In our undergad days, Jay and I didn’t travel much. So many of our nearest and dearest were of adventuring through unchartered corners of the globe or taking semesters off to backpack India (and fall madly in love). Whereas we were sticking around the island, being boring, doing homework and saving to buy a house. However, in the last year we have set out sights on travel while we are still childless and young. So we been trying to take every opportunity that we can to escape Brooklyn and explore new corners of our incredible continent. Predominately we opt for road trips because it gives us the leisure of taking travel at our own pace. However, after doing a touch of research I learned that the train trip between NYC and Montreal has been awarded for being one of the most scenic routes on the continent. With that fact in my back pocket, tickets were bought and hotels were booked. The result of which was an exceptional long weekend escape from the city. Here are the highlights:
Touted as one of the world most scenic routes, the trip between NYC and Montreal did not disappoint. From the cabins of the train you are able to soak in the changing landscape as you follow the shores of the Hudson River up to the Canadian Border. Along the way you will catch glimpsed of Lake Champlain and the remains of the extraordinary Bannermans’ Castle. However, make sure to have your iPhone close at hand to snap a picture of the alleged monster who calls the depths of Lake Champlain home.
2. Stay at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth
By now you know all about the brand loyalty we Jordan’s harbour for Fairmont. The Fairmont Queen Elizabeth brings our tally up to twenty-two spectacular properties visited. The Queen Elizabeth is beautiful, and the location perfectly central. The best part is that it is walking distance from the Amtrak, which makes it easily accessible for train savvy travelers. But convenience and splendor aside, the QE is also is rich in free-love history. This past weekend marked the 46th anniversary since John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their famous Bed-In for peace where they penned the anthem “Give Peace a Chance”.
3. Hike Mont Royal
Our room at had a beautiful view of Mont Royal, but looking at it wasn’t good enough -I needed to climb it. The view from the top offers a panorama of the St. Laurent River and the neighbourhoods that comprise Montreal. There are various paths to the top that will wind you through graveled of forest paths depending on the level of vigor you want from your hike. For the most adventurous among you, opt to hike the sets of steps that take you straight up the mountain face. But if you elect to take the long way around you will be able to soak in all the trees, deer and highlights, such as the reservoir.
4. Eat all of the THINGS
Poutine and foie gras are Montreal staples. Between the two of us we managed to cover both. Montreal Smoked meat sandwichs are also a thing, but we recently went to Katz so we didn’t indulge in Montreal. We liked all the places to eat along crescent street. We snagged poutine (and great burgers. Jay tackled the foie gras burger and swears it was worth the price tag) at BurgerBar. We also ate our fill at all you can eat sushi at Sushi Crescent. Additionally, as you know we are always on the hunt for good coffee and on good recommendation we made trips to Humble Lion across from the entrance to McGill. Montreal has an unreal food scene (and Jay is up there a bunch for work) so additonally noteworthy places to eat are, Manitoba, Joe Beef and Nora Gray.
5. Explore all the Neighbourhoods
We loved how walkable Montreal is in the summer. On foot from our hotel we were able to easily access The Plateau, Crescent Street and Old Montreal. Each of which get our seal of approval. Each neighbourhood had its own feel with great cafes (a must to keep you fueled for all the walking) and people watching. We saunter along the river in Old Montreal, after exploring the book shops near the McGill campus (you know how much we Jordans like to tour college campuses. It is kinda our thing). So if your up to it, I would recommend spending a lot of your time in Montreal on foot. That way you are sure not to miss a second of the energy.