My sister/muse, Meredith, and I recently discovered a magical winter wonderland deep in the forests of Nominingue, Quebec, a small village about 200km past Montréal, in the Laurentian Mountains.
After a long, blizzard-y drive from Toronto, we followed the hand-written directions provided by our hosts (we were warned not to trust GPS once we hit the mountain roads), and arrived at Les Toits du Monde.
The property owners, Dior and Sylvain, and their gorgeous husky, Yuka, greeted us and provided a quick lay of the land. Originally from the French Alps, the young couple moved to Québec as computer engineers, but never lost their love of the outdoors. They always craved a life beyond their desk jobs, and officially opened Les Toits du Monde in 2012.
Meaning The Roofs of the World, in English, their enchanted wooded property is home to four unique accommodations (with more to come). They built the tree house first – a cozy nest perched 15 ft. off the ground – followed by a teepee and a Mongolian yurt. As of last winter, they added their latest creation: a hobbit house.
After chatting to Sylvain and Dior (and attempting to practice our rusty French), we were blown away by their ingenuity. Every last inch of the structures were custom-built and eco-friendly. I was especially impressed with the design of the hobbit house and its curvy edges, intricate carvings and rounded windows, not to mention the straw bale insulation and solar lighting.
From exterior to interior, they had thought of everything to make it environmentally-friendly, functional, and cozy - a true hobbit habitat. With a map of “Middle Earth,” in what we dubbed ‘the breakfast nook,’ an oversized window for reading, and the hobbit-sized circular entrance, we felt just like Frodo and Bilbo Baggins scurrying around The Shire.
The hobbit house was equipped with all of the necessities required to hibernate for a few days: a wood-burning stove, composting toilet, and propane-fueled cooktop. They also provided jugs of clean drinking water, utensils, bedding, a deck of cards, matches, wood, newspaper, and kindling.
Arriving after a massive snowstorm made for some pretty frigid temperatures so we tried to keep the fire stoked all night to stay warm. At one point we woke up and had to take our long johns and thermal socks off since it became too toasty. The fire eventually died as we slept, so the next morning we quickly bundled back up and got it roaring again as we made breakfast.
Waking up in the middle of a winter forest and looking through those giant, oval windows made us feel like we’d taken a rocket ship to the North Pole. It was Santa's Workshop meets Narnia meets Whoville. Everywhere we looked were tilting trees dripping in crystal white snow.
With no plugs or Internet, we spent our days reading, writing, playing cards, making meals, stoking the fire, and catching up! We hiked through the blanketed forest up Captaine Rocher to a stunning lookout with incredible views of Lake Nominingue. The crisp, cold air was so refreshing.
It was the perfect winter getaway. We felt so close and clear-headed afterwards. Although it was hard to tear ourselves away from the cozy cocoon, now every time we watch Lord of the Rings we’ll be reminded of our own hobbit adventures!