Photo cred - Yves Kéroack
As temperatures start to fall, and the days become shorter, we are reminded that our precious care-free summer haze has almost completely dissipated. Montreal's outdoor festivals have come and gone, beach season is pretty much over, and for most of us, it's back to business as usual. But that doesn't mean we need to go into mourning just yet. Fall is a rather majestic time here on the East coast, with a beautiful array of autumnal foliage on display, crisp and refreshing temperatures, and let's not forget, the increase in stylish options to our wardrobe.
So while we collectively brace ourselves for the brutality that is Canadian winter, why not appreciate the colourful transition of the Fall season and enjoy a little time outside the city.
Vankleek Hill, ON
The Ride: 105 km west of Montreal, known as the Gingerbread Capital of Ontario because of its stunning examples of Victorian-era houses which still boast the original wooden gingerbread ornamentation of days gone by.
Length: 1.5 hours
- Take a taste tour of Beau’s All-Natural Brewery.
- Hit up Beau's famous Oktoberfest for great beer, food and music, you will not want to miss this one.
- Visit the Sunny Side Alpaca Ranch where they breed top quality Huacaya Alpacas.
Quebec City, QC
The Ride: 250 km North-East of Montreal, Quebec City is one of North America’s oldest settlements and the only walled city north of Mexico.
Length: 2.5 hours
- Explore the cobblestone streets of Old Quebec, a UNESCO world heritage site, packed with museums, 17th- and 18th-century houses and the Château Frontenac.
- Visit the Fortifications of Québec, with close to 4.6 km of walls, cannons, a star-shaped Citadel, Artillery Park, and imposing gates to discover.
- Take a gondola ride or walk the trails to the very top of the Montmorency Falls, which are 30 m higher than the Niagra Falls.
- Check out Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine, North America's oldest pilgrimage site with its neo-Roman style basilica and golden statue of Saint Anne.
- Take in the the beautiful countryside and quaint villages of Île d'Orléans.
Photo cred - Tan Yilmaz
The Ride: 350 km North-East of Montreal, mountain and sea combine to create a succession of capes flanking the coast, with charming villages and peaceful coves.
Length: 4 hours
- Visit the village of Les Éboulements, which sits on the site of a huge meteorite that fell to Earth 350 million years ago.
- Observe 140 km of coast from the comfort of the Train du Massif de Charlevoix.
- Hop a ferry to Isle-aux-Coudres and take a bike trip around the island to visit 19th century watermills and windmills.
- Explore the Grands-Jardins National Park.
The Ride: 480 km North-East of Montreal, this vast region is named for the gigantic Lac Saint-Jean and the Rivière Saguenay which winds its way through a majestic fjord with breathtaking rocky walls.
Length: 5 hours
- Check out the Bagotville Air Defence Museum, the only operating Canadian Forces base open to the public.
- Whale-watching cruises and Saguenay Fjord cruises including a stop at Sainte-Rose-du-Nord, one of the most picturesque villages in Québec.
- Take a majestic train ride through the Zoo sauvage de Saint-Félicien.
- Visit the ghost town of the Village historique de Val-Jalbert built around a pulp and paper mill at the base of a waterfall.
The Ride: 305 km North-East of Montreal located along the St-Laurence River and bordered to the south by the Appalachians, dotted with a string of riverside villages and scenic islands.
Length: 3 hours
- Day trip to Grosse-Île, a former quarantine station, for a look at a by-gone era when thousands of Irish immigrants faced quarantine here.
- Check out the Snow Goose Festival for the annual celebration of the arrival of snow geese in the region, including cultural, social and sports activities for all ages.
- Hike or cycle the Parcours des Anses trail, winding 15 km along the St. Lawrence River.
- Enjoy the surrounding villages for locally made products, cruises, horseback riding and other outdoor activities.
Eastern Townships, QC
The Ride: 80 km South-East of Montreal, enjoy beautiful scenery and villages, brimming with charming inns, restaurants and sugar shacks. Also well-known for it's excellent vineyards and orchards.
Length: 1.5 hours
- Go hiking on the Sentiers de l'Estrie, which offers 150 km of views as far as the eye can see.
- Check out Abbaye Saint-Benoît-du-Lac for cheese- and cider-making monks.
- Explore Parc de la Gorge-de-Coaticook, known for its 169 m suspension bridge, one of the longest in the world.
- Spend the day at Zoo de Granby.
The Ride: 180 km South-East of Montreal, Vermont is famous for its lush mountains and fall foliage.
Length: 2.5 hours
- Take a tour of the Teddy Bear Factory.
- Visit the Ben & Jerry's Factory.
- Enjoy the Stowe Foliage Art Festival with original art, photography, sculpture, specialty food products, and live music
- Jay Peak's massive Pump House indoor waterpark.
Photo cred - Jenn
The Ride: 460 km East of Montreal, known for its jagged, mostly rocky coastline scenery and its low, rolling mountains.
Length: 5.75 hours
- Check out the The Fryeburg Fair – Maine's Blue Ribbon Classic to see a variety of livestock, draft show horses and ponies, pulling horses and oxen, sheep dog trials and a huge parade on Saturday.
- Enjoy Acadia's OKTOBERFEST Food & Crafts Festival.
- Visit the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta for a week of events including a pumpkin paddle boat relay and pumpkin motor boat regatta, pumpkin polo, and giant pumpkin weigh-off.
The Ride: 510 km South-East of Montreal, you'll find rolling hills and valleys with plenty of rural hill-towns.
Length: 5.5 hours
- Visit the King Richard's Faire, New England’s largest and longest-running Renaissance Festival
- Discover the Salem Haunted Happenings, a month-long festival in the bewitching seaport of Salem including haunted houses, storytelling tours and a Grand Parade.
- Experience the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo, with thousands of pumpkins carved and illuminated into amazing works of art on display at night.
- Check out Boston's Oktoberfest at Harpoon Brewery.
New York City (USA)
The Ride: 600 km South of Montreal, this one is really more about the destination than the drive, but find plenty of interesting pit-stops along the way.
Length: 6 hours
- Check out the New York City Wine & Food Festival, gathering together the best of the Big Apple and celebrity chefs from around the world.
- Take in a Braodway show.
- Stroll through Central Park and enjoy the fall colours.
- Catch a NY sporting event.
- Watch the Macy's Day Parade.
- The list goes on and on...