An absolutely charming little nook of a township located just over an hour’s drive outside Montreal, Ste-Agathe-des-Monts was once a go-to destination for vacationers around Quebec. Slowly, the surrounding areas have become rurally gentrified and thus more… enticing (or, able to woo weekenders seeking the more expensive and trendy). The good news is that there is something enchanting about Ste-Agathe-des-Monts that cannot be replaced or, thankfully, commodified. As a daytrip, there’s no better destination in the Laurentiens than this, and while the scenery is beautiful we know that’s often not enough. Here’s an itinerary that’ll keep you busy for a full twenty-four hours.
AFTERNOON: Parc des Campeurs
Sadly, it’s time to face the music: What with the brief flurries already forecast for Montreal, it’s time to wax up your trusty skis. Parc des Campeurs is home to nearly 50km of well-groomed trails for skiers of all abilities, as well as routes for those on snowshoe or skidoo. Though the season has not yet started, keep this ski centre in mind for when you visit — their day passes are extremely affordable, and the helpful staff offer equipment demos for those new at the sport. 2 Chemin du Lac des Sables, 1-800-561-7360.
EVENING: Restaurant del Popolo
Originally a homey pizzeria, Restaurant del Popolo revamped its menu to offer both Italian and Asian cuisine. What might be thought of a risky move — Italian, Asian? really? — surprisingly makes the restaurant a unique success story. Whether you’re in the mood for traditional soft-crust pizza or piquant Chinese dishes, del Popolo serves meals that taste as authentic as those on offer in the best family-run restaurants make. If you’re a fan of variety, or simply travel with lock-horn types, this spot is a surefire way to make eating easier for everyone. 1 Principal St. E., 819-326-4422.
OVERNIGHT: Auberge Le Saint-Venant
Situated next to the Lac des Stables, this fantastic B&B is renowned for being one of the best in the entire Laurentien region. With just under ten rooms, the cozy auberge is perfectly set up to host couples on weekend getaways; still, our experience is that sound travels between rooms, and even from floor to floor (so keep it down). Our tip is to pony up a little extra for the balcony suite. Even when the temperature drops, it’s always better to have the option of stepping out into the scenery. 234 St Venant St., 819-326-7937.
MORNING: Au Petit Creux
Looking to get out of bed and hit the ground running? Au Petit Creux is known for being both a local hotspot and a favourite for those passing through the region. On the menu is what’s reputed to be the area’s best home-style bacon and eggs. But who are we kidding? Au Peteit Creux is an even bigger godsend for those of us who like to sleep in. For brunch eats, we suggest one of their many savoury crepes. 84 Principal St. E., 819-326-7055.
Image courtesy of ville St-Agatha-des-Monts.