The Best Indoor Activities in Tremblant

Tremblant is a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Year-round, nature lovers and adrenaline junkies get their thrills pursuing any number of outdoor activities at this premier destination in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. Still, even the most hardcore tree-huggers, must occasionally retreat indoors. Thankfully, there are a number of indoor activities in Tremblant to please every member of your family. 

Aquaclub La Source

No matter what time of year you visit Tremblant don’t forget your swimsuit! Located in the heart of the Pedestrian Village, the Aquaclub La Source is the perfect place to tip your toes any time of year. In the winter, guests unwind in the hot tub after a day on the hill or swing from a rope over the indoor pool. In the summer months, an outdoor pool is the perfect place to cool off.  

indoor activities in Tremblant

Finally, if on the off chance you haven’t burned enough calories outdoors, there is a indoor fitness facility in case you want to burn off that extra Beavertail you had. Hey, this is a judgement-free zone.  

TBar

The TBar is found at the top of the Pedestrian Village and is the perfect place to let your inner fashion designer let loose.  Visitors can choose from a variety of t-shirts, sweats and even baby onesies to leave with the perfect souvenir. 

indoor activities in Tremblant

The TBar caters to the super artistic in your group and the kinda lazy. My daughters chose to painstakingly paint a elaborate floral design shirt. I decided picking out a screen design and having the staff at TBar put it on was enough effort for me. Either way, we all left winners.

indoor activities in Tremblant, t-shirt making

In the summer, visitors can create their masterpiece outside on the terrasse and in the winter, the TBar is a great place to shake off the chill. 

Le Studio Créatif

Unleashing the artist in you is super easy in Tremblant. At Le Studio Créatif visitors can choose from a wide array of ceramic pieces from whimsical to practical, then paint it to suit their tastes. 

indoor activities in Tremblant

Mission Liberté

If you haven’t tried an escape room type game yet, then trust me when I say, you’re not as smart as you think you are. So after you’ve worked your muscles outdoors, head to Mission Liberté to flex your mental muscles. 

indoor activities in Tremblant, mission liberte, escape room

Guests can choose from five challenges rated for difficulty on a scale of 1 to 10. We chose the Explosion Challenge at a difficulty rating of 7.5. Bottom line? We were virtually responsible for 25,000 fans meeting their maker. Oopsie.

If you’re with kids, or you have someone like me with you, be sure to opt for a lower difficulty level to avoid frustration. Take a few minutes to read the description of each challenge here.

indoor activities in Tremblant

No matter how you fare playing the game, Mission Liberté is great fun with your travel group. 

Shopping

If you are scoffing at shopping as an indoor activity, then we probably can’t be friends. I love the shops that line the promenade through the village and have spent many, many hours and dollars picking up some great finds. 

Indoor Activities in Tremblant

Personal favourites include RootsAdrénaline, Burton, and La Raffinerie

Univers Toutou

If you have a kid, you probably tuck them in with five bazillion stuffies nightly. Be prepared to add one more.

Indoor activities in Tremblant

Univers Toutou lets your youngins’ make their own plush toy from scratch. At the very least you’ll keep your kids amused for a while, and if you’re really lucky, they’ll leave with a lifetime friend. 

Coming Soon! Laser Tag

It could be just me, but there is something incredibly gratifying about taking your kids down in a game of laser tag. I make zero apologies for my competitive nature. I’m so excited to hear that Tremblant will soon have a Laser Tag facility in the village. Game on. 

indoor activities in Tremblant 

If you’ve worked up an appetite be sure to check out the best dining options in Tremblant from budget to gourmet! 

dining in tremblant, cheese, raclette, fondue

 




The Agawa Canyon Railway Tour – A Beautiful Way to Explore Ontario

With Canada’s 150th birthday approaching, have you wondered what Canada looked like at the time of Confederation – or even earlier? If you’ve ever wanted to step back in time and see what much of Canada looked like hundreds of years ago, all without leaving the province then the Agawa Canyon Railway Tour is a great window to the past.

Agawa Canyon Railway Tour

Most of the 10 hour round trip train ride into the Agawa Canyon is out of reach of cell service – phones and tablets read “no service” and teens, tweens, and some hyper-connected adults may hyperventilate a little. It’s part of the rugged charm of being so remote that most of the places seen from the train are not accessible by car because there are no roads. The only way into the park is by train or backcountry hiking (the train is by far the more relaxing of the two options). Everyone needs to step back, take a deep breath, and resist the urge to panic. A day out of cell phone contact is not the end of the world; everything will still be there when you return to full signal strength. Plus who wants to be on social media when there is breathtaking natural scenery everywhere you turn? Instead of connecting to Wi-Fi, you can take the time to connect with your family and with the depth and breadth of the great Canadian wilderness.

Agawa Canyon Railway

The Algoma Central Railway broke ground in 1900 in Sault Ste. Marie and completed to Hearst in 1914 after plans to continue it further north to Hudson’s Bay were abandoned.  The railway’s initial purpose was to carry resources and material into Sault Ste. Marie, but now the train carries only passengers yearning to explore somewhere still untouched by the modern world.  When the train arrives at Mile 114, otherwise known as Canyon Park, you won’t find chain restaurants, strip malls, or amusement park rides waiting for you. Instead, you will find pristine natural beauty, all at the bottom of the Agawa Canyon. 

Agawa Canyon Railway, Northern Ontario, Sault Ste. Marie

As we rode the rails deeper into the Agawa Canyon, I kept thinking to myself that this is how most of Canada looked when the first settlers arrived hundreds of years ago: rugged, vast, dense, and breathtakingly beautiful. I felt very small in comparison to the vastness surrounding me. My children, conversely, felt like giants as they saw their country with fresh new eyes and a sense of awe. They had so many questions about what they were seeing. How long does this go on? Do people actually live out here? Are there bears in the forest? How was the railway built? How many people did it take to build the railway? What happened in the winter when it was snowing? Are we going to see a moose?

Agawa Canyon Railway, train tour, Canada 150, exploring

Thankfully, I didn’t need to answer any of those questions because the train has flat screen televisions throughout that have GPS triggered commentary. Passengers will learn about the history of the Algoma Central Railway, told in a way that brings history to life. The commentary is peppered with fun facts like the one about the special whistle that had to be invented to scare off moose because some moose like to charge moving objects such as trains. My kids loved this fact and now think that moose are at Clint Eastwood coolness levels.

Railway Tour through Agawa Canyon

Spoiler alert – we did not, in fact see any moose. However, when we stepped off the train, I felt like an explorer touching down on uncharted soil (despite the fact that well over 300,000 people have made this journey before me). Seeing the natural beauty that surrounded me, it was easy to see why so many of the members of the Group of Seven came here for inspiration. From the towering height of the canyon itself to the black and gold waters of the Agawa River, to the rushing waters of Black Beaver Falls, artistic inspiration is everywhere.

Railway Tour to untouched wilderness

 

After our hour and a half layover in the park, we re-boarded the train for the journey back to Sault Ste. Marie. Like the journey there, it was leisurely, unhurried, and full of time to talk. As a family we snuggled, napped, gazed at the landscape zipping by, and pondered coming back to do some of the adventure trips on offer. We were torn between snowmobiling in the winter and camping in a rail car at the bottom of the canyon in the summer. As we approached the end of our journey, I noticed that I once again had cellular service so I did the only thing I could think of: I slipped the phone back into my purse and enjoyed being out of reach for just a bit longer.

Railway Tour, Ontario, Sault Ste. Marie

If You Go:

Bring on the train:

  • A Picnic lunch if you’re so inclined; otherwise you can enjoy both breakfast and lunch in the dining car.
  • A Blanket – the train can get a bit chilly and a soft blanket is great for napping with
  • Your Camera – (fully charged) – you’ll want to take lots of pictures
  • Playing cards, colouring books, reading books – some quiet entertainment for everyone.

Stay:

  • At Glenview Cottages and Campground. This lovely campground keeps you in the wilderness state of mind. If you are bringing your own accommodations, like we did, they have a great site for RVs with pull-thrus and full service hook-ups available. If you prefer buildings, there are camper cabins and cottages on site to rent. The location is very central – so you’re not far from any of the area attractions. As an added bonus there’s an indoor hot tub and sauna, and an outdoor pool for the summer.

See:

  • Sault Ste. Marie isn’t a day trip – but you wouldn’t want it to be when there’s so much to do in Algoma Country! You should visit Pancake Bay Provincial Park – voted best beach on both sides of Lake Superior. You can also tour the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre to see how bushplane and forest fire operations have changed over the years. Explore the natural beauty of the area by car, RV, rail, ATV, boat, or snowmobile.

 




Dogsledding in Mont Tremblant with Expedition Wolf

There are few things that tug on my heartstrings quite like dogs do. So when my daughters and I had the opportunity to try dogsledding in Mont Tremblant we jumped at the chance. 

dogsledding in Tremblant

Dogsledding is as old as Canada and it’s origins can be traced back to our northern Aboriginal people. When fur traders and explorers arrived on the scene they found dogsledding a most efficient way to get around town. The rest as they say is history; dogsledding is as Canadian as maple syrup, back bacon and poutine.

I will admit that I had my reservations about dogsledding.  My dog, a Golden Doodle, is nothing short of a princess. She has full access to beds and couches, and I’m quite sure if you asked her to “work” for a living, she’d faint with disbelief. The Husky, as I’ve since learned, does not want any of your lazing about. These dogs want to pull, they long to run, and asking them to sit still is nothing short of cruelty. 

When we arrived at Expedition Wolf, we were greeted by the owners and our guides. We were given a quick briefing inside their building, and then we walked across the street to meet our dog team. 

dogsledding in Tremblant, Huskies

The staff and owners at Expedition Wolf are excellent. They are absolutely devoted to the over 200 dogs they keep on premises and it shows. They know every single dog by name, and introduce guests to their dogsled team one by one. After a brief introduction, guests lead their dogs to their sled to be hitched up. Guides then show guests how to drive their sled so that the dogs don’t get hurt. 

dogsledding in Mont Tremblant

Typically, one person will drive the sled and one person can travel in luxury wrapped up in blankets. Guess which position I opted for? 

dogsledding in Tremblant

In total, we spent about an hour traveling with our dog team through a breathtaking Quebec forest, with a nice break for hot chocolate and cookies. Expedition Wolf is roughly a 35 minute drive from the Mont Tremblant Village; guests can drive themselves or take advantage of the transportation provided when booking through the Tremblant Activity Centre

Upon return to the kennel, guests help unhitch the dogs and return them to their kennel. If you’re lucky enough, you may even be there when there are puppies! PUPPIES!

dogsledding in Mont Tremblant

As tempting as it was to tuck one (ok, the whole litter) in our coats, I gained a new appreciation and respect for the Husky and Malamute breeds from our time at Expedition Wolf. As lovely and sweet as these dogs are, they need super active families and wide open spaces to play. If you can not offer that, then this is not the breed for you. We had the pleasure of meeting Skyla, a rescue who was given to Expedition Wolf after her owners realized that they couldn’t keep up with her energetic personality. As you can see below, she seems to have found her happy place at Expedition Wolf. 

dogsledding in Mont Tremblant

Dogsledding in Mont Tremblant is the perfect family activity when visiting. There are four experiences to choose from and this excursion can only be booked during the winter months. Be sure to dress warm and have hand and foot warmers, as well as face masks with you. 

You can see more of our dogsledding trip through the woods on the video below.

Life in Pleasantville was invited to experience dogsledding at Expedition Wolf through the Tremblant Activity Centre. All opinions expressed are mine. 




Does Disney Keep Its Magic In A Post Trump World?

I went to Disney World a week after Donald Trump was inaugurated. I’m glad we went so soon after he was sworn in because there is a good chance he will sign an executive order banning all magic from the place if he’s given enough time. To be honest, I was leery about heading south of the border with the political climate being as it is, but then I remembered Hillary won the popular vote and there are WAY more progressive people in the U.S. than the Republican party would like us to think and that’s an actual, not an alternative, fact.

Donal Trump and Disney's Gaston

No, no you are not.

In a giant flip of the bird to Donny boy, here are some lovely things I witnessed while at Disney World. Let’s keep score, shall we?

  1. I saw a man who brought his disabled daughter to the Magic Kingdom for her 11th birthday ask two random women if they would help her in the bathroom as there was no accessible family bathroom available. They ladies readily agreed and treated her like gold. Sorry ableists, you are starting this game down a point. Sad.
  2. I saw a group of women dressed in niquabs pushing strollers through the crowd. No one batted an eye except my young son who excitedly yelled “Look! Ninjas!” We had a discussion about people wearing different things for different reasons and good manners after that. While I have mixed feelings about niquabs, these women felt safe enough to wear them. I don’t know if they felt free, but feeling safe is something. One point to religious freedom. Also, one point awarded to naive child observations and one to parenting (for educating children that not all observations need to be said out loud). Great!
  3. I saw a man going through his spiritual routine on his prayer mat just off to the side of a main thoroughfare in the Magic Kingdom without a word or interruption from anyone. Religious freedom takes another point. Great again! (See what I did there?)
  4. I saw a family of Hasidic Jews strolling along with kids in tow. Not a peep or even extended stare. Religious freedom scores a hat-trick. Fantastic!
  5. A man from New Hampshire who my husband and I met on the bus lamented the Quebec City shooting with us. A point for humanity. Tremendous!
  6. I had a moment of support and solidarity with another safety pin wearing lady. We acknowledged that both of us were making a statement with our conspicuous accessory and there to assist anyone encountering any racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-semitic, ableist, or other intolerant horse shit. Another point to humanity. Terrific!

The scores are in and it looks like Disney is still the wonderfully magical place it has always been.

Magic Kingdom castle

So many parts of Disney were built with progressiveness and tolerance in mind. Epcot has rides and attractions based on preserving the environment and sustainable living along with pavilions that celebrate other countries and cultures. Animal Kingdom is a zoological theme park focused the conservation of an animals. The wildlife there helps to get people interested in caring for the environment and all the residents of our beautiful planet. Plus, there are areas of the park that have themes around East African and Asian villages. These are all things that fly in the face of the tRump brand. From my recent trip it seems the vast majority of people enjoying Disney World match its forward-thinking views.

If you are concerned about going to Disney World because of the so-called President, you needn’t be. Whether you ditch the kids and go alone, take the little ones, or have a Disney adventure with teens, I’m sure your trip will be magical. Bigly magical!

Magic Kingdom castle with fireworks

Image Source: Dan Anderson Dan Anderson/Getty Images via travelandleisure.com, cesran.org, deviantart.com




Why A Taurumi Massage is TOTALLY Worth A 10,000 Kilometre Flight

If you travel to The Islands of Tahiti and don’t get a Taurumi massage, then you’re not only missing out on one of life’s most relaxing pursuits, but you’re also failing to fully immerse yourself in the Polynesian experience. It’s like visiting Paris and not having a croissant; it’s cultural blasphemy.

Taurumi massage
Don’t take my word for it though, take the word of Tupuna Kultur, a cultural workshop offered on the island of Tahiti. During the workshop, guests are guided through the rich customs that define the Polynesian culture—music, food, language, tattoo, flowers and of course, massage.

Massage throughout the Islands of Tahiti is much more than a way to knead away your stress, it’s a spiritual connection between two people. Polynesians believe that the life force that flows through all things is called mana. When someone gives you a Taurumi massage, they are effectively transferring their mana to you.

Taurumi Massage, techniques and method, workshop

This act of connection is practiced by mothers with their children throughout the islands, as well as between friends and lovers. Worldwide, the power of touch is well-documented, but many of us have lost the presence required for it. Taurumi massage means that not only must the receiver be open to it, but the person massaging must be fully present throughout.

On a recent visit to the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort and Spa, I had the opportunity to enjoy a traditional Taurumi massage at the Manea Spa. Taurumi goes far beyond the use of hands, and also employs the use of elbows and forearms. Starting at the base of the skull (called the nini, and meant to be the entry point to your soul) a masseuse (called a Tahu’a) uses traditional Monoï Oil (a blend of Tiare flowers and coconut oil) to essentially remove any stress, pain or toxins your body may be holding onto. I fancy myself a bit of a massage connoisseur, and I have to tell you. Taurumi should be considered an art form.

Taurumi Massage at Manea Spa

As I was floating down the open air passageway after my first Taurumi massage, my eye caught a glimpse of this room and my curiosity was piqued. I suspected that this contraption was for a barefoot massage, and I was right. Taurumi also uses feet to cure what ails you. Clearly, as a professional, I had to check this out.

Taurumi Massage, Avae Taurumi, Barefoot Massage

Called Avae Taurumi, the Tahu’a uses the balls of her feet and heels to deliver the deepest massage you’ll ever have. I don’t know how else to describe this other than to say that it’s the perfect mixture of pleasure and pain, and trust me, that combination is not usually my bag. But there I was, covered in oil with a woman walking on my back and loving every minute of it.

Avae Taurumi or Barefoot Massage

I’m not going to lie; I didn’t leave the room floating like I did after my first Taurumi massage. My muscles were actually quite tender after the Avae Taurumi, and the next day I felt like I’d had a pretty intense workout. It wasn’t until I woke up on the second day that the effects of that massage hit me. There wasn’t an ounce of tension left in my body. A victim of modern stress, I noticed that my shoulders weren’t gravitating towards my ears and that my shoulder blades didn’t reflexively pull together. My body felt released, if that makes sense, and the afterglow effect of that particular massage lasted for more than a week.

Taurumi massage, traditional and Avae, is not readily found in North America and that’s even more reason to ensure you book yourself in for one should you visit any of the Tahitian islands. If your partner should happen to give you a hard time for booking more time at the spa, let them know that it’s your cultural obligation as a visitor to The Islands of Tahiti. You’re welcome.

Watch this video if you’d like a virtual tour of the Manea Spa at the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort and Spa before you go.