I wasn't going to bore you with any more details of our little weekend getaway in Quebec's Eastern Townships, but since people have been emailing and asking where we stayed and so on, I decided rather than answer everyone individually, it would be easier to post a recap with recommend links. It was a short and sweet trip and the details are well worth sharing.
You can start with La Route des Vins, a site highlighting agrotourism and wineries in the area; it also provides maps and information on the wine route. Although the route is a stunning drive along hilly country roads dotted with charming farms, I won't be passing along any praise for the two wineries we visited. Granted, I'm no wine expert, but I am a wine-lover and I could barely swallow some of the schlock we were offered in tastings. Some of it was shockingly bad--and the plastic cups they served it in didn't help. I can't drink wine out of plastic, I'm sorry.
I felt guilty about slipping into an SAQ in Magog to pick up a bottle of wine for dinner, but what's a girl going to do? I felt even worse when our waitress eyed our bottle of Australian wine as if to say 'don't you know you're sitting in the middle of Quebec wine country'?
We chose to dine at the Auberge le Coeur d'Or, which we enjoyed, although in hindsight, most of the enjoyment was probably due to the facts that a) we were dining in a civilized fashion without the kids and b) we were sharing the aforementioned bottle of vino.
While the setting was quaint, charming and romantic, the food was rather dismal; it boasted that it offered local ingredients but didn't quite deliver in their preparation. I mean, asparagus soup should be a sensual experience, not a pool of gray matter that reeks of celery. Perhaps the chef waved a bundle of asparagus over the pot while the soup was cooking, but if that was a chilled asparagus soup, I'll eat my umbrella. Five years ago I might have complained to the waitress that Danny's duck was over cooked and my rabbit was so dry it hurt to swallow, but who am I kidding? I was unplugged, sitting across from my sweetie, a hundred kilometers from home, I was HAaaaaappy.
Stuffed from our four-course meal at Auberge le Coeur d'Or, we decided on a post-dinner stroll and ended up watching the twinkling lights of boats from the end of the town pier. Ve.RY. Romantic.
I would heartily recommend our B&B, Le Chat Botté (Puss in Boots) with it's wrap around veranda, private beach and close proximity to the center of town. The hostess was very friendly and gracious, and if there's anyone who loves cats more than her, I'd be surprised.
Served in the attached gazebo, the three-course breakfast was a plentiful, tasty, and piping hot--what more could you as for? Coffee? Yep, latte for her, espresso for him, served in the sweetest of kitty cups.
Although we were stuffed from breakfast, we stopped to check out the farmer's market on our way back to Hwy 10. Located on School Street in North Hatley, it's open from 10-12 on Saturdays and offers a bounty of lovely local produce, baking and flowers. I consider myself a bit of an expert on farmer's markets and this one had it all, save the hippy/bluegrass band playing in the center of the square.
These sisters didn't look thrilled that I was buying their strawberries, or perhaps they had someplace else they would rather have been that Saturday morning, but we enjoyed the berries nevertheless and they filled our car with their warm berry fragrance all the way back to Montréal.
Wait! There's one last thing! I have to say a HUGE thank you to my mother-in-law, Dorothy, who made this all possible by taking the babies overnight, and thanks also to my mum, who bought us the B&B gift certificate in the first place and forced us to get away.
In conclusion, I admit I used to think the whole overnight getaway for couples was overrated, but there's a lot to be said for sleeping between sheets that have never been repeatedly assaulted by baby vomit or leaking breast milk.
We returned home starry-eyed.
Take a break in the Townships soon, you deserve it!