February 2018 – 2 days
Vermont is renowned for its skiing across the New England area. This should come as no surprise given that its name is derived from “mont vert” in French, which translates to green mountain. With over 30 alpine (downhill) and nordic (cross-country) ski centres, there are endless opportunities to enjoy the abundance of snow and mountainous terrain in this Green Mountain State. And hey, if skiing isn’t your thing, Vermont is also famous for its cheese, maple syrup and ice cream.
Ontario | Ottawa
February 2018 – 3 days
Every winter Ottawa hosts Winterlude – a three-week festival to celebrate winter. The city is transformed into a winter wonderland with ice and snow sculptures scattered around the downtown core. But its main draw is the Rideau Canal Skateway. At 7.8 kilometres long, when completely frozen, it forms the largest skating rink the world. We visited Ottawa during Winterlude two years ago. But due to an extreme cold warning (we’re talking -42°C with the windchill) we were unable to spend much time outdoors let alone skate on the canal. So this year we were ready for a second chance.
Honduras | Roatan
May 2018 – 8 days
Tucked away off the northern coast of Central America, Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands of Honduras and is reputed to be one of the best places in the Caribbean for scuba diving. The coral reef that encircles this quiet island is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world and is often a mere few hundred feet from shore. And while Honduras generally has a bad rap for its high crime stats, Roatan is considered relatively safe and is far removed from the dangerous crimes common on the mainland. With a healthy and diverse coral reef ecosystem, excellent visibility, affordable diving, and pristine sandy beaches, what more could you ask for in a vacation?
Maine | Acadia National Park
May 2018 – 3 days
Located along the rugged coast in Maine, Acadia National Park offers a variety of trails that weave their way up, down, and around mountains, through lush forests, and along a granite shoreline, all the while providing panoramic glimpses of the lively Atlantic Ocean. We visited Acadia once before last fall after the Labour Day long weekend and had such a wonderful time (with minimal crowds and pleasant weather) so we planned another visit to coincide with the other shoulder season – the spring.
Massachusetts | Cape Cod
June 2018 – 2 days
Cape Cod (often referred to as just “The Cape”) is a hooked-shaped peninsula off the eastern coast of Massachusetts. With its abundance of pristine sandy beaches jutting out into the Atlantic ocean, it’s no surprise that thousands of locals and tourists alike flock here every summer in an effort to beat the heat. With a heat advisory on the forecast for the weekend coupled with the fact that high-season was not quite in full-swing, the timing was just right to visit the Cape.
July 2018 – 10 days
Even though Newfoundland is a part of Canada, with its charming and friendly culture and a more relaxed pace of life, you can’t help but feel like you are in an entirely different country. They even have their own time zone (an hour and a half ahead of Eastern Standard Time). Sure, the weather is predictably unpredictable and there are wind warnings on the regular, but the scenery out on The Rock is hauntingly breathtaking.
Maine | Appalachian Trail
September 2018 – 4 days
As the largest of the New England states, Maine offers a wide variety of hiking opportunities and options through diverse terrain. We initially planned a four-day backpacking excursion along the Grafton Notch Loop. While the distance itself was not particularly daunting (60km over four days), one thing we (foolishly) did not factor in was the substantial change in elevation. Being located in the White Mountains (key word being mountains) should have tipped us off. Needless to say, we had to re-examine our (not-so) well-thought-out plans.
Ontario | Tobermory
September 2018 – 2 days
The Fathom Five National Marine Park is located right off the rocky shores of Tobermory and boasts of being one of best fresh water dive sites in the world. This underwater playground consists of 22 shipwrecks and a variety of neat geological features such as caves, cliffs and overhangs. While the pristine turquoise waters of Georgian Bay offers phenomenal visibility for fresh water diving, the only catch is that the water is cold. Very cold.
Ontario | Bon Echo Provincial Park
September 2018 – 2 days
Bon Echo Provincial Park is located in southeastern Ontario and is situated along several lakes, including Mazinaw Lake – the seventh deepest lake in the province. For years we’ve been saying we’d like to visit Bon Echo, in large part because it’s located close by K’s family cabin. So this year we finally made it happen. While there are just over 500 car camping sites to choose from in this provincial park, we booked one of the 25 coveted canoe-in campsites located in the backcountry on Joeperry Lake.
Massachusetts | Martha’s Vineyard
October 2018 – 2 days
Martha’s Vineyard is an island located just south of Cape Cod. It is well known for being a (not so secret) hideaway for the rich and famous and for the filming of Jaws. So you know this island means business: in terms of money and great white sharks. There is always a tradeoff between visiting a popular destination in peak season versus shoulder (or off season). On one hand, the only way to enjoy the fabulous beaches in the Vineyard is during the summer months. But you’ll be sharing with swarms of other people. And if you visit during the shoulder season, temperatures are too cool to enjoy the water, but the roads, restaurants, and trails are noticeably quieter. We went with the quieter option and visited in October.
Japan | Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara
November 2018 – 10 days
Dōmo arigatō, Mr. Roboto. This was pretty much the only Japanese we knew prior to booking our (very last minute) trip to Japan. But with our trusty cellphones in hand to help with translation and navigation, we were ready to immerse ourselves in a country rooted in ancient tradition. With its rich culture, exceptionally clean cities, efficient transportation, modern toilets, and endless sources of entertainment, Japan is unlike any other country we’ve visited before.
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