The Cantons de l’Est, also known as the Eastern Townships, is a region of rolling hills and flat countryside peppered with apple orchards, vineyards and lakes. Bordering Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire, the region was settled in the late 1780s by United Empire Loyalists fleeing the United States after the American Revolution. With the area’s multitude of covered bridges, Victorian-era towns and tidy Protestant churches, New Englanders will feel right at home here. Activities include hiking, canoeing, golfing and boating in summer and cross-country skiing and ice fishing in winter.
Ripplecove Hotel & Spa
Our first stop was the 31-room Ripplecove Hotel & Spa, located a 90-minute drive from Montréal. Set on a 12-acre peninsula within walking distance of the quaint downtown of Ayer’s Cliff, this charming property debuted in 1945 as a summer fishing retreat. The inn, painted a cheerful yellow, stands on sloping lawns flanked by century-old white pines.
The young woman behind the front desk greeted us in French, and check-in was rather slow due to her limited English. She directed us toward our Prestige Suite in the hotel’s newer building a few steps away, which opened in September 2021. Interchangeably called the Pavilion and the Ripplecove Condo-Hotel, this adjacent structure comprises 29 privately owned condominiums. When they are not in residence, owners can opt to rent out their units under the management of the Ripplecove Hotel. Guests staying in one of these contemporary condos have access to a fitness room and a private rooftop terrace outfitted with an outdoor kitchen, barbecue grills and two hot tubs.