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Our Road Trip To Montreal and Back the Long, Awesome Way

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running in Montreal

Last Wednesday I packed the kids in a rental car and we embarked on this year’s Mother-Sons Adventure!

Embarking on our Roadtrip

Our before trip photo taken in the parking lot of the gas station.

This is the 5th year I’ve traveled alone with children and I’ve learned that the only way to have fun is to act like one of them.

Blue tongues

I was declared winner of the jolly rancher blue tongue contest.

Of course I still have to be the responsible one so on the road trip up to Portland, Maine, I had a few stops planned. The first was the Black Duck Cafe in Westport, CT.

Black Duck Cafe

A welcomed break from the car, especially after hitting some traffic.

I found this stop while researching the road trip on Roadtrippers. It was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and seeing how it was right on the water I thought it would be a fun stop for lunch.

According to Guy Fieri. their Clams Casino was the bomb so that’s what I ordered.

Clams Casino

Clams Casino at Black Duck Cafe.

I wasn’t that impressed. I may have gone in with too high of hopes but the place was just OK. The kids had fun by the water though, just as I suspected. I let them explore a bit before heading back on the road.

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Our next scheduled stop was Ogunquit Beach in Maine.

Oquinguit Beach

Classic sign shot — I had to do it.

My mom mentioned they had a wonderful little trail along the beach and that it would be a nice place to get out and stretch our legs.

Beach

She was right. This place was gorgeous! And the kids absolutely loved it.

kids on beach

Running on the beach — they couldn’t wait to play a little in the water.

We stayed much longer than I anticipated because we were having too much fun walking around and exploring, which is exactly what these trips are all about.

There were a ton of shops and restaurants on their main drag so we decided to eat dinner in Ogunquit.

The kids thought the fire tables were so cool!

The kids thought the fire tables were so cool!

We split a lobster salad (of course), steamed shrimp, and fish and chips. It was a great meal and there was an ice cream place next store.

After dinner we headed for our hotel in Portland, which was just under an hour away.

The next morning was explore Portland day.

We started with a walk to the Portland Observatory.

Outside the Portland Observatory

This place was fantastic!

The volunteers were friendly and knowledgable. They had binoculars for the kids and let them color them while we waited for the tour.

The Boys coloring their paper binoculars.

The boys coloring their paper binoculars.

As we climbed the observatory steps we would learn more and more about the tower and the history of Portland, and at the top they offered to take our picture.

Can I get both kids to look at the camera at the same time? Ever?

Can I get both kids to look at the camera at the same time? Ever?

We walked back to our hotel — picking up lunch on the way — grabbed the car and headed to South Portland to visit a lighthouse.

The kids were excited about the rocks more than the light house. Of course.

The kids were excited about the rocks more than the light house. Of course.

Spring Point has this awesome trail of rocks that leads you to the light house. We had fun navigating them, calling it a rock maze.

The 5-Year-Old was a little trepidatious at first but came around with big brother's influence.

I love watching them explore and get over fears.

The 5-Year-Old was a little trepidatious at first but came around with big brother’s example.

We made it!

There was another light house I wanted to see but the kids were hell bent on playing in the water so instead we decided to visit Willard Beach and relax.

They can play on a beach all day!

They can play on a beach all day!

I got a much needed break so I can call Dad while they frolicked in the surf.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped for sushi — somewhat of a tradition for the 11-year-old and me.

We haven't converted Little Bean yet -- he sticks with noodles.

We haven’t converted Little Bean yet — he sticks with noodles.

The next morning we checked out of our hotel and headed for our next big stop, Mt. Washington.

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He’s pointing to the summit — our goal that day!

Mt. Washington is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States.  We stopped at the welcome center to learn more about it on our way.

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Cool topographic map of the mountain ranges.

As we got closer to Mt. Washington, this sign caught our attention.

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We decided to stop and check it out. This is why I love road trips. There are lots of little adventures we discover on our way to our destination and I’m never afraid to veer off our path.

We followed the path not knowing what to expect.

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There were these great little informational signs along the way.

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There were also some lookout points. This one was above the falls.

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This picture makes me smile.

The end of the trail didn’t disappoint!

waterfall

The water was crystal clear and they begged to swim but it was too cold and we had to get going. There was a mountain waiting to be climbed, well, driven!

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It’s a gorgeous 8-mile drive straight up Mt. Washington. The road was narrow at some points but the views couldn’t be beat! We decided to drive ourselves so we could stop whenever we wanted and we did.

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I let them explore the rocks and paths.  They were having a blast!

on top of the world

The song of the day was “On Top of World” by Imagine Dragons, the 11-year-old’s choice.

So was I.

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We made it to the top and parked the car.

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The 5-Year-Old taking it all in.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather.

Mt. Washington Summit

Highest peak — 6,288 feet.

We stopped some more on the way down and explored more rocky trails. The kids were in heaven.

Rocky Path Mount Washington

I call this their “band photo.”

After a full day of exploring we had to find a place to stop for the night before heading to Montreal. This was the only overnight I didn’t have planned.

We got lucky when we passed the Seymour Lake Lodge.

Bed and Breakfast

They just recently opened with new owners who were very nice and hospitable. With the lake right across the street, I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

ducks on lake

Lake Seymor

The next morning we headed to Montreal. Our first stop: The Biodome.

Biodome frog

Oh no! Poison dart frog!

Montreal turned an old Olympic site into a tourist center with an Insectarium, Botanical Garden, and Planetarium.

biodome aquarium

The kids loved it.

Biodome eggs

What did I hatch?

We stuck with only the Biodome before heading to our AirBnB. It was a long day with the driving and we got lost around the park when we tried to find the car. Everyone was exhausted.

After we rested up in our Montreal apartment we headed out for dinner trying, of course, the famous Canadian dish, poutine.

Poutine

Poutine with chicken.

Not going to lie, it was delicious but not something I’d get every day. The kids weren’t fans. They just didn’t understand why there was so much stuff on their french fries!

The next morning we filled our bellies with these amazing crepes before exploring Montreal.

Crepe in Monteal
Well, the 11-Year-Old and I did. The 5-Year-Old thought they were “yucky” — he’ll come around.

The boys tend to do better in country environments than trekking all over a big city so I decided we’d take one of those land and water tours.

Aqua Tour

They enjoyed it and we did a little exploring of our own.

Berlin Wall in Montreal

The Boys in front of a piece of the Berlin Wall.

In the evening we Uber’d to Mt. Royal Park.

running in Montreal

Some days they just have fun running around with each other. It’s wonderful.

Every Sunday in the summer there is a Tam-Tams festival and I wanted to see it for myself.

tam tams

Tam-Tams at dusk.

The boys were more interested in the park across the street.

Montreal park

We played together and enjoyed the beautiful weather before our walk back to the apartment.

The next morning we headed to our final major destination on the road trip, Ausable Chasm in New York.

Ausable Chasm sign

We rented a cabin for two nights so we could explore the area.

Our Cabin

The chasm hike was beautiful.

Ausable Chasm

There was a path that led to a short, guided rafting/tubing trip.

ausable chasm stairs

We learned about the area from our guide and hopped on a bus that took us back to the campgrounds.

That night we made friends with neighboring campers and the kids made s’mores and played with sparklers.

sparkelers

Can you make out “Ryan”?

The next morning we got a little swimming in, rented a bike and hit some of their trails.

Mountain Biking

Someone learned mountain biking isn’t that easy!
Bluejay feather

We found a bluejay feather!

Unfortunately, we hit our first rainy day while camping so we decided to do lunch at a local place and then head to the movies to see “Finding Dory” during the thunderstorms.

Michigan

Have you ever had a Michigan? Delicious!

The rain slowed up a bit in the evening and we built our first ever campfire!

Campfire

It was a wonderful way to celebrate our last night on the road. The kids ended up playing hide and seek with friends they made and I got to sit by the fire and contemplate how awesome our trip has been. I ended up sharing this on Facebook

As I sit here alone by the fire I can hear the kids as they play hide and seek with friends they met on the campsite and it’s making me smile.

I love that they are out of thier element, meeting new people, and seeing new things.

Together we navigated two new cities, got lost on a hike in the woods, drove to the top of the highest peak on the east coast, traversed some pretty dangerous rocky mountain paths, built a fire and tried to learn some French.

I watched awesome brother interactions and had to seperate them when I couldn’t handle the bickering any longer.

With a loose itinerary we made some amazing unexpected stops and decided to skip things we simply weren’t in the mood for.

I’m tired — they are exhausting — but I can’t imagine not doing this with them every year. How will they learn to navigate a world they haven’t seen?

I can’t wait for our next adventure and this one isn’t even over yet. Isn’t that crazy?

While I’m on these trips I love sharing thoughts and images on social media. It helps me have at least some adult interactions.

The next morning we woke up, packed up and headed toward home. However, I had a few stops planned.

The first was the Garnet Mine Tour.

Garnet Mine

The boys mining for garnet.

I just knew the boys would love this and they did! They could have spent all damn day there. I, on the other hand, was not that impressed.

The “tour” didn’t offer much and it was run by very young employees. It wasn’t horrible just not what I expected.

Our final stop was Storm King Art Center.

storm art center 2

The 5 Year-Old admiring a sculpture.

I didn’t expect the fee at the entrance but we went off the beaten path to get there so I wasn’t turning back and it ended up to be worth it.

The views were gorgeous. It was really a one of a kind place where art met nature in a pretty cool way. We walked around for a short time, but truth be told the kids just were that into it. I thought it was a beautiful and relaxing place.

storm art center

The boys pose for mom one last time.

That was it. Our last stop was about 3 hours and 30 minutes from home. The kids were little troupers on this adventure. They went from country to city back to country, spent an obscene amount of hours in the car and had to endure my dorkiness along the way.

These trips are the highlight of my year and I hope when they look back they will feel the same way.  This is our 5th trip since I started the Mother-Son yearly travel tradition. Here are links to some of past adventures….

Click here to see the 5 Reasons I Make Travel a Priority for My Kids.

I hope you enjoyed traveling with us! We have a few ideas for next year but haven’t decided yet. We’re leaning toward Texas!



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Discussion

There are 5 comments so far. Join in on the conversation.

    Dawn Skorczewski

    July 6, 2016

    thanks so much for this report----I really enjoyed following you there and back again. I love your blog and can't get enough of Roni's way of living. Reply

    erin

    July 7, 2016

    I loved reading about your trip because I have anxiety and always worry too much about taking my kids on trips alone without the hubby. Seeing you do it gives me courage to do things alone with the kids. :) Reply

    Heavy Heart Writing | Tod Harkins

    July 10, 2016

    Roni, you were meant to be a mother of boys!!!! love your adventures! Reply

    lauren

    July 19, 2016

    It looks like you had beautiful weather for everything! Reply