Weekend Escape: Road Trip to Montreal

Sometimes New York is just too much.

It’s too busy, too hectic, the amount of people can be suffocating.

Did you think that I never get tired of the city? That I don’t miss the rolling hills of corn you pass while flying down country roads, windows rolled all the way down? A quietness so immense you can hear a mouse fart?

Of course there are days that I miss it, it’s where I was born and raised.

Most New Yorkers also hit a point when they need out of the city, just a little break, and three day weekends are the perfect opportunity to do just that.

President’s Day weekend 2019 Zoe and I decided to rent a car and road trip it up to Montreal with a few New England stops on the way. Seems like a great, straight forward endeavor right?

LOL.

We had this perfectly planned out trip where we depart at 12.00 p.m. on Friday, hit Providence, RI [drive time of 2 hours from my apartment] to take a peek at what it’s all about, then we go to Boston [drive time of 1.5hrs from Providence] for dinner, then Montreal [drive time of 5.5hrs].

So in total, this trip should’ve taken 9 hours, plus 1.5 for dinner and stops. I created a mapped out google doc that said so.

How long did it actually take us?

OVER THIRTEEN HOURS.

So what caused this delay?

Let’s list it off:

  • Right off the bat, our start time was off, we didn’t leave until 3:30 p.m.
  • Traffic. Traffic. Traffic.
  • Boston has a massive underground tunnel system not for the weak of heart or sensitive GPS systems. I kid you not Boston might as well have its own world underground – it felt kin to that of a Purgatory. Will you make it out of the tunnels? Only if God allows.
  • Last but not least, we took quite a few fresh air stops to awaken our tiring souls

Boston was such a hot mess getting to, realistically we should’ve given up [we really were tangled in those tunnels for so long..] but the level of determination to see Boston was intense.

That being said, when we finally made it, we were enchanted. It was so quaint.. so charming.. it’s been decided a formal trip needs planned there asap. Boston is deserving of it’s own weekend.

Now.. the next moment to highlight the level of delirium..

THE BORDER.

Picture it: It’s 4:00 a.m. and two twenty-somethings, who have been driving for nearly 12 hours, approach the border.

It’s intimidating and doesn’t make sense.

As we approach, there is a sign that says, “WAIT TO PULL FORWARD UNTIL SIGNAL

Frantically, we’re both looking for a signal of sorts – a light maybe??

Then we see an arm extend out of the building ahead, motioning us forward.

Signal?!” we whisper to each other frantically.

So I inch the vehicle forward and we’re faced with a stern looking officer who quickly bombards us with the questions, “Where are you coming from? Why are you visiting? Who are you visiting? Where are you staying? Whose car is this? When are you leaving?

We answer them all reasonably enough, then we get our passports back – all good to go!

So I hit the gas, but the car isn’t moving…

I push the pedal harder, harder, to the floor. The engine is revving so loud in the sleek Dodge Charger but we aren’t moving…

What kind of Canadian border magic is this?!” I wonder.

Then, I assess the car in more detail.

I 100% forgot that I put it in park.

Then it clicks – I just revved my engine at a Canadian Border Patrol Police Officer.

Oh my god.

In the US, a rev of the engine is considered a challenge – what if it’s the same in Canada or what if it’s worse??

I turn to look at him, my mouth open and eyes wide in shock, I owe him some kind of explanation for my weird behavior, right?

I, uh, forgot the, uh” I say rather intelligently while looking between him and my dashboard.

It’s okay.” he stifles a laugh.

While Zoe is next to me whisper-yelling, “DUDE GO GO GO GO BEFORE HE DOESN’T LET US IN!

Queue my zoom out of there.

So that’s how we made it into Canada.

The rest of the weekend was spent stuffing face with various poutines, all the coffees, beaucoup de franglais, hating the way they all say deux [they say it like dur], too much wind in the arctic tundra for us to handle at times, more shopping than our bank accounts would like, and we both got tattoos.

Below are key locations of our weekend 🙂

STAY

Samesun Hostel book on HostelWorld

Samesun Hostel | Montreal, QB

We stayed at Samesun Hostel which was incredibly affordable and if it cost anymore than what we paid I’d be bitter af.

We arrived around 4AM, the guy seemed to have a hard time understanding what was going on and why we were arriving when we did – even though we literally gave them a heads up that afternoon what our latest ETA would be. But he finally got it together and gave us our towels and room keys.

We journey down some stairs and a corridor, before we make it to our room. We open the door and we’re hit with it.

We are hit with the nastiest smell you could ever imagine, and we immediately begin gagging uncontrollably. We frantically glance around the room both looking for a free bed and the source of the smell.

Zoe frantically whispers, “Those are dudes in those beds.

Aw hell nah.

No way are staying in a room with 10 nasty-smellin-ass boys – especially when we paid for an all girls dorm. No, no, no. Not happening sorry.

We rapidly evacuate the room – still gagging – and force the front desk dude to change our room to what we booked.

After that, it was smooth sailing. The beds were hostel-level fine, the breakfast was pretty decent, and it was located in a decent spot where we could walk nearly everywhere.

EATS

Clam Chowder + Lobster Mac & Cheese

The Aviary | Swansea, MA

The Aviary was our New England dinner stop on the way up, and all I have to say is wow, did this place live up to our expectations of everything we thought traditional New England cuisine would be.

The lobster in the lobster mac was so fresh it quite literally got us all hot and bothered.

This poutine was either the duck or the pulled pork…I think it was the duck…

Hippi Poutine | Montreal, QB

This place was straight fire from top to bottom.

The poutine was everything we wanted and then some, and they had the cutest french children’s books everywhere.

It also was incredibly close to the hostel – approx. 10 min walk.

Pain Perdu

Café Chat L’Heureux | Montreal, QB

This is a cat cafe – need I say more?!

I don’t, but that doesn’t mean I won’t 🙂

Café Chat L’Heureux has you remove your shoes upon entering to keep the place clean and cozy for the cats. They also serve a great cappuccino and decadent desserts – each table also has a detailed paper with the cat’s photos, names, zodiac signs, and if they’re available for adoption :’)

Biscuits & Gravy + Breakfast Potatoes

Penny Cluse Cafe | Burlington, VT

Penny Cluse was our exit brunch of the journey. This place echoed the New England quintessential charm and had such a homey diner vibe. It had major Luke’s from Gilmore Girls vibes now that I think about it.

If you find yourself in Burlington, Vermont – this has to be on your list.

Published by

Emily Smith

Core Values: Adaptability, Empathy, Intuition, & Dedication. A creature of habit with a passion for the world, I spend an abnormal amount of time plotting my next vacay on google maps. I often yearn for adventure and to be anywhere other than where I am and with a strong drink in my hand. I currently hail in Brooklyn, but I've spent a greater part of my life in both Indiana and Kentucky and a blip of time living in Caen, France. I have an affinity for exploration and New Age practices, so feel free to reach out to me for travel tips, dream interpreting, mediocre palm reading, or just to have a candid conversation.

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