- First, though, if you’re driving to Ottawa from anywhere West of Belleville, you have to stop in at Burger Revolution! This Feast ON restaurant is grilling up the most amazing burgers using local beef from Enright Cattle Company. We stop every time we head to Ottawa and one of my favourite burgers is the Royal Rizzle, topped with caramelized onions, blue cheese, bacon, and red pepper jelly!
- Once in the city, if you’re not staying with friends of family a luxurious place to lay your head is the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. Located just down from the Parliament Buildings this copper-roofed limestone castle is perfect walking distance from the Byward Market, where you can enjoy a beaver tail and hot apple cider while visiting the local artisan vendor stalls.
- Hungry again, well then head over to Murray Street! This “Certified Taste of Ontario” is doing some amazing things with local ingredients, including phenomenal charcuterie. Try out their small plates or share a charcuterie board with friends and a bottle of VQA wine.
- Now it’s time to head west to the forests. But first, and since it’s on your way, stop off at Beyond the Pale Brewery to pick up some craft winter beers, such as The Darkness, a solid stout filled with cocoa and coffee notes that will go down well by the fire that night.
- Old Quarry Trail in the Stony Swamp Conservation Area, Kanata is where you want to be. Located in the National Capital Greenbelt, which has over 150kms of trails, this particular trail stands out because not far in you’ll be surrounded by the most magnificent and peaceful white tailed deer. They have been coming there to eat for as long as I can remember and are totally comfortable posing for a glamour shot.
- If the deer are a bit intimidating for you just head down the road to the Sarsaparilla Trail, where you can feed an umpteenth number furry little chickadees their favourite black oil sunflower seeds.
A cryophile, I am certainly not, but I do bike to work in the bitter cold for no other reason than to avoid traffic, and passing gridlock always warms me up. But outside of my commute I avoid the freeze at all costs during the months of December through February, that is, unless I head home to Ottawa for a weekend in snow country. The multicultural metropolis that is our nation’s capital offers such diversity of experience that a few days can fill you up pretty quickly, and not just with great food and drink. From its architecture and heritage buildings to its museums and galleries, music festivals and endless events, Ottawa stands out as a city that has always got something do. But it’s the combination of family, food, and forest that keep me coming back, and when it’s sunny out and everything is covered in fluffy white snow you really can’t beat it. So get out your down-filled jackets and put on your wool toque and mitts, because this perfect weekend has a lot of outdoors.