Epicurean Excursion in North Hatley, Quebec
The lakeside village of North Hatley—87 miles east of Montreal and just 20 miles north of the U.S. border—is the summer destination of the province's heavy hitters (the premier of Quebec has a second home there). Expect to find a food-lover's playground: raw-milk cheeses, duck foie gras, and apple cider pressed by Benedictine monks.
What To Do
Tour Lake Massawippi with guide Capitan Ross on his 1957 mahogany boat, Old Shep (dock at Hovey Manor; 819/842-2421; tours $25 per person). On Saturdays, gather with town chefs at the weekly farmers' market on Rue School for tender lettuces, lavender honey, and smoked trout. Then stop by the 119-year-old LeBaron Grocery (105 Main St.; 819/842-2487) to stock up on Québécois cheeses.
Where to Eat
Chef Roland Ménard opened Hovey Manor restaurant (575 Chemin Hovey; 819/842-2421; manoirhovey.com; dinner for two $110) 26 years ago. His seared duck breast with pan-roasted wild mushrooms is a standout; the after-dinner cheese cart selection includes Grand Manitou, a pungent combination of goat's, cow's, and sheep's milk. Le Coeur d'Or (85 Rue School; 819/842-4263; dinner for two $60) is the place to go, for a rosy filet mignon with a blue-cheese sauce.
Where to Stay
Hovey Manor (575 Chemin Hovey; 819/842-2421; manoirhovey.com; doubles from $280, including breakfast and dinner) is a Georgian inn right on the lake. The 39 rooms have exposed wooden beams, fireplaces, and hand-painted checkerboards for late-night games.
Capitan Ross suggests visiting St. Benoît-du-Lac (Chemin Fisher, Austin; 819/843-4080; st-benoit-du-lac.com), the local Benedictine monastery: "The monks invite guests to pick apples in their orchard and sample house-made cheeses and cider."
Fall Festival Season in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
For millennia, this rugged 3,970-square-mile island was part of what is now Scotland, until a continental drift sent it across the Atlantic. It looks much like its ancient parent—rocky shores, glacial valleys, and barren headlands—but never more so than in September and October, when music and cultural festivals turn the island into a celebration of Highland heritage, for many of its 18th-century settlers, like the island itself, came from Scotland.
What to Do
In the pint-size town of Mabou, the Féis Mhábu (Oct. 7-9; feismhabu.com; tickets from $10) glorifies all things Gaelic with traditional dances, workshops (learn to step-dance), and language classes (did you know that am foghar is Gaelic for "autumn"?). Don't miss next month's Celtic Colours International Festival (Oct. 5-13; 902/562-6700; celtic-colours.com; tickets from $15). Native fiddler Buddy MacMaster takes the stage, along with the Chieftains—a traditional Irish group.
Where to Eat
Siblings Heather, Raylene, and Cookie Rankin, of the well-known Celtic singing trio the Rankin Sisters, recently renovated Mabou's Red Shoe Pub (Rte. 19; 902/945-2996; redshoepub.com; dinner for two $50). The haute pub cuisine includes Acadian tourtière (meat pie) and fresh beer-battered haddock. At the Chanterelle Inn (48678 Cabot Trail, Baddeck; 866/277-0577; chanterelleinn.com; dinner for two $85), the weekend Fall Fungi Foray & Feast is a must for mushroom lovers. Chef-owner Earlene Busch will whip up a four-course meal, including a surprisingly good dessert of cheesecake with chanterelle sauce.