A Beautifully Restored Venue 15 Minutes From Ottawa

On the hunt for an intimate, historic venue that doesn’t feel like a musty mausoleum? The new-and-improved O’Brien House may be the answer to your vintage countryside dreams. Perched on a patch of rock overlooking Meech Lake on one side and Gatineau Park on the other, the sprawling mansion was originally constructed in 1930 by Ambrose O’Brien, the founder of the Montreal Canadiens. It’s now run by the owner of the nearby Wakefield Mill and Spa, who recently revamped the space and filled it with a mix of classic Canadian art, antique accessories like old-timey record players and all manner of luxurious touches (think: heated floors and plush velvet sofas). The exterior still screams rustic country estate, while the 11 guest rooms are clean and modern, with enough space for your entire bridal party to primp and pop champagne on the morning of.

Though the quaint aesthetics of the place will make any bride feel like a tradition-defying royal, the culinary experience on offer—either for a cocktail reception for up to 60 guests, or a seated dinner for 50—is certainly worth drooling over. Chef Patrick Marion is a master of Canadiana cuisine, and his signature seven-course tasting menu uses unusual local ingredients like pine tips and wintergreen berries—making for a reception feast that’s about as patriotic as possible. There are still dates available for 2018, and the place offers private champagne tours to prospective couples. Best of all, the Nordik Spa-Nature is just minutes away, so your guests can steam away their hangovers in one of the famous facility’s swanky saunas, hot-tubs or salt-water pools.

650 Chemin du Lac Meech, 819-510-1930, theobrienhouse.ca