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A Long Weekend at Long Point Eco-Adventures

Look at me, mom! I'm flying at Long Point Eco-Adventures!

We've been hosting Thanksgiving dinners at our home since we moved in, but this year, my parents were travelling and we will be fortunate enough to have an aunt from overseas visiting next weekend. So, we pushed out our big family gathering until next weekend and instead decided to take advantage of the additional day off of work to squeeze in a roadtrip. With an invite in hand from Attractions Ontario, we jumped in our car as soon as we could … [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...]

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...]

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...]

Ready, Set …

Great Bear River, NWT

You know how the Super Bowl half-time show is actually more fun than the football game? Well, that's kinda how it's going to be around here while Hubby and I are off in no-internet-land on a canoe trek in the Northwest Territories. I've ensured that everything special to me is in excellent hands while we're away, and that includes my little space here on Coffee with Julie. Some fabulous online friends are pitching in to keep you entertained, … [Read more...]

What to Pack for a White Water Canoe Course: On the Water Gear

Gear and Clothing for On the Water

Tomorrow morning, Kerry is picking me up bright and early for our Introduction to White Water Canoeing Course (called Groovy Moves! with Pure Life Adventures). Two bloggers, white water, one night in a tent ... we should have some good tales to tell when we get back! I am teaching myself, with a great deal of help from Hubby, how to pack independently for camping. When we go family camping, he is the "gear guy." I really don't touch a thing. … [Read more...]

Cute vs. Practical Clothing for Camping and Canoeing

The Cute Outfit

I might not be ready for my canoe trek yet. But I will be! I am now diligently cramming for my introduction to white water canoeing course this weekend and the big trek to come in the Northwest Territories. After going out for a canoe via Britannia Bay on Monday night with Hubby and the kids, I swooped into Bushtukah, a local outdoors and sports store in our neighbourhood, one hour before closing. I wanted to find some clothing for camping and … [Read more...]

No, I’m Not Ready for My Canoe Trek.

Groovy Moves course, Pure Life Adventures

These days, the most common question I've been getting from colleagues and friends and a few strangers is: So, are you ready for your big trip up to Northwest Territories? Well, it's on my list. And to be fair a lot important things don't get done on my list. I run out of time. Or energy. Or a combination of both. Plus, I've been really busy getting work done so that I can actually take a holiday. Oh, and there were the birthday parties, … [Read more...]

When One Door Closes …


Lately, I've been thinking about this expression: "When One Door Closes, Another One Opens." The full saying actually goes like this: “When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”~ Alexander Graham Bell I've also heard other variations, like "When one door closes, use the window," reinforcing the notion that there is more than one way … [Read more...]

Canoe Trip in the Northwest Territories: It’s Happening!

I told you how I won a trip, but I also promised to tell you all about our upcoming trip to spectacular Northwest Territories. And you know me, I like to keep my promises! (You know, mostly.) All up, our Northwest Territory adventure will end up being 9 days in total. One day for travel there and one day for travel back via First Air, which is one of the only air carriers with regular connections to 30 northern communities. We'll be flying … [Read more...]

Spectacular Northwest Territories: Seeing Stars and Lucky Stars


Seeing the Aurora Borealis up in Canada's Great North has always been a dream of mine. (And Hubby's ... but his also includes winter camping, whitewater canoeing, and a whole bunch of other adventurous deeds.) So when I received an invitation from MJW Communications to a kick-off event for the Spectacular Northwest Territories Days at Ottawa's Winterlude in February, I immediately accepted. Normally, I go to these travel-writing/blogging events … [Read more...]

Ottawa Staycation: Cross-country skiing in Gatineau Park

Fluffy snow!

For a second outing during our Ottawa staycation (you can read about our first outing here), we decided to head up to the Gatineau Hills for a cross-country ski. It would have actually been a sin not to go cross-country skiing with all of the snow we had over the Christmas season here in Ottawa! Everywhere around us, as far as one could see, the world had a bit of a magical gleam to it with mounds of fluffy snow hanging upon the tree … [Read more...]

Guest Post: Advice for Parents if Your Child is Volunteering Abroad

Hello loverlies! I am back from my vacation out to Eastern Canada and will collect photos and notes to share with you soon. In the meantime, I was contacted a while back about a guest post sponsored by Projects Abroad, an international volunteer organization. Many young people take "gap years" these days -- I know I certainly did! In fact, in my family, three out of four of the kids chose to travel overseas after graduation: I left with a … [Read more...]

Beaches Boscobel, Jamaica: A Tween’s Perspective (Day 4)

At the entrance to Mystic Mountain

Stella, who is almost 10 years old, and I have just returned from Beaches Boscobel in Jamaica, where we were invited to experience the resort. If you’re a parent and you travel to the Carribean during winter, then you’ve likely heard of Beaches Resorts. This chain of resorts is known for providing an above-and-beyond experience to families and their young children. But what about the “tween”? When your child is not a “little kid” nor are they a … [Read more...]

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