Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A lovely outing and more info on SMUG

My mother and I drove out to check out a campground today, Oka national park, that we thought might be good for the Summer Montreal Unschoolers Gathering (we figure since we came up with the idea so late, only a few months before we want it to happen, we should get everything done as soon as possible!).  And I'm very happy to say that I think we've found the perfect place!!  It's only about 45 minutes from downtown Montreal, and it's also a really lovely place.  It's lovely in the Winter, and looking around, we think it'll be even more beautiful in the Summertime!

There's even a (swim-able) beach on a large lake...

Why we were especially interested in this campground/park was because they have a building with twelve rooms to rent, but you can rent as little as five rooms and get the whole place to yourself!  Here are the pictures I took on our tour of the Gîte Sous Les Pins:

Here it is from a couple of angles...

Inside, there's a lot of lovely wood...

A dining room...

A downstairs hangout room (my mom thinks those tables are perfect for playing Bananagrams! ;-))...


The upstairs hallway, which is entirely comprised of bedrooms...

Each bedroom sleeps three people, with the option to add a fourth bed (which would make it wall to wall beds).


Each bedroom also has a sink and closet space.


For those who would prefer to camp, either for money reasons or because it's more fun, there are campsites RIGHT by the gîte, as in a two second walk, so that really wouldn't affect your ability to hang out in the main building at all.

Also, the park includes several historical chapels and oratories (see the little white building on the hill?  That's one of them!).

The staff there were even super nice, and very knowledgeable, so we were just pretty impressed with the place in general. 

Nearby Oka village is lovely, and my mother and I decided to drive through it and make a list of important local stores (I found it funny that, by chance, the grocery store and the liquor commission where at the top of our list.  Really, what else do you need. ;-)).  While we were there, I hopped out and took a couple of pictures, including of this old church, that I've always thought was gorgeous.  Quebec has an abundance of lovely old churches!  All the old buildings are one of my favorite things about Montreal and surrounding area. :-)

Right by the church is where the ferry is in the Summer.  The ferry goes right across the water, to another scenic little town called Hudson. 

On our way home, but still only minutes from Oka national park, we pulled over to take a closer look at an old, yet still operational, monastery.

Having now looked the place up online, I know that it's not only operational, but open to visitors!  Next time I'm out that way, I TOTALLY want to see inside that building.

So, it was a really nice day out.  The weather was beautiful, and we were both so pleased to have found such a pretty place for the gathering, that's also so close to the city!!

Now we just need to find a good date (we're thinking maybe July 2nd to 6th or 7th?  We're not sure how attached the Americans who want to come are to July 4th celebrations though, so that might not work...).  The jazz fest would be on then, with TONS of free music, so it would be a great time to hang out in the city (if that date doesn't work, there are plenty of other music festivals with lots of free shows.  It's just that the jazz fest is both the biggest and bet known!).

I'll be setting up a website for the gathering soon (both because I love playing around with Wordpress, and because it's practical to have all the info in one place!).

If you're interested, don't forget to join the yahoo group:  Summer Montreal Unschoolers Gathering

Really excited about this, and hope to see you in Montreal this Summer! :-)



  1. That is the most.. Swag building I have ever seen within five minutes of a national/state park, let alone in it, let alone 2 minutes walk from a campgound.

    My esteem for Canada has just gone through the roof.

  2. Man that looks awesome. And you've got a jazz festival at the same time! Sounds like heaven to me... :)

  3. Holly Dodd (my daughter) will be with Bea Mantovani's family from March 20 to July 3. I don't know if Bea would be interested in going to that, but there's one data point just in case. (Bea's in Chile for another two weeks, visiting her dad.)