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Cheese, cider and snowshoeing: Where to spend 2 days outside Montreal?

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Elsewhere on this board, I've been getting advice about where to eat with my brother during a week's stay in Montreal. Well, we're also planning to spend a couple of days outside the city, snowshoeing by day and eating good cheese and drinking great cider by night. Ah, who am I kidding? We'll be eating cheese and drinking cider by day as well.

Anyway, we're not quite sure where to base ourselves for this. I've read that Mont-Megantic has great snowshoeing, but I can't quite figure out how the food and drink is thereabouts. Is there one perfect location—maybe even at some grand old country hotel—that will satisfy our cravings for Québécois deliciousness amid the great outdoors?

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  1. you might want to try the laurentian area, too! lots of great hotels. ste. adele's nice. great new resto there--bar a vin tony et nicole? tony and somebody....anyone? it's really excellent. right behind the movie theatre?

    1. Check out L'Eau a la Bouche (mouthwatering). Great location, even better cuisine. http://www.leaualabouche.com/

      1 Reply
      1. re: RhondaB

        Looks delicious! An aptly named restaurant. But...

        What about food over near Mont-Mégantic? The snowshoeing looks amazing over there, and some nice places to stay, but any great food spots too? Doesn't have to be fancy or high-end—a tavern-style place with hearty food and good cider works for us!

      2. If you're coming during sugaring-off season (usually around late February-March-April, depending on when the sap's running) a really fun thing to do is to go sugaring-off, especially if you've never been before. AKA - going to a cabane à sucre. Hearty, traditional québécois fare - and everything drenched in as much pure maple syrup as you want. ;-) There are sugar shacks all over Quebec (Laurentians, Eastern Townships, Montérégie, etc.), so depending where you end up staying we can point you to some of the good ones.

        1. I can't say much for the bit about snowshoeing, but the areas surrounding Sherbrooke are pretty outdoor activity friendly. And there are a couple of microbreweries here that are freaking astounding.

          1. You could head 1hr 15mins south to the Montebello region where there are lots of snowshoe trails and enjoy hot cider and aperitifs in the historic lodge hotel bar at Chateau Montebello. Wherever you end up this timeof year, there will not be much in the way of culinary exploration outside of the city unless you aim for the Laurtentians restaurant circuit. It might be more interesting to simply pack a picnic lunch (there are many options to source from the markets to artisinal shops) and just head out to enjoy the snow and fresh air. Or if you were less interested in "wilderness" and just wanted to spend a day outside of the city, you could skip the country and spend an afternoon snowshoeing around Beaver Lake on Mount Royal. You'd be minutes from the core of the city, food, markets, etc. but in a very nice outdoor park area with picnic areas also.

            1 Reply
            1. re: OliverB

              First thing that popped to my head was Chateau Montebello. The food from what Ive heard is overpriced yet solid. But a short walk to bar central gets you a strangely great small (friendly) quebec feel Also ask the local farmers if they have fresh meat around the area, they will usually cut you a piece and charge you next to nothing!

            2. If you're looking for something closer to Montreal, you may also consider Mont-Saint-Hilaire, which is approximately a 45 minute drive away.

              The 'mountain' itself has cross-country skiing in the winter, and I presume that snow-shoeing is also permitted. It is run by McGill University; more information can be found at their website: http://www.mcgill.ca/gault/sainthilaire/

              There are numerous cidreries around both Mont Saint Hilaire and the surrounding Monteregie region. For more information see http://www.tourisme-monteregie.qc.ca/...

              I know very little about accommodations around this area, however.

              1. I am going with the Laurentian's as well You have over 200kms of trails for skiing and shoeing with great little stops along the way to warm up and nosh.In Val David for the next couple of Saturdays you have the Winter Market that is great fun.You have Au Petit Poucet for great French Canadian fare( pea soup, tourtiere,smoked ham and maple sugar pie)you have L'eau a la bouche and Clef des champs in Ste Adele for high quailty "cuisine du terrior"You have a number of Cabanes a Sucre that will be opening closest is the one behind Mont Avila better one in St Donut but a bit of a drive.You have sliegh rides and dog sled rides near Ste Agathe.As well as the long run skating tracks in SteAdele and Ste Marguerite de lac masson.The great crepe breakfast at Le petit chaudron in Ste Adele not to mention the nordic spa (one of the oldest in North America) at Piedmont.All this in a 40 mile radius.Hotels to consider are La Sapiniere in Val David, L'eau a la bouche in Ste Adele or Le Chanteclerc in Ste Adele on the lake or a little bit out of the way is Hotel L'esterel that has miles of Snowshoe tracks a nordic spa as well as a regular one and Bistro de champlain in Ste Marguerite with one of the best wine cellars in all of Quebec only to mention a few. Enjoy winter at its best

                2 Replies
                1. re: finefoodie55

                  Okay, I'm sold! That was just what I needed to make up my mind. Thanks, finefoodie55!

                  1. re: worldmatt

                    Also check out Montagne Coupee in Lanaudiere region north east of Montreal. Nice lodge, great snowshoeing.