MacKenzie King Estate

by LaraI have a friend whose parents have a photo on their wall that was taken when she was just wee... probably taken in the late 70s or early 80s.  It's taken in this circular window with her and her brother's face peeking on through.

I think that was my first introduction to the MacKenzie King Estate, and everyone who knows me knows that a great photo op will push a potential activity way up the list in my books!

I've been meaning to head out there for eons and this year I managed to convince Sara that we should haul the kids up into the Gatineau Hills on an impromptu trip to the Estate.

(Tip 1 - the map on their site makes it appear closer than it is.  It isn't THAT far, but expect about half an hour from Ottawa)

The Estate was William Lyon Mackenzie King's home and he donated the land to the government when he died. It is a fabulous place to go for high tea and to walk around the beautiful gardens. (you know, if you're into that kind of thing ;)

We thought it was far more fun to explore  the ruins. The ruins? That's right. MacKenzie King built ruins on his property, because he thought they would be a relaxing place to go and read and relax. Pretty nice eh?

And the ruins are where the photo ops begin. Or more accurately, where the climbing begins!

Those were all taken in the ruins of the "old abbey".  There is also a fake Arc de Triomphe and a variety of other interesting features on the grounds.

We decided we would then take a hike in the woods towards a waterfall. It's a beautiful walk, but hilly and definitely good exercise for two mamas pushing double strollers!

(Tip 2: you can't make it all the way down to the waterfall with a double stroller. Also, we hear it's more of a trickle than a waterfall, at least at this time of year)

That being said, the boys had a blast running around in the forest, looking for streams and wild animals!

This tunnel was "scary" so we had them pose looking scared before we went back in :)

It was a great excursion and we can't wait to go back when the Fall colours are in full swing.

And that circular window? I didn't get any fabulous photos in it I'm afraid because Kiernan was a bit too afraid to sit back there by himself.

(Tip 3 : Signage leaving the Estate is not clear - look at a map before you leave instead of relying on instinct. Or you might, you know, end up in Aylmer instead of downtown :)

Lara is mom to 3.5 year old Kiernan and 1 year old twins Quinn and Juliette. You can read her blog at Gliding Through Motherhood.