|Sutton (Eastern townships) to La Malbaie (on the St Lawrence)
Saturday was our last day in Sutton and it was a delightfully lazy day. We explored the town, visiting the local market which was more of a flea market than the farmers’ market, popped into various interesting stores, found a quite wonderful little Bistro for lunch, enjoyed the jazz ensemble advertising the current jazz festival, and then returned home for a lazy afternoon reading the Saturday Globe and Mail and the various and sundry books we have had very little time to get to so far.
Yesterday, Sunday, was a full day of travel with a 400 km drive from the Eastern Townships, which have a strong English presence and history, to the Charlevoix area on the St Lawrence – a much more French area.. The trip included a drive through/around Quebec City, but complements of the GPs we managed quite well.
Yesterday continued hot and sunny and the drive was amazing. Every bend of the road brought a new view of the trees in their autumn colors which seem more intense every day. Though a long drive it was a fabulous one. The area closer to Quebec City was very interesting for me the farmer because of the number and size of dairy farms we saw. Mile after mile we passed by fairly large dairy farms as well as watching the horizon marked with large silos. It was most interesting. I was forced to Google for more information and discovered that Quebec is Canada’s largest milk producing province. And from what we saw it appears that the farms are family farms rather than large productions.
Our other surprise yesterday was the unbelievable size of the St Lawwrence River – we all know it’s big, but when you actually look at something you know is a river but you can’t really see the other shore and it looks more like an ocean, you really KNOW it’s a big river.
Today we had a COLD rainy day. At one point the car registered the external temperature as 3. We added a few layers and did indoor things and survived quite nicely. We visitied the local museum, a fabulously large art gallery (which actually displayed a number of works by an artist from Vernon), and had an extensive tour of an old forge and wood working shop. On the advice of the Tourist Information fellow, we visited a Mushroom farm. It’s a small operation run by the owners and 3 employees. and it was fascinating to hear about the process they have developed – 35 days from original mixing to harvesting the mushrooms. They have developed a market for everything they produce and have no intention of expanding. We sampled (and bought) some of their products.- great stuff!!
We continue to be amazed at how neat and tidy all the properties and farms look. There is nary a blade of stray grass. In all our travels we have seen only one very small hamlet which looked run down and poorly kept. It’s quite unbelievable that, over all the miles we have travelled, the buildings and enormous yards which characterize many homes are in perfect condition. In somme areas there are a lot of brick homes, but for the most part the homes are made of wood and MANY have a beautiful veranda. Another surprise has been how close many of the homes are to the roads. In some cases the roads have obviously been widened and you can understand that they are now closer to the homes than initially planned, but even today we saw a house which was about 2 feet from the narrow little country road going through the village – both looking like they have been there a long tim
So we have covered a lot more country, our weather has changed, we have replaced the house which was our home in Sutton with accommodation in an Auberge (hotel) , but we are surviving very well – and learning and seeing lots.