Archive for the ‘canada travel’ Category

Here’s a Crazy Little Island For You

Zavicon Island, Ontario, Canada (house) and Little Zavicon Island (garden)

We had to post this photo because we thought these little islands were just too damn cute. Zavikon Island and Little Zavikon Island, refers to the pair of islands in the Thousand Islands archipelago on the St. Lawrence River between New York and Ontario, two kilometres southeast of Rockport, Ontario and about 200 meters north of the international boundary. It used to be owned by Woolrich Woolen Mills, Woolrich, Pa., and it’s said that each summer the office employees of Woolrich Woolen Mills were invited to take their vacations there.

The cluster of islands, which number 1,793 in all, range in size from over 40 square miles to smaller islands occupied by a single residence (like the one above), to even smaller uninhabited outcroppings of rocks that are home to migratory waterfowl. Uncle Sam’s Boat Tours explain that this house contains a bridge that is the shortest international bridge in the world. The legend (although some say it’s more of an old wives tale) is that, at one point, the man living in the house constructed a customs booth in the middle of the bridge and would go to the American side when he got angry with his wife, instructing the customs official to forbid his wife from crossing.

We’re not sure we believe that, but it’s pretty funny, nonetheless!

Learn to Raft from a Québécois

Rafting Quebec!

We recently had lunch at the Harvard Club with Destination Quebec and we have one thing to say: Incredible. Since most of our readers hail from the US, Europe, Australia, and Asia, we tend to forget (sorry, Canadians) about… Canada. And, might we acknowledge now… bad idea. Canada – particularly the Quebec region – is some of the most stunning landscape in the world with some of the most incredible ecotourism offerings.

Talk about a hidden gem. With villages all along the coast of Québec that only speak French, to a multi-faceted geography and diverse landscapes, vegetation and climate, four very distinct seasons put their stamp on this vast territory. Quebec is also Canada’s largest province. After 12,000 years of Native American habitation, Jacques Cartier took possession of this land on behalf of the King of France, beginning an era of colonization that would endure until the advent of the industrial age and the challenges of the modern world. Three times the size of France, 40 times the size of Switzerland and 50 times the size of Belgium, its territory extends nearly 2,000 km (1,242 mi.) from the U.S. border to the Arctic Ocean. So, we say… check this stunning terrain out or you’ll really be missing out.

From dog sledding and ice fishing to white water rafting, adventure courses abound and you won’t regret it. 

Bruno Vanasse - Found of ABV Kayak

Start here, in Grenville Sur La Rouge outside of Montreal: ABV KAYAK is a white water kayaking schoolkayak rental center, and an rafting adventure expedition outfitter providing high quality instruction for beginner, intermediate and advanced kayakers using certified instructors at affordable prices.  Maintaining a low instructor to student ratio to ensure each student receives the amount of personal attention they need to improve their skills, they’ve grown into the premiere white water kayaking school in Quebec accredited by the Fédération québécoise de Canoé-Kayak d’eau vive and affiliated with the Société de Sauvetage.

Why we like ’em?

They specialize in white water rafting expeditions for adventure travelers (duh). Plus, with over 40 years combined experience their expedition leaders will take you on some of the most scenic and virtually untouched rivers in Quebec including the Magpie river – rated 6th best in the world by – The Broadback river, and the Moisie. There aren’t a ton of hotels in the area, but you can find a few quaint places to stay, like Hotel Lac Carling, or follow this link and rent a little Scandinavian style cottage!

To learn more, visit ABV Kayak’s Rafting Expeditions page and tell them sent you (just try not to make us jealous when you send us all your adventurous vacations pics).

Adventure Courses – Quebec 

Fall Foliage: North America’s Best B&B’s

Cool, crisp, clean air brings out the leaf peeper in all of us, so it’s never too soon to pull out a foliage map and ponder where you want to be when the leaves start to turn. Of course, catching the prime peaks and intensity of colors depends on what part of the country you are in, temperature, precipitation, wind, and leaf genetics.

Across North America there are hundreds of inns and B&Bs located near forests, national parks, and vineyards that present thousands of leaf-seekers and eco-adventurer’s with myriad choices for getaways come fall. Explore a regional wine trail, get up in the colorful canopies with the birds via a zip-line adventure, or take an extreme off-road truck ride up a wild mountain. Here are some top suggestions ranging from tame to extreme culled from around North America.

To enjoy fall foliage at its peak, Mary White, founder of, a leading online B&B directory listing hundreds of getaway specials, says, “The character of foliage season is unique to each region; Texas has its golden forests of ‘Lost Maples,’ Arkansas has dogwoods that turn brilliant ruby red. Put your finger anywhere on a map, and there’s good chance spectacular foliage and a welcoming bed and breakfast hosted by innkeepers who know the best routes and secret spots for superb leaf-peeping awaits you.”

She suggests:

  • Check the National Forest Service Foliage Alerts to view maps and foliage reports.
  • Book your B&B early: fall foliage is prime time for visitors so it’s wise to pick your destination and lock in your lodging. Look for deals and better availability if you can getaway mid-week.

Here are some bed and breakfast offerings to elevate foliage viewing to new heights:

Extreme Peeping – Who said leaf peeping has to be tame? It doesn’t have to be during your stay at the lovely Rabbit Hill Inn, inLower Waterford , Vermont . Nestled in the Northeast Kingdom , famous for outdoor sports and covered bridges, the inn offers concierge services for a full range of activities including guided treks, hot air balloon rides, glider rides, golf, and tennis and even finding your way out of a corn maze. The off-road, action-packed Truck Safari up the wild trails of Barron Mountain delivers lion-hearted passengers to a breathtaking vantage point where Franconia Notch, awash in jewel-toned foliage glory, will leave thrill-seeking leaf peepers breathless. Romantic guest rooms with fireplace and whirlpool and candlelit country breakfasts are included, and two Mud Puddle cocktails at the local pub. For extreme thrill seekers zip-lines are also available.

Crush on You Foliage season in Napa , California coincides with grape crushing so visitors can enjoy the bonus of wine tasting and other grape-centric events hosted by local wine producers during this colorful time of year. The historic Beazley House offers a Wine Train package that capitalizes on the beauty of the region in foliage season and the gourmet cuisine and wines for which Napa is so famous. Passengers are treated to first-class service as they sup and sip on board this luxuriously-appointed train as it wends through the countryside and vineyards. The grape vines turn shades of brilliant gold, red, and mahogany in September and October, and the views are breathtaking. Request the Wine Train package when reserving one of the elegant guest rooms with private bath and garden views, and prepare yourself to be further enchanted by the delicious breakfast served each morning.

Jewel of the Ozarks – Eureka Springs is a vibrant Victorian village snuggled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains . With its pristine air, abundance of fall festivals, and many chef-owned eateries, this hamlet is a lovely place while you enjoy the scarlet dogwoods and golden maples. The Inn at Rose Hall is a magnificent recreation of an 1880’s Victorian manse with its period antiques, stained glass windows, and exquisite gardens. Fall gourmet breakfasts reap the bounties of harvest including such delights as pumpkin waffles with orange sauce, and chocolate zucchini bread.

Isle of Color – The spectacle of turning leaves against the backdrop of the deep blue sea, rolling farm land, and towering forests make Canadian Prince Edward Island a unique destination for leaf peepers. The Elmwood Heritage Inn, in Charlottetown , welcomes guests on foliage patrol from mid-September until late October. Century-old majestic elms with gold-crested boughs lining the hidden driveway greet you upon arrival. Cycling, golfing, walking on quiet beaches or taking scenic drives are some ways to enjoy the magnificent vistas. Or, take in the panorama of fall from the golf course, or during a bike ride around what is commonly called, this “gentle island.”

The Gold Standard – The Berkshires rank tops in fall foliage aficionado circles, and the Inn at Green River, in Hillsdale , New York , is the perfect spot for viewing foliage and partaking in the many cultural and gastronomic offerings that make this region so popular. The Inn ‘s1830 Federal-style farmhouse boasts seven romantic guest rooms with fireplaces, and ancient sugar maples and beautiful gardens adorn the grounds. Leaf peepers can begin the day with a leisurely walk down a quiet dirt road known to the locals as “the Dug way,” then progress to a hike at Batfish Falls in Taconic State Park , the Appalachian Trail , orBartholomew’s Cobble. Your innkeepers know the way, and can also direct you to Monument Mountain or Mt. Greylock , or even point you toward more adventurous pursuits such as viewing foliage from a bird’s eye perspective on the zip-line at the new aerial adventure park nearby.

Check out: for all of nature’s great hidden gems.

Quebec: Eco-Travel, The Summit of Mt. Tremblant

I love a good gondola experience.  There’s nothing quite as breathtaking (and as terrifying) as teetering on a wire suspended above a mountain in mid-air.  So we say, “Scale new heights with the Exhibit at the Summit at Fairmont Tremblant!” It’s easy to think green with packages like the following, offered by Fairmont resorts.

Quebec Mt. Tremblant Scenic GondolaThis package provides two special treats.  1. The chance to hang on a ski mountain in the summer and enjoy that crisp sweet mountain air.  2. Learn a bit about climate change.  Guests at the Fairmont can take a panoramic gondola ride to the top of Mont-Tremblant followed by an interactive tour through the ‘Under the Weather exhibit,’ a fun science exhibit incorporating games, models and hands-on activities provide an informative and entertaining way to learn more about our precious planet.  We say, ‘Bring the kids or bring out the little kid in you.’ Afterward, sit back with organic cocktails for two in the new Nansen Lounge and admire the green vistas of this pristine mountain resort.

Fairmont Quebec Tremblant RoomRooms are comfortable, tastefully designed, and right in the heart of the bustling mountain town.  Breakfast for two at the Windigo restaurant is also included, along with complimentary valet parking for hybrid vehicles.

Available until October 13, 2009, rates start from $249 CAD (~$228 USD) per night.

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