Discover the Eastern Townships: An Insider's Guide

Thanks to documentary maker Albert Nerenberg for this stunner of a shot of a heart-shaped lake near his home in the Glen, with Owl's Head looming behind.

When my wife Rhonda and I moved with our little girls to the charming village of Knowlton in Quebec's picturesque Eastern Townships, we looked forward to discovering this historic and beautiful region (see road map here). But we were surprised at how hard it was to find many of the gems it has to offer.

Where can we find elk sausages or a good super-fresh cheese? Who sells the best, reasonably priced organic veggies? What's the best spa to recommend to visiting friends? What about a cool mountain stream to take a dip in or a shop for kids' clothes? Where do the locals go?

Amazingly, there didn't seem to be a resource that lists the best food and drink, lodgings or spas, winter and summer attractions or shopping and services, whether for locals or tourists. It was up to us to find these secret spots.

We turned into detectives as we talked to our new friends and scoured the internet and country backroads looking for those insider locales only the locals know about. We sometimes found even they don't know of some of the greatest secrets of this remarkable region.

One of Quebec's Prettiest Regions

Sure, there are some tourism resources that offer lists of some of these things, but nothing like the insider's guide we were looking for.

That's a shame because the Townships is an amazing place full of spectacular scenery, friendly people, historic sites and fascinating, little-known finds - everything from out-of-the-way vineyards to stunning vistas. So I decided to create the resource we were looking for ourselves.

There's so much to discover in the Townships it'd take us years to track down all its best treasures. Being somewhat lazy people, we also figured a blog would help us learn more about our new home from readers and to share our finds.

This isn't meant as a comprehensive listing (click here for a map of all the places mentioned on this site) but instead a constantly growing collection of places and attractions we enjoy or value enough to share with you (complete with our highly subjective ratings and those of our friends, neighbours, readers of this blog and the usual whacky guys at the pub). We'll also include a few of the places we didn't like and why. Think of it as a budding insider's guide to one of Canada's most beautiful regions.

This site is still at a beginning phase; we'll update it as we learn more. We'd also like to do a "Best of the Townships" poll, so stay tuned. We invite you to share your discoveries, comments about places and events listed here or not, your ratings, photos and suggestions for this site.

Please let me know if you have any association with the listings you send. We want to keep this site as objective as possible. You can reach me by adding a comment to a post on this website or by emailing me at aroslin1-at-yahoo.ca.

TAGS: Eastern Townships, Quebec tourism, Knowlton, Sutton, Bromont, Magog, Lac Brome, organic food, gastronomic, shop, food, wine, maple, farm, vineyard, spa, inn, skiing

20 comments:

kelli ann said...

woo-hoo! excellent news:: what a great idea, guys. i will be passing this along--

Alex Roslin said...

Hey, Kelli Ann! Thanks!

william said...

Hi Alex. If you would like some really incredible shots of region. gbtmcd@aol.com Blair Mcdougal 4502421248 he lives on center rd knowlyville.have a great day

Alex Roslin said...

Thanks for your suggestion, William. I'll give him a shout.

Take care,
Alex

Marijke Durning said...

Hi there. Great idea. I love the townships.
Is Woods, the hamburger/ice cream place still open in Ayer's Cliff? I spent several summers visiting there when I worked on lake Massawippi. It was a great place.

Alex Roslin said...

Hi Marijke,

Thanks for your comment. I don't know about Woods. I'll look into it and add them if they're still there - and probably stop in for a burger and cone when it warms up a little.

At this point, after about a week of almost non-stop snow, it feels like we'll have not just a white Christmas, but also a white July! Welcome to the Townships!

Thanks!
Alex

Tim Rideout said...

Go Al! You will OWN the townships, baby

Anonymous said...

Just try The Hovey Manor on the shores of Lake Massawippi.
Rated 5-stars

magister nyman said...

Hi,
I was happy to find your blog. We are going to stay in the townships for two weeks in July and are happy for all information. We are a Swedish family, and most of us have never been to Canada before.
All the best from Sweden

Alex Roslin said...

Dear Magister Nyman,

That's wonderful. Hope you have a great trip!

All the best,
Alex

Diane said...

How exciting to find a site dedicated to this wonderful area! On my next trip, I'll be visiting some of the places you recommend in Knowlton--especially Cafe Floral, which sounds lovely.

Glad you recommended Beurrerie du Patrimoine in Compton (great products and incredibly sweet people). When I'm there, I always make a stop at Bio Bon in the center of town for their wonderful multi-grain breads.

Thanks for doing this. It's a great resource.

francis said...

What a BEAUTIFUL site-such a treat when you can't go yourself-wonderful photos!! Thanks so much , Francis http://www.geothermalquestions.net

Marie-José Duchesneau said...

This is the BEST site I saw on our region for a long time. THANKS! It's precious !!! You do a really good job and I will promote it with the members of my community (Knowlton et Brome Lake), the Chamber of commerce of Brome Lake and also on Facebook. WOW and RE-WOW !!!

Marie-José Duchesneau said...

I just want to add an event that take place in Knowlton each year for the last 15 years: The Brome Lake Duck Festival (Canard en Fête à Lac-Brome). Its an event that attract around 20,000 people during the two last week-ends of September in the village of Knowlton in Coldbrook Park. to see more : www.canardenfete.com

Alex Roslin said...

Hi Marie-Josée,

Thanks very much! That's really nice of you to say! I'll definitely include the Duck Fest. It's one of our favourites too. I can't believe I forgot it!

Have a good Monday (if that's possible)!

Alex

Joey said...

Hi ... great site, but a bit of sad news. The Hayes Farm Raw Milk place is gone ! Since I was driving to Sutton this weekend, I thought I would drop by and try some fresh, unpasteurized milk. Alas, the farmer there told me the milk people had sold and moved on just four months ago ... NO RAW MILK ... can anyone come up with another address just across the border?

Joey said...

Hello ... this is a great site ... but I have a small correction to make. The reference to the Fresh Milk Hayes farm in Enosburg Falls ... the farmer closed shop four months ago, sold up and moved on !!! ... can anyone come up with another "raw milk" outlet just across the border?

Alex Roslin said...

Hi Joey,

Thanks for letting me know. Sorry to hear that! Their milk was incredible. I'll ask around and post an update when I find someplace new. If anyone else does, please let me know!

Take care,
Alex

Alex Roslin said...

Hi again Joey,

I just found this list of raw milk producers in Vermont:

http://www.realmilk.com/
where5.html#vt

That could be a start for you. It's arranged by county, so you can maybe use that list to find a farm near you. Let me know how it works out.

Take care,
Alex

nad5 said...

Hi Alex,

Thank you for posting this beautiful of the heart shaped lake. I've been trying to find this place for some time now! A friend brought me to a mountain where I could see this view from further away and I've wanted to go back but can't figure out where it was. Could you please send me some info on how can I access the point from where the photo was taken, or google directions? Or even if you happen to know any mountain from which I can see the heart that would be wonderful.

You can contact me by email at nadia.sessen@gmail.com.

Thanks very much, take care :)