A ride through the English Tea route in Quebec
Are you a tea lover? If so, I have the perfect weekend getaway for you! Just a few hours away from Montreal, you will find the English tea route in the Eastern Township region. This Township Trail takes you to the quintessentially British pastime of tea time. This under the radar route has 6 stops for you to delight into tea, scones and finger sandwiches.
Who would have thought that in the centre of this francophone province in Canada, this British heritage will be still striving? Historically, the townships were an enclave of English loyalists at the end of the 18th and 19th century. This legacy is mostly reflected in the Victorian houses, round barns, and over covered bridges scattered through the region, and of course, tea time with ornate teacups and scones.
To fully immerse into this British tradition, I suggest staying overnight since the 6 stops are between 30 min to 1h or more apart. Plus, the region has so much to offer besides tea that you will want to stay for two days!
First stop: Sherbrooke
Our first stop was at Uplands Cultural and Heritage Centre in the city of Sherbrooke. The centre will transport you to the past with its Georgian-style house built in the 1800’s. The house has multiple rooms with historical furniture and trinkets. The tea is served in the English tradition, even the staff’s uniform is inspired by the period costumes.
Upon your entrance to the museum, you are led to an old-fashioned style living room where you choose which teacup you are going to drink your tea from. After, we were led to the outside porch with a view on their lush green garden decorated with statues and beautiful flowers. The waitress explains to you that they serve high tea with a panoply of small bite to eat and of course tea. Oddly enough, they did not have a list of tea where you could choose from, they only serve one kind of tea, to the resemblance of the orange pekoe tea. As for the pastries, we had the classic cucumber sandwich, small wraps, brownies and cake and off course the staple of tea time, the small scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, all served in cute tea cake stands.
Do take the time to visit the permanent and temporary expositions inside this historical house as it explains further the historical townships. And do wander around the garden for complementary explanations of the house.
What to do in Sherbrooke?
After having had some tea, we decided to go back to the 21st century and go visit Sherbrooke. The city is the biggest city in the region and has a renowned university which gives the city a very young and vibrant atmosphere. Like in Montreal, the city abounds of street art, 16 to be exact. There is even a mobile app that takes you through the whole path and explains to you the work of art and the history of the artist. Sherbrooke is also well known for all it's craft breweries like Siboire and La Mare au Diable.
Second stop: Coaticook
Our second stop was at the Beaulne Museum. The museum, commonly known as Château Norton, was home of a rich entrepreneur at the beginning of the 20th century and since then has been a boarding school for girls, a residency house and finally a museum. The manoir is constructed under the Neo-Queen Anne architectural style. The museum holds several temporary and permanent exhibitions either showing local talent or giving an insight of how the first family of the house used to live.
As for tea, the Beaulne museum serves it on the veranda with views of the gardens with beautiful pink hanging flowers. The menu has a choice of the house green tea with a touch of raspberries, black tea or herbal and fruit tea. We chose the first. Here, the tea comes with a choice of 3 scones, cranberries and orange zest, chocolate chips and the last one if lemon with poppy seeds. The scones come with cream and jam. Since we are rather on the gourmand, we chose to order one of each so we could taste all the different flavours.
What to do in Coaticook?
For nature lovers, Coaticook is home to a beautiful park, the Gorge Park which is home to the longest suspended bridge in North America and to the light show Foresta Lumina. For a complete list of things to do, check my Coaticook article, here.
Third stop: Scotstown
The tea house is located in the B&B Le Bonheur (Happiness) in a charming and elegant Victorian house dating back to the 19th century. The hosts have an impressive list of tea from all over the map and they serve salty or sweet scones. Here we opted for the Sconewich, a pun on words between a scone and a sandwich. The homemade scone was made with french onions and aged cheddar and it was garnished with salad and charcuteries from the local Scotstown butcher, a real treat! Of course, we could not finish our day without tasting their homemade sweet scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam.
What to do in Scotstown?
Scotstown carries its name to the Scottish settlers that founded the town in the late 19 century and it is the only Scottish heritage town in the region. The town has the Mont Megantic as a backdrop which gives plenty of opportunities to enjoy numerous hiking trails and breathtaking views of the region. At night, don’t forget to stargaze since the municipality has an agreed to turn the lights downwards to better appreciate the stars. In the mont Megantic, there is also the Astrolab, an astronomy centre, in which you can learn more about the sky and its wonders.
If you are looking for to have dinner, 20 minutes away from the B&B, there is a newly opened micro-brewery Les 11 Comptés. They present their beers as not only craft beer but also as rural. This not to be missed bar, also has a food menu that looked very appealing!
Where to sleep in Scotstown?
We decided to spend the night here since we were almost 3 hours away from Montreal. The B&B hosts Noelle and Gerald will make you feel right at home. The B&B has 3 comfortable rooms, all linked under the happiness theme referencing books about this topic. They also offer relaxation treatments and activities all to make your stay the most relaxing as possible.
Their breakfast is delicious and was made for the hikers in mind, so it will give all the energy that you need to start your day right. The first breakfast plate was fresh berries with quinoa puffs with a hint of nuts, chocolate and maple syrup. The second plate was a coriander omelette with bread. After all this tasty food, we were ready for a walk in nature and the ride back home!
The tea route takes you through the most picturesque villages and scenic views of the region by bringing a unique British influence to the francophone Canadian province of Quebec. There are more tea stops like the Colby-Curtis Museum for a complete list of tea houses and their schedule, click here . So, are you ready for tea time?
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by The Townships Trail. All opinions are my own
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