We arose in our hotel room in Burlington, VT groggy and still jet-lagged and trudged north along beautiful route 2 in Northern Vermont and alongside the crystal blue waters of Lake Champlain Islands. We paused for a moment near this massive statue of the explorer Champlain and a native. And yes the water is COLD.
Nearby is lovely St. Anne's Shrine, a beautiful dedication to the mother of Mary with long rows of exterior seating for summer devotions.
We piled back in the car past beautiful silos and metal topped barns.
We had a choice to make:
We have adventure in our hearts and chose:
This is what we look like when we travel in my mom's homeland:
We drove past mom's childhood home in Verdun. There are bunches of these exterior staircases. The legend goes that the staircases were built that way so all the neighbors could be 'in on' one's visitors and therefore no surprises from overzealous suitors!
As a young girl in the 1950s my mother attended the Villa Maria Boarding School in Quebec, kind of like Hogwarts but with a different kind of magic. We stopped in for an, at times, emotional visit. Villa Maria is perched up high on a hill, massive and stoney and I didn't capture in any way the scope of the grounds or the building itself but here's a bit:
We were beat and hungry so wound our way through downtown Montreal en route to Old Town where we would be spending the night around the corner from Notre Dame Basilica at the Hotel Saint Xavier. We passed so many interesting things from Quebec's take on Colonel Sanders to displays by the master of glass art Chihuly and my mother's favorite sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle and so many flags!
We refreshed and then headed out to dinner. We made a pit stop for some poutine - a traditional dish in the area of french fries smothered in gravy.
(Some of us) are truly happy when we dine al fresco!