Winter is soft and white.
The Eastern Townships are snuggled between Montreal and Quebec in Quebec Province. Ten towns make up the area referred to as Canada's New England, Garden of Quebec and Quebec's breadbasket.
They start in Granby in the north and spread south to the American state of New Hampshire. If you plan to cross the border into the United States, you will need your passport.
It is a popular holiday destination for Quebecois, and each season offers something special and different.
Spring arrives with new plant and animal life, and locals take down their double glazing and install insect screens on their windows. It is when maple trees are tapped for their sweet syrup and people spend daylight hours outdoors.
Summer is blissful and people take to canoeing, fishing, swimming, sailing, and biking, hiking and riding along the many trails.
Autumn defies description. The maples turn to dramatic colours of orange, fiery reds, purples, gold and bronze before falling to the ground leaving behind a landscape of beautifully shaped, bare trees. It's also time for the apple harvest and cider making.
Winter is soft and white. The double glazing is put back, and people go skating, snowshoeing, sleigh riding, skiing and ice fishing. Despite freezing temperatures, everyone loves to socialise and lead active lives.
Locals are a mix of French Canadian, English, Scottish and Irish and around 90 percent speak Quebecois French. Jacques Robidas is a local and offers sleigh rides, snowshoeing, sledding, skiing and ice fishing on his own property, which has some beautiful tracks through the woods.
There are covered bridges scattered around the townships and while the tops were built to protect the timber from the elements, they give the bridges a romantic look.
Early settlers were generally farmers who left New England after the American Declaration of Independence in 1776. After the American Civil War (1861-1865) wealthy southerners snubbed anything to do with the Yankees and moved further north to Canada. Several beautiful farmhouses remain and North Hartley on Lake Massawappi, with a population of only 812, is where you will find Hovey Manor.
Built in 1785 by Ebenezer Hovey, the hotel is a five-star, 40-room place of luxury. Rooms vary from the small and cosy to large rooms with fireplaces, jacuzzis, canopy beds and private lakeside balconies. They show guests the best the seasons have to offer there are two small sandy beaches, a heated outdoor pool, and all sorts of equipment to allow you to enjoy the water, snow, ice and explore the many woods.
They serve fine food, something the whole area is renowned for. People drive from near and far to enjoy local fare and Brome Lake duck is one of the world's great dishes.
Close by are shops and galleries, museums, pubs, the Piggery, which is an English summer stock theatre, many French summer theatres and St Benoit du Lac, a Benedictine monastery famous for chanting and producing delicious blue cheese and apple cider.
Air Canada flies daily from Sydney to Vancouver (via Honolulu) with connections to all major Canadian cities. Connections are also available from most major Australian domestic cities.
An hour's drive from Montreal or Quebec City.
Hovey Manor's rooms start at around $330 per double per night. Breakfast is included.
Air Canada is currently having a seat sale ex- Sydney to most major Canadian cities. Fares are effective for sale immediately to October 5, 2002 for travel now until December 5, 2002 or from January 21 to March 31, 2003. Taxes and surcharges are around $200-$280. Conditions apply.
Return economy airfares are $1749 to Vancouver or Calgary and $1909 to Montreal, Ottawa or Toronto.
Call Air Canada or your local IATA or AFTA travel agent.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.
Ph: (02) 9286 8900
1300 655 767 toll free outside Sydneywww.aircanada.ca
Eastern Townships Tourismwww.easterntownships.cc
575 Hovey Road
North Hatley PQ Canada J0B 2C0
Ph: (0011) 1 819 842 2421
Fax: (0011) 1 819 842 firstname.lastname@example.org
Randonnees Jacques Robidas
32 Chemin McFarland
North Hatley PQ Canada J0B 2C0www.email@example.com
Canada Travel Information
Ph:02 9954 3377
Fax: 02 9929 4543 www.canada.trav.net