Lush rolling hills, crystal-clear lakes and checkerboard farms fill the Eastern Townships, or the Cantons-des-l'Est as they're known by French-speaking inhabitants. The region begins 80km southeast of Montréal and is squished between the labyrinth of minor highways that stretch all the way to the Vermont and New Hampshire borders. New Englanders will feel right at home: covered bridges and round barns dot the bumpy landscape, which is sculpted by the tail end of the US Appalachian mountain range.
A visit during spring is rewarding, as it's the season for 'sugaring off' – the tapping, boiling and preparation of maple syrup. In fall the foliage puts on a kaleidoscopic show of colors, to be toasted with freshly brewed apple cider, served in local pubs. The district is also home to a fast-growing wine region that produces some respectable whites and an excellent ice wine – a dessert wine made from frozen grapes.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Eastern Townships.