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My Trip to Magog & Stanstead. To chat with a US friend in Vermont.

My Trip to Magog & Stanstead. To chat with a US friend in Vermont.

Old Sep 12th, 2020, 03:09 PM
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My Trip to Magog & Stanstead. To chat with a US friend in Vermont.

Hi,

I got back from a trip where I overnighted in Magog. It’s been over 10 years since I visited Magog and I was lucky to find a hotel at the last minute very close to the lake and near the lively outdoor dining stretch la Rue Principale. I’d forgotten how beautiful it is and having only done a day trip there in the past, this trip was especially worthwhile to see the stunning sunsets over Lac Memphrémagog with the mountains adjacent the lake and boaters creating a picturesque backdrop. The marina in the river is quite attractive also with the boats docked adjacent riverfront restaurants I also visited the Merry House, a worthwhile destination to learn about the history of Magog with excellently done interactive displays.

The next morning I caught a cab to Stanstead Quebec at the US border. This was the purpose of my visit, to see a friend who was spending the night at Derby Line in Vermont. Derby Line is the famous town where you enter the library in Vermont but much of the body of the library is in Canada. I remember reading a magazine article about this place years ago where the author mused that a figurative Mr. Brown would go ask his neighbour Madame Blanche for sugar when he had run low (silly). On the lawn next to the library, there is a police tape showing where the border is located, and some large pots of plants marking the border on the adjacent street where two people were having an international Bible study with lawn chairs on either side of the pots, one in Canada, one in the US.

Here, under the watchful eye of the border patrol, my friend and I got to see each other and chat for awhile. Even though I’m a dual citizen, I could not cross the border as I would have to quarantine. I’m so thankful that such a place as Stanstead/Derby Line exists that allows such an exchange. My first time to either, although my purpose was not to explore the towns, Stanstead and Derby Line both had some handsome turn of 19th to 20th century buildings and I’m glad I got to see them. Not a bad spot to go for American and Canadian friends longing to see one another but who can’t quarantine.

*Pictures to come*
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Old Sep 12th, 2020, 03:45 PM
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Coming from Montreal, I should go to Magog more often!

Lac Memphrémagog right by Magog town center at sunset. When I took this photo, my US friend was having supper in Newport, Vermont. Also on Lac Memphrémagog.

Lac Memphrémagog
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Old Sep 12th, 2020, 03:50 PM
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Stanstead, Quebec/ Derby Line, Vermont. Closest thing to international travel possible without leaving Canada.



Seeing my friend. I’m in Stanstead, Quebec, he’s in Derby Line, Vermont. A wonderful moment. Very cool.

Stanstead QC church

Haskell Library. You enter in Vermont (entryway shown) but the bulk of the building is in Canada.
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Old Sep 14th, 2020, 07:54 AM
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How fun!
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Old Sep 14th, 2020, 07:57 AM
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Daniel, a lovely and positive TR.
I am embarrassed that I have not travelled much in Canada and not in the last 30 years. So much to see - one day!
Linda, PM2.5 279 Very Unhealthy air quality, Vancouver
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Old Sep 14th, 2020, 08:06 AM
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Public Transit Trip details (start point: Montreal)

Limocar: Offers several buses daily from Montreal to Sherbrooke. The buses stop in Ange Gardien, Bromont and Magog. Thankfully the buses were not crowded. Masks are required in indoor spaces, buses and cabs in Quebec. It took about 1 hour 50 minutes from Montreal to Magog. The bus station is not centrally located these days, which meant relying on Taxis Magog-Orford to get into the quite walkable town ($17) center by the gorgeous lake.

Magog-Stanstead: Cab is the only way ($65) for now. Taxis Magog-Orford is the only game in town on the weekend; call in advance as they get very busy. I may be wrong but I couldn’t find any cab service in Stanstead itself. A cab driver told me Uber was due to arrive in Magog soon, which will undoubtedly change the landscape.



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Old Sep 14th, 2020, 11:01 AM
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How cool is that? Thanks for posting Daniel - I've never heard of either place - interesting that they're separated by police tape! So someone has to stand guard 24/7? Bizarre.
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Old Sep 14th, 2020, 11:22 AM
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Thanks for reading and commenting mlgb, BowenLinda and Melnq8. I'm a dual national, so many of my family and friends are in the USA, that I really miss a lot. It was really meaningful than I thought to be able to see a good American friend in person. I'm lucky that this friend of mine is in New England and quite enamoured of the northern part of Vermont; so when he proposed a week ago that we chat at the border given that he was staying in Derby Line (apparently the Village Inn there is lovely), I felt that I had to do what I could to get to Stanstead this past weekend.

Linda, I hope the fires get put out soon!

Melnq8-- If you thought the police tape made for a funny border, I found the massive pots of plants made for an even neater border. I would have taken a picture of that but there were two people on lawn chairs sitting on either side, so I ended up not doing that. The Jeep with the armed border guard was not there the whole time but I suspect they have sensors (IR?) to detect when people are close to the border as once I arrived the guard stuck around. My friend spoke to the US border patrol beforehand and as long as you don't touch, don't pass anything across the border, there was no problem just seeing each other and talking.. Funny enough, there was no Canadian border agent there. I was happy the Canadian side had put some rocks down that I could sit on; I joked with my friend that US side was cheaper, providing nothing to sit on.
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Old Sep 15th, 2020, 05:03 AM
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I was happy the Canadian side had put some rocks down that I could sit on; I joked with my friend that US side was cheaper, providing nothing to sit on.

That sounds about right.

Thanks for the description Daniel. I went on a Google hunt after reading your post yesterday, as I found the whole thing fascinating. Seems there was a time not long ago that residents could easily walk across the border and visit their neighbors, but not anymore. The article I read said there are sensors in the ground and cameras in the trees and if someone crosses the line, Border Patrol appears within minutes.

What a drag for the residents.

Last edited by Melnq8; Sep 15th, 2020 at 05:14 AM.
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Old Sep 16th, 2020, 06:33 AM
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Melnq8-- Yes, it is true according to friends who grew up in Canadian border communities, that residents would cross the border much more freely in the latter part of the 20th century to go to a favourite restaurant in Canada or the US, or to visit a friend across the border, sometimes simply waved through by a border agent who knew the border community residents. I think if you go back far enough in the 20th century, people crossed even more freely than that. Things got progressively more strict, after 9/11 especially. I even have friends who crossed the border in the early 2000s with only a birth certificate and photo ID, but now a passport (or possibly an enhanced drivers license (?), I'd have to check) is required. Interesting about the ground sensors and tree cameras; that I did not know!

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Old Sep 17th, 2020, 05:56 AM
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Does anybody know what those triangles in circles mean on that church in Stanstead? I looked it up and all I found was that a triangle in a circle is the symbol for Alcoholics Anonymous but that can't be right in this context...
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Old Sep 17th, 2020, 10:58 AM
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I thought they might be a symbol of the trinity, but they don't look quite right.

Also found this, which sounds like a possibility:

The circle is unity and completeness. The triangle symbolizes the higher trinity of aspects or spiritual principles.

Last edited by Melnq8; Sep 17th, 2020 at 11:01 AM.
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Old Sep 17th, 2020, 11:32 AM
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I love this. I want to visit now.
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Old Sep 17th, 2020, 05:47 PM
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I rarely check this forum but with a town named Magog showing up I had to look. A fascinating and enjoyable read, thanks for posting! What a great memory for you.

The Wikipedia page on Stanstead is, believe it or not, a pretty good read.
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Old Sep 18th, 2020, 06:51 AM
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Macross-- I hope you do one day; this is a lovely area of North America.

Nelson--Magog is actually a reasonably popular getaway for those in greater Montreal, although I think most foreign visitors if they make it to la Belle Province (Quebec), tend to opt for Quebec City, Ottawa, the Charlevoix or the Laurentians more if they couple a visit to Montreal with somewhere else. Also, there are other appealing options in the Eastern Townships (where Magog is found). Thanks also for pointing me in the direction of the Wikipedia page on Stanstead; I didn't know that the border in Stanstead/Derby Line actually cuts through some houses!

Best wishes,

Daniel
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Old Sep 18th, 2020, 01:23 PM
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Hi Daniel, what a fun TR and great photos. I too was drawn to read it by the reference to Magog [who I know only as one of the pair of statues called Gog and Magog who feature every year - except this one - in the Lord Mayor's show] and Stanstead which I thought was a reference to the airport in Essex! And what a great way to catch up with your friend. We had some german friends call in on us yesterday but at least we were able to sit in our garden.

Regarding crossing the border I remember crossing from Canada to the US about 30 years ago for a 2 week trip when we had absolutely no problems whatever; 2 years ago whilst simply trying to cross with two Canadian friends for a short shopping trip we all had to go into the immigration office at Niagara, fill in forms, pay for a visa [because it turned out that my Etsa card only covers you for entering by air] and give my inside leg measurement [or that's how it felt]. A big difference in attitude over 30 years or so.

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Old Sep 20th, 2020, 03:59 AM
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Thanks annhig for reading! Indeed it was an unexpected treat to see my friend who lives about 4.5 hours away from Derby Line.

I had never heard of Gog & Magog before but I have been to Stansted Airport. It was the early 1980s and my parents took me to Colchester (Camulodunum) to indulge my fascination with Roman history, and after we went to an amusement boardwalk area at Clacton-on-Sea. Driving back to London, on the radio we heard that a plane was hijacked and was at Stansted Airport. My Dad was a news journalist with the VOA and I said we’re not far from Stansted, why don’t we just go and you could report “live from Stansted Airport”? So, that is what we did, my Dad went in with his press pass while Mom & us kids waited excitedly in the car, imagining ourselves participating in world events.
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Old Sep 20th, 2020, 04:56 AM
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I went and checked out real estate in that area. I seriously want to find out if my landed immigration status from the late 70's is still valid. One of our friends that now live in NYS found out they were still ok during a border crossing. My niece and nephew are duel citizens and my Dad got a check every month till he died from Canada for the 11 years he lived and worked there. It would be nice in these times. I am looking forward to a trip once we are allowed into NYS and Vermont.
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Old Sep 20th, 2020, 06:15 AM
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Macross--You reminded me that of course it is not only Canada that is closed to visitors but also that northeast US states like Vermont are closed to many outsiders. (In Canada, Quebec residents are not allowed to visit the 4 easternmost provinces; New Brunswick and points east have had many days straight of zero or single-digit cases.) I think my friend & I were quadruply lucky to be able to see each other: 1. That Stanstead & Derby Line exists, 2. That we both could make the journey happen 3. There were available accommodations in Magog & Derby Line and 4. That he lives in an area of the States which is allowed to visit Vermont.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2020, 12:33 PM
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Like you Daniel I have only visited Stansted once [or rather twice, once on the way to Iceland, once on the way back] and fortunately there was no hijacking in either direction. Phew. Far more excitement than i want on any airport, but I can see that it would be exciting for you kids.
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