Saturday, July 11, 2009

Take a Break in the Townships

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'?

Photo by nissanman2009

The town of North Hatley -and our final destination that day- is just too sweet for words. Perched on the banks of beautiful Lake Massawippi, it has the best kind of small-town feel about it and boasts the best junk/antique shop I've ever seen.

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!


Jennifer Jo said...

While I enjoy getting away once in a while (not sure when the last time was), my favorite thing is to have the kids gone and the hubby at home with me for a day or two or three. Just having the time to live/work/play in our home together without having to take care of anyone else is the most refreshing treat ever, I think.

Melissa said...

That seems like an awesome getaway. I'm all for the vomit/breast milk-free sheets. I can't wait for the day.

Nutmeg Nanny said...

It must have been great to get away. Your pictures are amazing and I really love the picture of the cat:)

Blork said...

Question about the wines: did you visit L’Orpailleur in Dunham? They make a rosé that I find very agreeable. It's got a zing that you don't often find in a rosé. Otherwise, I agree that some of the local wines are certainly (ahem) unusual.

Emeline said...

Aimee!! Those pictures are GORGEOUS. Seriously beautiful, have you secretly been an art director at Martha Stewart? Thanks for the info!

CookiePie said...

Sounds like a wonderful time!

Cheryl Arkison said...

You used to think the getaway was overrated? I would kill for it - both by myself and as a couple. My only baby-free nights since the little one was born have been to help my sister with her newborn and for work. Something is wrong with that picture.

Thanks for the honest account!

Kristen said...

LOL - I have to agree about the bedsheets :) Too funny.

Your photos of your trip are incredible. And, that little B&B? Too quaint for words. What a great getaway! I'm so jealous!

Natalie Sztern said...

what a wonderful gift now i have a new gift idea....

Aimée said...

Hi Mama JJ- The place must seem like a ghost town when it's just the two of you. Don't you miss that silence sometimes? :)

Hi Melissa- You'll get there, don't worry!

Hi Nanny- He was so cute! he sat out with us while we ate breakfast. We love cats.

Hi Blork- Unfortunately, we did not, but I'm going to remember your tip. We really should have asked for recommendations, but we left in a rush... next time!

Hi Em- Ha ha, funny. Got lucky I guess.

Hi CookiePie- You said it.

Hi Cheryl- I guess I didn't know what I was missing...

Hi Kirsten- I've been there with the newborn, it's hard to getaway, but they do grow up so fast.

Hi Natalie- It makes a great gift!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

These images are positively idyllic. It's as if you stepped back in time. Thank you for sharing.

kickpleat said...

I'd appreciate a getaway too! Looks like a lovely short vacation and that gazebo looks like the perfect setting for a romantic breakfast.

Emily said...

This looks like a wonderful time! I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. I loved all of the pictures you took and how you put them together.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Thanks for sharing and allowing us this armchair holiday Aimee. Sounds like the perfect getaway:D

Marta said...

Hahaha it's ALWAYS nice to sleep in sheets without vomit :)
I'm glad you took this relaxing getaway in this gorgeous part of Quebec. I've always wanted to go. My parents rent a cottage there every year, I should join them because it looks like relaxing times!
Thanks for sharing your memories with us :)


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