True Nature of Quebec

Don't worry, I'm not going to get too philosophical here...I'm talking about real nature. We had a chance to visit the Botanical Garden of Montreal this weekend, which was beautiful, then got the heck out of the city on Sunday for a road trip into the countryside of Quebec. It was a breath of fresh air...literally.

Le Jardin Chinois
The Botanical Garden was amazing! They have recreated Chinese, Japanese, First Nations, Rose, Alpine Gardens among others...all were stunningly beautiful. While we wandered and enjoyed the natural beauty, I had to shake my head over the incredible amount of work it must be to keep the garden in such tip-top conditions when the growing season here must be insanely short. On top of that, the winters are brutal...these plants must need a LOT of care. And they receive it...it shows.

Yesterday, it was in the 90's and humid in Montreal...so we hit the road to Les Cantons de l'Est, a region that makes wine, grows yummy things to eat, and is lovely in a pastoral, small-towny kind of way. We had an awesome time and chilled out, literally.

Our first stop was the Musée de Chocolat in a tiny town, that wasn't so much a chocolate museum, but really more of a chocolate shop with some educational placards. This suited me just fine...I don't actually care anything about the origins of chocolate as long as its destination is my mouth.

After a quick chocolate stop, we continued on to a beautiful vineyard, where we were able to sample the wine William and Kate drank over dinner while they were in Quebec! Woo hoo...I was feeling better already. You don't see views like this in Montreal.

Even though we were out of the city, it was still hot and sticky, so we headed to a nearby lake, where we were able to picnic alongside the lake. After waiting the requisite 20 minutes (more or less), we hopped in to swim and cool off with masses of folks from the area. Ahhhhhhh!
Before my sailboat envy got too bad (There were Lasers! I couldn't help it!), we hit the road again, thoroughly refreshed and raring for more adventure. While there probably aren't many people who would classify blueberry-picking as high adventure, I have to say that it was the highlight of the trip for me! Blueberries are far and away my favorite fruit and I've always wanted to pick them. So, when we "stumbled upon" (ie...I researched the address ahead of time and made sure our route passed the farm) a u-pick blueberry place, I was out of the car in a flash. I can now attest that blueberries do indeed grow on a sort of floppy bush and they taste better right off the branch!

After the blueberry picking, we went to one more vineyard where I picked up some ice wine, which is made from grapes that are allowed to freeze on the vine. This causes the water and the sugar in the grape to separate, making for a really sweet, syrupy dessert wine. It was delicious! Since it takes 7 times more grapes to produce ice wine than regular wine, it is generally pretty expensive...buying it directly from the vineyard was a steal in comparison! And look at all I learned in the process!

All in all, the nature of Quebec surprised and delighted me this weekend. It was nice to get a gulp of breathing room before embarking on our last week of the program! Don't worry, though...more to come!

1 comment:

  1. This must have been just the best day ever! :) So fun that you got to go blueberry picking!