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Sutton Re-Visited

Le Pleasant Hotel/B&B

Le Pleasant Hotel/B&B

This morning we are up and at ‘em very early to make our way into Canada and our second stop after the French-Canadian hunk, who checked our passports and asked us a bazillion questions, is one of my favorite villages, Sutton. This year we are staying at Le Pleasant, the village’s turn of the century grand home of the local doctor turned restaurant, hotel/bed and breakfast.  We were greeted warmly by Micheal and shown to our bright front room-second floor guest suite in modern black and grey decor.

Our room at Le Pleasant

Our Room at Le Pleasant

IMG_1269The entire home was lovingly restored by Bertin and Michael who moved from Montreal to Sutton to start their bed & breakfast business. The hotel is centrally located in the village, which is easily walkable in fifteen minutes. After settling in we headed over toLe Cafetier, the local cafe for my coffee fix.

Le Cafetier

Le Cafetier

A Bowl of Cafe au Lait

A Bowl of Cafe au Lait

This is cafe au lait that I can drink from a bowl here. The Canadians have got coffee right. We ordered sandwiches and enjoyed the ambiance of the small French village.

Le Sandwich

Le Sandwich

Our next stop was Au Couer des Saisons, a beautifully decorated shop for all seasons owned by Elaine.  She is the owner of the kitchenware and gift shop which includes being the local florist, and jeweler.

Ou Couer des Soisons

Ou Couer des Soisons

We spent a lively time translating, talking and laughing with Elaine (I hope I am spelling her name correctly) while discovering the credit card safe wallets, new kitchen gadgets and every soap and fragrance! This is what is so magical about a locally owned shop and small village, you get to know the locals and feel part of the neighborhood.  That afternoon Micheal suggested a restaurant in nearby Frelighsburg, since their restaurant is closed on Monday evenings. He made the reservation and printed out a map for us.  Traveling in the country, at night, can be a challenge for the map impaired like I am.  My car had a GPS system that did not know where I was either!  So early evening, while it was still light, we set off for Frelighsburg and the Lyvano Restaurant. Now, I want you to know it is VERY DARK in the country here.  There are no country light posts and the homes are few and far between. However, they have the most amazing guard rails where needed. Believe me when I say they glow in the dark!  They glow in the dark BRIGHTLY and can be seen only when your headlights shine on them. I couldn’t figure out how they worked.  Were they actually small lights?  Reflective tape?  I slowed down and pulled over to take a closer look.  Reflective tape!!!!!!  It is truly amazing. This stuff should be slapped on your child at night!  I kept thinking how very dark it was with no lights. Is this the dirt road where I turn left? It crossed my mind, “Is this where flying saucers land and abduct you”?  Just as I was getting a little nervous I would see the reflectors. “Hmm…… This would make an excellent landing area for those space ships and here is the way!”  I pointed out markers to help me remember where to make critical turns on the way home when it would be REALLY DARK!  Turn left at that thingy that looks like a white cross swooping in the woods, turn right at the thing on the fence that looks like a scarecrow, turn left at that sweet woman’ s house (that I know must live in that one house) that has it’s porch light on.  We made it into Frelighsburg as the mist and light rain set in.  Now where was the parking lot?  I didn’t see one and there was no parking in front of the restaurant with the “Ouvre” flag blowing in the breeze.  Hmm.  I pulled into a tiny shopping area parking lot to a few blocks away to sleuth. I waited.  Surely, there would be others going in the restaurant?  I had time to wait. Finally, a car rolled slowly down the street and pulled between two buildings across the street from Lyvano. I watched as several people walked to the restaurant from those buildings and then drove my car to the buildings as well.  There was no parking there unless you wanted to park in someone’s driveway.  I went back to the grocery parking lot, parked and got out.  As we walked to the restaurant I heard the rushing of water and noticed there was a roaring river or stream on the backside of the restaurant where tables with umbrellas were set up.  How beautiful this setting would be on a clear night! Tonight was a Halloween night, misty, windy and spooky.  We entered the tiny restaurant decorated as a Paris bistro, including a twisted tree vine intertwined with soft white twinkle lights on the ceiling.

Inside Lyvano

Inside Lyvano

After the waiter helped us interpret the menu we were delighted to eat one the best meals I have ever eaten.

Filet et legumes

Filet et legumes

After that we had to try the desert.

La dessert

Le dessert

We enjoyed talking with the waiter, and talking to Elizabeth, the twenty something chef, who is also the owner of this superb restaurant. Completely satisfied we ventured out into the night to make our way down the twisted country roads between forests and cornfields. Following my girl-map markers we found Le Pleasant again and took the staircase to our warm comfy beds. In the morning we were again greeted by Bertin and Micheal at breakfast, served in their lovely restaurant on the first floor of the hotel.

The Restaurant at Le Pleasant

The Restaurant at Le Pleasant

The Restaurant at Le Pleasant

Breakfast at its Best!

Breakfast at its Best!

IMG_1273 The food was delicious, but it was time to say goodbye for this year to our good friends in Sutton. We travel north to Quebec City on some roads with fields marked with Celtic rock mounds!

The Road to Quebec City!

The Road to Quebec City!

For details about Le Pleasant Hotel, 1 rue Pleasant, Sutton, Quebec, Canada  see: http://www.lepleasant.com

For the best shopping in Sutton see: Ou Couer des Soisons, 4 rue Maple, Sutton, Canada

For an incredible meal see Lyvano Restaurant, 4 rue Principale, Freilighsburg,Canada and Le Cafetier is the best cafe in Sutton, found on the main street, Sutton, Canada.

On the Road to Quebec

The Countryside in Quebec Canada

The Countryside in Quebec Canada

Autumn is right around the corner.  That would be a long corner here in the South. Today it is 85 degrees outside. Eventually, the leaves on the trees  will turn to flaming red, brilliant orange and deep green. They will last for two or three days and then drop off. I am ready for autumn now. A long beautiful autumn with brilliant colored trees, cool crisp days and evenings by the fireplace with mugs of apple cider. My thoughts turn to Quebec.  Autumn comes early in this paradise of color.  Their Thanksgiving festivals are in early October.  Leave the holiday to the end of October and there is a good chance for snow on your pumpkin.

The Colors of Quebec

The Colors of Quebec

Sutton Canada Flower Art

We flew into Montreal the first time we went to Canada, but now we fly to Burlington, Vermont and rent a car in the States and drive into Canada. The roads in Canada are easy to navigate.  They are double lane with a median dividing them, small roads in the country with little to no traffic or gravel roads with a six foot drop on each side of it, an eye opener.  The stop signs and street signs are also several feet higher than in the States so they can still be seen when the snow piles up beneath them. There is abundant scenery. Let’s start in Montreal. We visited the Montreal Botanical Gardens and loved the Japanese Garden.

The Japanese Garden in the Montreal Botanical Gardens

The Japanese Garden in the Montreal Botanical Gardens

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308Canadians deck out the town for Fall and there are beautiful foliage arrangements and pumpkins everywhere.  If you look up ghostly exhibits await you.

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Fall Window Boxes, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Fall Window Boxes

Fall Window Boxes

Quebec City Canada Flower Display

Window Displays are Everywhere

Window Boxes

When I was looking over my pictures for Quebec it dawned on me that I first went to the region in 2008 to meet the author, Louise Penny, for a book review and signing. When I think about it many of my planned excursions have been based on what I have read about the area in a book.  I don’t know why I did not realize that before now.

Since that first meeting with Louise Penny, we have made several trips to Quebec, Canada, but always in the Fall. Louise Penny writes a mystery series about Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and a  fictitious tiny village in Quebec, Canada, Three Pines. Louise’s latest book, How the Light Gets In , is #1 in Mysteries on the New York Times Bestseller List.  I have read all her books (start at the beginning) but I did not want to put this book down.  This is her ninth book and they all have been a delight to read. You will fall in love with all the characters and follow them along, in their ups and downs, throughout the series. Here are some pictures from the first book review I attended meeting Louise Penny in Knowlton, Quebec, Canada at Lake Brome Books, a tiny cozy shop nestled in a cluster of wooden buildings along the waterfront. In the bookshop you will discover a walkway to a small bistro with the best pumpkin pie I have ever eaten!

Llake Brome Books

Lake Brome Books

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Louise Penny

Louise Penny

Knowlton, Quebec Canada

Knowlton, Quebec Canada

We visited the small village of Sutton, which is also a back drop for Three Pines village Louise writes into her mysteries.  On an early Sunday morning we were treated to fiddle playing and the singing of old Quebec tunes in a small bistro on Principale St while we munched on homemade delights. There is also a market that sells homemade breads, local meats, cheeses and  compotes that was busy serving up fresh turkeys and trimmings, and pies for the locals to take home and prepare for their Thanksgiving.  The entire village had a festive feeling!

Town Hall Sutton, Canada

Town Hall Sutton, Canada

The Sutton Shoppes

The Sutton Shoppes

Sutton Canada Flower Art 4Sutton Canada Flower Art 7

It is such a joy to explore these tiny hamlets in the Eastern Provence of Canada!

To learn more about Louise Penny visit http://www.louisepenny.com

Practice your French, we go next to North Hatley, Quebec Canada, a must do Fall pilgrimage!

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