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Trip Report A lovely day trip in western Quebec

Recently, after sharing with someone that I wished I was closer to Isle d'Orlean, in Quebec for the cideries and iced cider, someone suggested I visit St. Joseph du lac, north of Montreal near Oka.

As it was a long drive (I'm an hour west of Ottawa, Ontario so about 3hr from Oka) to get there, I drove to Oka taking the freeway Hwy 417 to exit #26. Then took the ferry across the Ottawa river which cost $10 for the car. It was a beautiful crossing while watching little sailboats.

Through Oka, on to St. Joseph du lac just off hwy. 344, it is a quaint little town and I ended up at the cidery, Domaine LaFrance. It has friendly staff, a lovely shop and patio, selling everything apple including hard cider. I had discovered iced cider in Charlevoix a few years ago which is the apple version of iced wine. Sweet and smooth, excellent with cheese or pate or fois gras.

Apple harvest might have been a better time to go as few establishments were open but it was a lovely drive with enough traffic. Must be very busy in the late summer. If there was a good restaurant, we didn't see one so just stopped for some frite (french fries) along the way.
Then back through Oka, stopping at the cheese factory there and back to Ottawa along 344 and 148. Hwy 344 is a very pretty road along the Quebec side of the Ottawa River/Riviere des Outaouais.

Montebello is on hwy 148 so stopped there for a cappacino. Other times I have gone to Chateau Montebello for lunch, dinner or overnight. It, in itself, is a destination experience: a huge old log structure with wings like spokes out from a central lobby with a very large, three sided stone fireplace and chimney going up two or three stories. Many amenities like an olympic size swimming pool and golf course on the property. The food is outstanding and has a to-die-for Sunday brunch. But I had other plans.

Stopped in Old Chelsea for dinner at L'Orlee du Bois and had THE best Confit au leg....I have ever had. Marinaded, fall off the bone tender and served with two lovely wine sauces. Most Ottawans who like fine food know this restaurant set in the woods near Gatineau Park but if you are a visitor, it is just across the river in Quebec outside an adorable little town, Old Chelsea. It is a throw back to earlier times, with wood paneled rooms and where the the Canadian Capital City establishment entertain their dinner guests but with very good value for money. Another very good restaurant there is Les Fougere towards Wakefield. Both are excellent.

All in all a lovely Sunday day trip in western Quebec.

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