Attractions of Quebec Canada: Ile d'Orleans, Montmorency waterfalls, and the Wendake Nation
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Ile d'Orleans: Bucolic ParadiseIle d'Orleans population is only 7000 in winter and 11,000 in summer on this 20-mile long and five- miles wide bucolic paradise. The island is a peaceful respite for visitors to explore in all seasons; however, the long days of late spring and the colorful fall are what truly make this island a special destination. In fact, one of the best places to visit for fall apples, cider and apple butter is Cidrerie Verger Bilodeau, located on 2 200 Chemin Royal, St-Pierre. For 30-years, this family business has produced some of the best apples (U-pick) cider, preserves, mustards and apple butter on their six-acre orchard. The main shop imbues a sense of warmth and comfort with pinewood walls and floors accented with ornate wrought-iron bistro tables and chairs. Take a seat at one of the quaint tables and begin a tasting of Bilodeau's delicious ciders that run from very dry to crisp, with their sparkling cider tasting like fresh apple champagne. Their ice wine is equally divine, made with honey crisp apples that are delicate and lovely on the palate. Cider is just one of the specialties that Bilodeau produces; their apple butter is made with a light touch of real butter in a scrumptious smooth and creamy soft puree that is superb on a piece of cheese and bread or pancakes. The growers on Ile d'Orleans produce some of the best fruit and berries in the world so naturally, the island has excellent wineries, such as Cassis Monna & Filles, located just down the road from the Cidrerie, at 721 Chemin Royal. This award-winning establishment is family owned and run by Bernard Monna and his two beautiful daughters Catherine and Anne. Monna established the winery in the 1970s and passed on to his daughters the art and skill of making high-end liquors and wines from black currants or gadelle noire. Today, Cassis Monna & Filles use exacting standards to produce their renown luscious black currant products that are absolutely celestial. Try their array of creme de cassis, wines, cassis liquors (Kir Royal), preserves and black currant syrups for a rich, full-bodied flavor you won't find elsewhere. Visitors are also invited to enjoy free tastings of Cassis Monna & Filles' liquors and products in a serene and picturesque setting of vineyards and farmlands.
Montmorency FallsOne of Quebec's most spectacular historical and natural sites is Montmorency Falls Park, located just a few minutes from downtown Quebec. The falls are magnificent and actually 30 meters higher than Niagara Falls. In addition, The Montmorency Falls was the first water fall in North America for hydroelectric power. There are two ways to ascend the falls for awe-inspiring views; the cable car or if your game, by foot, 484 stairs. However you reach the top, be prepared for a gorgeous, panoramic view from a bridge that straddles the top of the falls. This site is photo-op heaven and a great place to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding countryside and the majesty of the powerful 83-meter high falls.
Wendake VillageTo explore Quebec and understand its history, visit the Huron Wendat community (Wendake Village), located 20 minutes from the city centre. The Wendat Nation was the first inhabitants of the Americas. In 2006, the Huron Wendat Nation set up a non-profit organization to promote Tourism Wendake, which promotes the Native Culture, activities and historical representation and cultural museum. Guests can visit the village and take a fascinating walking tour that features the cultural history of Huron Wendat, their art forms, daily living, beliefs, as well as tool making and society. And, guests can stay in the tremendous new Hetel-Musee that is located in the village as well. The hotel is a fantastic 4-star property and museum that is situated serenely next to the Akiawenrahk River and wooded terrain. Guest rooms feature French balconies that overlook the river; all of the rooms and public areas feature First Nations artwork as well. In addition, the hotel's restaurant the brilliant La Traite, features gourmet cuisine inspired by the First Nations tradition. The unique menu proffers dishes prepared from local and fresh ingredients that are luscious and a culinary delight to experience. The Hetel-Musee museum, located within the hotel, is truly captivating with aboriginal artifacts and a comprehensive time-line of the First Nations people. After a visit to the museum, take a stroll around the village to view numerous historical sites and events, such as concerts that take place in the village. Moreover, visitors can also rent kayaks and canoes from Canots Legare to explore the St.Charles River privately or with packages and tours.
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Patrice Raplee is an experienced travel photojournalist and editor of Travel Excursion and Seattle Spotlight for Positively Entertainment magazine. In addition, she writes a monthly travel column for the award-wining site Offbeat Travel and is a regular correspondent for travel radio shows. She is a member of North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and the Recording Academy. Her articles and photographs have appeared in numerous international publications, as well as NW newspapers such as the Seattle Times, the Stranger and Seattle Weekly. Patrice travels the globe to cover destinations that feature fascinating culture, art, culinary, history and soft adventure. Visit her website Travel-Excursion for more information.
Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by the author