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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

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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...]

A trip to Achray Campground in Algonquin Park, Ontario

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I suspect that many camping families get themselves in a bit of a rut now and then. I think we find a magical campsite and then just keep going back and back. Sure, there's nothing wrong with returning to the tried and true. Let's a lot of advantages actually: kids often feel happy when they're in familiar surroundings and mothers often feel happy when they now how to navigate themselves through the forest to the toilets in the middle of the … [Read more...]

#Blog4NZ: New Zealand never leaves you

Blog4NZ is a grass-roots effort on the part of the international travel blogging community to promote all that is good about travel in New Zealand from the 21st to 23nd of March — the one-month anniversary of the quake. Tourism makes up approximately 10% of New Zealand’s GDP and it is essential for the world to know that New Zealand is open for business. So ... New Zealand! Where to start? Well, it was 1993, I had a one-way ticket and a one-year … [Read more...]

Winter: If you can’t beat’em, join’em!

Photo credit: Jean Tanguay

Photo credit: Jean Tanguay I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but winter is just around the corner. My husband thinks this is fantastic news indeed and has already equipped the kids with snowsuits and good hats and mitts. You might recall that I, on the other hand, am not quite as fond of winter. In fact, I spent most of last winter trying not to hate it. And although I still don't love it, to say the least, I did find that joining in … [Read more...]

Saguenay Series, Part 4: Vive le Québec! Vive le Saguenay!

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Okay, so! My trip to Northern Quebec! There is a lot to tell; I almost don't know where to start. But I guess the beginning is always a good place ... I was invited by Quebec's Ministry of Tourism to attend a press trip which would share with me six different family travel ideas from the Saguenay--Lac-Saint-Jean area. But in reality, the trip was so well-organized and the area has so much to offer that I've come home with countless things that … [Read more...]

Snapshots from Jonesport, Maine

Early morning fog on Jonesport Beach

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Camping lesson #1: If there’s no nature, it’s not worth it

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In an attempt to bring ourselves back into the camping spirit now that we have children, we bought a pop-up tent trailer this spring. I admit that we swallowed our pride when we parked it in our driveway. It really put a damper on our camping "street-cred." Just as we defiantly swore we'd never buy a minivan just because we had children (and, for the record, we still have not succumbed ... yet), we also swore to never "car camp." Our first … [Read more...]

Tom Thomson knew a good thing when he found it

Jack Pine by Tom Thomson (1916), from National Gallery of Canada

The celebrated artist Tom Thomson and his comtemporaries in The Group of Seven spent a great deal of time in Algonquin Park. The Park was more rugged then, and more quiet I'm sure. But despite the changes over the years, this Park remains as inspiring as ever. Hubby and I have had a long-lasting love affair with this Park. So much so that I wanted to name our son or daughter Quin (short for Algonquin). We've spent countless hours alone in … [Read more...]

Personal style: Sacrificed at the altar of family

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Most of the folks in our circle started out strong. We wouldn't sacrifice our personal style just because we were starting a family. Hell no! Just because we'd be parents didn't mean we'd have to give up our sense of "cool." But, one by one, we've all slipped into family-dom. Some jumped in whole-heartedly, while others -- like my husband and I -- tried to hold on stubbornly to as much as we could. Here are some flashing signals that you … [Read more...]

The March Break Highlight

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So, all the Ontario kidlets are now back to school. I hope most of you were able to enjoy some March Break relaxation. Things here have been busy for me (as I'm sure it is for other Ottawa local readers since government fiscal year-end = lots to do and all on by an immovable deadline of March 31st). Wouldn't it be great if the kids' spring break started on April 1st? My 7-year-old, Stella, and hubby, however took some time off for quality … [Read more...]

Need to getaway? Make a break for Montreal.

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If one day at home with the little cherubs on March Break has you swilling wine tonight, it's time to consider a getaway. In all seriousness, I do find it hard to feel like I've had a "break" if I don't leave home, don't you? And I often think children must feel that way too. I've got a getaway idea for you that won't break the bank: Montreal. When I brought my daughter to this city, she really did feel like she'd travelled to … [Read more...]

Staycation? Um, no thanks.

I keep hearing about the popularity of the "staycation." The idea is that because of tightened family budgets, we're choosing to stay home instead of travel on our vacation time. I don't know about you, but if I have to sit around my house and look at the do-it-yourself projects we have yet to do and the growing clutter caused by two growing children, well, I'd rather stay at work, thank you very much. Plus, I do work from home so the allure of … [Read more...]

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