Halfway through our road trip it was my birthday so naturally we had to spend it taking a break from the stresses of being full time bums and head to the spa for a couple of days. The spa of choice was Spa Eastman, just an hour’s drive east of Montreal in the Eastern Townships region of Quebec.
We drove from Ottawa across the provincial border, where all of a sudden the road signs changed and everything was in French. It was a relatively long drive so obviously a break for lunch was needed so we stopped off at Tim Hortons and tried to navigate the French menu. Now Tim Hortons (or Timmy’s if you are a local) is a bit of a Canadian obsession, you will often find huge queues outside and the Starbucks next door will be empty. They are famous for doughnuts and coffee, so we ordered sandwiches in our limited French. That was a mistake. The doughnuts are excellent, sandwiches not so and everyone knows our stance on coffee.
We were on track to arrive at the spa slightly early so we took a short detour into the nearby town of Eastman to pick up a birthday cake, which actually turned out to be a birthday Swiss roll due to the limited selection of cakes in the local supermarket. It still did the job though.
Obviously because we were at a spa we spent most of the time lounging around in our robes, playing board games and enjoying the facilities. Our favourite was definitely the outdoor hot tubs, which kept us toasty and warm despite it being close to zero outside. In the evening they became the perfect place to view the stars and since the spa was relatively quiet we had both pools to ourselves.
The other notable attraction were the Kneipp baths, cooled to a chilling 11 degrees and part of the hot cold treatment, whereby you go from one hot room such as the sauna to a dip in the plunge pool or to the igloo shower. The idea is that this improves circulation and has a positive effect on your immune system, stress and sleep. Stewart enjoyed these much more than I did and by the end became quite accustomed to walking through the freezing cold water. I did try out the Kneipp arm bath though as it was meant to be very good for people that suffer from cold hands. I was surprised that sticking my hands in there for a few seconds didn’t make them go numb and it was a while before I suffered my first Reynaud’s attack so maybe it worked?!
Like all good spas, food was included in our package so we got to sample some healthy foods as well as practise our French and avoid the ‘lapin’! The food was really good and we were pleased to discover that maple syrup was available at every meal…
We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the spa. On first arrival we were a bit disappointed to discover it was quite small and that our room wasn’t in the main building but this didn’t end up being a problem. After treating ourselves to massages plus a birthday pedicure from my brother for me, we went away feeling refreshed and excited for the next part of our Canadian adventure.