What better way to stretch out the final weeks of summer this Labor Day weekend than a road trip? Fate was my friend in this endeavor and put me in the path of the lovely team at the Quebec Ministry of Tourism.
Husband and I have been saying for years that we need to take advantage of our beautiful neighbor to the North (at only 4-5 hours away from Boston to Montreal and the Eastern Townships) but never got around to planning the adventure. I left the planning to the Ministry this go around, packed my bags and hit the road along with my trusty friend and co-pilot Sarah, of Style on the Couch (see more on our road trip at her Tumblr which she diligently keeps up to date real time while we are here!).
Our first day took us to the Eastern Townships (Cantons-de-l'Est)- which rubs shoulders with the US and is known for its picturesque landscapes, Victorian Architecture and did I mention the wine route?!
We drove straight in to Sherbrooke, where we dined at the utterly delightful and uber delicious Auguste. Helmed by the talented chef Danny St-Pierre and his lovely wife, we were immediately served one of the house signature dishes, the poutine inversee. I was imagining a "deconstructed" poutin (I haven't spoken French in a while people, that was the best I could come up with for inversee!) but no, it was in fact, 100 times better than that, being a deep fried ball of goodness, stuffed with gravy and cheese. They are truly deserving of their own post, so stay tuned for more on our adventures here.
From Auguste, we skipped up the street to the lovely Musee des Beaux Arts de Sherbrooke, where we were treated to a tour of works by the Director, Cecile Gelinas. The museum's extensive collection focuses on artists of the Eastern Townships, historical through contemporary. Founded 1982, the museum is housed in the gorgeous (former) home of the Eastern Townships Bank. Upon entering, you are ushered into the current exhibit, a collection of over 50 works by Joe Fafard. His lively bronze work covers politicians, artists, the bovine and the equine. The permanent collection of the musee is extensive, partially displayed on the third floor of the space, and prominently featuring the work of the famed painter Frederick Simpson Coburn.
Our final stop? The Spa Eastman, in Eastman, Quebec. How else would you expect two road warriors to recharge after a day of driving and dining? We were warmly welcomed at the spa by Jocelyna Dubac, the CEO and Founder of the sprawling grounds. Jocelyna personally walked us through a series of relaxing treatments, from a hot tub with soothing jets, to a quick dip in the picturesque pond pictured above (a series of hot/cold treatments) to relax the nerves and stimulate the body. Feeling thoroughly refreshed, we then enjoyed dinner at the spa, along with organic wine (mais oui!), finally calling it a night with a sumptuous sunset from our deck.
A delicious, cultured, relaxing, totally delightful start to our trip.