What to do in February in the Eastern Townships

February – the month associated with romance – is upon us! You can certainly celebrate Valentine’s Day in the traditional way with activities themed around love and affection, but you can also enjoy the fact that our countryside is still clad in white….The Townships fan out from the borders of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and while spring will soon be on its way, there is a myriad of ways to continue enjoy a region known for winter fun.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Aaaah... St Valentine's Day! This popular celebration rolls around year after year, so it isn’t always easy to find a new way to surprise your significant other. To help you choose something special for your loved one, we’ve come up with 12 suggestions to make the day truly memorable!

In the afternoon, wrap up in your winter clothes, go outside and play! Remember how you felt as a kid when you frolicked in the snow? Go skating. Take an alpine hike. Ride a snow scooter or climb on a horse-drawn wagon to explore the countryside. And there’s a trendy new way to whizz around the slopes, namely on a “yooner”. It has a seat mounted on a single ski (riders control the movements with their body) and it’ll get your heart pounding in no time. Fun and laughter all around!

At the end of the day, warm up with a fondue at one of the many restaurants that serve this convivial winter dish (or even prepare one in your own home). Paired with a bottle of maple bubbly or a craft beer from a microbrewery, your cozy (and romantic!) dinner for two will be an evening to remember!

Another suggestion is to spend a night or two at one of the following seven establishments. There are many options – an inn, a hotel, a B & B….. The choice is yours! Art lovers can opt for Alcôve des ceramists, a loft in a heritage building where you can visit the owners’ studio/boutique and meander along the Artria trail, which is lined with works of art. For wine connoisseurs, the Auberge du Vignoble (Bromont) or Villa du Vignoble (Dunham) are good choices, as they offer tastings - either on the property or nearby. History buffs who like a rural setting will love the Auberge-restaurant La Mara and/or the Espace Old Mill with their rustic décor, warm ambience and locally sourced food.

A winter escape in Magog

Looking for a relaxing break in the beautiful Magog area? Here’s a suggested itinerary! Start your getaway with a yummy breakfast at the La Shop restaurant. Its specialty is artisanal coffee with grilled cheese sandwiches (offering seven different combinations!).

Then it’s on to the Spa Nordic Station with its baths, saunas, a steam crypt, plunge pools and relaxation areas. Massages (single or double) are also available, leaving you with that laid-back, relaxed feeling that will make you forget your worldly cares.

Before heading back to your accommodation, stop off at the Fabrique de Bagels Café noir and fill up your basket with delicious local products such as pastries, cheeses and jams.

Nature lovers can book into a Zoobox cabin – a unit built of eco-friendly materials and with a self-sufficient energy source. From there, you can strap on your snowshoes or cross-country skis and explore the stunning landscapes all around you. Perhaps you prefer the latest mod-cons rather than living off-the-grid? No problem. Magog and its environs offer a slew of inns and hotels. Check them out right here!

Views of Mother Nature - up close and personal

The Townships region has a multitude of lookout points where you can admire the countryside when enjoying the great outdoors. At Mont Ham, you can trek along one of 10 cross-country ski (or hiking) trails and when you get to the summit, be rewarded by a panoramic view of the landscape below. The 11.2-km Cimes de Franceville (intermediate) trail leads to the Pic de l’Aurore from which you can make out the Mont-Mégantic Observatory, off in the distance. You can actually get to the Observatory (but only on snowshoes) to admire a sky filled with stars….

Less than an hour from Mont Mégantic is Mont Gosford, set against the backdrop of the White Mountains (part of the Appalachian chain) on the border with Maine. Your dog can also enjoy a mountain adventure! The Mont Chauve Trail in Mont Orford National Park allows you to bring along your four-legged friend and if you rest from time to time, you’ll catch glances of Lac Stukely.

Prime cross-country skiing

We have suggestions for 6 spectacular venues to add to your bucket list! In the Memphrémagog region, you'll find Mont Orford National Park with its 76 km of cross-country ski trails for beginners and advanced skiers alike. Or explore Sutton’s 20 or so short trails and choose the one(s) geared to your level of ability. Alternatively, in Potton Township, you can ski along the snow-covered, (ungroomed) trails in the Ruiter Valley. Depending on the whims of Mother Nature, the snowfall might be heavy or light, resulting in the trails being difficult or easy, but the scenery remains just as spectacular!

Granby's Club de golf Les Cèdres offers 17km of wide trails (nicknamed the “autoroutes”) for regular cross-country skiing and 8km for skate skiing. Mont Megantic National Park typically has many centimetres of snow cover and its many cross-country trails are organized into loops aimed at intermediate and/or novice skiers. Easier still to manoeuvre are the 11km of cross-country, forested trails at the Base de plein air André Nadeau, an outdoor centre in Sherbrooke. The trails are fairly flat – perfect for beginners!

If you’re planning a getaway with your significant other and are looking for somewhere different to stay, take a look at some of our region’s most unusual accommodations!

Fall in love with Brome-Missisquoi

Interested in exploring the scenic Brome-Missisquoi region? The following itinerary outlines some of the “best of the best” of what there is to see and do!

Start your getaway by having breakfast at Boulangerie-Pâtisserie Canaël in Bromont, famed for its pastries and other sweet treats! If you like to mix something sweet with something savoury, choose Le Québécois – a traditional choice served with an almond pastry!

How about a relaxing walk in the heart of nature? The Domaine naturel du lac Gale offers 17 kilometers of trails (they can be explored on foot or on snowshoes) dotted with a number of viewpoints from which to enjoy the breathtaking scenery.

For a change of pace, head to Spa Balnea for the complete spa and thermotherapy experience. Outdoor hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms, relaxation areas, therapeutic massages – everything you need to get off the planet for a while.

After recharging your batteries at Balnea, head for Bromont, montagnes d’expériences for an evening of skiing and/or snowboarding. Hurtle down one of the mountain’s seven slopes, covered by illuminated trails. You’ll find that skiing at night has a magic of its own!

Whew! What an exhausting day, but at the same time, loads of fun! You’ll sleep like a baby in Hotel Beatnik, a Scandinavian-style hotel with 16 units, all of them slightly different. Choose between a studio, an apartment or a bedroom. Other types of accommodations – chalets, tree houses, full-service resorts etc. – are also on offer in the Brome-Missisquoi region. Check here for more information!

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Taste the Townships
Arts, culture and entertainment
Nature, sports and outdoor activities
Tourist routes
Family outing
Spa and wellness
Charging stations