I’ve mentioned before that I love my job, and that I work from home – it’s a great company that really cares about its customers, and employees too. We all work virtually, from our home around Canada, the US, and even the UK and once a year for the past few years, we’ve had a full company meetup to get together and get better acquainted in person, talk a little shop, and hang out. This year, we all headed to the beautiful Montebello resort in Quebec, about an hour and a half drive for us. Once we arrived I was impressed already with the huge, grand structure of the mail building where all of the rooms are – it’s a sprawling log cabin with a huge central fireplace, wood grain as far as the eye can see, comfortable couches in cosy shades of orange and green, and they even have a local dog that hangs out in the lobby while on seeing eye dog training.
After we checked in, there was a knock at the door and I opened it to reveal my sweet little sister, Ali, clutching a bag of jelly bellies for me, and wearing a big grin. My brother in law Justin works for the same company, so not only did we get to go away, but we got to hang out with my sister and Justin as well! The four of us started out with a long walk around the property to check out our surroundings, the spectacular waterfront, and took a hiking trail around to see more gorgeous buildings.
We met the rest of the crew for dinner and I enjoyed greeting my colleagues again – some I had met last year, and some were brand new! We also had a long, drawn out dinner (I had a delicious fresh cheese and roasted veggie appetizer, then salmon with warm salsa) and drinks, before meeting in the lobby to go across the lawns for a bonfire! Besides the huge, licking flames of the fire, and hay bale seats in a ring around it, the hotel provided us with wine, hot chocolate, Baileys, s’more fixings, and a waiter complete with bowtie to oversee things.
The next few days slipped by between buffet breakfasts of eggs and crepes, lounging poolside, chatting, more food and activities, a little bit of work from the hotel room, board games and cameraderie in the lobby. The sun shone brightly, the sky was blue and inviting – perfect end of summer by the lake on a fancy resort, weather.
We did head up to Lake Kenauk for a morning, dipping into the cold lake water, kicking around a ball, kayaking, sitting out on the dock watching the fish nibble your toes. It was perfectly pleasant and also embodied Canadian summers: the lake lapping quietly, gritty sandcastles to build, books to read.
That evening we also had the most amazing barbecue dinner outside in the warm evening, sitting under green umbrellas, we filled out plates over and over with everything from seafood stirfry to steaks gleaming in peppercorn sauce, roasted corn on the cob, ribs, a selection of local cheese, fresh bread, green salads, bean salads, seafood salad, and more. Then to top it off, I discovered the desserts: Haagen dazs ice cream with chocolate sauce, cakes, pecan and sugar pie. I was in complete food heaven. And stuffed. Ali, Justin, Tyler and I sat with Helen and Dave from the UK, and got to know more about them, their pet rabbits, and life in Leeds. I love the way they describe things too: I’m going to have to use “beautiful” and “lovely” to describe food from now on – it works so well!
Afterwards, we trooped into the lobby and set up a few Scrabble games, then convinced the staff to let Tyler play a few tunes on the piano (which he did happily, taking requests – isn’t he great?)
During our last morning there, we met up as a big group outside after breakfast to say our goodbyes and take a few photos by the big wooden chair. It was so nice to re-connect with my fellow staff members in person, putting names to faces and then getting to know the people behind the faces as well.
Montebello was a luxurious getaway, and I’ll be looking forward to next year’s adventures!