If you drive about an hour from Montreal, heading south on Hwy 10, you come to The Eastern Townships, an idyllic region of Quebec tucked into the Appalachian foothills. Back in California, I’ve been describing it as, “picture the town of Napa with a New England backdrop, add a French accent (along with oodles of charm,) subtract busloads of annoying tourists, (with nary a mall in sight) and you are left with the incredibly gorgeous Eastern Townships-just begging to be explored.”
The area offers an easy meandering drive, but you’ll definitely want to park and stroll through the villages or perhaps bike the miles of trails that unfold along green rolling hills, inviting lakes, wineries, orchards and farms.
The Eastern Townships have so much to see and do that I suggest spending a few minutes doing preliminary research on their well-organized website. Several self-guided tours are offered: The Wine Route, a breathtaking Summit Drive, a historic Township Trail, an Agro-tourism exploration, as well as detailed descriptions of the different townships and villages.
Not a planner? You’ll still have a marvelous time if you simply go where the wind blows—unearthing treasures at the many antique stores, artist colonies, cheese shops, or wineries, stopping to dine at intimate restaurants that feature farm-fresh products, sleeping in historic country inns or romantic B & B’s. You‘ll sample delicious regional wines, sip sparkling cider, nibble some foie gras, maple products or stinky cheese. You’ll marvel and learn from the local vintners, farmers and producers that live on donkey farms, lush lavender fields, even a Benedictine abbey.
Part’s 2 & 3 will include “My not-to-be-missed stops”.