mirror, mirror, who is the fairest of them all

Well let me tell you… I think I may have found it, the fairest of them all, and it’s actually not too far from home! My family and I have spent last weekend in some sort of winter wonderland fairy-tale, and I am so excited to tell you all about it.

So as I said in last week’s post, we were invited by the Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid for the Holiday Village Stroll weekend; and I can tell you that we won’t forget a moment of it. It was a weekend filled with so many Christmas lights, numerous Holidays activities, breathtaking views, as well as memories that will last us a lifetime.

Here’s how it all happened… so earlier this year, while we were planning our summer vacation in Lake George, I was browsing online, looking for some activities for us to do over there; I remember Googling something like ‘what to do in the Adirondack’ and then stumbled upon this cute hotel in Lake Placid, the Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa. Right there, simply by looking at the hotel’s website, I knew I had to visit it one day. So then later, like sometime in October, I looked further into it and saw some of their winter pictures on their website and Trip Advisor… and I simply fell in love with the place. I then decided to contact them to let them know I was planning on visiting Lake Placid in December to take some pictures and to blog about it… Fast forward a few weeks later and MLI had officially invited us to spend what seemed to be like the ultimate December-Holiday-weekend.

It felt like November would never end, as we couldn’t wait for our weekend getaway to arrive. The boys were so excited when we told them we were going on a family vacation; yet, kind of disappointed when we told them we were driving to get there. They always associate the word vacation with plane! But now, let me tell you, they are both quite happy that the Mirror Lake Inn is just a short drive away, as they both desperately want to go back.

We left on Friday at noon with snacks packed for the drive, as well as the iPad and Nintendo DS… which they played with until they both fell asleep right after we passed the US Customs. The ride was so smooth, and beautiful, mostly on country roads, with more and more freshly fallen snow covering the tall pine trees along the way up into the Adirondack. On our way there, we’ve listened to both our favorite Christmas albums, Michael Bublé for me and Zooey Deschanel’s She and Him for Bry (please don’t judge him!), while chatting the entire way. When we first spotted the Mirror Lake as we drove downhill towards it, the sun was hitting the mountains behind; and the view was just stunning. The boys woke up, and finally, we had arrived; all of us excited to be there. The first view of Mirror Lake Inn as we pulled in was just as expected: breathtaking. I knew it was going to be gorgeous, I mean I had already seen hundreds of pictures of it, but it was so much bigger, and even prettier.

One of my favorite moments of the weekend was the smell of the lobby the first time we entered the inn… I’d describe it as a delicate firewood-pine trees-oranges smell. It was welcoming, and comforting, and Christmassy, and I loved it. We made our way to the reception desk only to be greeted with homemade chocolate chip cookies. Let just say the MLI reception desk kind of does it all… and also kind of ruined the reception desk of all of our future travel destinations that won’t greet me with cookies!!! I will not share how many I ate during our stay, but I will say this… I fully took advantage of their chocolate chip cookie hospitality; and so did Logan!

We were then shown to our room. The first thing I noticed was the floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows with a view on the lake and mountains. The view was simply the best, but the comfy king size bed, the pull out sofa bed for the boys, and the two leather chairs by the windows were also pretty awesome. While we were making ourselves at home, we heard a knock at the door… ‘Hello there’, as we were welcomed with a cheese tray, drinks, and some more cookies!

The first thing the boys wanted to do was to go to the pool, so Brian took them swimming while I took the opportunity to explore the inn and take some pictures. So many things and places to see, and so much beauty and history, everywhere I looked.

Here are some facts… Mirror Lake Inn is a family own business that started way back in the 1920’s. Mr. Wikoff created the Mir-a-Lac Inn and it became well known all over the States. It took an even bigger leap when the inn hosted an entire Olympic team during the 1932 Olympics. Since then, the inn has kept on getting bigger and better throughout the years. The MLI is now own by Ed and Lisa Weibrecht, whose son Andrew is a two-time Super G Olympic medalist. Andrew’s medals are shown at the reception and you can admire them for as long as you want while enjoying some cookies. MLI is known for its charm, its amazing staff and its delicious food. Here’s another fact: oh my god, the food is simply amazing!!! Every single item we ordered throughout the weekend was so delicious; but I have to say that the absolute best thing I’ve tried was the shrimp and squash gnocchi that Bry got at the Taste Bistro & Bar on Saturday night for dinner.

So, after the boys came back from the pool, we all changed and got ready for our 6:30 reservation at the four diamond restaurant, The View; and what a view it was! We were seated right by the windows overlooking the lake. Lake Placid was covered with snow when we arrived, but somehow, the lake was frozen and as clear as a mirror… I guess that’s where the name comes from! That’s actually not a fact, it’s just an observation, so don’t quote me on that; but it was truly beautiful. The lake was completely frozen, yet you could still see the sand at the bottom of it. So, back to The View. Well I’m pretty sure that all servers from The View or from all the other MLI restaurants are great, but Tess was just the best. She was so nice to us and the boys, bringing them special treats and making sure we all had a great time. Liam even asked her if he would see her the next day. Sadly he didn’t. But every time we would go close to the restaurant during the weekend, he would look out for her. He was so cute! You may or may not see this, Tess, but thank you so much for making our diner even more special. By the time we were done, Brian had one of the best salmon dish of his life, Liam probably now owns the world record for the fastest eaten spaghetti ever, while Logan was real super classy with his French fries and side of vinegar that we had brought from our last visit to McDonald’s (as the States only serve Malt Vinegar and Logan is NOT a fan of it but needs his vinegar on his fries!). As for me, well I was so full from my amazing filet mignon that I had to share a raspberry creme brulee with Brian! So good. But so glad we only ordered one dessert, because right after we were done, Tess brought us some nice chocolate truffles, mixed nuts and homemade mint chocolate. I could easily get used to that! Overall, the boys did really well (with the help of their Nintendo DS, of course), and I must say that it was one of our best meal ever.

After dinner we visited the library, my favorite room at MLI, which is located right beside the reception desk and common lounge. This room is so cozy, with oversized furniture, comfortable couches and a huge fireplace. We borrowed some games from the front desk and the boys played chess with Bry and then Chutes and Ladders with me. They also spotted an Elf on the Shelf and became obsessed with it, having to go find him every morning. It was actually a great start to our day to go visit the library; with lots of doors and windows and the sun pouring in… I could have sat there for hours to enjoy the fireplace and to relax. The library was mellow, and warm, and it really made us feel welcomed. It was a great place to spend our first night in Lake Placid. Right after playing a few board games, we decided to call it a night… well some of us did, as one of us decided to visit the Taste Bistro & Bar and listened to the live music while discovering some of their local craft beers as well as their amazing display of single malt scotch!

Next morning came way too fast for my Loggy boy, and by 6am, him and I were snuggling on the big chairs by the windows, in the little nook in our room, and played games and chatted.  Once we were all up, we went down for breakfast where we ate way too much. The mini chocolate croissants were heaven! At 11am, it was Storytelling Time at the Mirror Lake Inn. Everyone from the village was invited and I’m pretty sure they all showed up. Set in the Wikoff room, right beside a huge Christmas tree and a gorgeous fireplace, a women made us sing carols and really got us to participate. Logan loved when she sang Rudolph, his favorite Christmas song. He was so cute, and I tried to make a short video of him singing along, but as soon as he noticed me filming, he stopped! Then the owner of the Bookstore Plus came to read How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The man who played the Grinch was AMAZING. You should have heard his voice… move over, Jim Carey!

It was now time to visit the Lake Placid village! So we got all dressed up and made the short walk to the central part of the village. We had to stop a few times to throw some snowballs on the lake, always a hit with my boys; especially on the frozen-like-a-mirror Mirror Lake! They had so much fun watching the snowballs explode on the ice, they kept on saying ‘this one was made of flour’. We then got to see Santa arriving in style on the local firetruck. The boys wanted to wait in line to see him, but I knew we would meet him later that evening, so I said no; felt like the Grinch there! We then browsed through the boutiques, ate freshly popped popcorn, and had Starbucks. We then came back for lunch at The Cottage at MLI, a small and cozy restaurant right on the water. The decor was so different, just like a ski lodge, and I loved everything about it. Delicious food once again. We had a pulled pork sandwich and French onion chicken burger sandwich. DELISH. After that, the boys wanted to go to the pool once again, so we decided to head back to the room.

So while they went swimming, I took what I’ll call “a holiday nap”, it’s a little fancier than a regular one, just because I was on a holiday, you know! The boys came back from the pool, but Logan was so tired that he immediately fell asleep with me, while the other two played some games… Logan was up since 6am, so letting him nap at like 4:30 pm was the biggest fail of all. MLI offers a visit from Santa and his Elf to its guests; so of course I was all over that. And of course I made sure they were wearing their new matching pj’s and all. Santa was scheduled to knock on our door at 6:30, so I tried to wake up Logan just past 6, but he didn’t want any of it. He was done. But when we heard the knock, we all ran to the door, even Logan who was still kind of asleep came with us to see who it was… and it was Santa! Sleepy Logan gave him a quick hug, then went back to bed and that was it for him! So Santa and his Elf came in, Liam told him what he wanted for Christmas, while Loggy was staying still, face first into the bed. So unlike him! Oh well, we’ve tried everything, we even tried to bribe him into coming to sit on Santa, but no, he was having NONE of it! Liam loved that Santa came to our room, although he became a little shy when Santa spoke to him in English (he really tried his best to speak a little French and I’m grateful for that!), so I had to be the interpreter. Santa then did a magic trick for us and Liam was really impressed! All in all, we ended up forcing Logan into a family picture with Santa, which actually turned out to be okay, so I take that as a win!

Santa left our room at 6:45, and since we were all still pretty full from our late lunch, we decided to go out to see all the beautiful MLI and village outdoor nightly Christmas decorations. So we all got dressed up once again and went out for a pre-diner walk. Probably took 500 shots of the beautiful outdoor holiday decors. The weather was perfect, and we had the best of time, just enjoying the surroundings and ourselves. Came back to the inn at about 8:30 for diner at The Taste Bistro and once again, the food was great. The gnocchi Bry ordered were simply to die for, and it’s my new mission in life to make as delicious gnocchi’s. I’m accepting all recipes; so if you have one, please send it my way! We then went back to our room, put the boys to bed and sat in our large chairs by the windows while quietly enjoying the view one last time. What a perfect day it was… minus the “Leave-me-alone-I-don’t-want-to-look-at-him” thing with Santa!

Already Sunday; our last day in Lake Placid. Well, at least we all woke up later than usual, which was great. Snow was gently falling outside, making everything white. Even the Mirror Lake was all white, no more mirror-like-lake. But it was perfect for some more pictures! So we packed up our stuff, talked about our weekend and what we had loved the most. We had a Breakfast with Santa planned, and finally, Logan was back to himself and real happy to see him! We had a great big round table by the fireplace and the Christmas tree all by ourselves; the brunch was so good, and the French toast were just awesome! We took some more pictures with Santa, and this time everybody was smiling and happy!

After brunch we made a final tour and said goodbye to our favorite places. My boys are really emotional, and they both cried, as they didn’t want to leave, but I can’t blame them, as I didn’t want to leave either. We took one last family selfie and we were on our way to Whiteface Mountain. Such a beautiful drive to get there on a snow covered road. But once we got to the ski resort, the snow and wind were stronger than at the inn, and we were told that the gondolas were closed because of a blizzard at the top of the mountain. We had planned to do the gondola ride to the top and the bobsled ride down the track. But we were so sad when we learned about the gondolas that we just left and forgot to ask if it was still possible to see and try the bobsled Olympic track. What a mistake. We both wanted to see it, and possibly try it. I only realized once back home that we had completely forgot to ask about it while at Whiteface Mountain.

So, since the mountain was closed, well we decided to take the long way back home, which actually consisted of the fastest way home with a stop at the closest Target. Of course, cause I just love Target!

During our drive back, we talked about what we had loved the best, which were the pool, the cookies, throwing snowballs onto the frozen lake, the Christmas lights, the smell of the inn, the people we had met, the restaurants we had tried, the stunning mountains, and much more. So many memories during such a small amount of time. That’s what the Mirror Lake Inn did to us, it created memories that will last a lifetime. Nothing makes me happier than spending time with my family, traveling and having the time of our lives. And we sure did this weekend.

This wonderful weekend was put together for us by Mr. Caligiore, and from the four of us, Thank You so much for the amazing and wonderful opportunity, and for making sure we had the best of time. MLI surely knows how to make their guests feel welcome; and they do it in a way you don’t see everywhere. The staff was so nice to us, eager to help with anything, and always so friendly. When you’re there you can feel that it’s not just the one person you meet who’s nice, but that they all are, as a group, you know, like it’s just their thing! Well, that’s how we felt. Everyone was so nice to us.

So here’s my official review of the Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa: if you’re thinking about visiting Lake Placid or its surroundings, you HAVE to stay at the MLI, or at least make time to visit and eat at one of their restaurants. The Holiday Village Stroll was an amazing weekend for a Christmas fanatic like me, but this place is clearly stunning all year round.

We will be back soon, that’s for sure. I just can’t wait to visit the Mirror Lake Inn again. For next time, I am debating between bringing our skis and going up in the gondolas or bringing our swimsuits to enjoy the MLI beach and Lake Placid sun; either way, I know we will have a great time. This place is simply the best.

Thanks for the memories Mirror Lake Inn.

Continue Reading

canada day and a quick getaway

So last weekend was Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations across the nation.  We were not planning on going downtown Ottawa for all the big festivities, but I was very excited and really looking forward to our own celebrations, and BBQ’s, and friends, and local fireworks and Canada Day cake… but by Saturday afternoon, most of our plans had fell through, mainly due the crappy weather, so I was just miserable, at home, with nothing to do on this long weekend.  So I decided to take a nap.  Even then, I was so bored I couldn’t even fall asleep.  So I sent a text message to Brian, who was playing Mario Kart with the boys downstairs, asking him if we could go somewhere; like anywhere!!!

Of course, I knew he wouldn’t say no to that!

So I sent him the text at 3:30 pm… by 3:45 we had agreed on a destination, and by 4:00 we were out the door, and on our way to the USA on Canada Day!  Well, that doesn’t sound too much patriotic, but I got to say that we did look at some destination in Canada first; Brian wanted to go see his beloved Red Sox in Toronto, but it just didn’t work out.

I love Canada!  I truly love everything there is to love about our awesome and unique country, and I am so proud to be Canadian, but seriously, if there’s one thing the American got right is that they didn’t let Target go bankrupt!!!  So while Brian was booking the hotel online, I was figuring out the shortest route to get to my beloved Target!

We left at around 4pm and didn’t stopped until we made it to Watertown’s Target.  I promise Brian before the trip I’d be good and reasonable and wouldn’t spend too much as this was last minute and clearly not planned in our summer budget!  Well I kept that promise for about two hours.  Still can’t believe that store didn’t worked out in Canada.  Obviously not because of me, as I visited the Orleans store at least once a week while it was open!  Even the boys were excited to see the giant red balls outside.  So within one hour in the store I had already found so many things I didn’t even know I absolutely needed!  It felt so good, and I was so happy, with my Starbuck in one hand and a red shopping cart in the other.

We then got back on the road.  Brian had book a nice hotel in an awesome neighborhood of Syracuse, NY.  We stayed at the Marriott in Armory Square; surrounded by old buildings, beautiful flowers lining streets and string lights everywhere.  We loved it as soon as we saw the location of the hotel.  We arrived shortly before 9, check ourselves in, unpacked and then headed down to the lobby for some drinks and snacks while waiting for my mom and Frank.  They too, had decided to join us on our crazy last minute getaway.

I don’t know a lot about Syracuse, but I’m pretty sure we had the best location in town.  At 10 pm, we ventured out to find a place to eat.  Right by the hotel there was a great place, Pastabilities, only to find out that the kitchen had just closed minutes ago.  It’s definitely on the list for our next trip.  So Brian then walked into a cute little alley and found a place called Modern Malt.  He came back to get us, and as soon as I walked in, I was in love with the place.  Retro style Diner with a pretty glass dessert display, a colorful aqua and orange decor and some delicious looking chocolate milkshakes on the menu!  We shared a fig jam and caramelized onion burger on a brioche, and it was sooo good!!!   Wish we would have had more time in Syracuse in order to go back for breakfast.  They had some waffles-with-everything meal and it looked just delish!  I honestly would have tasted everything on the menu.

Sunday morning was slow and relax.  We enjoyed breakfast in the lobby while planning out our day.  We drove to a few stores my mom wanted to go to and then it was Destiny shopping!  Spent a few hours browsing the stores.  Found a few things.  Then the boys did a rope course that they loved.  Unfortunately, they were just a few inches shy of making it to the big course.  Next time.  We shared some awesome nachos at Margaritaville for lunch.  Then played arcade games where Liam won the roulette tickets jackpot and where Brian wanted to spend the rest of the day!  By late afternoon we were all tired and decided to head back to our rooms for a nap and swimming.  Swimming for Brian and the boys, and yep, a nap for me!  Not sure what it is about hotel pools, but they’re always the best according to my boys.  They ended up meeting some other kids, and their mom had floating balls that they were all throwing in the pool, and they raced, and it was just so much fun apparently… oh well, nothing beats a nap in a comfy hotel bed!!!

For diner, of course we had to go to The Cheesecake Factory.  It was, as usual, so good!!!  And bonus, I ate my cheesecake for breakfast the next morning!

Next day came by way too quickly and it was already the end of our short and unplanned but so much fun summer vacation.  So we packed our stuff, got in the car and started our journey back.  We made another stop at Target (upon my kids request, I swear), then Cracker Barrel and then home.

I love these last minute getaway road trips.  Luckily, I have people who love crazy ideas and always want to tag along.  We’re all sad that it went by so quick.  But we had a lot of fun spending time together, and I’m sure it won’t be too long before we go back!

For now, at least, it seems like we brought back the sun with us; so let’s enjoy our backyard pool a little and let’s hope summer is here for good!!!

Continue Reading

yearly girls getaway

It was our fifth anniversary this year… every year we plan, we book, we prepare what we need to bring and then we leave our families for an ENTIRE weekend!  Last weekend was our annual girl-only-spa-weekend-getaway!

We have one rule: never go to the same place twice… but I have to admit that this might change next year as this year’s location was almost perfect!

So back in January, we all met and started to look at the available deals online.  We previously went to St-Sauveur, Mont Tremblant, Montréal, and Québec city, but this year we all really needed/wanted to relax, so we decided to go somewhere more on the ‘country side’ where we wouldn’t be tempted to go out as much; and Fiddler’s Lake was the perfect fit for what we had in mind.

Friday morning we dropped off our kids to school, and on our way we were!  Our first stop was Ofuro spa in Morin Heights.  A Zen-like spa, with Nordic baths, relaxation zones and massages.  It was rainy/snowy, and we felt like we had the place to ourselves.  After 5 hours of total relaxation, we picked up food and drinks for the weekend out and headed to the cottage.  As soon as we got there, we were already in love with the place.  It was huge and luxurious, but with a country look to it, three bedrooms, and floor to ceiling windows with a beautiful view of the nature and trees that were surrounding us.  To make this place even more awesome, we had our very own outside sauna and spa just to ourselves.

On our first night we ended up eating comfort food, watching old music videos and singing crappy songs!  We made a gigantic nacho platter, my ‘famous’ guacamole, and some wings.  And then, as full as we already were, we still decided to heat up a Chocolats Favoris chocolate fondue can with some fruits around midnight!

Ok, so it looks like all we do is sit and eat.  But there’s more to that.  Every year, we set up some personal goals to achieve.  Anything goes.  Last year, I wanted to create a blog (check!) run half a marathon (10km is a half marathon right???) and start up playing guitar again.  So clearly, the blog part got done, the guitar, not so much but I started playing piano again with Liam.  So it’s almost the same…or so I kept telling myself.  As for the half marathon, I just added it to the 2017 list!  We also share our favorite products we discovered throughout the year.  It’s so funny, we never know what’s in store!

Saturday morning, without any kids to wake us up, we all slept in.  Which means we were up by something like 7:30!  It was nice though to spend a lazy morning in our pj’s until 10 and then go out and jump in the spa.  We stayed in there for 3 hours, then had some cheese and charcuterie for lunch.  Then, well of course, it was nap time.  It’s harder to nap when you hear your girlfriends talk and want to sit there and have fun with them, as I didn’t want to miss a thing… but my vacation-mode-laziness and crave for a nap took over… so yeah, I ended up taking a short hour nap, and then went back outside in the spa for another 2 hours or so.  God it felt good.  And it was all we needed, a lazy no rush day with nothing planned, with sunshine, a nap, and all of us lounging in our pj’s.

After a day-long of doing nothing but relaxing, we all got dressed up and ready to go for diner in Saint-Sauveur.  I had the best Goat Cheese salad ever and then some pasta.  It was nice to be out but all we wanted to do was to go back to the cottage and enjoy some more time in our spa (where we spent another 2 hours that night!!!).

You know what, as much as I love love love my spa weekend, at some point I think about my boys and wonder what they are doing and what’s happening at home.  I just love being at home.  I was a stay at home Mom for almost 4 years and not one day I wished I was elsewhere.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m always so excited to leave on this little getaway, but a part of me sometime makes me miss them.  At least I know they’ll have an awesome time with my husband!  So before I left, I packed up their little suitcases for the weekend and prepared them some snacks.  This year, they had a sleepover at my mother-in-law on the Friday, and then on the next day, the 3 of them met with my girlfriends’ husband and kids for a playdate that turned into another sleepover.  Our four husbands, with our 9 kids, under one roof, with countless pillows and blankets, chips and candy, and I’m pretty sure without any curfew!  It must have been quite the evening…  Even I wouldn’t tackle such a task!  But my boys were pretty excited to tell me all about their last minute sleepover at their friends and their ‘party without Mommy’!  Apparently it’s happening again next year.  We’ll see about that!

So, back to us at the cottage!  The next morning came by way too quickly.  We packed up our things, tried to find a nice terrace for lunch, only to find hot dogs and poutine!  We did a bit of shopping, and then we were on our way…

It’s always fun to go away but there’s nothing like coming home.  I was greeted by my babies with more kisses than I could have asked for, and that was the best thing ever.

Now it’s all over, and I can’t wait to plan our next getaway.  I really hope we get to do this every year.  I just love spending some relaxing time with my girlfriends; we’ve all changed so much since University, and we sometimes don’t see each other’s enough, but in the end, we’re still the same we’ve always been: just an amazing and truly unique crew that loves spending time together, doing nothing else than alternating between our pj’s and couch and our bathing suits and spa for an entire day!

On my list of places to visit for our annual getaway: Lake Placid, Niagara on the lake, New York and Las Vegas!  Let’s see where we go next time!!!

2016
2016 Cache a Maxime
2016 Québec
2016 Québec

 

2015 Montréal
2015 Montréal
2015 Mont Tremblant

 

Continue Reading