Overnight in Montreal

 Before this past weekend, the weather had been pretty crummy here in Vermont, and Navah and I were seriously in need of a vacation. So we headed to...Montreal. Not the obvious choice for a mid-winter getaway, but a trip to the beach wasn't in the cards. And, as shocking as it continues to be to me, Montreal is just an hour and a half away from Burlington. That means it's a perfect candidate for a quick overnight trip to see some attractions, eat some delicious food, and not check your phone for a couple days (that was a surprise - we both forgot that we wouldn't have data service while in Canada - made for some interesting navigating and a lot of high fives for not ending up completely and totally lost forever). 

The reason it really did make sense to go farther north to get away from the cold was Montreal's Botanical Gardens. We'd been wanting to visit for a while, and the need for a getaway combined with the promise of hot, humid rooms filled with gorgeous blooms and delicate butterflies put us over the edge. And what a good call. We took off our coats and spent three hours relishing the exquisite beauty. 

We also took advantage of being in the big city to visit Chinatown and get our fill of hot and sour soup, spring rolls, and deep fried saucy meat at Amigo. Oh, and let's not forget the South Indian restaurant where we crammed ourselves full of idli, uttapam, and masala dosas. And of course the numerous Tim Hortons donuts I consumed on the way there and the way back. 

This is how I feel when I see a Tim Hortons sign on the road. 

(not from Montreal)

What is it about Tim Hortons? I hate to talk smack about our US donuts, but they just do donuts right up there. For one thing, I don't know what this says about Canadians, but no matter what time you go, they are chock full of donuts. They don't run out of things as the day ends. They're like, no more maple boston creams and it's 4:00 in the afternoon? MAKE SOME MORE. 


We stayed in Old Montreal, which we've visited once before, at a fancy hotel (yay for Sunday night deals) that was filled with original art. Most of it wasn't really my style, but it was really fun to walk down and halls and look at all the pieces. We spent a few hours wandering the quiet streets on Monday morning, stopping into a shop here or there and doing a little maple syrup tasting. And to top things off, we visited Target since we don't have one here in Vermont.

When we got back into the car to head home, it felt like 36 hours very well spent. Plus we've added a ton more to our list of Things To Do in Montreal and will definitely be planning some more day trips this summer. 

Let's be honest - the primary purpose will be more dosas and donuts. We'll see some pretty stuff if we have time.

p.s. I'm making a version of this simple cabbage salad at least once a week right now. Healthy, filling, and it keeps in the fridge way better than a traditional salad.