Canada - Quebec - Quebec Hills and Killer Croissants
You can sleep when you're dead." I quote my favourite traveling line to my husband Kevin, as he lies semi-conscious on the couch at Vert Le Mont B&B in Quebec's eastern township of Sutton. We've just finished cycling 35 kilometres up and down some rather steep and steamy hills. "Remember, we booked a multi-sport tour."
As if he needs reminding. We're off to Arbe en Arbe...a tree-top adventure experience...whatever that is. I'm finding out. It's when I'm strapped into the safety harness and hooked to a cable that dead starts to look like a good option. This ranger guy must be kidding. "It's simple. If you fall you'll be suspended by your harness. As you complete each series, you will advance higher into the tree canopy." I look at platforms, cables, trapezes and observe that they are, indeed, in the tree tops.
Grade 8 gym was hell...and that particular balance beam wasn't suspended from two swinging ropes up in the trees. I forgive him when I squeal down the zip-line but finally quit at Level 2 before my knees knock themselves off. Kevin gets through Level 3 in time to jump off a platform, grab a rope and smack Tarzan-like into a huge net hung between two trees. We're grinning like idiots.
Tree-top adventure - check. Cycling - check. Canoeing...Hiking...Walk around funky townships....Visit Benedictine Abbey....Meet pottery artisans....Practice our cereal-box French...See amazing painter's studio...Dine out endlessly. ..Check and more checks. The tour company of Wood & Westland doesn't seem to miss much.
Earlier Joan Westland had smiled, "Traiteur Virgo is the caterer Paul Martin uses when he's at his summer house. We'll make sure your picnic supper is delivered before your arrival." Well... ...okay. Now, we're sitting on the deck of the B&B Domaine Des Chutes - House of the Falls -listening to the roar of the waterfalls below. The pine trees exude a resinous aromatherapy. A girl can work up an appetite from cycling these gorgeous back roads. Good thing too, because the trays are piled high with fresh greens tossed in raspberry vinaigrette, Italian sausage, roasted chicken, salmon, fruits, a chewy baguette and local cheeses. The cabernet's not half-bad with the chocolate truffles either.
Earlier, Westland's partner, Trish Wood, had delivered our lunch of strawberries, local Brome Lake duck, chevre and grilled zucchini to our lunch stop at a local vineyard called L'Ardennais. The portable cappuccino maker had been an espresso-fueled godsend for the next hills.
Our final two nights are spent beneath the gabled roof of Le Gite La Fougere in the town of Knowlton. We dine at the 150 year old Auberge Knowlton, later paddling our canoe from the marina's dock and bar.
We visit the abbey in time for vespers, buying monk-made gourmet cheeses and honey. While we're out, our perfect little kitchen is stocked by the Wood & Westland fairies.
In the mornings, we sit and relax under the sugar maple with warm croissants, fruit and coffee with cream. We sit some more. Sitting seems like a really good thing.
Live well, go to: www.bonjourquebec.com