A few weeks ago, I went to Canada with my mum to visit my sister for around 10 days. While I spent most of my time in Montreal, we also booked a few nights in a cute chalet in the Eastern Townships area (Cantons de l’Est in French), which is located right at the border with the US. We stayed there for a short weekend to get away from the city and admire the beautiful foliage and nature.
The Eastern Townships region is the perfect place to go to at the weekend or on a family holiday to enjoy nature, because of its national parks, cute small towns and the many possibilities for outdoor activities. There, we stayed within the Memphremagog area, which is known for the huge lake it takes its name from and its beautiful landscapes.
During this short weekend, we walked around the woods next to our cabin, cosied up by the fireplace, drove around looking for moose and stopped by cute places to have a walk around and take some pictures. We weren’t blessed with sunshine the whole time, but we did get some patches of blue sky now and then, and the rain and mist definitely gave off a cool and epic vibe! If you are ever in that area, here are a few things that you can do – and that I would recommend!
Walk in the woods
Our chalet was located right by a large wooden area, where we could follow some hiking trails among the trees, which all had orange, red, yellow or golden leaves. It was absolutely magical and I was so surprised at how vibrant the colours were. I really feel like we don’t get as many beautiful colours here in Europe!
Another hiking possibility is provided by the Mont-Orford national park, a national park located North of Magog, with many hiking trails and beautiful maple trees to admire in the autumn. We didn’t actually go there because the weather was so bad that we wouldn’t have enjoyed it much, but it is definitely something I want to do when I come back!
Drive around to admire nature
To go there from Montreal and to reach different places in the area you would definitely need a car, not only because it is just easier, but also because then you get to enjoy all the scenic views.
We took the car to wander around the Memphremagog lake and it almost felt like we were in a movie.
Every time we saw a nice spot to have a walk in or to take some pictures, we parked the car and went out to appreciate it more. That way, we took a little detour to see a very old covered bridge which definitely reminded me of the movie Sleepy Hollow, and later we stopped in a really cute spot around the lake that had an incredible view.
One of the most fascinating things to see is the Saint-Benoît-du-Lac abbey, a Benedictine monastery that overlooks the Memphremagog lake. The visit was very interesting and you can also buy a lot of local products in the souvenir shop! The inside was beautiful but what I liked the most was the location: hidden between the trees, surrounded by nature and right on the lake.
The Cherry River Marsh
During our “road trip”, we went on a walk in a really nice trail in the Cherry River Marsh, which is some sort of nature reserve, where you can follow different paths that lead you to different areas of the marsh. When we went there, it was getting dark, cold and it started raining, which is a shame because the place seemed really nice. We only walked for one kilometre or so, then headed back because we were freezing. I am sure that it can be a very enjoyable walk on a nicer day though.
Magog and other cute towns
The area is filled with pretty little towns that just seem like they come straight out of a movie set. Sometimes there is a definite Sleepy Hollow vibe, especially at night or on a rainy and misty day. Other times, it feels like you just ended up in Stars Hollow (from the show Gilmore Girls), and you wouldn’t be surprised if you saw Luke’s Diner at the corner of a street.
When you are done with the wandering about in nature, you can definitely go to one of those towns and enjoy and warm and earthy meal in the many restaurants that there are.
I had never heard of the Eastern Townships region before going there, but it seemed to be quite famous in Quebec. I absolutely loved my stay there and I am still amazed at how stunning everything was in this season. I will for sure come back!
Have you ever been in Quebec?
Other posts about Canada:My favourite things about Montreal
– Sugar rush at a sugar shack