Thank you to all here – I read the forum for several months while planning my family’s (husband, 12-year-old daughter & me) trip and all the advice was great! We had a wonderful vacation because of all of you – merci beaucoup! We plan on returning, we enjoyed it so much! Here’s our trip report:
Day 1- drove here from Boston area on Sunday June 30, left about 8 a.m., not much traffic at all, stopped to have lunch at Mr. Crepe (yummy) in Burlington, VT. Checked into Le Westin around 2:30 p.m. Went for a swim in the glass-bottomed pool – which was freezing cold, the “cold” pool was even colder, the hot tub was very large & hot. Had dinner on the terrace of Boris Bistro – thanks to Tristou for that recommendation – had the duck risotto and the chocolate marquise too – awesomely delicious, as was the salmon and the crème brulee. We ate about 5:30 pm so our daughter was welcomed (graciously too!) – though we were reminded very nicely that she would not be allowed on the terrace after 8 pm. Walked around and to Old Port after dinner.
Day 2 – breakfast at Gazette, only okay and pricey to boot, then the metro to the Botantical Gardens, waited in line about 15 minutes (we’re usually early risers & get to places at opening, but we were lazy this first day of vacay) and got it – yes, it was expensive because of the Mosaicultures exhibit, and a bit crowded, but it was a nice day and we enjoyed it. Lunch at Java U next to Le Westin – we loved that place! Good sandwiches, salads, breakfast items, and coffee. More pool time & relaxtion (only hot tub for me), daughter loved pool & even went in the super-cold pool – brrrr! Dinner again on the terrace (terasse) of Boris Bistro – it was such a lovely night, and so close to our hotel, and the food is so good! Grilled beef, duck risotto (again!), duck confit sandwich on nut bread – and chocolate marquise again – like a slice of firm chocolate mousse bathed in salted caramel sauce – heavenly! Took a long walk around Old Montreal and went back to the hotel to watch Wimbledon highlights – we’re tennis fans.
Day 3 – breakfast at Java U, then walked over to Montreal Science Center, lots of interactive activities, daughter loves science museums so we’ve been to many and this was a good one – many activities also engaging to husband & me too. Lunch from Java U – good, and next door to hotel. Then walked to Rue St. Catherine to do some shopping – husband & daughter to find swim goggles (Westin should sell those at the gift shop or have some to loan at the pool), me just to window shop, walked thru Jazz Festival site – quite crowded, but festive. Then pool time/relaxation time. Ate dinner at Beaver Hall – recommended by concierge – the name sounds like it might be quite casual, but it is a very nice bistro – fish & chips, mussels & frites, white sausages & potatoes, and crepes suzette for dessert – very good! Another long walk around Old Montreal and back to the hotel to watch Wimbledon highlights.
Day 4 – breakfast at Java U (I know, again, boring I guess, but it was yummy, nearby, the staff were very nice, and we’re not big breakfast eaters), then metro’ed to McGill to the Redpath Museum (daughter is a budding geologist so wanted to see the rock/gem/mineral collection), small collection but interesting and nice to see the campus, museum is free with a donation suggested – just a box labeled “donation” in the entrance – no hard sell. Then we walked over to the Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal) for the Chihuly glass exhibit, which was $20 admission, the permanent collection is free to view. Had lunch at the petite café – quite good! Daughter & I loved the Chihuly exhibit, amazing! – we missed it when it came to Boston, husband so-so, but he enjoyed the permanent collection. Then back for more pool time. Then an adventure we didn’t see coming! Daughter & I were reading in the room while husband took a walk. Suddenly all the electricity went out in our room, and the hall, and the floor of Le Westin – it was about 4:30 p.m. We waited in the room until about 5:30, and then carefully made our way down the totally dark stairs, no emergency lighting in the stairwell!!! We used the light from a cellphone & an ipod to make our way down. We found my husband in the lobby – it was too dark for him to make it up the stairs to us – staff was apologizing, explaining that there were scattered outages across Montreal including the metro, and handing out bottles of water and glowlights – we walked next door to the Intercontinental Hotel and had dinner there, they had power, burger-duck confit croque monsieur-french onion soup, and small yummy desserts – different flavors (chocolate caramel, white chocolate mango, etc.) served in shot glasses, just enough to satisfy a sweet tooth without being too much. When we went back to the Westin the power was back on, so husband cancelled the room reservation he had made at the Intercontinental before we had dinner – just in case. Le Westin put a nice letter of apology under doors, explaining that the outage was caused by fires in northern Quebec.
Day 5 – breakfast at (you guessed it!) Java U, then we packed up and headed out about 10 am to drive back to Boston – stopped in Burlington for lunch, not as much open as it was Independence Day, so we ended up at Mr. Crepe again – was just as good as the first time. Not much traffic this day either. Not much of a wait to cross the border, maybe 10 minutes – was a bit longer crossing into Quebec as there were only two lanes open – maybe 20 minutes. Home in time to unpack, start laundry, get take-out Indian food for dinner and watch the Boston Pops & fireworks on TV – the only way we like them – no crowds, no noise.
Thank you all – we had a wonderful vacation and plan to return, soon!