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8 activities to do in the Collines-de-l’Outaouais, summer and winter alike

Between mountains and valleys, charming villages and enchanting landscapes, there is much to see in the Collines-de-l’Outaouais region.

Combining the villages of Chelsea and Wakefield, it is easy to spend a few days here to recharge your batteries, enjoy good food and the great outdoors.

A long weekend in Chelsea and Wakefield

Here are 8 things to do in Chelsea and Wakefield for a long weekend, in summer or winter.

1. Visit the village of Wakefield

Water tower near the old train station in Wakefield
Water tower near the old train station in Wakefield

Bordered by the Gatineau River and the park of the same name, the charming village of Wakefield is the perfect place to settle down for a few days and visit the region.

Wakefield Covered Bridge (La Pêche)
Wakefield Covered Bridge (La Pêche)
Wakefield Covered Bridge (La Pêche)
The bridge can be admired from the shore

The village itself is very pleasant to visit on foot, with its famous covered bridge, its small stores as well as its restaurants and terraces along the main street.

Nikosi's delicious Duck Confit Salad with Blueberries and Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette served at Nikosi Bistro Pub.
Nikosi’s delicious Duck Confit Salad with Blueberries and Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette served at Nikosi Bistro Pub.

During the summer period, you should not miss the farmer’s market held on Saturdays.

Bringing together local artisans and producers, this is an opportunity to stock up on vegetables, flowers, jewelry and crafts, honey and other products from the region.

2. Relax at the Wakefield Mill Hotel

The Wakefield Mill Hotel and its waterfall
The Wakefield Mill Hotel and its waterfall

While in Wakefield, a stop at the beautiful Wakefield Mill Hotel, located on the site of an old flour mill, is a must.

On site, it is impossible to remain insensible to the relaxing sound of the MacLaren Falls.

In fact, everything on site encourages relaxation, from the hot tubs to the chairs scattered here and there in the gardens, not to mention the very comfortable rooms.

Part of the room at the new Eco River Lodge at Wakefield Mill
Part of the room at the new Eco River Lodge at Wakefield Mill

We had the opportunity to stay in a room at the new Eco River Lodge, with nothing less than a sitting area and a huge bathtub overlooking the river. Luxury living at its best!

Enjoy a drink on the hotel’s terrace when the weather permits or a good meal at the Moulin’s restaurant, La Muse.

Swordfish gravlax, nori chips, kimchi jelly
Swordfish gravlax, nori chips, kimchi jelly

In addition to the usual menu, the restaurant also offers a 5-course menu with wine pairings, which changes according to the new arrivals and showcases the creativity of the chef.

3. Visit the largest cave of the Canadian Shield

The exit of the Laflèche Cave
The exit of the Laflèche Cave

Discovered in 1865, Laflèche Cave is the largest visited cave of the Canadian Shield.

The cave can be visited on a guided tour and takes us through different tunnels and underground chambers.

Throughout the tour, many anecdotes about the history of the cave are given and make the visit even more interesting.

With a constant year-round temperature of about 4 degrees, it can also be visited in the winter. It is during this season that you will have the opportunity to see the bats and the ice picks formed by the drops of water that fall quietly from the ceiling of some of the cave rooms.

Different levels of tours are offered, including a more family-oriented course (from 5 years old) and a more adventurous one that allows you to explore the cave thoroughly and to discover smaller tunnels.

4. Enjoy a memorable meal at Les Fougères

Gravlax - Les Fougères
Gravlax served at Les Fougères restaurant

Awarded many times and included in the very select list of the 100 best restaurants in Canada, people come from far and wide to enjoy a meal at Les Fougères.

The restaurant’s discreet exterior gives way to a chic and inviting dining room that extends to a screened-in porch at the back that allows for a view of the restaurant’s gardens.

The menu offers seasonal cuisine with regional accents.

And from the very first dish, you’ll quickly understand that the restaurant deserves its reputation.

The salmon gravlax is sublime, as is the scallop ceviche with melon, tagetes and verjuice and one of the signature dishes, La Bouche du Saint-Laurent.

Scallop ceviche with melon, tagete and verjuice
Scallop ceviche with melon, tagete and verjuice
A signature dish of the restaurant, the Bouche du Saint-Laurent: scallops, Matane shrimps, salt cod ravioli, PEI mussel fumet, seaweed.
A signature dish of the restaurant, the Bouche du Saint-Laurent: scallops, Matane shrimps, salt cod ravioli, PEI mussel fumet, seaweed.

You can also take the opportunity to stop by their store and take home some of the restaurant’s ready-to-eat dishes.

5. Explore the Eco-Odyssée water labyrinth

Kayaking in the Eco-Odyssée water labyrinth

For those who enjoy water activities, head to the Eco-Odyssey water labyrinth a few minutes from Wakefield.

Along the detours and the small channels, it’s a lot of fun to wander through this labyrinth. You’ll maybe have the chance to observe turtles, beavers and several species of birds.

Different routes are given to participants so you don’t feel like there is too many people in the labyrinth, only occasionally crossing paths with other people.

We went through the labyrinth by kayak but it is also possible to do it by pedal boat, paddle board or canoe. Allow 90 to 120 minutes to complete the circuit.

In the winter, you can also explore the labyrinth because with the arrival of cold weather, it becomes an ice rink!

6. Discover the village of Chelsea and move into the Lofts du Village

Located at the gateway to Gatineau Park, with the Nordik Spa as a neighbor, the village of Chelsea is the ideal place for a stay combining outdoor activities and relaxation.

The adorable village of Chelsea has a concentration of craft stores, art galleries and small restaurants, and an afternoon stroll through the village is definitely a must.

Les Lofts du Village - Chelsea
Les Lofts du Village

For accommodation, head to the Lofts du Village.

The living room

Brand new, modern and equipped with all the necessary amenities, you could easily spend several days or even weeks there. Please note that dogs are allowed.

And what are the eating options in Chelsea? You can of course take advantage of your loft’s kitchen, but if you prefer to eat outside, there are several places you can go to.

Tonique restaurant

For brunch or coffee, the Tonique is a little historical jewel that occupies the former Little Chamberlin House built by the Chamberlin brothers a little before 1875.

The beautiful courtyard, where the tables are set up, invites you to take your time and have a good time.

Biscotti restaurant

Another very nice option is the charming restaurant and café Biscotti which offers a very complete menu: coffee and bakery, pizzas, sandwiches, etc.

Chelsea Pub and Roberto’s Pizzeria also round out the restaurant offerings.

7. Enjoy a relaxing moment at the Nordik Spa

Nordik Spa is the largest spa in North America and offers a complete range of relaxation services.

In addition to the usual hot and cold baths, wet and dry spas, there is a floating bath experience, heated stone beds and a variety of Aufguss rituals.

To ensure that everyone has the best experience possible, the space is divided into three sections: quiet, whisper and social.

And with 4 restaurants and bars on site, you can easily spend the day or evening here.

8. Gatineau Park

people in a canoe - Gatineau Park
Photo: Page Facebook @ParcGatineau

Gatineau Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Either in summer or winter, you can practice your favorite sports: cycling, hiking, canoeing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, etc.

Good addresses to eat and drink

Restaurants:

Lodging

Activities


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Although expenses were covered by Tourisme Outaouais, the opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author.

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