Today, my friends, I am attempting to show some initiative and write this post. But, my oh my, is it hard! Because we have been doing nothing for days and days but skiing, eating, drinking, skiing, napping, and reading. We’ve been lazing in the Laurentians like there’s no tomorrow. Ha.

Hubby, post afternoon nap.

The ski conditions here have been wonderful. There’s lots of new snow, and the weather has been cold enough to make the skis work well, with sun most days, and little to no wind.

Woman in cross country ski gear in the Laurentians
Minus 14° Celsius on Tuesday. But the skiing was great.
Le P’tit Train du Nord ski trail, in the Laurentians
Le P’tit Train du Nord follows the old rail line.

We’ve been skiing along Le P’tit Train du Nord, a multi-use facility that follows the old rail line which passes through numerous small villages around here. Back in the day, skiers from Montreal used to ride the train to come up here to ski. Now the railroad is no more. But the old trail is used for biking in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter, among other activities. The whole trail is groomed and track-set, and there is no charge to use it.

Trail side coffee shop on Le P’tit Train du Nord in the Laurentians
Café de la Gare in the old railway station right on the trail.

My favourite part of the trail is in Sainte-Adèle where there is a trail side café with a friendly owner who makes great coffee. So we get our exercise and our treat out of the way with one stop. Treats are a big part of being on holiday for us. Small treats that we might not bother to do at home. Like stopping for a special coffee. And then enjoying it on a bench by the trail.

Woman enjoying a coffee after skiing along Le P’tit Train du Nord in the Laurentians
Just a girl and her latte.

So every day since we’ve been here, we have risen late, read while having our morning tea, eaten breakfast, dressed warmly and hit the trail. Well, except for the two days when Hubby skied alone. I can no longer do three days of skiing in a row, so I planned my ski days around the best temperatures.

After skiing we might grab a coffee, on one day we shopped for a few groceries. Then we return to our condo for lunch, a read and a nap. Then we wake up and make dinner. No great task since we brought much of our food pre-prepared. We have a glass of wine or two, eat, and read. Or watch a movie. Then more reading before bed. Our week has been SO relaxing, my friends.

I’ve been reading a book that Wendy from York said was in her TBR pile. Patchwork: A Life Lived Amongst Clothes By Claire Wilcox is a lovely, evocative memoir, told in short vignettes each of which focuses around clothing or some sort of textile. A dress, a baby blanket, a piece of lace. It’s beautifully written, and not a book to be galloped through. Each short chapter must be savoured.

Claire Wilcox is the senior curator of fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. You can read about her life and her book in this article in the Guardian. Anyway, I am relishing each chapter. It’s a perfect book for a lazy, quiet, late afternoon after a couple of hours out on the trail. Either pre or post nap.

But when one is lazing in the Laurentians, one must have some variety in one’s entertainment. So, I’ve been listening to the next book in Robert Galbraith/ JK Rowling’s Cormorant Strike series. And at times getting caught up on some of the YouTube channels to which I subscribe. Hubby and I have also been watching Martijn Doolaard’s “Two Years on a Bike” YouTube videos which talk about his two-year long trip down the west coasts of North and South America on a bike. We like his quiet, non-glitzy presentation style. And the scenery is breathtaking.

And speaking of breathtaking. Okay…. maybe this scene is not exactly breathtaking. But it sure is lovely. This view from a small bridge over the ski trail… the log cabin in the distance, the sound of the stream gurgling, the snow drifting down softly… makes me smile. You have to listen carefully to hear the stream.

Watching that little video makes me feel all calm. One might even say suffused with tranquility, if that’s not hyperbolic. And grateful that we are able to come here for a week. Our week of lazing in the Laurentians has not been fancy or particularly exciting. It may not be everyone’s idea of a dream vacation. But it sure has been just what we wanted. And needed. Calming, as I said. Relaxing. Replenishing. Nourishing.

We all need a little winter respite, my friends. No matter how simple.

P.S. The book links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link I will earn a commission which helps to pay for the blog.


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34 thoughts on “Lazing in the Laurentians”

  1. That looks wonderful, Sue! I’ve wanted to get to Le P’tit Train du Nord for years and you’re making me a bit envious. The rhythm of your days there would suit us perfectly.
    And since you’ve mentioned Martin Doolard’s biking videos, I must thank you for recommending his YouTube channel with the series about restoring a little stone cottage in the Italian Alps — we’ve really enjoyed it!

    1. It is such a great facility. Like many places we use the old railroad bed here for trails, but no grooming or tracks set. That makes such a difference.

  2. This is magical! True bliss!
    Perfect snow,perfect coffee :),books,wine…..oh,yes,I like it!
    I’ve read first two of Sally Spencer’s Monika Paniatowski books (S. Spencer was your suggestion but I don’t know why I didn’t start with DCI Woodend?) . So far so good, I like them,thank you,there are enough of them for now,phew!
    Wendy from York is a mighty influencer (I love all of the books she recommended and I’ve read )- I’ve finished Patch Work as well and echo you both
    Thank you Wendy!
    Sue and Stu,enjoy every minute!

  3. That is our kind of holiday . Though I’m not sure skiing is laziness . Especially the kind you do ! We just walk . The little film clip was magical . I’m glad you & Dottoressa enjoyed Patchwork , I did too , especially all the little snippets about the treasures of the V & A . The BBC did a couple of series not long ago which went behind the scenes there & it was very good . I don’t know if it travelled the world ? I’m abit sweet on Cormoran too .
    Enjoy the rest of your stay

    1. You can almost hear the rustle of tissue paper in that book. At times, though I wished she had been a little more forthcoming about the events she was referring to… I’m thinking the designer she spoke about with the apple pie is Vivian Westwood.

  4. This trip sounds like bliss, Sue! Enough exercise to feel like all those little treats are “earned”. I was just telling someone in the elevator at work this morning about your description of that commute your first year teaching. It’s very cold here right now (-12C) but we both shivered and said “at least we don’t have it THAT bad!” I’m looking forward to the next Cormoran coming out this year, and the newest Elizabeth George (Inspector Lynley – swoon) that’s out now!

  5. Although I moved from New York to Texas to get away from the winters, I still get sentimental looking at snow. Your video captures the magical quality present after a fresh snowfall. To sit and read, have tea, and look out the window at all that, sounds heavenly.
    And I always appreciate your book suggestions. Thank you for sharing your getaway with this armchair tourist!

  6. Now the railroad is no more. Lumberyards are stacked full of used railroad ties. You noticed because you were there. My mother would drive several miles from our home and drop of my father and his 10 year old daughter at a railroad crossing a gravel road. They would walk back home on the railroad tracks trying to scare up a ring neck pheasant. My father walked straight and tall with his 12 gauge shot gun resting on his shoulder. His daughter attempted running along the rails or jumping from tie to tie. Maybe we would bag a bird but more importantly, his daughter developed a love for the simple things in life.
    You captured your love for nature at its most basic form. Thank you for the journey.

  7. Sounds like a piece of heaven. Except I could not handle all the skiing and would need a day of after each. I hope you come home with a renewed feeling of calm in all the stress out there. I loved the little video, just gorgeous.

  8. Your holiday sounds like heaven, though I would have some trouble with the ski-ing. It is an area we have never visited, but will keep it in mind. I feel very blessed to live in such vast and beautiful country, with so many places to explore. Thank you for the book recommendations…my to read pile is growing faster than I can read. Enjoy your relaxing break.

    1. We love it up in the Laurentians. The small towns, and just the unpretentiousness of where we were. I know some of the other areas are more high profile with large fancy resorts. But we like the old one at Lac Morency.

  9. OMG, I’d require a generous amount of Valium and/or T3’s plus plenty of good Scotch to make it through two days at this bleak and frozen location. However, glad it served its purpose for you.

  10. Not sure about the lazing – you certainly earned your relaxation time after all that skiing! Thanks for the visit to such a beautiful location – makes me (almost) want to visit snow!

  11. So pleased you’ve had a relaxing and enjoyable time. The last 2 years have been hard for so many people. A trip such as yours is very replenishing and very worth while.

  12. I just returned from a girls’ trip to Austin, Texas, with dear friends I’ve been traveling with for 40 years. Yes, that’s true! This was our first trip in 2 years. We almost postponed it but am so glad we didn’t! Carpe diem.
    I can’t tell you how much this getaway has lifted my spirits. Just getting out from all the dire news has been so rejuvenating. Thanks, Sue, for your story of winter renewal! We each have our own opportunities to do the same.

  13. Hi Sue,
    Loved reading this! Thank you for sharing. It sounds like the perfect getaway for those times you just want to getaway!
    We love self guided walks which we’ve experienced in Australia and NZ but mainly in Europe…we take beautiful and exhilarating walks (20ish kms) through picturesque vineyards, villages, forests and mountains and then enjoy the wine and food of that region. An ideal way to experience a snippet of an area! Enjoy your holiday!

  14. Bliss! I would just love a trip like this, altho this can be a lazy month anywhere. Like here. Walks several times a day with Rosie, our whippet rescue. We follow the trail through Driftwood, our next door neighborhood. Old homes, giant oaks, and glimpses of the Bay as we walk. Rain or sun, neither Rosie nor I ever tire of it. My neighbor and I are planning a read of that Cormoran book, and a tea and scones discussion. Meanwhile, my book club has chosen “The Island of Invisible Women,” so I’m learning about Islam and the way Muslim women live there. What a huge and diverse world we live in – you, with your idyllic ski trip, me and Rosie taking our daily walks, and a land where woman control none of their choices but rather defer everything to men.

  15. It looks like you are having a wonderful trip. What a beautiful location. The view in the video is lovely.
    I’ve just finished listening to Lethal White and enjoyed it very much.
    I’ve added Patch Work to my list of books to read and perhaps gift.
    We’re in the middle of a big storm here in Boston. I’m watching the snow blow sideways through the windows and preparing myself for a long shoveling session. We’ll light a fire this evening and reward ourselves with a little fondue and Pinot Blanc. Winter has its rewards!
    Enjoy the rest of your trip.

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