Quebec First Nations (Native) Hotel and Museum
The visitor demand for aboriginal tourism experiences right across Canada has been growing at a very rapid rate in the past decade. The province of Quebec is at the forefront of that growth, so we present a sample for you to consider exploring.
Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations http://tourismewendake.ca/en is a four-star boutique hotel/museum/restaurant located just 40-minutes drive outside of Quebec City in Wendake, the current name for the Huron-Wendat First Nations reserve. The hotel offers an in-depth cultural experience with original Wendake crafts, a museum, longhouse, Labrador tea ceremonies and a gourmet restaurant featuring menu items inspired by the culinary traditions of Québec’s First Nations. It features modern eco-chic rooms and suites incorporating indigenous art. A one-night package includes breakfast and a three-course dinner, a museum tour, and an evening of myths and legends in the longhouse.
Try the venison carpaccio and smoked duck and salmon with apple butter at Restaurant La Traite (next door to the Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations). The upscale restaurant serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner dishes incorporating local and indigenous ingredients.
Inaugurated in 2008, the Huron-Wendat Museum is an institution created to protect and promote the heritage of the Wendat people. With a permanent exhibit Territories, Memories, Knowledge, an ongoing program of temporary exhibits, and numerous activities and themed workshops, the Museum carries out its mandate to teach and popularize the history, culture and art of the Wendat people and of others First Nations. The Museum is also a gateway for visitors, leading to Wendake’s numerous heritage sites around the reserve.
Behind the permanent exhibit lies an entertaining and educational journey. In addition to archival images and texts, there are learning activities and interactive games for both the young and less young to enjoy.
The longhouse was the Huron-Wendat’s traditional home during the European pre-contact period. It is a symbol of family, of hospitality and of the legendary welcome of these people. To this day the message remains “We welcome you among us!”
An example of a creative overnight “pre-contact” experience for two adults and two children starts at CAD$750 including gratuity but not taxes. Enjoy the unique experience of myths and legends in the Longhouse where Bannock (traditional bread) and Labrador tea are served, a fire keeper takes care of the fire and your dreams for the whole night, a room is reserved in Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations for modern conveniences and a full breakfast is served at La Traite Restaurant.
For many other Quebec Aboriginal experiences representing 11 indigenous nations in 55 communities throughout the province, check out www.quebecaboriginal.com/. If you have the pleasure of visiting Quebec City on August 25 and 26, the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac, www.fairmont.com/frontenac-quebec an iconic hotel overlooking the Old City and currently celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2018, will be hosting a culinary event called “Meeting the Great Chefs”. This unique event invites visitors to savor new gastronomic creations inspired by the culinary artistry of Quebec’s 11 indigenous nations.
Food for Thought“We tend to forget that the real stars aren’t on television or in the movies. They’re in the sky …” Our thanks to Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism in Central Ontario for this beautiful reminder that a dark night away from city light pollution is a wonderful way to get in touch with nature and those real stars.
Essential Step Taken to Help Save the Great Barrier Reef
The Australian government has promised more than 462.6 million Australian dollars (approx. USD $350 million) to help save the country’s Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of the state of Queensland. This is the largest single investment for reef conservation and management in Australia’s history, and none too soon it seems. The money will go towards improving sea water quality, meeting the infestation challenge of the crown-of-thorns starfish which attacks growing coral polyps, expanding reef restoration, and developing more resistant corals.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral system, visible even from outer space. The 2,300-kilometer/1,400-mile ecosystem comprises over 2,900 individual of reefs and 900 islands. According to Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg, “a significant part of the water quality improvement will require working with farmers to prevent sediment, nitrogen and pesticide run-off into the reef.”
But in the past two years this natural UNESCO World Heritage Site has lost about half its live coral, with environmentalists largely putting the destruction down to pollution run-off and climate change (warming sea water and coral bleaching). Learn more about how travelers can experience this precious destination with two richly-illustrated feature articles in our publication’s Travel Article Library: Vacation Volunteers Help Monitor the Health of the Great Barrier Reef and A Nature Stay at Australia’s Heron Island.
Become a Vagabond in Ireland
Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours of Ireland, https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/, has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way. Having tasted considerable success, the company decided to launch Driftwood Journeys in 2010 with a slightly more relaxed but equally stimulating itinerary goal, and Vagabond has again hit gold while sacrificing none of its charmingly-Irish whimsical approach (see the website and you will understand).
So how does a traveler become a vagabond in Ireland? There are two ways: join a Vagabond Adventure Tour or a Driftwood Journeys of Discovery Tour, both of which are popular with the older traveler, albeit with slightly different percentages participating. Amy Rankin, Co-Director of Vagabond Tours of Ireland breaks down the numbers: the adventure tours comprise 40% Baby Boomers, 40% Generation X, and 20% Millennials, the latter being nearly all part of multi-generational groups. The company’s Driftwood Journeys do have a stronger representation of older guests with 60% Baby Boomers, 30% Generation X, and 10% Millennials. Both options attract multi-generational family groups on many scheduled departures.
With five geographically-distinctive tours from six to 11 days each, Driftwood Journeys offers a fully guided, relaxing small group experience surrounded by Ireland’s majestic countryside, visiting hidden beaches and learning about high kings, giants and poets. Maximum group size is 15 with more emphasis on the scenery, culture and history and not including as many outdoor pursuits.
Vagabond Adventure Tours currently offers four tours from seven to 12 days each crafted to a guest fitness level somewhat more demanding than the Driftwood Journeys with some off-road 4×4 experiences included. “We pride ourselves in offering a perfect blend of Irish history, culture, outdoor activities (hiking, horse riding, cycling and kayaking), great Irish scenery, friendly locals, music and pub life,” says Amy. Maximum group size is 13 participants.
Examples of what guests may enjoy are an overnight at Abbey Glen Castle Hotel. Another evening finds hosts Neil and Katy providing a true Irish welcome and dinner prepared by Katy who cooks food on a large Aga for her guests at the Gougane Barra hotel. They are the fifth generation to steward this property that looks out on an island where once stood a 6th century monastery.
Landscapes like the Cliffs of Moher that lunge first into the sea and then become shrouded in mist over glacial valleys, mountain-fringed bogs and meadows beckon guests into their walking shoes and onto bicycles. Sheep dogs working their flocks on an Irish hill farm reveal centuries of breeding – and bonding with their owners — that have sustained farming families and contributed to the woolen industry. Always on call to chat their visitors up are shopkeepers, potters, an Irish polar explorer and whiskey distillers at the oldest pot still distillery in the world. Guests will also watch the famous Irish crystal being made.
In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named the “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification and in 2018, Vagabond Tours won The Green Tourism & Entertainment category in Ireland’s most prestigious Green (business) Awards. Images courtesy of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland.
Airline Food Trivia: Many airlines have a rule that each pilot flying the aircraft on a specific flight must eat a different meal in order to minimize the unlikely possibility of all pilots on board becoming ill. On a cheerier note, in 1987, American Airlines saved an estimated US$40,000 by giving one less olive in each salad served in first class.
Let’s Go Glamping!
Glamping is a term that has entered the travel vocabulary in recent years seeking to describe a style of camping with a variety of comfortable and even glamorous amenities. In short, there is a resort-style element not usually associated with traditional camping. Today, glamping is to be found all over the world in a creative variety of forms.
Of course, it could not be long before a website was launched to help us navigate the complexities and delights of glamping, from barns, treehouses and yurts to safari tents, caves, cabooses, tipis and igloos. We are happy to introduce readers to Glamping Hub https://glampinghub.com, a leading portal for such unique outdoor accommodations across the globe with over 33,000 rentals to be found in over 115 countries in North and South America, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, Asia and Africa. At present, its main vacationer interest comes from the U.S., Canada and Australia.
Co-founder, Ruben Martinez, emphasizes that there is something for everyone. “The types you may get in California may be different than what you get in Costa Rica than what you find in Spain, so it appeals to anyone that wants to be outside communing with Mother Nature. There is also a wide range of price points that appeal to avid travelers looking for something new and unique in their vacations.”
Glamping Hub’s demographic is about 30% between ages 45 and 80 years, and the majority of its users are families or couples. Conveniently, prices may be viewed in US, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand dollars as well as in British pounds and Euros. With each viewed listing, there are numerous reviews offered by verified guests only.
Images courtesy of Glamping Hub.
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