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Grab a friend and board Amtrak’s Adirondack Line for a long weekend getaway in Montreal, Canada’s capital of culture. Buy two round-trip tickets from New York City starting at $189 – 25 percent off seasonal rates. This discounted rate is available for travel in September.
The Adirondack Line provides service between New York City’s Penn Station and Montreal’s Central Station. This scenic ride glides along the Hudson River, making stops at some of Upstate New York’s most charming riverside towns. After a stop in Albany, the train continues on through the stunning Adirondack Mountains before crossing the Canadian border into Quebec.
September serves as an ideal time to visit Montreal with average temperatures hovering around a comfortable 70 degrees. The end of September also marks the beginning of Canada’s fall foliage.
The Tour de France, the top cycling event of the year, recently rolled over the finish line, and the collective reaction from viewers elicited barely more than a ho-hum. Even so, it’s hard to deny the draw of the saddle while you’re watching riders cruise through enchanting French towns and flower-filled countryside.
To that end, here are several bike-centric getaways for travelers who prefer sightseeing on two wheels, whether your desired exertion level is straight up a ski resort in Utah or a simple cruise through the rolling hills of New England.
The Luxury Formerly a private club frequented by high-profile guests like Grace Kelly, the Fairmont Le Château Montebello – 75 miles west of Montreal – offers today’s travelers a rustic-chic retreat flanked by the Ottawa River and Quebec’s rolling Laurentian Mountains. The log-fashioned château houses 211 guest rooms, each outfitted with traditional plaid blankets and chocolate-brown wood detailing. The hotel’s 18-hole, 1929-designed golf course traverses forested hills and doubles as an Audubon sanctuary.
The Value Readers who book the Golf Package Smart Luxury by June 30 get a daily breakfast buffet for two, 10 percent off select Pro Shop merchandise, two rounds of golf per person each day, and a $50 dining credit. June rates start at $420 per night, double occupancy; travel is valid through September 1.
The Catch This package requires a two-night minimum stay.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on hotels, flights, vacation packages, and more.
Put together a horse and rider, skier, tow rope, and a snow-packed obstacle course with ramps to jump and rings to grab, and what do you have? Skijoring, a winter sport that’s almost as exhilarating to watch as it is to participate in.
Skijoring (photos courtesy of Steve Sunday; Leadville/Lake County Visitor Center) has long been practiced in places like Scandanavia and Alaska. Instead of a horse, skiiers can also be pulled by a dog, snowmobile, or even a mule. Skijoring has become much more popular in the last few years, and along with the growth, competitions have popped up all over the country. Many events include lessons for rookies before the main competition, during which veteran teams take to their saddles and skis and blast through the course in pursuit of the fastest time – and, usually, a not-too-shabby purse – in an unforgettable, Wild West display of skill and athleticism.
Skijoring competitions are often part of winter festivals that are a draw in their own right, with everything from polar plunges to snow mountain biking on the docket – all of which make for a winter weekend getaway way more interesting than, say, just hitting the slopes. Here, a few spectator-worthy destinations, with the added bonus that most events are free to watch. Read more
Bring the kids aboard the MSC Poesia, where they’ll cruise for free, as it sails through Eastern Canada during the peak of autumn foliage with rates starting at just $499! The seven-night family-friendly cruise departs from New York City on October 16 and wastes no time getting to the heart of the vibrant fall colors, calling at Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia. The Poesia then stops in the charming city of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where the brilliant changing of seasons continues. The Poesia makes its final stop an overnight call in Quebec City, a picturesque European-influenced city with no shortage of natural and historical beauty.
THE VALUE: In addition to saving 64 percent off rack rates, guests will receive between $50?$200 of onboard spending (depending on the cabin purchased), as well as a 10 percent discount on select shore excursions.
THE CATCH: Kids sail free as third and fourth occupants in a room with two paying adults, and interior cabins can get a bit cramped.
THE DETAILS: To book your Captivating Colors of Canada cruise, visit www.cruisesonly.com.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search comparison tool to find low fares back home from Quebec City.
Canada may be the place for your family this summer if you all have the fortitude and passion for long train rides. Amtrak continues its longstanding policy of permitting two kids aged 2-15 to travel for half price with each fare-paying grownup, so the 11-hour ride from New York’s Penn Station to Montreal would be $62 per adult, $31 per child, the 13-hour trip from Philly to Montreal would be $84/$42, and Washington, D.C. to Montreal $107/$53.50.
Those cities are also among the ones included in Amtrak vacation packages to Montreal where the adult fares I just quoted would be included in a price that includes two nights at one of nine participating hotels. The per person, double occupancy rate would be $320 for NYC, $325 for Philly and $345 for DC, with additional occupancy fees per child depending, as always, on individual hotel policies.
Hawaii has its lomilomi, Bali its lulur, and India its Ayurvedic repertoire, but Canada’s indigenous spa treatments (cold-stone massage, anyone?) don’t readily come to mind. That’s kind of a shame since the treatments I’ve had across the Great White North tend to swap glamour for substance, in true Canadian fashion. Plus the number of training hours for therapists far exceeds the requirements of most U.S. states, and it shows. (And you can bet the Winter Olympic athletes are availing themselves of remedies for their muscle spasms, wipeouts, and windburn.) Here are three spa services that originate in Canada. They’re on the earthy, not flashy side, but they get a gold in execution.
Maple facials and body scrubs
Ben Kaminsky is Canada’s cosmetic chemist in chief (formerly a pharmaceutical one). The Montrealer’s range of results-oriented skin and body-care products all contain an antioxidant extract called bio-maple, tapped from the sap of Canada’s emblematic tree. The hydrating and exfoliating ingredient is in the B. Kamins maple sugar scrub treatment and Beyond Botox Facial, offered at Willow Stream Spas, and many more throughout Canada (and the U.S.). Read more
The Luxury One of Quebec City’s main attractions, the 116-year-old Le Château Frontenac is a joy to visit and a dream to stay in. Located on a bluff overlooking the St. Lawrence River, the landmark 618-room Fairmont property radiates a magical air, with its patinated copper turrets overlooking the heart of Old Quebec. Its amenities include restaurants specializing in regional gastronomy, traditional high tea service, and an indoor pool. Read more
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