Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas vacation in Montebello

One of the things that excited me most about moving to Saskatoon was the fact that other than a few trips to B.C., I hadn't seen much of Western Canada.  In my 29 years I had over two decades in Nova Scotia that gave me the chance to see most of the maritimes, a year in Ireland to explore not only the Emerald Isle but a lot of Western Europe, and then five years in Ottawa which gave me the opportunity to see a lot of Eastern Ontario and Quebec.  One of the best holiday-themed trips we took while living in Ottawa last winter was a weekend at the Chateau Montebello in Montebello, QC. 

If you live within a few hours of Montebello, I highly recommend spoiling yourself for a weekend - and in my humble opinion, Christmas is the best time to go.  The humongous cedar log "cabin" is charmingly rustic, and the centre lobby complete with a six-sided fireplace is the perfect spot to curl up with a festive drink.

Main lobby

All decked out for Christmas

The top of the Christmas tree

Tables set for dinner

Our room

The resort has snow shoes for rent, great cross-country ski trails, dog sledding, a pool, spa and several other amenities.  As there wasn't much snow on the ground when we visited, we decided to check out the curling rink. 
 Neither of us knew how to curl, so we watched a match before heading out to nearby Parc Omega - a drive-through wildlife park.

We fed a huge bag of carrots to wild boars, red deer and what seemed like hundreds of wapiti.

I like to think this guy was smiling at me.

This one got up close and personal with Josh.

"Word in the park is that you two have a big ol' bag of carrots in here..."

Animals in mirror are closer than they appear.
The windows and mirrors had a heavy coat of slobber by the time we left.

Sorry bud, no carrots left.

Not impressed.

Arctic fox

Now I'm on the hunt for the Western Canadian equivalent - something rustic and cosy for a winter weekend getaway. 

Any recommendations?  Wild boars and wapitis are not a requirement.

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