Bonjour Montreal

For weeks, I’ve had some pictures I wanted to show you . . . I guess today’s the day. 😉

In early November, things were fairly quiet around here, so Sir Beads and I decided to take a mini vacation. But where to go?

After some internet searching we chose Montreal – specifically, the old part of the city. Our time was limited so we knew we couldn’t cover the entire city. I can’t believe I’ve lived in New England all my life and had never visited Canada. It’s less than 7 hours away by car!

Old Montreal, with its architecture, cobblestone streets, and French-speaking natives, is often described as a little piece of Europe in North America. As soon as we arrived, we were absolutely charmed.

We were there for 3 nights only . . . but it was restful and romantic and lots of fun. The people are wonderful; the food is amazing; and there are so many interesting things to see and do.

Of course, no photos can really do it justice but I’ve included a few below.
Click them to enlarge for a better view.

Cobblestones, Unique Shops, and Excellent Dining

Rue Saint-Paul


Artful Architecture



I’ve never seen St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome but surely this breathtaking Montreal cathedral, Notre Dame, is in the same league.

Notre Dame


After long days of sightseeing on foot, it certainly was a treat to return to our room with a Jacuzzi . . . for two!



The hotel served a lovely breakfast each morning in an area with tables and two banquettes!

Booth for 2

We were lucky enough to snag one of the banquettes for a couple of breakfasts . . .


And once for a pre-dinner snack!

Evening Snack


As I mentioned, the food was incredible! We practiced our high school French with the waiters (and shopkeepers) who were delighted we were trying – but graciously saved us with their excellent English as soon as we got in over our heads (which didn’t take long!)

After dinner each night, we were awfully glad we had a “fluffy cloud” of a feather-bed to flop into back at the hotel.



So that’s my story about our Late Fall in Montreal!

We’ve been back home for quite a while now, but it has definitely occurred to us that it might be nice there in the Spring . . . 😉



I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Click the envelope to leave a comment or to read what the other kids are saying! 😀

Part 2 – Fun in the City

What would you call a neighborhood that has dozens, and I mean dozens of Italian restaurants?

Well, I’d say it’s “a little bit of heaven”, but in Boston it’s called the North End – famous for it’s fabulous Italian food, pastry, and markets.

At the end of the previous post, Sir Beads and I were discussing dinner possibilities. We really didn’t have to think too hard though. The North End is just a short walk from the Custom House, where we were staying. Proximity and the fact that we love Italian food made our decision very easy. On that first night, we went to Al Dente.

He had the Shrimp and Scallops a la VodkaLarge shrimp and sea scallops sauteed in olive oil and served with homemade fusilli pasta in a classic vodka sauce.


I chose the Chicken Venensia. – Melt in your mouth tender boneless chicken stuffed with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, spinach, roasted red peppers and garlic, rolled and pan-seared, served over roasted red pepper risotto in a gorgonzola cream sauce.

Dessert was offered but we declined. Not only were we too full but we had another plan!


The next stop was the legendary Mike’s Pastry. It’s no exaggeration to say that the lines waiting for service are often 4 or 5 across and so deep that they snake from outside on the sidewalk, through the front door, and up to the large showcase counters.

Harried (but cheerful) bakery clerks tirelessly pack box after box of decadent treats for customers whose eyes shine with anticipation. Our mission was to purchase a late night snack to take back to our suite. Oh the choices!


It was a beautiful evening . . . clear with a light breeze. As we strolled out of the North End clutching our box of goodies, we saw our building just ahead. It’s such a breath-taking sight against the night sky. See that green arrow on the left? It points to our room! Click the photo for a closer view.


On the elevator, we met a gentleman who immediately spied our string-wrapped box and asked: (only half-kidding) “What time are you serving the pastry?” (Too funny!)

Doesn’t this look delish? The eclair was for Sir Beads, I had the cookies (macaroons!), and that third item is a light and flaky apple turnover, which we saved for the next morning’s breakfast. 😉


Coming next week: Part 3 – Boston by Day (the conclusion!)



Fun in the City

Sir Beads and I are just back from a mini-vacation!

I’ve been wanting to share it with you, but first I had to try and organize the photos and descriptions into a reasonably concise tale. 😉

Here goes . . .

It all began with a “getaway” gift card . . .

Actually, it was a present for our 40th wedding anniversary, which was last summer!

I know. I know!

We really did plan to spend it sooner but you know how weeks can sometimes turn into months in the blink of an eye.

Anyway, we finally decided it was high time we had some fun and off we went!

Since it was to be an “anniversary celebration”, we decided to return to the scene of the crime – Boston, Massachusetts – the city where we met and fell in love.

There was no question of where to stay. Several years ago we discovered The Custom House and were totally enchanted by it. I made reservations and all that was left was some light packing.

This gorgeous building (the tall one) is currently a hotel/timeshare property, but it’s roots lie deep in the history of Boston.

The Custom House was established in the 17th century and stood near the Boston waterfront in several successive locations through the years. In 1837, President Andrew Jackson authorized the construction of the current building. The bottom section was completed in 1849. After the tall tower was added in 1915, it became Boston’s very first skyscraper! It’s beautiful inside and out. Great attention to detail and reverence for its history are evident at every turn.

We arrived mid-afternoon and were assigned to a lovely “villa” on one of the higher floors. The bedroom was charming.

And a peek out the window was nice, too.

There was storage space galore.

No need to have breakfast out! The kitchen was well equipped. There were plates, glasses and flatware, too!

And a comfortable place to enjoy a meal.

What’s behind these doors? 😉

All the necessities . . .

A quick glimpse of the powder room!

And the cozy living room – just the place to curl up after strolling through the city.

We took off our shoes, had a cold drink, and brainstormed regarding our restaurant choices for dinner!

The fun was just beginning. 🙂

To be continued



July Jaunt

Last Thursday we took a day trip.

Although initially cloudy, the weather brightened!

It was sunny – but not too warm – perfect for sightseeing.

We got a fairly early start (considering it was a vacation day), picked up my parents along the way, and then set off on a drive to the southern coast of Rhode Island.


There’s something wonderful about a day with milky blue skies and a carefree schedule. Because we live on the east coast, we feel an innate connection to the ocean. It’s mesmerizing, thought provoking, peaceful, and of course majestic.


We arrived at Point Judith around lunchtime. The lighthouse is a breathtaking sight against the horizon.



Along the shore, we collected colorful beach stones that had been polished smooth from the continual rise and fall of the tide. Afterwards, we all agreed that we’d worked up an appetite. 🙂

Lunch was a regional favorite – clam chowder with clam cakes!



We had a leisurely meal and then, feeling newly fortified, we were back on the road again.

Next stop was the birthplace of artist, Gilbert Stuart, who painted the portraits of six American presidents including George Washington.


On a drive through Rhode Island, there’s such a variety of things to see along the way.

There are boats . . .


And hydrangeas – lots of hydrangeas!


And animals grazing. . . We saw llamas, horses, a Shetland pony, a burrow, and cows – all in the same pasture!


One final scene . . . a picturesque cove.


After a full day, it was time to head home, but with fond memories of our “jaunt in July”! 🙂

(Special thanks to Dad for the photos he contributed!)


A Little R and R

This past Sunday, there was a wedding shower for my nephew’s bride-to-be. Because we’d have to travel some distance to attend, I suggested to my husband that we make a 3-day weekend of it. It’s been ages since we’ve had any real time off, so we decided that a stay at an old New England inn might be fun and refreshing . . . It was!

The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts has been operating continuously since the 18th century, and it’s just brimming with the charm of a simpler time.

The lobby is particularly inviting. (Click photos to enlarge)


There are fresh flowers everywhere and an enchanting collection of teapots is on permanent display throughout the Inn. The antique furniture in the guest rooms and hallways, the old-fashioned lamps, and the vintage books and prints will have you convinced that you’ve suddenly traveled back to an earlier era.


A cool glass of lemonade on the lovely front porch was just the break we needed after our morning stroll through the village.


One of Stockbridge’s most famous residents was artist, Norman Rockwell. We visited the local museum, which houses a fantastic collection of his work.

As with all vacations, our time at the Inn was over much too soon. We checked-out, headed to the car, and then glanced back wistfully – one last time.


Our next stop was the wedding shower . . .

~to be continued~