Stipulated: the perfect travel time for a three-day weekend getaway is four hours. More, and you waste your vacation. Less, and you’re still near home. Hence our series, The 4hr. Rule, dedicated to revealing the best destinations that are far away, yet still close to home.
An hour and some change on Air Canada will land you in Montreal. From Montreal to Coaticook, one can go by bus or auto. Snagging a Ferrari California convertible from Loue la Vie seems like the dashing choice.
HAVE A BITE
After a bit of a drive, a local microbrew should hit the spot. In the heart of town you’ll find Microbrasserie Coaticook, which delivers nine in-house craft beers and an easygoing, satiating pub menu. For stepping it up when you’re ready to step out, get a lil’ French — it’s Quebec, after all — at the locally endorsed Coffret de L’Imagination and Le Saint-Jacques. Our favorite and the most befitting for the adventure at hand, though: Le Cinquième Élément. A simple, authentic trattoria with the motto “Life is too short to eat sad!” and courses catalogued by Envy, Gluttony and Lust.
HAVE A REST
For lakeside luxury, book at the picturesque Ripple Cove Resort & Spa or the charming Manoir Hovey, set on 30 acres of secluded forest and brimming with English gardens. Should you have a crew in tow, there are some epic rentals up for grabs. Top picks: a modern hilltop chalet with a whirlpool suited for 14, a remarkable estate set on 150 acres with a private lake, a former summer camp lodge turned private cabin dwellings and a handsome and rustic prefab barn with firepit overlooking the lake.
WALK THE WALK
After nightfall, you’ll leave via shuttle from downtown Coaticook. After crossing North America’s longest suspended footbridge into Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook, Foresta Lumina’s interactive and mind-bending experience begins. Using the forest as a canvas, the woods and its various “mythical characters” come alive as you explore the terrain via the event’s app, complete with soundtrack. Let curiosity and sheer, childlike wonder be your guide.
Foresta Lumina From Park to Illuminated Forest2:23