For the third year my family and a group of other YMC staff, members and their families met in Ottawa for a long weekend of Winterlude fun. It turned out, due to surprisingly warm weather, this year it was all about food and less about outdoor activities for the Ehm clan - which suited us just fine.
The food theme started with a Wine and Cheese Party hosted by Savvy Company. A bunch of YMC-ers were treated to a lesson on wine tasting and a tutorial on everything you ever needed to know about cheese. My favourite was a Cabernet Franc from Rosehall Run.
Saturday's itinerary was supposed to be skating on the canal. But with temperatures as high as +4, the canal was closed. The irony: all of us had bought new skates especially for our Winterlude canal skating. Oh well. You can't fight with Mother Nature. Instead YMC Editor Ali, and Food Blogger Gav and our families spent the day eating and drinking our way through the Byward Market.
First stop was Italian Deli La Bottega Nicastro. We met a nice man from Paris who was selling "jambon"
Of course we had Beavertails. Everyone had the regular sugar and cinnamon 'tails—but Gav had to be different and went with garlic and cheese on his. We shunned him for his choice.
Then we headed to Confederation Park to look at the ice sculptures, do some wood working, get locked up and...eat.
After some time relaxing back at our hotel—it was time to eat. We regrouped and headed back to the market and feasted on fajitas and steak and margaritas at Lone Star Grill. It was interesting that the children were all sitting quietly at their tables eating and drawing, while all of us socializing parents were bouncing around and meeting friends we only knew online.
Sunday was also warm—so skating was cancelled again. So a few families headed 20 kilometres north to Gatineau and went sno-tubing. Talk about amazing family fun!
And, in keeping with the food theme, we walked up the hill to the onsite Cabane a Sucre for some delicous maple syrup on a stick. Messy goodness.
Back to the hotel for a short nap, and we headed out for dinner again. This time we met a bunch of friends at the Hard Rock Cafe in the market to share stories of what we did during the day. Each of us had totally different experiences!
Monday morning was still way too warm for the canal to open. So, for the first time in 3 years, we didn't skate at Winterlude. But we did shop. There was an event put on by Bunch Family at Old Navy offering deep discounts on their new spring line hosted by Loukia. Who could resist a shopping party? My daughter found the cutest maxi dress, and I bought a pair of Sweetheart stretchy skinny jeans while my son and husband patiently waited on the "man bench" outside the store.
BTW, we love the hotel we stayed out. For the second year the Residence Inn by Marriot hosted us in one of their one bedroom suites. This place is great for families. Our suite included a full kitchen, living room with pull out queen size bed, lots of space, a washer/dryer and two large screen TV's. A full buffet breakfast, pool, parking and wireless internet are all included in the cost. The location is also awesome—a very short walk away from the canal, ice sculptures, the Rideau Center Mall, the Byward Market and the Parliament Buildings. We basically didn't drive the whole time we were there.
And so our long weekend ended...satiated and relaxed. Can't wait to come back next year to try my new skates. And eat.