Most vacations I plan involve either a myriad of museums, religious institutions, and landmarks (sending my travel companions into cultural overload) or a beach, a fruity drink, and the mindset that it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. Embarking on this new frontier known to the more athletic world as “adventure travel” is a pretty huge step for me.
Going into the trip, I told myself that I wouldn’t say no to anything, no matter how it may have made me squeal with fear on the inside. I was especially terrified of the thought of skiing, so when we found out we’d be trading the skies for snowshoes, you can imagine my (hidden) excitement.
Surprisingly enough, I quickly found that not only was I really enjoying the snowshoeing experience, I also kind of rocked at it. (If you’ve snowshoed you know this is no claim-to-fame, but given my lack of winter sports knowledge, I’ll gladly accept credit for anything that doesn’t knock me off my feet). It’s kind of like walking the sidewalks of Manhattan in heels…just make sure you go toe first when you’re walking downhill, and you’ll reduce your risk of falling face first by at least fifty percent. With odds like that, what’s to lose?
The crunch of the snow in Gatineau Park was quite meditative. So much in fact, you really don’t even realize you’re exercising at all, which is exactly the kind of adventure travel I love.
Lunch was at the Nordik Spa, a fabulous carrot soup, Caesar salad, and about four glasses of pop. Was this because I like the idea of requesting “another pop, please”? Maybe.
After a few hours of rejuvenating in the spa, we headed to the Wakefield Mill Inn, the only hotel in the federal park of Gatineau. I immediately fell in love with the quaint inn as the owner, Robert Millings, gave us a history of the mill, and it’s transformation into the charming inn it is today. My immediate thought was, “I can’t wait to come back here with my boyfriend”, and was shocked that only about 2 percent of the inn’s clients are Americans. With fireplaces and jacuzzis in the rooms, a phenomenal on-site restaurant, and views looking onto a 28 foot waterfall, the place oozes of romantic getaway destination. And with a flight less than two hours from NYC, it’s more than possible to make a weekend of it.
We ate dinner on-site at the Mill’s restaurant. I started with the potato and leek soup with sauteed shiitake mushrooms from Le Coprin with a smoked cheddar cream, followed by the Napoleon Tofu…layered crispy vegetables, deep fried tofu, smoked tomato sauce with wild garlic flower and roasted fennel, complete with maple lacquered beets. The final course was a chocolate mousse, and although I was stuffed, I finished every mouthwatering morsel. When in Canada, eh?
By: Jessica Tiare Bowen