I Duck-faced my way into a Models party! Bangkok, Thailand, circa 2006
After a short flight, I arrive in Montreal where my Motley Crew: Luc Cartier, Martin Beaurivage, Shelly Beaurivage, Chad Waterhouse, Alex and Mathew, are all arriving from different cities to meet in Montreal for our pilgrimage to Mont Tremblant, some local ski resort that I have never heard off…and that’s never a good thing! After walking 3 miles to the custom area (you would think they are the busiest airport in the world!), i am shocked to see an ocean of people, probably thousands, all waiting in line to go through the 5, yes…five custom agents on duty for all those passengers. No worries, Mr. Kass has the “Global Entry Card” that allows you to get priority entrance and service in most international airports; you must input some information on a designated computer terminal in a private area and you’re on the other side of the border in minutes. Sadly, not today! Once at the Global Entry Terminal, the damn machine won’t accept my passport info and after trying 20 times, I am advised by an angry mob of waiting people, to leave the area and join the masses in the main collection area…I am livid!!!! I am in line for two and a half hours and by the time I reach the Canadian side and my friends, I literally turn into Lucifer and I’m ready for blood. My poor friends have a tough time getting me back to “Sweet Robert”, but after 3 cocktail and an apple tart, I am back to normal..ish! We finally make our way to our cars and on the road to Mont Tremblant, just a few hours out of Montreal. The drive is beautiful, especially when you start climbing to higher elevations and the snow is covering the whole landscape. The boys rented a large estate in Mont Tremblant for us for our 3 day visit and once there the property doesn’t disappoint. It’s a beautiful day and you can see across the whole valley, past the lake to the mountain range, if you can call them mountains.
Our welcoming committee.
View of Mont Tremblant sky resort from my bedroom.
Our mountain retreat for the next 3 days.
The grand Living room.
And grand kitchen.
My bedroom, complete with fireplace and stunning views of the mountains
You know I’ll be in here very soon!
Mont-Tremblant is a municipality in the Canadian province Québec, set within the Laurentian Mountains northwest of Montréal. The year-round Mont-Tremblant Ski Resort, on the shores of Lake Tremblant, features intermediate to beginners slopes that take a long time to get to top of them and then minutes to come back down. Canadians love this place so I will try to contain myself and my judgment, but this is no mountain…more like a “Bump”, a very, very cold “Bump” with less than impressive skiing, with a very disturbing title of “Coldest ski resort in the world”!!! I’m a serious skier, so for me being in a place that is so cold, with such mediocre skiing, makes no sense; but I will say that the little village is very charming, if you’re into that Disneyland kind of thing. Thankfully, I did my skiing back in St. Moritz a few months ago and I am really here to spend some time with my buddies. I join the boys on the first day for the afternoon and quickly realize that between the crippling 18 degrees below zero temperature and the short, icy bunny slopes, I will not be doing anymore skiing after this. I last all of 1 hour on the slopes and finally make a mad dash to the first mountain lodge I see in the village for one of the best treat one can have after skiing: Glühwein (Mulled wine). This hot, red wine and spice concoction is a favorite for mountain skiers all over Europe; it warms your body on a cold winter day…and you get super drunk too!
Mont Tremblant village
Mont Tremblant’s gondolas.
Freezing my ass off on the way to the top.
At the summit at a chilly 15 degrees below zero
Striking a pose.
And another with my friend Martin Beaurivage.
After a lovely, hot bath facing the fireplace, an hour cat-nap and a few Luc Cartier “special’ cocktails, we all going for dinner at La Savoie (www.restaurantlasavoie.com), a favorite in the area, specializing in Swiss specialties such as: Raclette, Cheese Fondue, Fondue Bourguignonne and Fondue Chinoise. I absolutely looooove all these dishes; I grew up with them! They are very popular throughout the mountain resorts in Switzerland, France and Austria during the winter; I just never been in a place where you can have all of them at the same time, at the same table! There are 8 of us, so you can imagine how much food arrives at this table, it’s ridiculous! I gorge on so much melted cheese that after dinner I can barely wobble my fat ass through the snow and into the local bar for a nightcap.
Charming architecture in Mont Tremblant.
La Savoie restaurant…Let there be cheese!
One of my favorites: Raclette.
After making fun of the locals at the bar and risking getting our ass whooped, we finally make it back to our massive chalet where we where planning to have a rip roaring party till the wee hours of the morning. Sadly, the cheese got the best of us and after a few minutes trying to whip it up…we all fall into a “Cheese Coma” and go off to bed. The next day is pretty much the same thing as today; not much happens up here in Mont Tremblant, though I will admit, it’s growing on me…I think it’s the cheese talking.
Matt, Alex and Luc being his usual charming self.
When in Rome…
On the last day, I wake up in the morning to find out that it snowed all night and we are totally snowed in! Not a problem, I am so very happy laying in bed in front of the fireplace, watching movies and looking out the window into a stunning, white winter wonderland…I can do this forever!!! Unfortunately, this afternoon we must pack up and drive back to Montreal for another 4 days of shenanigans. Worth mentioning, is our pit stop at the famous breakfast place in the middle of nowhere on the way back to Montreal, named Au Petit Poucet (www.aupetitpoucet.com). This super kitsch, though charming, Canadian eatery with Mousse heads and Dear heads and choo choo trains and fake snow everywhere (I know…you gotta love’em), is obviously a favorite around here and packed to the tilt with locals, nibbling away on their Canadian bacon smothered in Canadian Maple syrup. No need to twist my arm, I’m in for bacon, eggs, waffles and a gallon of maple syrup…probably the best in the world (though every time I try to bring some back in the US, they take them away at customs…those bastards!).
Enjoying being snowed-in under my fluffy comforter.
View from my bedroom.
The fabulous Au Petit Poucet on the way to Montreal
Au Petit Poucet interior
Luc Cartier being Luc Cartier…with pig in hand
All right possums, I’m driving back with Mr. Cartier and I’m on co-pilot duty, so I’ll see you soon back in Montreal…”Eh?”
Not even a few days after returning to my home in LA, I’m off to Montreal to join my Canadian friends for a little fun in the city and 3 days in Mont Tremblant skiing. On the way there, I decide to stop over in Ohio, more specifically, Cincinnati to visit my dear friend Logan Fenton, whom I haven’t seen in over 4 years! He has been very busy since then, getting married and giving birth to a baby girl (he didn’t literally give birth to the baby girl…just saying!). Logan lives in Winchester, Ohio; which is about 1 hour outside Cincinnati and smack inside Amish country. Since watching the movie “The witness” in the 80′, I’ve been obsessed with the Amish and their culture. I’ve already been in Winchester years ago with Logan and absolutely loved the experience, so I am more than exited to re-visit this part of the world for 48 hours and buy some of those incredible “Apple Fritters” that the Amish sell on the side of the main road in their gas lit, ridiculously charming Bakeries, where you really get to connect with them on their turf.
Mr. Cheeseball with his new wheels
After a lovely flight on a small and very empty Bombardier aircraft; I land in Cincinnati. Once on the curb, I see Logan driving up to me in a less-than-subtle, brand new, shiny, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. He is sooooo showing off…it’s not even funny; he has a grin from one side of his face to the other and I can’t help but burst into laughter. You can tell he’s been back in Ohio for too long! The ride back to his place is filled with laughter; new tales, old tales and a whole bunch of sarcastic and abusive back and forth (something we love doing to each other since the day we met). Logan booked me a room at the famed Murphin Ridge Inn, in Amish country. This charming Bed & Breakfast, situated on a 142 pristine acres in the hills of Adams County, boasts a main building with Laura Ashley style rooms and restaurant and 10 private wood cabins, built by the Amish, with an indoor Jacuzzi and your own porch with rocking chair…right out of a fairytale book! This kind of environment sure takes your mind away from any toxic thoughts you might bring along with you from back home. Best part…no TV around here! After settling in, we go back to Logan’s home to meet his wife and his adorable baby girl, before heading off to dinner at “Joe’s Crab Shack” …when in Rome!
Arriving at the Murphin Ridge Inn
Old barns at the Murphin Ridge Inn
The adorable wood cabins at Murphin Ridge Inn
How fabulous is this?
Ohio, like most cities between LA and NYC, is definitely a different place all together then what I am used too. The people are very polite, though they tend to stare at you like you’re from out of space. I know I look and sound a little different…some people even say I’m eccentric; anyway, they tend to stare a lot and they are probably having a field day trying to work out what in the world they are looking at!!! Everyone in the restaurant is fat…included yours truly! I guess “gluten free” and “Zumba” haven’t arrived yet in this neck of the woods. I need an emergency cocktail to adjust to my environment…a bloody Mary will do! This eatery is all about Crabs, so Crab it is! Before you now it, a garden tin bucket arrives filled with massive crab legs and other stuff; the waitress hands me over a bib and highly suggests I wear it…done! The crabs are good, especially after dipping them in a pound of butter, which comes with the critters. This place is not for the dainty eaters, so don’t mind manners, just come on down with a healthy appetite because you will need it (and a change of clothes for after dinner might come handy too).
After dinner we drop off the family and Logan takes me to some of his favorite local dived for a few nightcaps and catching up before turning in for some much needed sleep. It’s time to wake up; it’s a beautiful day in Winchester and we are going to explore Amish country today and visit Logan’s family farm. It’s hard to leave my little cottage…I am sooo comfortable in my little cottage, it’s hard to get up and leave this adorable place. But I’m ready to try me some local breakfast: Foggy Bottom Pancakes, Cream Biscuits with Sausage Gravy, and Farmer’s Scramble. Granola made at the inn, freshly squeezed orange juice, and fresh fruit!!! Now that’s what I call a breakfast of champs!
Arriving at Joe’s Crab Shack
Apparently Jaws ended up here…
Our very large Bloody Mary’s
Nightcapping at an old dive in Cincinnati
Logan picks me up and is radiating with pride and excitement to show me his farm that has been in the family for generations. It’s hundreds of acres of land with mixed use: from cattle to timber and tobacco to dairy; it’s a massive endeavor! Along the way he let’s me drive a tractor, play with the new baby goats, pretend to be macho cutting trees down with a chain saw…you know, the usual stuff!!! All right, I’m craving Amish Apple Fritters; it’s time to visit Amish country. The landscape in this part of the world is truly stunning; green rolling hills as far as your eye can see filled with charming barns and wind mills and small towns, one more charming than the other. You can definitely see the German influence that arrived in these parts back in the 17th century, when members of this conservative Christian faith escaped persecution in Europe for their Anabaptist beliefs and settled in this rich land.
Logan’s new wheels…Subtle!
Oh yeah baby…does “Butch” come to mind?
If it didn’t before…it must now! Kass is trucking…
I love Logan’s mom’s goats
As you might know, the Amish don’t use electricity or any electronic device; it’s back to basics and totally connected to nature. Homes and businesses are lilt by gaslight and art and crafts flourish in this community. Visiting their markets and furniture shops is a real treat and if you spend enough time you can find some really great products to bring back with you. We stop at one of the many road side markets and feast on amazing sandwiches made with all their home-made products: form the meats to the breads to the greens…you get the drill! After that it’s apple fritter time, the most delicious local specialty you will ever taste. You can’t help but stock up on their jams and cookies and other goodie to take back to your friends.
Pristine Amish fields
Amish couple…not to happy to be photographed.
We also stop by a massive barn, tuned into a store of used items from the region, it’s a bonanza of old Americana, from old stoves to furniture, to old fridges and unique items, such as a “Stuffed Beaver”; if you’re a “Picker”, you ain’t getting out of here!!! I could spend the day here, but hélas, it’s time to go back home for an early meal with Logan and his wife before leaving for Montreal in the morning. Not to mention, I need a few photo-ops on the way back with an Amish “Buggy” and definitely by the town’s sign at ‘Seaman” Town…Can’t make this stuff up! What an amazing visit this was: “Thank you Logan for being such a great host”
Old Americana galore
Don’t quite know what this is…but it is stuffed!
Amazing old signs
So much to see…overwhelming!
Hand made Choo Choo train
No words needed…