To start the weekend off right, we started with a relaxing afternoon at Appalaches.
First, a couples massage helped us to instantly get relaxed, followed by Nordic baths in hot/cold intervals, until nightfall. It was -19C, so the contrast was startling!
Now that we were fully relaxed, we decided to have a drink close to the large central fireplace of the Appalaches Lodge , before having dinner at the same location.
After a peaceful night in a rustic and authentic log cabin on the mountain, we embarked on a dogsled ride the following morning. This was a first for me! The dogs were full of energy and were excited and restless to take off running in the forest. Following a few basic instructions, we were ready to take the reins of the sled and follow the guide through the woods.
The heavy snow on the pines added to the magic of the adventure, the landscape was sublime, the dogs were frolicking, they were mischievous and playful, we let ourselves get carried away by the beauty and the fresh air.
Following the ride, we went back to enjoy the warmth of the fireplace and a comforting soup.
After lunch, we headed towards the Cassis et Mélisse farm . We arrived a little earlier than expected and Aagje, the owner, welcomed us with a big smile and a glass of fresh milk, a kind gesture. The B&B was ready to welcome us, full of afternoon sunlight, we had the urge to move right in!
The place was welcoming, modern, roomy, well-lit and comfortable, we immediately felt at ease.
Aagje suggested that we take a snowshoe hike directly behind their house, as their lot leads directly out into the woods. We dropped off our bags, strapped on our snowshoes and took off along the trail. The unspoilt nature was perfect, the sun reached down to us through the branches and the trail was quiet, only the noise of our footsteps in the snow, the birds, the cracking of the trees, we felt privileged to be there and we enjoyed it to its fullest!
At the end of the day, we helped out with milking the goats, where Gary, Aagje’s spouse and the other owner, talked about his jam-packed workday on the farm.
Aagje gave hay to the baby goats that were born the week before. So, small but already so sociable and curious, one of the personality traits specific to goats, Aagje explained.
I was completely charmed by them, they were so adorable that I felt like taking one home with me.You can see right away that you have to be passionate about this way of life. The pride in Aagje and Gary’s eyes doesn’t lie, they chose this life and this big project suits them well.
We decided to go for happy hour to a new microbrewery that was just recently set up in the region, because the spring water that runs down from the mountains is remarkably pure and perfect for brewing their beers, each one as delicious as the next. And so, at the Pub de la Contrée de Bellechasse , we shared a beer-tasting carousel. Their distinctive, sophisticated beers are named after different communities from the region.
To go along with our beers, the pub offered a number of appetizers, in partnership with other local producers, including cheeses, deli meats (such as a delicious beef jerky from La Mauve cooperative ), as well as tasty home-made pizzas. The ambiance was relaxing and friendly, the place was full on the Saturday night, it was a fun discovery!
A little anecdote: the microbrewery is located in Notre-Dame-Auxiliatrice-de-Buckland , a tiny, out-of-the-way village… and it was here in this out-of-the-way pub that we had dinner with Louis-Jean Cormier at the table next to us. He had an intimate show that he was giving that same night. It’s funny how many surprises you can run into in the region! ;)
A more relaxing morning than that at Cassis et Mélisse cannot be found, especially in winter with the light and its white blanket covering the countryside that Sunday morning. The aroma of coffee, a good book, the music of Henri Salvador, a delicious breakfast prepared with love and served at your door.
We wished this morning would last forever.
This place (that we would come back to visit again) is definitely one of our favourites! It’s an oasis of peace where Aagje and Gary generously welcome visitors like they were a part of the family.
As we had other activities to get to, we left the farm at the end of the morning and headed off to the Massif du Sud tourist resort for a snowshoe hike that was a little more strenuous than the hike the day before. We chose a trail that was about ten kilometres long and followed along a river through a forest that was a little less dense and the landscape more serene.
At the halfway point, we stopped at a small shelter for a little picnic with all the leftovers from our big breakfast on the farm.
We took the time to fill our lungs with fresh air, appreciate the beauty of the place, and relive the satisfaction of exercising in the open air. The people that we met also seemed to really enjoy visiting this corner of the country, its nature and this beautiful winter’s day.
A 2km downhill luge course along an old ski run that’s been reconfigured after being reclaimed by nature. Speeds can reach up to 25-30 km/h, it’s a real adrenaline rush!
The landscape at the summit seemed like it was from out of a fairy tale, the conifers were completely covered in snow, everything was white and frozen, it was simply breathtaking. We really felt far from home!
The descent down the hill makes you feel like a kid again, it’s totally exhilarating to slide down the mountain through the powder, zigzagging along on our luge. This unique activity is really a must-not-be-missed regional experience.
And so, with rosy red cheeks, clear minds and light hearts and with lots of wonderful travel ideas to share that our winter getaway in Chaudière-Appalaches came to an end. We repeated over and over to each other how beautiful our region is, that you just have to take advantage of it...
A big thank you to Tourisme Chaudière-Appalaches and to all the places we visited for having helped us enjoy this magnificent stay. We already feel like going back for another visit!
Ange and Samuel
Photos: Ange Hébert-Corriveau