A Breath of Summer

If you read my blog with any regularity, you know that we love winter at my house.  A big snowstorm, in all its fluffy white glory, is about as good as it gets for this family of skiers.  But every now and then, we start to miss colors like green and red and purple.  Yesterday, the Montreal Botanical Garden provided a welcome breath of summer.

The best part?  Butterflies Go Free…a special exhibit of thousands of butterflies, set free in the main greenhouse. (Those within striking distance of Montreal may want to know that the exhibit runs through April 26th.) The butterflies were purchased from free trade butterfly farms in Costa Rica, and they are spectacular.

Sunday in Montreal

We spent our Sunday in Montreal enjoying three of my favorite things…food, the performing arts, and a great book.

First, we went for dim sum at La Maison Kam Fung (yes, that’s the right name…stop laughing. That’s what happens when you have a Chinatown in the middle of a French city).  Our table was littered with empty bamboo steamers after we consumed huge amounts of shaomai (steamed pork dumplings) and har gow (steamed shrimp dumplings). 

After brunch, it was off to Place des Arts to see…

…Swan Lake on Ice, performed by the Imperial Ice Stars.  We bought the tickets as a Christmas gift for the kids and weren’t quite sure what to expect.  We were absolutely floored.  This show was an incredible marriage of theater, ballet, and figure skating.  It was truly stunning, from start to finish.   I checked the tour schedule, and it looks like there’s just one more stop in North America — in Toronto.  If you live anywhere near there, it’s definitely worth checking out.

On the ride home, we finished a read-aloud of Andrew Clements’ No Talking, a lively, funny book that can be enjoyed equally by a six-year-old, an eleven-year-old, and a couple parents.  We spent the rest of the evening trying to talk only in three-word sentences (if you’ve read the book, you understand).  Thanks, Andrew – your characters were fabulous company in the car, and the game they inspired ended our weekend perfectly — with terrific fits of laughter.

The smell of autumn…

My weekend was full of gushy pumpkin guts, fresh-baked bread, ripe red apples, and yellow river leaves.  For this, I am thankful…

Montreal’s Atwater Market — always a feast for the senses!

This bakery (above & below) was the model for the patisserie  in my MG Contemporary novel that’s making the rounds right now.  Needless to say, my research was extensive!

On Saturday, we took advantage of the warm temperatures to hike Mount Baker in Saranac Lake.

On one bright fall hike each year, we always collect a few leaves to press.  These are sleeping between the pages of my phone book now.  On Thanksgiving, we’ll shake them out to decorate the table and remember the smells of late October…