After 14 weeks of placement and two jobs, I was ready for a much needed vacation. So my sister, Jake and I packed our bags and headed to Ottawa.
Jake found a concert at Mill Street Pub he wanted to go to, my sister and I found a spa we wanted to go to and my cousins Derek and Becca live just outside of the city with their adorable baby Maddox, so it only seemed reasonable to hit the road and stay for a few jam-packed days.
Day 01/August 11
We packed our bags and hit the road shortly after noon on Thursday and made our way to Ottawa. One of the best things about going to my cousin’s house is that we take Highway 7 to get there, not Highway 401, so it is much more of a scenic drive and you are never bored with your surroundings.
After driving for quite some time, we were starting to get hungry so we stopped in Perth at Chip’s Diner. We devoured fish and chips, poutine and a chicken burger before hitting the road again.
Finally, we made it to Derek and Becca’s, just in time to play with Maddox before being served a gourmet dinner. Derek had made rice, blackened salmon and an avocado/mango salad. As we did every night, we stayed up late, drank and caught up before finally hitting the hay to prepare for the next day.
Day 02/August 12
On the Friday, I had purchased tickets online for my sister, Jake and I to go to Calypso water park. Unfortunately, it rained all day so we didn’t end up going to the park. Instead, we indulged ourselves in some retail therapy on this rainy day.
Derek and Jake dropped Marissa and I off at the Tanger Outlets in Kanata while they went record shopping. The Tanger Outlets are a group of stores selling products at discount prices. Included in these stores were Garage, Dynamite, Michael Kors, Reebok and Ardenes. Of course, when we saw that there was a Godiva Chocolate store, we had to stop in for some chocolate covered fruit and candies.
When Jake and Derek picked us up, the four of us headed to another plaza down the road to grab some lunch at The Three Brewers. Here, we had a Poutine Flam which is a pizza on a thin flatbread with mushrooms, curd, french fries and gravy. I drool just thinking about it. Before heading back to Derek’s, we stopped at the Central Bierhaus, a bar owned by one of the Ottawa Senators for another brew.
That night, Jake and Derek were headed to Mill Street Pub’s Hopped and Confused concert with The Glorious Sons and The Sheepdogs. While they went to the concert, Marissa and I took the opportunity to explore The Capital together. The first stop was Bridgehead Cafe, where we got a much needed latte and cookie. Then, we wandered the Parliament grounds and saw some interesting statues before ending our night with some bar-hopping. Our first stop was Milestones for Sangrias, and then to Atari in ByWard Market for some drinks with fun names like an “Absolut Douchebag”, “You’re a Peach” and “30 likes, 4 comments”. The guys then picked us up and we were back to Derek’s for some games and catching up before bed.
Day 03/August 13
After Friday’s bar-hopping, Saturday was a necessary pampering day. Jake drove Marissa and I to Chelsea, Quebec where we checked in at Le Nordik Spa while he did some record shopping in the area.
At the spa, Marissa and I purchased the Thermal Experience and the Kalla Treatment. The thermal experience included access to all of the saunas, hot pools, cold pools and relaxation rooms. The Kalla Treatment was a special, heated salt-water pool where participants lay on their backs in the pool and float while the water relieves stress, rejuvenates your body and promotes well-being. It was worth the extra money for sure. We enjoyed a gourmet lunch at the spa, where you sit and eat your meal in robes.
When Jake picked us up, we headed back to Derek’s just in time for the guys to leave for the second night of the concert. After a day of relaxation, Marissa and I were too tired to accompany them this time, so we relaxed and watched Twilight movies all night instead.
Day 04/August 14
On Sunday, Marissa and Derek headed back to Belleville for a family reunion, but Jake and I were not yet ready to cut our vacation short, so we stayed in the city to explore some more.
After having lunch with some old high school friends, we made our way to the heart of the city and found ourselves in a beautiful park beside the Parliament Buildings. We watched the boats travel the Rideau Canal for a bit before walking to ByWard market to do some shopping in the Rideau Centre. We had some time to kill before meeting up with another one of Jake’s friends from elementary school, so we wandered around and leave it to me to find an ice cream shop. We split a cone from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and then headed to The Highlander Pub, a traditional Scottish pub where all the servers wear kilts, to meet with Jake’s friend.
After visiting, we headed back to Derek’s and we all called it a night early, as Monday was our last day in the area.
Day 05/August 15
Although I would have loved to have gone with my sister as well, Jake and I headed to Calypso just the two of us on Monday as Marissa had left the previous day. We did buy the tickets online prior to, though, so it made more sense to waste one ticket rather than three. We had thanked our hosts, cuddled Maddox and said our goodbyes before heading to the water park for our last day of vacation adventure. It was a beautiful day for the water park, and we enjoyed the intense wave pool, two lazy rivers and numerous slides. After a long day of swimming and having fun we started our way back home, stopping in Kingston for dinner before making the last stretch back to home.
Overall, my much needed vacation to Ottawa was more than I could have asked for. Our hosts were awesome, Maddox was adorable and I had so much fun. It was even better that my sister came too, so we could sneak in some much-needed sister bonding before she signed on for another Cruise Ship contract. Jake and I will definitely be back to explore our favourite city more in the future.
Until next time,