Quebec? We were told by Tremblant residents that if we wanted a traditional poutine (none of that Toronto impostor stuff) that we needed to try it at La Diable.
I’m not going to say that I ate a whole one to myself, but I’m not going to deny it either, so you decide. And if you do find yourself in the Tremblant Village, I have to encourage you to head in to La Diable and try a poutine out. You will not regret it.
So after all of this where did we net out on Saturday night?
With the excitement of the heli-tour and the copious amounts of food consumed over the past two days, we definitely found ourselves pooped and called it an early night lounging in our hotel room at Sommets De Neiges.
Our suite was so luxe and the staff at this hotel were some of the most wonderful people. They were always helpful and so polite, it felt like I had family taking care of me and housing us for the weekend. And even though the weather was warm and sunny, the hotel felt like a winter cabin in the best way possible. It almost made me long for a snowy night so we could get cozy by the fire in our room.
Wishing for winter aside, it was summertime and that meant there was one last trick up Tremblant’s sleeve…
That’s right. I also went ziplining. Up in the mountains, thousands of feet in the air and suffice it to say ZIPTREK WAS BANANAS.
We couldn’t take our phones so we got a Go Pro and took so many funny videos that I can’t wait to share with you in my vlog of the trip.
We hiked and learned about the ecology of the area and then took these crazy zip lines from location to location as we made our way back down the mountains.
It was the perfect way to end a weekend of trying new things, getting outside and challenging myself.
The Ziptrek tour was three hours long so once we finished, we grabbed a couple take away sandwiches from Coco Pazzo and then spent our last few hours lounging by the pool and relaxing in the hot tub at our hotel.
The weekend went by in a flash. We had done so much that we spent the shuttle ride back to the airport reminding ourselves and recapping everything that we experienced.
To say the weekend was a pleasant surprise is the understatement of 2017.
This was an opportunity to explore an area I wouldn’t necessarily think to travel to and push myself out of my limits. I left the weekend feeling not only rejuvenated but like I had learned a little about myself and motivated to continue to try new things.
I am so grateful to the incredible people from Mont Tremblant and a special thank you to Porter Escapes for their help coordinating the itinerary.
We only scratched the surface of things to do in the village and its’ surrounding area so be sure to take a look at the available options from Porter when you’re planning your next adventure.
You don’t have to go far to have fun and I am looking forward to another local discovery which I’ll be sure to share with you!