Every once in a while you need to break free from bae and catch up with your besties.
Last weekend was one of those times.
A few weeks back, I was chatting with two of my best friends, Elise and Sarah, about how we desperately needed an escape. We all had a lot going on in our personal and professional lives, and we really wanted to get out of the country for a bit.
While getting too far out the country seemed a little aggressive given we had just a couple weeks to plan and limited budgets, we all agreed that a road trip to Canada was totally doable!
We settled on Montreal as our final destination since we all have a special place in our hearts for Burlington, V.T. which is a couple hours south of Montreal and would be directly on our route. Plus, by stopping in Burlington on the way from Boston to Montreal, the drive is a bit more bearable – making it possible to leave the country without the costly airline ticket.
It was the perfect choice! We spent the weekend stuffing our faces, partying with the locals and exploring two great cities all while relishing in some quality time with the girls.
Here were a few of our favorite finds.
Magic Hat Brewery
So apparently I like breweries – so much so that I’ve mentioned one in every Baecation Days post so far. Nonetheless, I have to talk about Magic Hat. It is one of my all-time favorites, and with its funky, psychedelic vibe and neon signage all over the walls, it’s the perfect place to hang out and taste a bunch of great beers.
They offer free guided tours in the afternoon (check their site for exact times) but you can also do a self-guided tour at any time. I’ve done both and you really can’t go wrong either way. Their employees (tour guides and bartenders included) are super laid back, friendly and knowledgeable.
The best part is the free samples (of course). They’ve got 10 or so beers on tap at a time, and I am yet to find one I don’t like.
Also, get this, the brewery is DOG-FRIENDLY so bring your four-legged friends along for the trip!
Penny Cluse Cafe
By now you also know I love to eat. So when a local friend offered to take us to her favorite brunch spot in Burlington, we were most definitely in.
Located in a colonial house turned café, Penny Cluse provides a cozy, homey place to settle in for a brunch full of comfort food.
I ordered the “Penny Cluse” or, as I like to call it, the best eggs, biscuits and gravy I’ve ever experienced. The portions are huge too. Thankfully, I had a local there to suggest that Elise and I share. It was perfect for two! Everyone at the table raved about their meal and left fully satisfied.
Plan for a pretty long wait but trust me – its worth it! You can even visit their sister cafe, Lucky Next Door, while you wait. Order a coffee or latte and they’ll let you take it back to your seat at Penny Cluse when your table’s ready.
Not everything I do revolves around eating and drinking (although it’s always a plus if it can be incorporate somehow). Sometimes, I do experience a city’s culture by visiting pieces of their history.
In the case of Montreal, Notre-Dame Basilica is a huge piece of that history.
The basilica speaks for itself. The city’s oldest Catholic church and first in the Gothic Revival style is truly awe-inspiring with intricate designs in deep colors.
The stain glass windows, which tell the story of the early Ville-Marie settlement, are particularly breathtaking.
But what’s most impressive about Notre-Dame is that Celine Dion got married there in 1994. I am kidding of course, but it is an interesting piece of trivia.
Old Port and Rue Saint Paul
Only a couple blocks from Notre-Dame, Old Port is by far my favorite area in Montreal. With cobblestone, cafes, small souvenir stores and scenic views of the Saint Lawrence River, you truly feel as though you’re walking down the streets of Europe.
With my maple latte in hand, I could have spent all day wandering in and out of the shops that line Rue Saint Paul. But if walking isn’t your thing, there are also horse drawn carriage rides available by the water – something I definitely would have talked bae into if we were there for a romantic getaway.
You can not go to Montreal without having poutine.
Okay, you could but why would you want to?
Most places have some version of poutine on their menu, so if you’re feeling ambitious you could even try a couple styles (you know purely for the sake of comparison).
We got one at a sports bar on our way out of the city. It definitely hit the spot, but I hear there are a few places that would have been life changing. Next time I am trying Vices et Versa for sure!
All in all girls’ weekend was a welcome reprieve from work and we are already planning our next one. Where should we go? Tell me in the comments section.