The Island Life

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 Road Junkies 0 Comments

EAST COAST ROAD TRIP, CHAPTER 47:
IN WHICH WE VISIT AN OVERSIZED GARDEN
  
Day 46:  Quebec City, QC.  About three miles downriver from Quebec City, Île d'Orléans (Orleans Island) is an island in the St. Lawrence River.  At 21 miles long and 8 miles wide, the island (pictured above) makes you quickly forget you're in the middle of a river.  Île d'Orléans is divided into six municipalities.  
  
One of the first parts of the province to be colonized by the French, the island attracted settlers with its fertile soil.  By 1685, there were 1,205 mostly French inhabitants on the island.  Known today as the "Garden of Quebec", the island provides nearby Quebec City with fresh produce such as seasonal fruit and vegetables, cereals, maple products, and farm produce.

Tourism has also become a growing industry on the island, and it is a popular destination for day trippers and bicyclists.  In addition to the vineyards, cideries, and fruit stands where one can buy products of the island, numerous restaurants and inns dot the landscape.
  
A great place for lunch
With more than 600 buildings classified or recognized as heritage property, history is around every corner on the island. We had a wonderful lunch from locally grown produce today at Le Moulin de Saint-Laurent, which is housed in an old flour mill dating back to 1720.

Leaving this idyllic spot behind, we drove over to visit nearby Montmorency Falls. At 275 high and 150 feet wide, the falls are 98 feet higher than Niagara Falls.  The falls are at the mouth of the Montmorency River where it drops over a cliff into the Saint Lawrence River near Orleans Island.  
  
Montmorency Falls
The falls were named by Samuel de Champlain for his patron, the duke of Montmorency, to whom he dedicated his voyage of 1603. A set of staircases takes visitors to the base of the falls, and a suspension footbridge over the crest of the falls provides a spectacular view.  We planted a letterbox in the falls park.
  
   space
   space
  
DAILY STATS
  • Miles driven: 90
  • Letterboxes:  1 F + 1 P
  • Orleans Island stats:
    •   Chocolateries: 1
    •   Fromageries:  1
    •   Cideries:  4
    •   Sugar Shacks:  4
    •   Vineyards:  5
    •   Residents:  7,000
TUESDAY, 15 JUNE 2010