A TRIP TO QUEBEC, CANADA – DURING THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR

I am finally sitting down to recap our trip to Quebec  – and let me start by saying that it was amazing. Everyone kept asking why we chose to go to Quebec this time of the year ( late November, close to Thanksgiving ) because it is so cold – but based on the pictures and what I had read online, Quebec is supposed to be a winter wonderland. And wonderland it was ! It was like a set from a holiday movie ( I am a huge fan! ) – imagine every store being decorated, snow dusted cobble-stone streets, skating rinks in the town square, Christmas markets, fireplace roaring in cafes, hot chocolate signs everywhere … I mean – at the cost of sounding cliché – it doesn’t get more magical than that.

 

But yes, it was cold. Very cold.  So dressing up properly is very important, because you will be walking everywhere. Here is some of the cold weather gear and outfits that we use –

For myself, I have these thermal innerwear that I had picked up many years ago for a backpacking trip to South America in the winters – and I still swear by them. A thermal inner top and leggings that is lightweight but warm is a good base to start with for layering. The Spanx leggings are what I wear quite a lot during winters. A top or sweater and then a jacket is good. If it is walking in the snow, these snow-water-proof-fur-lined boots are my go-tos! I ‘ve worn them so many winters and they are have stood up so well – warm lined and waterproof. Living in Boston, I do have a few other boots that I would wear for style – but in the snow, there is no kidding. The right gear is a must. For the trip to Quebec, I took these chic combat boots – and they are so cute, giving a chic-skiing vibe, except I don’t know to ski but I could look the part for sure =)

For Zoe, making sure she is warm was the most important. These merino wool inners from LL Bean are great for layering. This fleece bunting is another one of my favorite piece, like a cuddly big bear suit. ( love dressing her up in this ! ) You can not go wrong with Ugg booties for fall or just in general when its cold, and for the snow we use these snow boots. These snow mittens and a snug cap to cover the ears ( although she hates wearing both – which baffles me because I could not walk without my gloves or cap even for a minute ! ) We took the Stokke stroller on this trip, because the wheels and its body is sturdy and built for snow/icy roads/all terrain which is great for New England area where we live and for rocky paths. For other travel ( for example – the trip to Disney ), we prefer the lightweight, foldable Chicco Bravo stoller. The stroller weather shield is great for shielding the kid in the stroller from snow/rain/wind.

Let’s talk about where we stayed, restaurants and things to do.

  • Hotel : We stayed at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac – It is a castle hotel and one of the most popular sights in Old Quebec City. Infact a lot of tours include stops at the hotel. The hotel was so beautifully decked up for Christmas, there were about 50 Christmas trees just in the lobby. There is a Starbucks right in the hotel which was awesome and we loved the breakfast every morning at the Dufferin restaurant inside the hotel, overlooking the river and the along the boardwalk.
  • Restaurants : Sapristi was a popular one on yelp but we weren’t blown away by the food, although it had a nice, warm ambience. The Bistro 1640 and St.Patricks Pub had a very causal vibe but great food. And more importantly, good options on the kids menu as well. Paillard cafe was a nice stop for hot chocolate and croissants. Dont leave without having fresh, hot crepes from stands at the Christmas Market.

Things to do :

  • The Christmas Market is top of the list. I cannot rave about it enough. They even have fire pits in the market and benches around them so people can cozy up. And horse drawn carriages going up and down the streets – so very Parisian.
  • We took a countryside tour run by Quebec City Tourism and went to see the Montmornecy Falls and the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. That was a nice laid back half day tour.
  • Within Old Quebec – Notre Dame, Basilica Cathedral Notre-Dame, take a trip down the Funicular, Maison de la littérature,Lower town of Old Quebec full of the old world charm – boutiques, cafes, murals, performers, taking a ferry  ride to the Levis island.

A few things to note – Not all restaurants  and streets have a ramp accessibility for strollers – so we had to carry the stroller a few steps many times. The funicular station doesn’t have an elevator either, so we had to carry the stroller in that flight of stairs. Also, a few restaurants do not allow kids – so be sure to check with them before you go.

Overall – we had a wonderful 4 day trip. I cannot recommend making a trip to Quebec enough – I am sure it is equally beautiful in the summers as well, but this time of the year it was simply magical.

 

 

A GLIMPSE OF DIWALI DECORATIONS AT HOME

We celebrated Diwali this past weekend and on the morning of Diwali – after lighting diyas all over the house, we all dressed up ( I made everyone would be rather accurate ) and take pictures. I want to pass on all the excitement, the culture, the rituals that I grew up with, to Zoe and the festivals are such a good time to involve her in every little detail. I asked her to hold my hand while I lighted the diyas and hand us the decorations as Amit hung them around the house. Screaming Happy Diwali on facetime calls, with Zoe echoing Happy Diwani, doing puja, visiting close friends on Diwali day with sweets and gifts – it was a beautiful Diwali day. I dont agree when people away from India ( who grew up in India celebrating Diwali) say that it was a whatever kind of day or nothing like back home – it all depends on how we choose to celebrate the festival. Some elements will definitely be different, but that’s true even for the celebrations in India. It is up to us to feel the excitement, to breathe in the festive spirit and exude it. And now, moreso to pass that spirit on.

Good ole tripod and a clicker and we have some really fun family pictures – if you notice closely, Zoe is holding the clicker in some pictures – there you go, official photographer in the house!

Also sharing the decor details at the end of the post.

 

Happy Diwali and Happy New year to all of you celebrating. I absolutely love this festive time of the year. xo – Neha

My outfit : custom-made

hair gajra ( floral hair accessory ) 

marigold garlands ( I used heavy duty clear tape to put them it holds well )

Door torans 

Rangoli decorations

Curtain lights ( used these hooks to put them on )

small kandils/lanterns, more here 

 

 

 

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