The Eastern Townships include the historical region of south-eastern Quebec that was first inhabited by the native Abenaki people. After the American Revolution in the late 1700’s, Loyalists moved into the area and were granted 200 acre lots. Now the area is the playground for Montrealers, home to people looking for a more laid back lifestyle and a year round tourist destination.
The area lies south of the St. Lawrence River and roughly one hour east of Montreal by car. To the south, is the US, specifically the State of Vermont. There are lots of small towns including some of Quebec’s Most Beautiful Villages. The largest city in the townships is Sherbrooke with a population of 151,000. The city is located close to the midway point on the Chemin des Cantons, a driving and on- road biking route through the townships.
A week long bike trip in the Eastern Townships on a combination of mostly quiet backroads and dedicated bike paths is a great way to get a sense of the place and the delightful locals. La Route Verte, otherwise known as The Green Route, traverses the area for a total of 225 kilometres and could be accomplished over a long weekend.
Then there are additional loops to cycle which include the wine region, the hilly but beautiful ski country near Sutton, a ride on both sides of Lake Memphremagog which can incorporate a side trip to Saint Benoit’s Abbey, a visit to Stanstead on the US/Canada border to admire the magnificent 19thcentury buildings and the towns of Ayer’s Cliff and North Hatley on Lake Massawippi.
Inside the biking Eastern Townships guide you’ll find the following:
- how to get to the Eastern Townships
- a suggested one week itinerary
- detailed route notes
- trip highlights
- accommodation and restaurant options
- where to find bike rentals
- packing lists
- useful websites and links
July 2012 Update
- Green Mount Cottage B&B is actually called Vert Le Mont B&B in Sutton. The address is incorrectly listed as 8 Maple. It should be 18 Maple.
- St. Armour Inn has new owners. It is now called Le Pleasant. Rates are $150-$250.
- Chemin Brookfall is renamed Chemin Schweizer.
- Sutton is an alternative start point. There is an excellent bike repair and rental store called La Vie Dehors on rue Principale Nord.
- Sutton is served twice daily by the Veolia bus service from Montreal.