livingfamilytravelmediahome decor

Manitoulin Island: Highlights from our Roadtrip


If you live in Ontario, there's a good chance that you've heard of Manitoulin Island and said to yourself: "Oh, I must visit there one day!" That's exactly how our family felt, so we were sure to include it in our list of places to stop for our family's summer roadtrip 2015. To say we enjoyed our stay on the Island is an understatement. We only had three nights on the island, but could have easily spent far more time exploring, hiking, and … [Read more...]

Summer Road Trip 2015: Northwest Ontario

road trip 2015

After last year's epic adventure to Australia, this year's summer holiday needed to be a bit more subdued. My husband suggested a road trip across Canada -- from Ottawa to Vancouver. Um, how is that scaling back exactly? He then countered with a camping road trip in Northern Ontario. I was not excited: is there anything but mosquitoes in Northern Ontario? I was wrong. So very, very wrong. For our 10-day trip, here is the route we took: 1. … [Read more...]

First Camping Trip of the 2015 Season!

Arriving and setting up.

It will come as no surprise to some of you that we chose Achray campground in Algonquin Park for the location of this season's first outing with the pop-up tent trailer. (If you've never heard of Achray and want to learn more, click here and here for details.) Nature was so kind to us! We had beautiful weather, with beautiful people and left with beautiful memories. So, I'd thought I'd share some of this beautiful with you ... … [Read more...]

The Tranquil Side of Mont Tremblant

Tremblant Lake

Have you ever visited Mont Tremblant in Quebec? It's a spectacular ski mountain, with a beautifully developed village at its base. See this professional photo from the Tremblant website? It's accurate. It really is that picturesque. We've rented a condo there on several occasions for weekend getaways. It always feels special there ... like there is vibration in the air ... like the ground is almost thrumming with the ski vibes. And for the … [Read more...]

Mungo National Park (aka that big sand dune place), NSW, Australia

A sample of some of the interesting sand formations along the drive tour.

In the late 1960s, a young geologist was studying the Australian landscape and climate when he happened upon one of the world's most remarkable discoveries: human remains that date back more than 40,000 years. The area where these remains and many other artefacts have been found is now designated as Mungo National Park. Outside of Africa, Mungo remains highly unique and it tells of the very long history of the Australian Aboriginal … [Read more...]

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Niagara Falls


This weekend, I'll be working on downloading all my photos from our 6 weeks in Australia. In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy this guest post by freelance writer Lindsay Edwards. If you live in my neck of the woods (Ottawa area), then a trip to Niagara Falls might be just the perfect way to squeeze in some last minute summer time with your kids before heading back into the school season.  Top 5 Reasons to Visit Niagara Falls, by … [Read more...]

And … We’re Back!

A pic from the University of Melbourne campus.

It's been six weeks, more than 32,000 kms in the air, and another 6,000 kms by car since I announced that we had landed in Australia. I had great plans for blogging as we travelled, since I prefer to write while it's all fresh and exciting. But alas, I ran into troubles accessing WiFi and paid outrageous amounts of $$ to my cell phone provider for service and then finally just had to give up and accept that I would not be "connected" with all … [Read more...]

Australian Wildlife: Kangaroos in the Bush


When we host visitors to Canada and take them out for a drive in the woods, they'll inevitably ask about bears and moose. But the chances of seeing one of these special Canadian creatures is fairly rare. Fortunately, this is not the same for kangaroos in Australia. Seeing a kangaroo in the bush while out driving is about as likely as seeing squirrels hopping about in your backyard trees. While I did live in Sydney for close to a year … [Read more...]

Checklist: 10 Things to Do Before Leaving Your Home for Vacation


  Going on a long trip and wondering where to start? Here's our family's checklist for what to do before leaving for vacation. I hope you find it helpful! 1. Hire a house sitter or someone to check-in on your home regularly: It's important to keep up the regular maintenance such as grass cutting, plant watering, pet care, and mail pick-up. If you are not going to have someone living in your home, then be sure to read #2 below. 2. … [Read more...]

Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Australia

Despite the winter weather, there were some beautiful buds.

It's hard to believe that these amazing grounds in the Victoria state of Australia were once unusable swamp land outside of the city of Melbourne. Now, these beautiful and calming gardens, which are the Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne, are the perfect place to raise the spirit of the groggy, jet-lagged traveller. While the locals will tell you there's not much to see in winter (June to August in this hemisphere of the world), we … [Read more...]

Our Epic Adventure: 6 Weeks in Australia

aus intro

Wondering what's up with the radio silence around here? I've been itching to write and share .... but just haven't had a spare moment to do so between end-of-school events with the kids, packing, and then actually doing the travelling bit! And, now -- yes! -- we are here in Australia for our epic adventure. It's something we've been wanting to do for some time now. But as you can imagine, it takes a lot of planning and saving to actually pull … [Read more...]

The Winter Resolution: A Weekend Away in Ontario’s Highlands


In my last "Winter Resolution" post, I shared that I had bought myself ski gear for the first time. Yep, at age 42, I am now the newbie owner of downhill ski gear! It's my way of committing to this "love like the winter" kick I've been on since I first posted about my struggles with winter back in December of 2009. Downhill ski gear is the most recent in a list of commitments I've made since 2009. The others include: A warm down-filled … [Read more...]

Taking the Kids to NYC: Our Top 5 Highlights


NYC with kids? Yes, it's do-able and we did it! We are fortunate enough to have friends in NYC, so it makes taking a last minute trip a whole lot easier. Usually, however, it is either Hubby or I taking a solo trip. This time, we took the kids. With Max now 5 years old and Stella now 11, travel is also a whole lot easier. So we felt that the Christmas school holiday break was a window we couldn't resist. We left on December 30th and drove … [Read more...]

Remember how you used to scrapbook? Yeah, me too …


This time last week, I was madly searching throughout my basement for my scrapbooking supplies. My poor scrapbooks have been terribly neglected and ignored for years. But somehow I had gotten myself signed up for a weekend scrapbooking retreat with my long-lost scrapbooking buddies and now I needed to resurrect the stuff. … [Read more...]

Historic Hotels: The King Edward, Toronto

the king edward hotel, toronto

The King Edward Hotel opened its doors in 1903. One hundred years later, I had my first stay here. I can't believe I hadn't stayed in this hotel before! The place is magic. It has hosted dignitaries, celebrities, and artists the world over. From Mark Twain to Margaret Thatcher, the Beatles to Britney Spears -- this hotel has stories to tell. And I suspect many of these stories are rolling around in the Crystal Ballroom. Closed down in the late … [Read more...]

Cool Cafes: Wildcat Cafe, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

@coffeewithjulie at Wildcat Cafe

It was late in the afternoon when we arrived into Yellowknife. Our day had started in Ottawa and had included a four-hour layover in Iqaluit and a one-hour one in Rankin Inlet. We were a bit tired, but wanted to make the most of every minute we had on our trip. So after unloading all of our gear into our room at our hotel, we decided to walk around the town and see if perhaps we could find a spot to eat. We walked out the front of our hotel … [Read more...]

Northwest Territories: Five Spectacular Things I Will Never Forget

Happy hour on Great Bear River

Our recent trip to Canada's Northwest Territories is now seared into my soul. It was an amazing experience that is but a memory as I've returned to a life of unloading the dishwasher, getting laundry done, and keeping kids busy during these last days of summer. Regardless of how "real life" has taken over, here are five spectacular things I will never forget. #1.  Midnight Sunsets During the summer months, days are so long in the … [Read more...]

Great Bear River Canoe Trip: I Opened That Door Again

Greyling fish, Great Bear River, NWT

In yesterday's post, I told you about my hardest day on the trip. Today, I can tell you with a smile on my face that that day is but a distant memory. In fact, at one point in that post, I had compared a panic attack to labour. And like labour, where once you see that beautiful little face it's hard to remember much else, so too is an adventure trek. I needed to experience that feeling again. The discomfort that comes from doing something … [Read more...]

Great Bear River Canoe Trip: The First Day was Hard. Real Hard.

Fly fishing at the mouth of Great Bear River, NWT

This post will be one a several that will share my experiences on a recent trip to the Northwest Territories. In this post, I answer readers who asked questions such as: "I want to know the low-lights, in addition to the highlights"; "Could I do this trip?"; "How hard was it?" Contrary to many trip reports that I read, there is no such thing as a trip that is all rainbows and unicorns. Usually, I don't get too personal in my blog posts. I'm going … [Read more...]

Back from Great Bear River Canoe Trip!

Canoeing on Great Bear River

We're back! And what an experience it was! So, first of all, where in the world were we? Our canoe trek with Canoe North Adventures started on Great Bear Lake, at the mouth of Great Bear River. You can see where Great Bear Lake is on the map below. … [Read more...]

Downtown New York City with Kids (Part 2 of 2 of NYC with Kids)

Chelsea Highline park in NYC.

In Part 1, Sarah shared so many awesome things to do with kids in Midtown New York City with kids that I'm not sure I'd ever even make it out to Downtown! But all that means is that I would need to schedule another trip to NYC ... darn, I would hate that. ;) Here, she share her favourite spots for kids in the Downtown region of New York City.  DIGGING DOWNTOWN NYC WITH THE KIDS (by guest poster: Sarah McCormack) Depending on what part of … [Read more...]

Copyright © 2009-2015 Coffee with Julie - All Rights Reserved - Designed by A&N Design Communications - Code Development by RL Web Designs