Last Thanksgiving, Ross and I decided to set our own Thanksgiving tradition – travel as a new family. Well, actually, I was freaking out that our days to travel were limited, and while we love being with family over the holidays, that time was not in our favor (because #adulthood). So we booked a trip to Italy for 4.5 days and ate our way through Emilia Romagna. It was glorious. Post coming soon.
This year we wanted to do the same- take advantage of working remotely the days leading up to Thanksgiving (and the long weekend that followed), and preferably go somewhere that was easy, and had good food. I played around with flights until the weekend before Thanksgiving, but since we had just come back from Asia, we equally wanted to spend time with our little piglet (dog) who is getting pretty old. We were on and off about staying local, but just as I was finally starting to feel at peace with our decision to stay home…Ross threw a curve ball.
A road trip to Montreal, with the option of Quebec City. We could be together with Z, work remotely, and feel like we went further than we had. Montreal is always a good trip for that. We’d already been to Montreal for our mini-moon 2 years earlier, so we could lay low and work, drive over to Quebec City for Thanksgiving, and head home a couple days later. Those were the loose ideas, anyway.
In what seems like our new way of traveling, we made our final decision the morning of, packed up our car, booked an Airbnb on our drive up, and drove to Oh, Canada!
Our time in Montreal was spent mostly eating and working. Mind you, it’s freezing in Canada. Literally. You don’t want to do much else. It was the perfect family getaway with our pup, and we’re looking forward to coming back when it’s warmer to enjoy the city from a different perspective. As for Quebec City, we woke up to 3* weather on Thanksgiving morning and decided being with family sounded better, so we packed up and drove home. We know we’ll be back.
What to Know It feels like you’re in Europe, but everyone is Canadian-nice. Their first language is French, but they also speak English. It’s an easy, livable city, the type of city we love going to for a quick, no-brainer getaway.
Travel Logistics The flight is an easy 1.5 hours, the drive is a manageable 5.5-6 hours.
What to Pack It’s freezing in the winter. Bring your warmest gear, sadly it probably won’t be warm enough! I was freezing through my Canada Goose, my feet were cold through my L.L.Bean Gortex boots, and my hands were numbing through my leather/cashmere gloves. … I don’t know how they do it.
Where to Stay Airbnbs. We like staying in Old Montreal, but Mile End and Le Plateau Mont Royal seem to be popular too. Completely different feels.
How to Get Around Uber, metro, drive. Parking is manageable (in the winter anyway). $15-20 daily lots available around the city. Parking can be tougher in the old city. Having a car was a godsend on this trip – it allowed us to make efficient trips, especially in the snow.
Local Tips Tipping culture is the same as the US (15-20%)
Travel Tips The USD is stronger, woowoo. But actually, Quebec tax is a killer 15% so … it all ends up being a marginal upside.
Shopping Some Canadian brands: Frank & Oak, Aritzia, Saje. The markets such as Jean Talon Market are fun to walk around.
What to Eat The food in Montreal is amazing. It may be one of my favorite cities to eat in, and work remotely from! We ate so much:
- Le Robin Square – Comfort food
- Damas – 14 course Syrian tasting
- Cadet – Small plates & cocktails. Insider tip: go for lunch, they have a great $23 menu
- Lawrence – Great food, period.
- Vin Mon Lapin – Small plates & wine. Beware of $3 charge per water.
- Bouillon Bilk – we went 2 years ago for our mini-honeymoon, and to this day, I think this was our best meal in Montreal (and everything in Montreal is pretty darn good)
- Au Pied de Cochon – Duck in a can
- Olive & Gourmando – pastries and breakfast/brunch
- Cantinho de Lisboa – pastel de nata; there are quite a number of Portuguese bakeries in Montreal!
- La Fabrique de Bagel – bagel sandwiches
- Au Kouign-Amann – kouign amann, croissants
- Mamie Clafoutis – bread and pastries, everything.
- La Bièrothèque – craft beer shop
- Épicerie Unique – Le Dépôt De La Biére – craft beer shop
- Brasserie Harricana – brewery / restaurant
- Schwartz’s – smoked meat shop (great article on smoked meat vs pastrami here)
- Fairmount Bagel – Canadian style bagel
- Boucherie Lawrence – meat shop
For photos, visit our Montreal story on eckstrasuhweet.