Sunday, September 9, 2018

August 5, 2018 my last day in the Eastern Townships

Another morning where fruit and juice and coffee were brought to my room.  And another delicious breakfast before I left.  

I went to visit another cousin and his wife who lived in Minton another little hamlet just above North Hatley towards Sherbrooke.    My cousin, Ken's family have lived on their farm for several generations.  But they have sold their the farm to a biologist who is planning to have an organic farm here.  They are quite delighted to be moving into Granby where my cousin's wife grew up and has lots of family there and they will also be in town and closer to both their daughters.  

Again I have lots of childhood memories of visiting here.  
It was nice to see how positive they are about the whole moving experience despite my cousin having lived over eighty years on this pretty piece of land.  
It was also nice to meet their younger daughter who was also visiting.  
My next little excursion was to Compton where I haven't been in ages.  There is a museum there as Louis St Laurent, once prime minister of Canada, lived here and his family had a general store.  
I had another ice cream lunch.  Again maple walnut with a piece of maple fudge on top and it only cost $2.60.

I have been to the museum before and it was very interesting but I wanted to catch up with an old friend in Waterville.  There is something really nice to spend time with someone with whom you shared a childhood.  

I didn't have enough time to do everything I would have liked to do or seen everyone I would have liked to have seen but I wanted to get back to Montreal fairly early (I did have a dinner waiting for my arrival)

I always enjoyed getting to spend time in the Eastern Townships.  And it was actually really nice to be there in summer.  I know I will return again before too long.  

Day 2 North Hatley and more of the Eastern Townships August 4, 2018

My day began with a pre breakfast delivered outside my door.  
and followed by a delicious breakfast in the dining room.  It had begun to rain so we didn't dine outside.  In the last five years I have been here in summer, fall, spring, and summer again and it always rains at some point!

You can see the misty view!  I was able to use my rusty French as I chatted with some of the other guests.  This area has become very popular with bicyclists.  

My goal was to go to the Saturday market on my way to visit my cousin. 

It was great, so much fun.  Beautiful flowers-I bought my cousin a bouquet 


Produce-mushrooms above

crafts-a friend is having a baby in January and his or her big sister loves bunnies.

I missed taking a picture of the cheese made in Waterville!

I then walked into town and over the bridge to my cousin's and North Hatley now has a pop up Hatley store for the summer.  The original concept for this successful business was developed by a Bishop's Business professor and his wife who live in North Hatley and is now run by their three sons.  For great bargains, there is an outlet store in Lennoxville (that I never made it to this trip).

I had a good visit with my cousin and admired the scenery along the river as I made my way back into the central part of the town.

It was lovely but rather hot and humid (the rain having stopped long ago)

Back in town I discovered a neat little shop on my way back to the market near the gas station and since my baseball cap hadn't made it into my suitcase I bought a straw hat for $10
i had the illusion the market was open until 2:00 but my cousin thought it closed at noon and she was right so I wasn't able to get that Waterville cheese-oh well.

So I just went back to Le Cachet and got my car and set off to lunch.

I drove back down the Route 143 past my old farm.  I am very familiar with this road.  When I was a child my family knew everyone who lived along that road from the North Hatley turn off to Massawippi.  This is where we turned off to go to our cottage in Bacon's Bay (still on Lake Massawippi).
A favourite place to go in nearby Ayers' Cliff was Wood's Friendly Snack Bar, which still exists although expanded and not owned by the same family.
I had a favourite childhood meal, a hamburger, french fries, and a strawberry milkshake.  And you have to know nothing is as good as Quebec french fries...

 Next on my list was to visit Bleu Lavendre, the lavender farm near Fitch Bay, so I took a short cut over the hills I know, Brown's Hill Road.  I tried to find this farm five years ago unsuccessfully but I didn't have a phone with GPS then.  This business seems to be going well as I have bought their products in Vancouver.  

You can go in the store for free but a tour is something like $10 and apparently takes two hours so I decided this time not to wander through the fields but just go shopping.

Next I went through the little village of Fitch Bay near where later I spent many summers on Lake Memphremagog and then I went to Georgeville, another tourist town where actor Donald Sutherland has had a home for many many years.  For Louise Penny fans, the house below inspired one of her books.

After that I found my way back to Ayers' Cliff and checked out the new improved Ripplecove Inn.

I didn't go inside but it looked great outside.  This is at the opposite end of the lake from Honey Manor. At one point one Stafford brother owned Hovey Manor and the other owned Ripplecove but no longer the case.

While I was there it poured for a few minutes but the rain was warm and felt good.

It was getting a bit late but I just wanted to take another small detour to where we used to have our cottage at Bacon's Bay and found my cousin there at his cottage so we had a short visit.

On my way back to North Hatley I may one more detour to East Hatley.  East Hatley is a pretty hamlet where I used to go to July 1 parades every year and where they still have them.

By the time I got back I only had a few minutes to change and get ready to go the reunion dinner that night.  It was very nice but too bad that not more people had been able to go, but I felt that I had marked the fact that I had graduated fifty years before.  I still find that fact unbelievable.

Friday, September 7, 2018

August 3-to North Hatley in Quebec's Eastern Townships

After I left Knowlton (or Lac Brome) i went back to the Eastern Townships Autoroute and then onto route 55 and then onto Route 108 and was taken past Hovey Manor on my way into North Hatley.  

Hovey Manor is a a very fancy resort that was once the home of a rich southerner who summered in North Hatley.  It was named after Captain Ebenezer who led a group from New Hampshire to this are in the early 1800's to settle.  And note my great great great great (not sure how many great grandfather was one of the members of this militia.  Ebenezer's wife was a Kezar.)  I have never stayed here but have been here to dine many times.  It has become more famous as the inspiration for the inn in one of Louise Penny's mysteries and last summer Louise Penny mystery fans and now friends, Bill and Hilary Clinton stayed here.  Again I have enclosed this helpful map.  

This is the part of the Eastern Townships that I know best.  I was born in Sherbrooke, lived from age two to eight just outside North Hatley on our family farm, and then moved to Waterville which is just off the map just east of North Hatley.  I had a cottage on Lake Massawippi near Ayer's Cliff and later a cottage near Fitch Bay near Georgeville.  I finished high school and went to university in Lennoxville just north of North Hatley and now officially part of Sherbrooke.

Back to Honey Manor.  A couple of years ago a friend and I had dinner there and the prices had definitely gone up.  It was lovely but I think with one glass of wine it was over $100.  Now they have a less expensive bistro but i didn't have the opportunity to try it this visit.

It is an absolutely gorgeous property.  Long ago one of my cousin's had his wedding reception here.


Since a couple of nights here is not in my current budget I stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast I have stayed in twice before and totally recommend, Le Cachet.

It is right in North Hatley, a short walk into the main part of the town.  After I checked in I walked towards the main part of town
and passed this corner that always amuses me as I don't know of a Kezar Street (at least with this spelling) anywhere else.

Sometime ago they rebuilt the bandshell I remembered from my childhood.  There were and still are concerts there.  I think my favourite part was the hot popcorn wagon that was operated by my grandfather's half brother.  That will always be the most delicious popcorn in my mind.

As I walked along here I was kind of flooded with memories.  There used to be a boatyard here where my dad's friend, Bill Ride, had a marino where he used to make and rent and sell boats.  We would rent a boat (can't remember if we had our own motor or probably we rented that with the boat) and have a picnic across the lake where we had friends who had a cottage.  

This is the river that flows into Lake Massawippi here.  When I was in second grade we sold our farm and bought a house in nearby Waterville but we rented our house in North Hatley for two months so I could finish second grade here.  I loved it even if I probably missed my dog and pony etc. who remained on the farm.  But I loved walking to school and playing with my friends and visiting friendly neighbours especially my cousin Bob and his wife Janice and their baby daughter.  I loved living in Waterville as well but there wasn't a lake there.  

North Hatley is charming and you can take endless pictures here.  It became a tourist town in the 1800's after the civil war when it was discovered by rich Baltimorians who would travel here by train. They built beautiful big homes.   Just recently I was contacted by someone who is a descendant who I think still summers here and had fond memories of my half great aunt who worked for his parents or grandparents and married a Baltimore street car conductor.  I never knew her and had to consult the family tree to figure out the connection.  Later well to do people from Toronto and Montreal mainly replaced those southerners.  

 I was actually getting hungry after that early lunch of an ice cream cone, but had to do a little shopping.

and take another picture.

I decided to have lunch by the river at La Chocolatiere, which is a bed and breakfast but has now opened a cafe and although it was perhaps a hot day to be having soup and a grilled cheese sandwich it was delicious.  The view was nice as well

I walked back to Le Cachet enjoying the view

and since it wasn't raining as predicted yet I decided to go for a little drive

and took a picture of the farm I lived in until I was almost eight.  The house was actually built by my grandfather.  It has been owned by the same people almost since we sold it in 1959 (the original buyer only lived there a few months as he died of a heart attack.  They were friends and his widow sold it to other people we knew.  The Cheals have lived there ever since but Mrs. Cheal died I think last year so it probably will be sold.  I have always appreciated how beautifully kept it has been.  

Later I drove into nearby Waterville where we moved and I didn't really take any pictures as it just isn't the pretty town it once was, and I don't like what they did to my house which we sold in 1985, but I do have lots of nice memories.  

The reason I chose this particular weekend to visit the Townships was because it was Lennoxville High School reunion weekend.  We had a very successful reunion five years ago but the numbers for this reunion have proved to be disappointing to the organizing committee.  Lennoxville High School became only an elementary school in 1969 and since I graduated in 1968 from Grade Eleven, my class was one of the last.  A big regional high school was built where students from grades seven to eleven from this part of the Townships would attend.  I went to school in Waterville until 10th grade so I only went there for two years but later went to Bishop's University (where the reunion was) in Lennoxville as well.  Lennoxville is about eight miles from Waterville and about the same from North Hatley.  

So after my Waterville tour I took the back route to North Hatley through Hatley Centre where long ago my father went to school and later had property and put my feet up at the B and B before going to the reunion reception.  I didn't take any pictures but had a great time.  I got to see one good friend I hadn't seen in over twenty years and another friend and his wife came all the way from Peru!  

As you can see it was a busy day!!!