By Susan Campbell
Take your best friend leaf-peeping this fall
The spectacular display of sugar maples donning their coats of many colors is best experienced with an autumn escape to Quebec, but why not allow your canine companion a special getaway in that region as well? Discover unique Domaine Summum in St. Jovite near Mont Tremblant, arguably the most dog-friendly resort in the entire province, if not the country! The owners go above and beyond to cater to your four-legged friends in every way. Special canine gourmet menus, scads of no-leash dog trails, a doggie spa, plush beds, special toys, doggie daycare and so much more. And human guests are also treated very well in their charming collection of wooden cottage stays. It’s a wonderful lakefront spot to enjoy the fall foliage. Visit: domainesummum.com/
Iceland is wide open for business
There’s never been a better time to visit “The Land of Fire and Ice” since there are very few tourists there right now, and the country has virtually eliminated any trace of the virus. As of press time, Iceland had completely reopened their country in all respects — no social distancing or masks required though visitors must test negative upon arrival. And the best way to discover this unique outpost is with well-curated small group itineraries via On the Go Tours. They offer a wide range of custom trips that cover everything from the Northern Lights to “The Golden Circle” which includes the nation’s most famous natural attractions like the Blue Lagoon. Air Canada has direct flights to Keflavik International Airport from Toronto. Visit: onthegotours.com/ca/Iceland
New Escape Maze at Elmhirst’s Resort
A stay a Elmhirst’s Resort on picturesque Rice Lake near Peterborough and The Kawarthas is always a great escape from the city, but even if you don’t plan to stay over there’s a new way to discover it via their great new outdoor adventure The Escape Maze. As you solve the interactive puzzles to move on to the next checkpoint, there’ll be no escaping a side of history, as each clue is cleverly embedded with knowledge of the region’s and the resort’s interesting pasts. The customized game was developed in tandem with local business Escape Maze Inc. The experience is open to the public, but reservations are required. The resort also has wonderful farm-to-fork dining onsite for pre- or post-game enjoyment. Visit: elmhirst.ca/outdoor-escape-maze/
New way to share holiday property with family and friends
SharedKey® is a nifty new app that helps everyone stay on the same page when sharing vacation homes, cottages, and even timeshares. They have developed a comprehensive portal that provides
everything one could want to know about booking stay dates, property information, local attractions and supply depots, and there’s also an online message board. Developed by two brothers who shared a vacation home in the Canadian Rockies for 20 years with their families, they saw a need for a central, private and secure online system, to streamline communications so that everyone has a seamless holiday experience in the shared property arena. Available for Apple and Android products, for a free trial visit sharedkey.com/
Caribbean escapes for Canadians this winter
Though the Caribbean is eager to welcome Canadian visitors back to their beautiful beaches this fall/winter season, many island nations have developed stringent rules about allowing international tourists within their borders. New COVID-19 protocols can vary by island. For example, Cuba requires a test upon arrival but it’s free, while Aruba requires a negative test result 72 hours prior to travel, proof of travel insurance, and more. Beware, the rules can be a moving target as the global situation changes, so don’t be disappointed. Keep up-to-date on your destination’s official website to ensure you are properly prepared before you book and check your preferred air carrier’s updated schedules for direct flights, as travelling via connections in the U.S. might not be an option.
Great specials for Fairmont Le Château
Montebello’s 90th anniversary
Now is a great time to discover, or rediscover, the Montebello region as its most historic hotel celebrates its 90th anniversary. Originally called the
Log Château, it was built in 1930 as a lodge retreat for the rich and famous members of the private Seigniory Club and did not open to the public until1970. Today, under the Fairmont umbrella, it has received many luxe upgrades including a multimillion-dollar renovation in 2019. To celebrate its 90th anniversary this year, the resort is offering all kinds of surprise events and $90 specials for many different things including room rates, golf promotions, spa packages, and dining options. Their Executive Chef has also created a unique gourmet anniversary menu for groups of 25 or more. Visit: fairmont.com/montebello/offers/90th-anniversary/.
Susan Campbell is an award-winning travel writer originally from Ottawa, but now based in Montreal. Her work has appeared in hundreds of major print and web publications throughout North America. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @suectravel.