Quebec’s Eastern Townships are driven by a love for design

Illustration by Raymond Biesinger

1. SEA AND BE SEEN

While its home is land-locked Bedford, ceramics studio Atelier Tréma’s heart is the Maritimes and a seaside aesthetic that’s reflected in the rustic texture and watery palette of its wares. The look is most literally translated through buoy garlands that are like jewelery for your wall and tableware such as a glazed pitcher with a handle of chunky rope. New this season is a café and terrasse that serves up pastries, coffee and sandwiches sourced from other local businesses.

For more information, visit ateliertrema.com.

2. LIGHT HOUSE

Located in a former grocery store, the Cowansville head office of Quebec lighting manufacturer Luminaire Authentik offers visitors a behind-the-scenes look at how its contemporary fixtures come together. In the showroom, shades, canopies hardware and other components are on display, highlighting the endless combinations of shape, color and texture that can make up your new sconce or pendant. Behind a wall of windows is the studio where custom and ready-made pieces are manufactured.

For more information, visit luminaireauthentik.com.

3. TEAK CHIC

Habitat, Benoit Hébert’s garage gallery of vintage Scandinavian furniture forces visitors to focus on the unique shapes, finishes and details that are often lost in overloaded mid-century modern showrooms. In the spare West Brome space, the craftsmanship of a bent teak plywood table base or the curved frame of a rocking chair takes on a sculptural quality. Hébert also specializes in restoration, both for pieces he plans to resell as well as customer heirlooms that are ready for their second, third and fourth lives.

For more information, visit habitatmobilier.com

4. FINE VINTAGE

Antique hunters who prefer to peruse a selection of vintage items that have already been vetted by an expert eye will appreciate Sykes & McGee in West Brome’s smart mix of farmhouse and industrial pieces. There are speckled enamel kettles, retro patio chairs in shades of ketchup and mustard and handsome wood storage cabinets perfectly tablescaped with candlesticks and oversized bobbins. DIYers can also shop Annie Sloan chalk paints, waxes and brushes.

For more information, visit sykesandmcgee.com.

5. TEMPLE OF ARCHITECTURE

For many design lovers, a visit to this part of Quebec is worth it just to gaze at (and Instagram) the geometric tile and brickwork at Saint Benedict Abbey. Built starting in 1938 based on a design by architect Dom Bellot (a postmodern church was added in 1994), the monastery on Lake Memphremagog is still home to an order of Benedictine monks. They maintain the property with proceeds from a cheese factory, apple orchards and cider mill.

For more information, visit abbaye.ca.

6. SHALL WE EAT

In Magog, the restaurant options include the local ingredient-focused Taverne 1855 and the slightly more formal French fare at Pinocchio. For a caffeine fix, Fitch Bay Café roasts its own beans in an industrial building along the Magog River. Southwest in Sutton, brewery L’Abordage operates a restaurant and neighbor taproom where you can sample its lagers and sours.

For more information, visit, taverne1855.ca, restaurantpinocchio.com, fitchbaycafe.com, brasseriealabordage.com.

7. GOOD MANOR

Manoir Hovey, a charming Relais & Château retreat in North Hatley, is in the middle of upgrading its amenities. A new lakeside pool is scheduled to open in June and a spa will debut early next year. During the summer, guests have access to bikes and boats to explore the landscape. For foodies, sommelier Jérôme Dubois spends the season schooling guests on apiculture and how the hotel’s own honey is produced. The 90-minute experience ends with a honey-based cocktail.

For more information, visit manoirhovey.com.

Getting there

While Manoir Hovey offers its guests the opportunity to arrive by seaplane, anyone planning to return from the Eastern Townships with a big design haul needs a mode of transportation with a bit more space. Cadillac’s 2022 Escalade maxes out at almost 3,500 liters of cargo area (more than enough for one teak credenza and a few statement pendants). It can also be ordered with Super Cruise, a road trip friendly, hands-free driving system that works on 320,000 kilometers of highways in Canada and the US For more information, visit cadillaccanada.ca.

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