touring in Quebec

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by dstrang, Jun 29, 2005.

  1. dstrang

    dstrang New Member

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    I'm planning a 1 week tour in Quebec (driving up from NY) and conceivably a bordering province -- this July.

    Would appreciate any advice on favorite general areas for a tour, am looking for something scenic and hilly, reasonably quiet. Plan to drive to a starting point and make a loop. Will be going solo this time and camping. Have gone on a number of solo and small group tours, only concern now is to find an interesting area to visit.
     
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  2. Kazoo

    Kazoo New Member

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    I live in the Quebec province, i haven't done many of the trails though one i did and enjoyed was "le chemin du petit train du Nord" if you were to start from its starting point back and forth i think its around 360km, they are plenty of camping grounds on the way. Also you get to bike up Mont-Tremblant which adds a little extra. The road itself alternates from dirt to asphalt with the occasional sand patch. Overall its a nice flat trail.
     
  3. Eddie Arzouian

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    Kazoo, is this the Great Kazoo, Fred Flintstone's buddy!



    Kazoo is correct, up around Mont Tremblant there are numerous MTB trails but reading your initial post it was not clear if you were talking of road or trail.



    If you are looking for road, there is something called the "Circuit du Paysan" (Countryman's Tour). It is set up with businesses and rural rustic tourist attractions on the road along the QC - NY State border. It begins near Hemmingford, QC which is right off Interstate 87 north of Plattsburgh.



    The Circuit du Paysan is designed for cars or bikes. There are detailed maps with all the points of interest. They include restaurants, orchards, bakeries, shops, covered bridges, swim holes, al kinds of stuff.





    The Circuit runs about parallel to the border and goes through Franklin, Huntingdon and as far west as Fort Covington/Dundee where there is a bird preserve. There is a recreation of a 15th century Indian "long house" in St. Anicet.



    All kinds of stuff.



    There is not much traffic in the area ( I know I live and ride here) There are numerous bed and breakfasts.



    There is a canoe or kayak tour operation based in Huntingdon, they (Ian Gill) wil rent you canoes or kayak and go pick you up in van down the Chateauguay River.



    This is a quiet and relatively unknown corner of the province.



    Check it out.



    This is an article I wrote last fall for a newspaper I ran called The Freeborders. It discussed the Circuit du Paysan:



    All in good taste
    by Ed Arzouian

    Good taste, both literally and figuratively, is what you will find along the Le Circuit du Paysan. This title loosely translates to “The Countryfolks’ Path”. It is the designation given to about 80 businesses located in southwestern Quebec. Just this summer Tourism Quebec and Quebec Ministry of Transport have given the route an official status with permanent road signage along its 197 kilometers (123 miles).


    A wide variety of products and services are offered along the Circuit. The common thread, the tie that binds them all is their appreciation and respect for their heritage complimented by their embrace of cutting edge technology and an understanding of the importance of marketing their products for a new clientele in modern markets.



    Something old, something new

    So while you may see an old barn from the road, once you step inside you find the antique 19th-century family cider press on display but very latest of computerized quality control and inventory management now making the cider.



    You will find Old World expertise delivering NewAge products. People like Mr. Robert Demoy, of the Cidrerie du Minot, who is a certified oenologist (that’s a specialist in wine making) from the University of Bordeaux (France) who has perfected the cider-making process and is thrilled to share his passion with others. He brings to the table 25 years in the alcoholic beverage industry and experience as a technical consultant and educator to Quebec’s cottage industry. The apples that make their cider are hand-picked, pressed, fermented, aged and bottled on the premises, guaranteeing the authenticity and quality of each Minot cider. They offer no less than seven different types of cider from Aperitifs, Sparkling ciders, Still ciders, sparkling Rosé ciders to a an Ice Cider or Wine, a new product unique to Quebec.



    This is not your father’s orchard…or is it?

    New variety for everyone has been added to the once familiar experience of picking your own apples. If you haven’t been to an orchard lately you might be surprised to find all kind of things to keep the kids amused, from big colourful outdoor amusement sets to horse rides. The barns once filled with farm equipment are now overflowing with arts and crafts from local artisans, craftsman and artists.



    The big orchards have provided excellent outlets to group vast arrays of goods under one big, old vaulted roof: one-stop shopping but don’t go to only one place…!



    Some orchards on the Circuit have taken the extra effort to maintain “heritage apples”. Those are the types of apples that are now difficult to find because they are more difficult to deal with in commercial quantities. Some may not winter well while others require extra effort and care to grow properly. The Uptons of McMillan Orchard explained this term to me, which I had not heard before.



    Don’t put all your apples in one basket

    As good fortune would have it, once you have picked your apples and shopped to your heart’s content for antiques and crafts there happen to be numerous pubs and bars, old and new, traditional and not-so-traditional to have a few beers, again some of which wil have been brewed locally.



    Given how all that fresh air, exercise, food and drink may have you too tired to drive back or home or maybe there is just too much you still want to see and do to pack into one day, you might need a place to stay for the night and their again you have a myriad of choice from quiet bed & breakfasts right on your route to the new, impressive, Manoir Lac St. Francois on the hill overlooking Lake St. Francis in what used to by a seminary. The ornate and colorful Chapel is now a museum of sorts. You can visit that, take in the spa, fine-dining and stay the night, waking to hardy brunch.



    The Circuit du Paysan can easily be accessed for either the east or the west, most of the route runs parallel to the US- Canada border. Most of the businesses have web sites to visit. Some of the places suggest reserving for larger groups, so call ahead. There are specific activities planned on the Circuit du Paysan for the next three weekends. You can also call the CLD (Local Development Centre) du Haut St. Laurent in Huntingdon for information at 264-5252.













     
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