Looking for a Quebec Retreat with Urban Possibilities
May 30, 2008 10:21 AM   Subscribe

Know of any great places to stay or see in Southern Quebec? Looking for a quiet idyll that's not too far (2hrs ish?) from Montreal and Quebec city for daytrips.

SO and I are looking for a quiet place, preferably on a body of water, where we can relax and generally not have to deal with other people, but where we can drive into the cities without too much of a hassle.

Obviously, I understand a great place may not be equidistant from the cities, but something not too far afield from them.

I'm none too familiar with Quebec so any ideas? Suggestions? Warnings?
posted by Any Moose In a Storm to Travel & Transportation around Quebec, QC (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I live in Sherbrooke, and while the city itself is nice enough, it's undergoing a HUGE amount of construction this summer to augment its existing green trails/oudoors network, so it's not the best place to visit right now.

On the whole, though, the Eastern Townships is gorgeous, interesting and scales to budget. It's about a 90-minute drive from Montreal, just on the other side of the northern tip of the Appalachians. About 2.5 hours from Quebec City.

North Hatley sounds like it might fit your bill: it's a small town on the water, with a few art galleries, some mid-priced restaurants, and some five-star restaurants if you're feeling extravagant. Lots of bed and breakfasts, etc. It gets a bit touristy in the high season, but there's loads of stuff to do around the region -- mountain hiking, the bike trails, the Wine Route (a string of locally owned independent vineyards), and loads more besides.

If you do wind up in the area, feel free to MeFi Mail me and I can give you more details, act as an ad hoc tour guide, etc. I moved here from Toronto a decade ago and I've never stopped loving every second I've been here.

This is a decent place to get more information.
posted by Shepherd at 10:48 AM on May 30, 2008


Mont-Orford meets all your requirements. It's less than 2 hours South-east of Montreal, has a large lake (and campground right on it, if you'd like), has nice hiking trails and is close to Magog, Lake Brome (excellent duck and fois gras) and Sherbrooke. Here's a Google Map.

Personally I prefer Mont Mégantic, it's in the middle nowhere, has its own micro-climate, stunning mountains (for the region) but unfortunately no lakes. It also has hike in rustic camping. Definitely the best place to go star gazing in southern Quebec.
posted by furtive at 12:38 PM on May 30, 2008


Mont-Tremblant park and village is definitely worth a day trip!

Saint-Donat is very pretty little town.

Seconding North Hatley, and adding the Capleton Copper Mine of things to do nearby.

All of these places can get a bit busy with tourists in the summer, so it might be more peaceful to stay at a B&B or cottage just outside of town.
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 12:43 PM on May 30, 2008


1 hour north of Montreal and you are right in the Laurentians ('one of the oldest moutain range in the world'--now that's good marketing). Awesome landscape. It's just great here. There are plenty of nice lakes, the longest linear park in Canada, and plenty of accomodation for longer trips. And if you push it to 1:30 from Mtl, you can go camp at the Tremblant National Park. Yes, there is Mt-Tremblant, Intrawest, and the fake village, but then there's also plain nature all around; it's pretty easy to camp and be alone, deep in the wood with your friends los mosquitos. There are tons of lakes, and great rivers such as the Riviere du Nord and the Riviere Rouge, which means lots of canoeing opportunities and also aerial hiking in Morin-Heights.

My recommendation would be to hit the 15 North, then in St-Jérôme take the 117 (old highway that runs parallel to the 15). You'll go through small towns, and all majors lakes are usually indicated. Must see: Val-David, Ste-Marguerite-du-Lac, St-Adolphe-d'Howard. And if you miss civilization (that is, SUVs and McDonald), hit St-Sauveur.

However, you should avoid the 15 North on Fridays after 2PM or the 15 South on Sundays afternoon, to keep your sanity.
posted by ddaavviidd at 12:44 PM on May 30, 2008


Oh, I should mention since you weren't clear on whether you wanted to go camping, rent a cabin or a cottage or a room in a hotel, but in southern Quebec the main cottage industry is around Lake Memphremagog. It's a nice lake, and Orford and Sherbrooke are in the area. They also have a pretty vibrant anglophone community theatre scene. Google "eastern townships" and whatever your interest is and you'll find lots.
posted by furtive at 8:06 PM on May 30, 2008


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