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Burlington, Montreal, Quebec

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My husband and I are planning a 7 day trip in September to Quebec. We have a buy 1 fly 1 domestic ticket, so will fly into Burlington, Vermont. We are in our fifties and on our holiday, we enjoy biking, hiking, water related activities, great food, drink,scenery, history, spa services and being outdoors. We like to get our exercise during the day and have a great meal at night. I am trying to plan an itinerary that would incorporate all of these in a 7 to 8 day trip in Quebec.

We prefer smaller cities and quaint places to stay, which Quebec City seems to offer, but would consider Montreal for 2 nights. We don't need luxury, but would like our accommodations to be clean and convenient to activities, no more than $150 a night. We don't mind an occasional splurge, though.

We were planing on renting a car, but after reading these forums, it may not be necessary, unless we plan on adding Charlevoix or elsewhere. It may make sense to have a car anyway, but I have researched using the Greyhound bus service from the Burlington Airport to Montreal and then the train to Quebec City. Would anyone suggest this as an option or would it be better to have a car?
We arrive in Burlington at 5:30 PM on a Saturday. We thought about staying in Burlington 1 night, but seeing as Montreal is so close, would consider driving straight there in time for a late check in and dinner. Not sure how long it takes to cross the border at that time of day. Would this be a good idea?
The other option would be to drive 1/2 way to Quebec City and spend the night somewhere that has a great restaurant. A spa would be a bonus as well! It looks like somewhere in the Eastern Townships might be doable. We could then do a bike trip through the wineries. Any suggestions on this as an option?
As always, I am overwhelmed with planning the perfect trip and optimizing our time. Any help with this will be greatly appreciated!

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