Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Montreal to Montebello

We left our wonderful spot in Montreal against a tough 7 knot current, went through two Saint Lawrence seaway locks on a beautiful day, and luckily found ourselves tied up in the quaint little town of Saint Anne De Bellevue, by late afternoon--against a very popular wall. There are actually two walls, divided by the canal, with the town being on one side--full of restaurants and shops. A cruiser's dream! We fixed a drink, sat on the back of the boat, and watched all the boats parading up and down the canal--reminiscent of "Ego Alley" in Annapolis. Lots of Fountain and Donzie boats (color Louis happy!)--everyone picnicking, sunning, and enjoying a glorious day on and around the water! With our boat tied up there, and so loaded down as it is, everyone is continuously so curious about how we got to Canada. We truly seem to answer the same questions almost daily: North Carolina, Bella Luna, this May 14th, 7000+ miles, 1 year, Yes--we miss them terribly!, May 2009, Buddy! It's getting rather comical and almost predictable.

We were so glad to hear the joyous news of the arrivals of Samuel Bolton Huckabee and Henry Dewitt Brewer. Congratulations to both sets of parents, siblings, and grandparents--and thanks so much for the precious pictures sent to us too! It's hard to believe, but they both will probably be walking by the time we get home. Welcome wee ones, we can't wait to meet you both!

Tuesday, July 1st, we left our "wall" early in the morning, going through another two locks-- the Carillon lock was a 65-yipes! foot lift--and had a long day's ride on the Ottawa River to Montebello. (July 1st is for Canada's what July 4th is for us.) Everyone who had a boat was out on the water--and a beautiful day it was. We were constantly passed by folks who were trying to get to Ottawa for the festivities and fireworks--a huge 400th year celebration for them. I had to laugh several times at the women riding in the boats with their hair tied up in scarves--a la' 50's style--what a hoot--haven't seen that in many, many years! We weren't in a hurry, we were just happy to be going to the world's largest "log cabin"that day--Montebello! Cabin is not the right word here at all--Le Chateau Montebello is more descriptive. It was built in 1930, just at the onset of The Great Depression. It took thousands of workers, laboring night and day to complete the unbelievable six-pointed, three story, log structure--in a record time of just 3 months. It was constructed of 10,000 red cedar logs, transported directly to Montebello by the Canadian Pacific Railway. It was built for the Seigniory Club as a private hunting and fishing retreat (200 guest rooms!), with most of the members being connected with the railway. In 1970 it was taken over by the Canadian Pacific Hotels Corporations, and today is run by the Fairmont Hotel chain. It offers everything all year round--indoor & outdoor pools and tennis courts, horseback riding, golf, spa, all kinds of winter sports, even an Orvis car-driving school! The tartan-plaid carpeted lobby is immense too--the biggest one I've ever seen--and in the middle is this huge stone fireplace which rises up three floors right in the middle of it all--"tee pee" style. No wonder it has hosted dignitaries, presidents, and conferences from all over the world for more than 60 years. We had a fabulous outdoor dinner on the terrace of Montebello with "Prime Time"--what an extraordinary evening. An outdoor bar-b-que of quail, ribs, lamb, chicken, steak, scallops stir-fry, shrimp stir-fry, cheeses, salads, pastas, home made ice cream, desserts, etc. Yes, we were stuffed--very much like The Greenbrier in West Virginia. Wow--we're sure Montebello is the most beautiful "log castle" we'll ever see!

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