Friday, August 8, 2014

Our 1,320 Mile Roadtrip

With the last few weeks of summer ahead of us I have a bunch of friends trying to squeeze in some quick and easy road trips before the madness of sports and school takes over our lives again. Cooperstown and Canada are at the top of their lists so I thought I'd do a short post on our recent itinerary and how we worked it all in. 

Next week I'll get the important stuff up on the blog, like where to eat and drink with your kiddos on all those stops. But right now I would totally jump in the car and head back to Montreal for the dreamy, flaky, perfect croissants at Maison Christian Fauer in Old Montreal. Monsieur Chef Fauer holds the prestigious title of M.O.F. (Meilleur Ouvrier de France) from the French government for his pastry skills and you can't get more authentic than that. So there's just a taste (sorry, pun intended) of what I have for you in the weeks to come.

Ithaca and Toronto were our big destinations for this trip, all of the other stops were convenient and scenic ways to break up some long drives. We started out visiting family in Albany and made a stop in Cooperstown on our way to Ithaca. A few families are trying to fit a visit in to the Baseball Hall of Fame before September so I'll get that post up early next week.

Ithaca is gorges, as they say, and we spent a week doing family adventure camp with Cornell University. You don't have to be an alumni, we found it because Mr. C&G wanted to take their famed wine course. It was sold out by the time I tried to register in early spring and somehow convinced him to do the "Thrills and Skills" Outward Bound style course instead. I did conquer my fear of heights by climbing out a window and rappelling down the Cornell football stadium, but that's a post for another time.

Once you're in that part of New York State you might as well continue driving three hours north to see the natural wonder of Niagara Falls. We stopped halfway to spend the weekend with my BFF in Rochester for some post adventure camp chilling out and to do laundry. Niagara Falls is like the Vegas of the north and I've got some great sight seeing tips to share that will help you avoid the crowds and the chain restaurants. 

Another hour and a half in the car and you can be in the bustling steel and glass metropolis of Toronto. We were there for a week with the C&G grandparents so you know there was a lot of cocktailing going on. Grandma C&G tracked down a sleek rooftop bar in the shadows of all those tall bank headquarters, perfect for people watching and very kid friendly. Toronto is a great city for families and we did a lot of very thorough research to keep everyone happy and well-fed.

You could do the five hour drive from Toronto to Montreal in a day but we stopped halfway in Kingston, Ontario for two nights. It's the gateway to the Thousand Islands region and the waterfront town was very reminiscent of our own Portland, Maine. Sailing on Lake Ontario is a big thing in Kingston, our hotel was filled with Canadian teens competing in sailboat races. 

Montreal was the big finale to our road trip and it's always one of my favorite places to visit. I didn't do much planning ahead (big mistake on my part) so I learned a lot from our random wanderings. My best discovery (other than the croissants of Maison Christian Fauer) was a chic sandwich shop that served wine and was housed in a Métro stop a short walk from four of Montreal's biggest attractions. Cocktails & Gelato will be sharing it all with you in the weeks to come, so grab a cocktail (new recipe tomorrow) and stay tuned!

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