3 Outstanding Outdoor Experiences
photo: @jeanboileau via Instagram
If you’re an active person who also enjoys a little R&R, you’ve come to the right blog post. Here are a few suggestions for outings that combine outdoor activity with the finer things in life.
On the fringes of Gatineau Park
As you may already know, Gatineau Park is a cross-country skier’s paradise. And that paradise is literally in the heart of Gatineau and adjacent to picturesque villages like Wakefield and Chelsea. The park’s proximity to built areas, with their culinary and cultural attractions, makes it ideal for active epicures (let’s call them that) looking for a total experience: skiing in the morning, a spa treatment in the afternoon, and a delectable dinner in the evening … or you can mix them up!
Make a morning stop at BISCOTTI ET CIE. This charming red-house-turned-restaurant serves pastries, house-roasted coffee, paninis at lunchtime and tapas at suppertime. You may not want to tear yourself away from this cozy cocooning spot, but remember: your goal is to get out and enjoy GATINEAU PARK. It’s right across the street! The friendly staff at the Visitor Centre can recommend the best trails for you. With some 50 trails, 14 parking areas and several starting points, there’s lots to choose from. Once you’ve mapped out your itinerary, head out to explore the park’s network of hundreds of kilometres of groomed trails. Back in Chelsea after an active day outdoors, you’ll face another dilemma: a cold beer at the CHELSEA PUB, or a thermal bath at NORDIK SPA-NATURE Scandinavian spa? Who says you can’t have both? And when bedtime comes, there are several B&Bs within easy walking distance.
Right up there with Chelsea on the charm scale, the village of Wakefield is known for its engaging bohemian vibe. With its eclectic boutiques, restaurants, and beautiful setting on the Gatineau River, it’s an ideal spot to rest and recharge. Step out of your skis or snowshoes and into a heritage experience at the WAKEFIELD MILL, just off the Gatineau Park trails. Installed in a tastefully restored former grist mill, the inn features fine cuisine, a spa (twice ranked Canada’s most romantic spa!), and guestrooms overlooking MacLaren Falls. Several Gatineau Park-themed packages are available.
There are several hotels in Gatineau within a few minutes of Gatineau Park and its vast network of classic and skate skiing trails. Back in town after a day’s skiing, you can choose from a wide range of restaurant options, including Soif wine bar, owned and operated by internationally renowned sommelière Véronique Rivest; local favourite Le Cellier (BLOG); or Rustiek, a gastropub with a creative menu.