Cantons de L'Est: North Hatley's English-Québecois Twofer
The Eastern Townships of Québec, or, if you prefer (as we do) Cantons de L'Est, are a kind of ur-New England, or New Old England. Nestled above Vermont and New Hampshire and west of Maine, they were settled in large number by Loyalists unwilling to become Americans. The Cantons de L'Est's rolling hills, lakes, and gentle mountains are reminiscent of New England, but their Loyalist heritage makes them seem even more Englandish than New England.
The confusing thing is that Cantons de L'Est are overwhelmingly Francophone today. One could be forgiven for assuming that a lakeside town named North Hatley would be an English-speaking enclave, but even it is largely francophone. North Hatley is the vacation home of Québec's current Premier, Jean Charest. North Hatley epitomizes cute lake town. It sits on a lake named Massawippi and occupies an extremely quiet spot in the Eastern Townships.
Le Coeur D'Or, a bed and breakfast in North Hatley with a top-notch kitchen, run by big city transplants Carole Doyon and Dominique Freminet, recently hosted Charest. Le Coeur D'Or offers double rooms starting at CAN$85/night. It is a good low-key place to sample North Hatley.