Good Food and Heritage Discoveries Following the Sheds Panoramiques Circuit

By Natalie Sicard

Published on Aug 16, 2023

By Natalie Sicard

After our stay in Piopolis, my travelling companion and I decided to exchange the valleys of the Route des Sommets for the Circuit des Sheds Panoramiques in the Haut-Saint-François. Currently featuring nine sheds spread across the parks and countryside in and around as many municipalities, each one of them offers a unique viewpoint overlooking the grandiose landscapes that characterize this region. The pretty wooden structures are accompanied by texts, photographs and even works of art to immerse us in the history of the pioneers who shaped the area. It's a carefully planned route seasoned with plenty of gourmet and artistic stops along the way. 

Direction Lingwick and Its Township

We headed towards the township of Lingwick to discover our first shed. Set inside the Parc du Belvédère, we’re able to reach within a 15-minute trail walk. Perched on a mound overlooking the Salmon River, the installations here tell the story of these 400 Highlanders, who were evacuated from the Isle of Lewis in Scotland and who settled in this township between 1831 and 1842 where they founded a new homeland.

Market Day!

Continuing on the route, we take the scenic road leading to Lingwick! The hustle and bustle and a gathering of people draw our attention; it's market day in the village! The Marché de la Petite École in Lingwick, held every Friday from June to September, brings together local producers who proudly offer their cheese, bread, meat, lamb, vegetables, fruit, pies, smoked fish and much more! We even discover artisans selling their creations, such as table linens, weaving, ceramics…the ambiance is welcoming and the Pub offers beer, wine, and other beverages with pizzas baked in their wood-burning oven.

After having bought some items for a picnic, we headed a few kilometres from the Place du Marché, to a grass-covered space offering a view of the 2nd longest covered bridge in Québec: the 63-metre McVetty-McKenzie Bridge, built in 1893. I take a moment to enjoy a swim in the river, just to work up an appetite for the supper that awaits at La Ruée vers Gould.

Scottish Flavours

The restaurant inn was established in the village of Gould’s first general store, founded around 1845. The dining room, which has maintained the spirit of the times, blends together a thrift shop, local crafts, as well as a few antiques. The cuisine offered here revisits Scottish specialties: Highland rabbit stew, scotch mignon, lamb stew...

Sunday brunches are very popular here. Well satisfied with a casserole of mussels “Scottish style” and a glass of scotch, we spent the night in one of the two bedrooms upstairs, like travelling salesmen of that era would do. The village of Scotstown, a dozen kilometres away, which we were to discover the next day, was established on the railway route to the United States in 1877.

Discovering Scotstown

In this village where the Scottish presence can be felt everywhere we turn. The town is well worth a visit if just to admire the beautiful Victorian houses dating back to the prosperous days of potash mining and to stock up on delicious sausages at the Scotstown Charcuterie. We took advantage of our passage here to spend a few hours in the Marécage-des-Scots regional park, on the shores of the Rivière au Saumon. Visitors can enjoy a range of activities and rent kayaks and bicycles. In fact, we even hopped on a bike and cycled to the Hampden shed, which immerses us in the fascinating story of French immigrants living in the colony of Franceville.

Heading Out to La Patrie and Cookshire-Eaton

This part of the route, on the 257 North, offers superb landscapes typical of the Haut-Saint-François, a region with its farmland and forests, and a profusion of fir trees (there are about forty Christmas tree plantations on this stretch). In our rear-view mirror: a succession of fir trees and farms, plains and herds of cattle grazing peacefully against the backdrop of the ever-present, majestic Mount Mégantic. La Patrie’s shed beautifully captures this panorama. The poet Éva Senécal, a native of La Patrie, expresses how this landscape has inspired her in her writing. Established within the International Dark Sky Reserve, this hilltop village can be enjoyed both day and night. We also learn that it owes its name to the many French-Canadians who returned from New England in 1875 to settle here.

We continue our route by heading towards Cookshire Eaton where we stop by the town’s shed to, once again, enjoy a breathtaking panorama. From the swing, you can admire a never-ending farmland horizon with the New Hampshire mountains in the background.

Then on to Victoria Hall, Cookshire-Eaton’s art gallery, a magnificent space suffused with light featuring contemporary works by the region’s artists. As well, a stop at the new artisan boutique on Rue Principale is a must. Wooden objects, woven articles, macrame pieces, ceramics... Indeed, you discover many talented little hands here.

Rural Brewery and Farm Products

After a full day of exploring, we relax on the terrace of the Microbrewery 11 Comtés and its restaurant Cuisinier déchaîné. Local products and organic vegetables from owner Yannick Côté’s farm make up a menu that will tantalize your taste buds! We started with a tasting tray featuring 4 beers, all fruity creations made with local ingredients. The starters included beer pretzels and vegetable pakoras, while the main courses included trout fish and chips and a venison burger on pink bread (with a touch of beets). It was a real treat. And we weren’t the only ones enjoying the moment! “Since we’ve opened, we’ve been experiencing an incredible growth in popularity,” explains Julie Myre-Bisaillon, the restaurant’s dynamic co-owner, teacher, columnist and author. She describes bits and pieces of her (crazy!) daily life in this microbrewery with great humour in her novel “Des bières et des femmes”.

The new project of these two “crazies” (Yannick and Julie), a first this summer, is the restaurant Les Mal-aimés, located directly on their farm. A gourmet restaurant offering a 10-course menu with wine pairings and, on Sundays, a 6-course brunch. We’ll have to come back for the whole experience!

A Stop over in East Angus and Weedon

Once again, well replete, we head off to our hotel for the night, the Square Victoria Maison Hôtelière in East Angus. This completely renovated ancestral residence hotel features a contemporary decor and a formula perfect for our late check-in since it was autonomous (we received the door code with our booking confirmation). Quite practical!

The next day, we set off to discover the East Angus shed in the Parc des Deux Rivières and spent a good while on the trails surrounding the site. Offering a spectacular and refreshing view overlooking the junction of the Saint-François and Eaton rivers, it also immerses us in the life of the First Nations people who settled there.

We could then have taken the 112 to the Weedon shed on the shores of majestic Lake Alymer, or yet again, head out to discover the Saint-Isidore-de-Clifton shed. The Panoramic Sheds circuit covers a distance of more than 150 kilometres across the region which we can explore over several getaways!

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