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Country Charm & City Chic ... an inn-viting combination

Press Reviews


A Bike Tour of Quebec's Eastern Townships
Website: Never Stop Traveling, July, 2014

Loyalists and Lavender
I lunched on the terrace of Auberge Knowlton, the inn where I had a room for the night. Like Sutton’s Auberge des Appalaches, the 12-room Auberge Knowlton makes a point of welcoming cyclists – but its earliest guests arrived by stagecoach. Founded in 1849, even before the railroad reached these parts, this is the oldest continuously operating inn in the Eastern Townships.
I spent an afternoon strolling Knowlton’s pair of main streets, finding cheery pubs with outdoor terraces, an inviting bookstore, a Jones New York outlet (fortunately, I found a gift for my wife light enough to stuff into one of my panniers), and a fine repository of local history with an unexpected window on a wider and more dangerous world. The six buildings of the Brome County Historical Society house artifacts dating back to the days when the region was first settled by Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution, but the museum also boasts a collection of World War I memorabilia, including an exceptionally rare intact Fokker DVII biplane, part of Canada’s German reparations.
Before pedaling off in the morning, I walked a quarter mile out to Chris and Alison Marks’ Joie de Lavande, a small lavender plantation where neat rows of the fragrant crop were just coming into bloom. Chris explained how he and his wife had traveled to Provence and to Washington State, the world centers of lavender production, before setting up their farm and its charming adjacent boutique selling dried lavender, live plants, culinary lavender, and products ranging from soaps to sachets. The bees on the property have been busy, and there’s lavender honey for sale.

What Dog Owners Ought To Know About Knowlton
Website: Montecristo Travels, February 22, 2014

If you and your pooch want to stay a while, we highly recommend the pet friendly Auberge Knowlton Inn.  Built in 1849, it’s the oldest continuously operating hotel in the Eastern Townships with over 150 years of customer service.  Don’t let the antique filled decor fool you, they have all the modern amenities you may need, including free high speed and Wi-Fi.
While staying at the Inn, you (but not your canine friend) can savor contemporary, regional fare at Le Relais Restaurant-Bistro served in a country-chic décor complete with wrap-around windows. Thanks to my service dog status, I was allowed to enjoy a fine meal with the Bipeds on the patio. Mom was smart and ordered the duck… and it lived up to its reputation and was delectable! I was however, a little disturbed by the amusing but alarming mural on the wall … I will let you be the judge.

"Still Life" in Knowlton
Brome County News, September 17, 2013
By Frank Nixon

Le Relais restaurant in Knowlton hosted the two-hour airing of the CBC-TV film "Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery" on Sunday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. Restaurant owners Signy Stephenson and Michel Gabereau organized the event to celebrate author Louise Penny. This is Penny’s first movie adaptation of her first mystery novel. “Still Life” won the author numerous awards, including the Arthur Ellis Award of the Crime Writers of Canada in 2006.

The Brome-Missisquoi Wine Route, Quebec
Website: Blouinartinfo.com, July, 2013
By Rea McNamara

THE LOWDOWN Considered the birthplace of Quebec's fledging wine industry, this Eastern Townships countryside getaway promises mountain views, antique shops, and artist studies via a 140km trip that goes from Farnham to Saint-Armand and then up to Lac-Brome. When you reach the latter, be sure to sample the region's world-class canard.
THE DRINK Viticultural enthusiasts would do well to appreciate the region's late harvest wines, and if you're looking to take a break from the reds and whites, get to know its ciders, a speciality. At Dunham's Château de cartes, their crop of golden russet apples yields its new exclusive product, the Pomineau, a sweet cider liquor.
THE TOUR The historic Auberge Knowlton — the oldest operating hotel in the Eastern Townships — offers a “gourmand” wine route tour that covers a night's stay, a gourmet duck dinner at their Restaurant le Relais, and a visit as well as tasting to Domaine Les Brome, Vignoble de l'Orpailleur, Vignoble Domaine Bresee, and Domaine Vitis.

Best of summer ~ Travel: Road Tripping
Reader's Digest, July 2013
By Katherine Laidlaw

Quebec: For three trips in one, head to the Eastern Townships ...
Where to eat: Embrace country chic at le Relais in the picturesque village of Knowlton.

Auberge Knowlton Earns Fodor's Choice 2012 Distinction from Fodor's Travel
Website: Ejazztravel.com, Toronto, Ont. January 8, 2013

KNOWLTON, QC. - Fodor’s, the leading name in travel guides for over 75 years, recently announced that Auberge Knowlton has been recognized as a 2012 Fodor’s Choice selection. This distinction designates the inn in the Eastern Townships village of Knowlton as a leader in its field for service, quality, and value in the 2012 year.
The editors and experts of Fodor’s have been selecting only the top fifteen percent of their listed properties and activities as Fodor’s Choice award recipients since 1988. Every year, Fodor’s writers experience, examine and evaluate thousands of hotels, restaurants and attractions in their travels across the globe. While every business included in a Fodor’s guide is deemed worth a traveler’s time, only those offering a truly remarkable experience are given the Fodor’s Choice designation.
As a 2012 Fodor’s Choice property Auberge Knowlton (www.aubergeknowlton.ca) will receive special recognition in the next Fodor’s guidebook to this area and on www.Fodors.com. "We are very pleased and honoured to have received this distinction from Fodor’s", says Signy Stephenson, owner of Auberge Knowlton with her husband Michel Gabereau. "We work very hard to keep up the level of service and hospitality that Fodor’s and our customers demand and receiving this honour now for the 6th year in a row gives us and our team the satisfaction of a job well done ."
About Fodor’s Travel
Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House, Inc., is one of the world’s leading providers of travel information. Covering over 7,500 worldwide destinations, Fodor’s guidebooks and website, Fodors.com, have provided the most up-to-date, accurate information for travelers since 1936. Written by a vast team of global correspondents, Fodor’s provides travelers with engagingly written, locally reported, and absolutely indispensable travel guidance.

Where to spa after a day on the slopes in Quebec’s Eastern Townships
The Globe & Mail, Toronto, Ont. December 14, 2011
By Margo Pfeiff


The following is a reader’s comment regarding the above article.
If you want to stay for a night or more, try Auberge Knowlton in the heart of Knowlton/Lac Brome. It’s near each of those ski hills, very charming, with an excellent restaurant and bar and a friendly atmosphere. It’s got a gentile country feeling, with gorgeous armoires is each room, as well as wifi and all the modern conveniences. Reasonable prices at the Auberge allow for shopping around in Knowlton’s many interesting stores. It’s the kind of place that, once you try it, you’ll go back every year - like I do.

Hunting for Delectable Duck
The Robb Report Collection.com October 1, 2011
By Karen Cakebread


With the changing of the season comes the emergence of the hunt, and as warm nights give way to brisk afternoons, a craving for rich, comfort food takes hold. As such, great culinary minds strive to compose game-focused dishes ripe with creativity, and many seek out duck for its boldness and complexity. "It’s a rich, luscious, full-bodied meat," says Patrick O’Connell, the executive chef at the Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Va. "It has all the satisfaction of a steak and all the delicacy of a fowl."...
The bucolic Eastern Townships of Quebec may well be the epicenter of duck dining in North America. The region is known for its Brome Lake ducks, which commonly are served around the world in Peking form. The bistro Le Relais at Auberge Knowlton (www.aubergeknowlton.ca) in the village of Knowlton, devotes almost an entire page of its menu to duck. But if such variety is too overwhelming, Christopher Marks, a regular patron, recommends the restaurant’s latest preparation of magret (duck breast), which includes a sauce made of sea buckthorn (a lemony-flavored berry) and mango. "It’s delicious," he says. "They don’t cook the meat too long, so it/tdrsquo;s pink, as it should be."

Auberge Knowlton has a Winning Formula
The Gazette, Montreal, Qc. April 9, 2011
By Rochelle Lash "Country Roads"

Lodging establishments come and go, but Auberge Knowlton has been the place to be eat, drink and be merry for more than 160 years.
This popular getaway started out in the mid-1800s as a stagecoach stop named Blinn’s Inn, known for hearty food and decent rooms.
For the past decade or so, owners Michel Gabereau and Signy Stephenson have stuck close to the same formula. They serve good food at good prices and offer comfortable, attractive rooms at moderate rates. It has worked so well for so long that Auberge Knowlton is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the Eastern Townships.
Still, the inn never stops evolving, and Stephenson and Gabereau are winding up a three-year renovation. The pretty blue and beige exterior has been spruced up. The fine country antiques that give the place its traditional look have been polished and painted. And a local decor shop, Clementine à la Campagne has supplied scads of chintz for the guest rooms’ new curtains and duvet covers. With this latest overhaul, all of the 12 rooms have air conditioning, private bathrooms, telephones, televisions and Wi-Fi.
Although Auberge Knowlton consistently is rated by all comers as a convenient, quaint lodging establishment, it really is known for its restaurant, Le Relais, which has been the centre of village life for a long time. This wildly popular eatery, a combination of an English pub and a French bistro, is a lot like Cheers on television. It’s an inviting, relaxed place where the local postman, the local doctor and the local beer connoisseur get together to compare notes on life and love.
Holding it all together are Le Relais’s manager Lynn Patenaude and chefs Marie-Claude Carrier and Paul Lafond, who have fashioned a menu of surefire pleasers. At lunchtime they feature casual fare like sausages, onion soup, mussels and frites, fish and chips, crêpes, salads, ribs and burgers with blue cheese. Dinner adds six kinds of steak, linguine with shrimp and rack of lamb. Day or night, there always is lots of Brome Lake duck, the star ingredient in magret of duck, confit of duck, duck ravioli, sautéed duck livers and the luscious warm duck salad. The wine list features local wines from Domaine Les Brome, L’Orpailleur, Les Pervenches, Domaine Vitis and Vignoble La Bauge.
After dark, it seems like every night is locals’ night at Le Relais. On Thursdays, there are dinner specials for $9.95. Friday features all-you-can-eat mussels for $17.95 and on Saturdays, it is prime rib for $23.95 with entertainment by pianist Yaakov Ludmer.
Le Relais’s agreeable terrace will open in May. Here, you really understand that the owners have a sense of humour. The exterior wall has been painted with a delightful mural by artist Marie-Andrée Leblond. Titled Revenge of the Ducks, it’s a tongue-in-cheek rendering of feathery fowl as customers, with people on their plates.
Auberge Knowlton is a landmark of Lac Brome, past and present, and at the heart of a walking tour by the local historical society. You also can bring home a memento from the charming shop on the hotel’s ground floor, Arts & Antiquités à la Carte, a co-operative of 25 dealers and artisans. Here you’ll find an eclectic selection including wooden bird-houses, knitted gloves, handsewn kids’ toys and fine antique furniture, crystal and china.
Deeply involved in regional tourism, the inn has packages with Golf Lac-Brome or Golf Inverness, a Nordic spa sojourn at Les Chutes de Bolton Spa or performances at Theatre Lac Brome. A member of Vélo Québec, the inn attracts a lot of cyclists, so it offers a secure bike lock-up. Auberge Knowlton’s best-selling deal is a tour of vineyards on the Townships’ La Route des Vins (Wine Route) and recently started fun onenighters called Girls’ Night Out or Guys’ Night Out that link up with a new wine route promotion, Les Rosés en Fête, from May 28 to June 26. These packages add dinner with wine and massages at Bolton Spa...

Last-minute ski packages: Wining & Dining
The Gazette, Montreal, Qc., January 8, 2011
By Max Harrold

The Eastern Townships tourism agency is promoting the third annual Spotlight on Ice Wines promotion, centered around the theme of ice wines and late harvest wines of the Brome-Missisquoi Wine Route. The weekends of Jan. 22-23 and 29-30 have been dedicated to late-harvest wines at the region's inns, restaurants, hotels, ski hills and wineries. For example, the products of winemaker
Léon Courville od Domaine Les Brome will be featured at knowlton's Restaurant Le Relais on Jan. 28 for a five-course gastronomic dinner priced at $75 that will highlight Vidal vin de glace, as well as Vidal blanc (white wine) and Cuvée Julien (red wine). The ice wine will be paired with foie gras as a starter and, for dessert, with tarte tatin or crème brulée. Four choices of the main course leave it to the diner to decide between red or white wine, always from Domaine Les Brome. The wines are included in the price of dinner.
Auberge Knowlton is also offering a package including the dinner, lodging and breakfast for $150 per person, double occupancy. To book dinner only, call 450-242-2232. To book the hotel package, call 450-242-6886. For more information about lodging in the Eastern Townships, visit easterntownships.org.

Warm Up to Winter ~ Some of Quebec's Best Kept Ski Secrets
The Guardian, Prince Edward Island, January 2010; The Ottawa Citizen, The Star Phoenix, Saskatoon, February 2010
The Winnipeg Free Press, March 2010
By Margo Pfeiff, CanWest News

While Western Canada gets most of the hype, Quebec offers outstanding skiing and snowshoeing from the Laurentians to the Gaspe... The Eastern Townships is dotted with quaint villages of fieldstone houses with church spires towering over frozen ponds and snowy streets lined with pubs, restaurants and boutiques. Mont Bromont, less than an hour southeast of Montreal, has the largest lit skiable terrain in North America with 66 night-skiing trails.
The village of Bromont is at the base and not far off is picture-perfect Knowlton, where restaurants such as the Auberge Knowlton serve up the local specialty, Quebec’s celebrated Lac Brome duck. It’s also a good place to sample luscious ice ciders, Quebec’s answer to icewine made from crushed frozen apples...

Quebec in Foliage Season
The Nashua Telegraph, New Hampshire, October 11, 2009
EasternSlopes.com, October 16, 2009
The Times Union, Albany, N.Y., November 1, 2009
By Tim Jones

Even though it’s been raining off and on (mostly off, hooray!) for two of the past three days, I honestly can’t think of any place I’d rather be. My sweetheart Marilyn and I are celebrating a major milestone in our life together with . . .you guessed it! . . . a getaway focused on shared outdoor activities. When we were planning this celebration together, I asked her where she wanted to go and what she wanted to do. She hesitated all of a nanosecond before choosing Quebec in foliage season...
That night we ate another superb dinner at Le Relais at the Auberge Knowlton, the oldest continuously operating hotel/restaurant in the Eastern Townships. The next morning we biked around beautiful Lac Brome and back into Knowlton for some shopping...
Click below to read the full story
Quebec in Foliage.

To Live and Die with Ducks
The Record, Sherbrooke, Qc., July 30, 2009
By Kelly McDevitt

Auberge Knowlton is celebrating its 160th anniversary with this mural painted at the inn's restaurant Le Relais by Eastern Townships artist Marie-Andrée Leblond. The mural is entitled «Revenge of the Ducks» and features ducks taking over the daily life of the Auberge, enjoying good food, conversation and company in vengence for the restaurant's long history of serving duck from Brome Lake on the menu. The mural also nods to local artists and gallkeries in Knowlton, with some of the duckies painting, playing music and writing letters in the scene.
Auberge Knowlton started out in 1849 as Blinn's Inn; it now operates as a hotel withn twelve rooms and a 90-seat restaurant with a 60-seat terrace. It also houses several boutiques, a real estate office and is featured on the «Townships Trail» route for tourists exploring the architectural and historical heritage of the Townships. Owners Signy Stephenson and Michel Gabereau wanted to honour the long-running establishment with something special.
«Marie-Andrée's work is very special. She's given a modern twist to a long-standing tradition, which is as it should be as the Auberge continues to lead in hotellerie in the area. And it's funny. There are little twists and tweaks that the viewer won't initially see, sort of like «Where's Waldo», says Stephenson. «We hope that people will love it as much as we do.»

Townships Happenings
The Outlet, Sherbrooke, Qc.,August 4, 2009

The Auberge Relais (sic) in Knowlton commissioned artist Marie-Andrée Leblond to create a mural to celebrate the 160 year history of the historic inn. Leblond used Brome Lake's famous ducks to incorporate themes and special events such as the Knowlton Music Festival, Letters from Knowlton and the Duck Fest, with a musician-duck, a painter-duck and a letter-writing duck.

Auberge Knowlton celebrates welcoming weary travellers and Brome Lake Ducks
Le Guide, Cowansville, Qc., August 5, 2009
By Wendy Denman

Auberge Knowlton, along with its restaurant Le Relais, situated on the corner of Knowlton Road and Lakeside celebrates its 160th anniversary this year. ...."To celebrate this auspicious and important anniversary, we commissioned well-known Eastern Townships artist marie-Andrée Leblond, to create a mural for the hotel's restaurant."... During the current Festival Knowlton, Auberge Le Relais (sic) is preparing a special menu inspired by and in keeping with the musical performances. Two special dinner concerts are also planned.

Treat Yourself to a Trip to Knowlton.
What Travel Writers Say, May 2009
By Karen Rooney

...Stay at the Auberge Knowlton, right in the middle of town at the four corners, and not only will you luxuriate and dine in style but you'll be doing it in one of the most historic buildings in Knowlton...
Click below to read the full story
What Travel Writers...

Eastern Townships of Quebec
Merle's Whirls and The Queen's Times, Corona, N.Y. March 4, 2009
The ‘Edge’ Travel Website, May 7, 2009.
By Merle Exit

...It’s off to the town of Knowlton, best not viewed after 5p.m. on a Monday. Historic town, for sure, with many shops, a theatre and another museum, The Brome County Historical Society with five buildings, one that includes a World War II Fokker DVII Plane. Joie de Lavende, a lavender farm, is located in walking distance of downtown. Worth the walk, you get to roam a bit of the fields and pick your own bouquet or buy various lavender products. If you’re lucky, the ducks will emerge from the lake and allow you to feed them. These are not the ilk of ducks that the waiter will serve you. Speaking of which I had lunch at Le Relais in Auberge Knowlton, the longest continuously operating hotel in the Eastern Townships. Since the restaurant and the area are known for serving Lac Brome ducks, I thought I’d have the breast in an orange sauce. A dish of various cold local delicacies is offered and not to be passed up. www.aubergeknowlton.ca. ...
Click below to read the full story
Eastern Townships...

The Life of a Fashionista
Brome Country News, Sherbrooke, Qc., April 9, 2008
By Wendy Denman

Despite a long, hard winter, Knowlton's fashion boutiques are thinking spring and summer and preparing for their yearly fashion show at the beginning of May. "This will be our 7th annual show," says Terry Dimock. "It's a community event, really. Everyone knows everyone. We use our customers and friends as models - nothing anorexic here - just real people, real fashions. It's a chance for everyone to see what the boutiques are doing for the season." ... The fashions comne from a wide range of Knowlton boutiques including Elle Diva, Jones New York, Rococo, Paddies, Clemenine à la campagne, designer Jodi Mallinson, Sandila, Woolrich and Zen Den.....

Live Jazz Featured in Knowlton.
DestinationKnowlton.com, April 2008

One of Knowlton’s best kept secrets, and a real treat for visitor’s, is the Saturday night Jazz performances at the Relais Restaurant in the Auberge Knowlton.The live performances take place from 6:30 to 9:30 on Saturday evening and is a great occasion to enjoy an evening of dining in the historical Inn while listening to some great jazz from the classics of the 1940’s to easy listening Jazz...
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Live Jazz ...

Local Hotel Joins Prestigous Groups.
Website "DestinationKnowlton.com",February 2008

The Auberge Knowlton in the heart of Lac Brome is arguably one of the most beloved historical buildings in Lac Brome.
The popular hotel provides visitors and locals with one of Knowlton’s better restaurants and comfortable rooms with
the real Victorian character of the Eastern Townships.
Auberge Knowlton, the oldest operating hotel in the Eastern Township’s, is not one to sit on its laurels. Having been hailed by Fodor’s, America’s leading travel publisher as “Fodor’s Choice… the place to stay and eat” in the area for the past 3 years as well as being featured by travel guides, Ulysses, Petit Futé and Lonely Planet, the Auberge has now aligned itself with the prestigious chain “Auberges du Passant Certifiée” managed by the Fédération des Agricotours du Québec...
Click below to read full story.
Local Hotel ...

The Historical Strata of Québec's Eastern Townships:
Website "Travelosophy.ca",October 2007
By Peter Flaherty

...It was late in the afternoon when I reached Knowlton, one of the seven communities that were merged to form the town of Lac-Brome in 1971. It is a charming Victorian-style village, with a number of old buildings dating from Loyalist times. There I would pass the night at one of the best-known hotels in town, the Auberge Knowlton, an establishment that has been receiving guests since 1849 when it was one of the main inns serving the old Magog Road. Its small but charming rooms are full of period décor, but also offer a number of up-to-date amenities including free wireless Internet service.
...During that time, I dined on the restaurant’s main dish, duck from Lac-Brome in a marvellous strawberry sauce. Lac-Brome is famous for its duck, and the next day my host at the Auberge Knowlton, Signy Stephenson, took me on a scenic tour of the area around the lake that included a stop at a local duck farm. I was sorry to learn that my visit would just miss the annual Lac-Brome fête du canard, the duck festival that was then being organized in the town park. Here a number of restaurants would offer a variety of dishes featuring local duck, along with a variety of other activities including a duck race! My duck was savoury and delicious, and was well accompanied by one of the locally-produced wines. Dessert was one of my favourites whenever I visit Québec, tarte au sucre, or maple-sugar pie, was as mouth-watering as any I have had the pleasure of sampling on previous trips...
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The Historical Strata

Where Cider and Duck Rule: Quebec: EurekaReporter.com, August 2006
Country Pleasures: Elan Magazine, Fairfax County, Virginia, September 2006
Both by Ruth A. Hill

...Duck dining is one reason to stop in Knowlton, a charming Victorian hamlet with plenty of Loyalist influences. It's situated on Lake Brome, where gastronomes arrive in the fall for the annual Duckfest. Galleries and boutiques lure travelers to this quaint village in any season. Auberge Knowlton continues to add years to its century-and-a-half history of guest care on the corner of Knowlton's main intersection, and serves bistro-style lunches amid an antique-filled interior...

FODOR's 2006 Montreal and Quebec City
Knowlton (Lac Brome)
* Fodor'sChoice: Where To Stay & Eat*
Auberge Knowlton

The 12-room inn, at the main intersection in Knowlton, has been a local landmark since 1849, when it was a stagecoach stop.The inn attracts businesspeople, as well as vacationers and locals who like coming to the old, familiar hotel to celebrate special occasions.
Bistro Le Relais ($$-$$$), serves local wines and cheeses and has a wide range of duck dishes, including warm duck salad served with gizzards and confit de canard.

Lonely Planet Canada 2006.
Lac Brome (Knowlton)

Auberge Knowlton is a landmark Victorian, in business since 1849, which has come a long way since the stagecoach days. Antique-style furniture meets modern amenities in the country-themed, spacious rooms. Breakfast is à la carte. Here you will also find Le Relais, a great place to try the juicy Brome duck paired with a glass of local wine. In summer, the tables on the upstairs terrace are much in demand.

Fodor's Honours Local Hotel as Best in Area
The Brome County News (Sherbrooke Record),August 23, 2006a

The editors at Fodor's Travel, America's leading travel publisher, has chosen Auberge Knowlton as its "Fodor's Choice2006" for the area. Every year, Fodor writers around the world select an exclusive list of restaurants, hotels and attractions in their area to represent the best places to visit when travelling to the respective regions. Auberge Knowlton has been selected as one of these establishments and is noted with Fodor'sChoice distinction in the 2006 guidebooks, as well as being recognized on Fodors.com where 1.7 million travellers plan their trips each month.
Fodor's hires local writers who know their destinations better than anyone else, says the travel publisher. With its team of over 700 travel writers covering over 300 destinations worldwide, Fodor's guidebooks are written for a variety of travelers who have one thing in common--they are seeking the best travel options available within their budget, including the best places to stay, eat, shop, and see.
"This is a great honour for us", enthused owner Signy Stephenson, who has operated Auberge Knowlton with her husband Michel Gabereau since 1997. "The visibility Fodor'sChoice gives the Auberge and the village of Knowlton is unparalleled."
Stephenson also noted that this year Auberge Knowlton and its restaurant Le Relais are also singled out in the Lonely Planet 2006 Canada Travel Guide as the only place in Knowlton the stay and eat.
"We are extremely pleased with both distinctions," notes Stephenson. "Being recognized by such influential publishers can only help increase business, both for us and for the entire village."

Food and Fashion are a Natural Fit
Le Guide, Cowansville, Qc., May 6, 2006

Food and fashion are a natural fit when comes it comes to the annual "Country Chic Champêtre" fashion show held every spring the Le Relais Restaurant- Bistro in Knowlton. The only fashion event of the season in Knowlton, "Country Chic Champetre" combines the beautiful and varied fashions from the many boutiques of the small village with the culinary talents of the chefs at the restaurant for an entertaining and mouth-watering luncheon-show.
Scheduled for Sunday, May 7, 2006, the show, now in its fifth year, is unique is its concept as it uses real women of all sizes wearing real clothes. "The whole community gets involved," enthused restaurant manager and owner Lynn Patenaude. "The boutiques use their customers as models, local hairdresser Christina Bushey of Creations Christina does the hair and make-up, Terry Dimock, a former fashion writer and marketer, coordinates the show, and we, of course, do the food. It's a lot of fun, both for the participants and for the audience."
Both women's and men's fashions are featured from Agnes & Grace, Jones New York, Paddie's Boutique, Rococo, Sandila, Woolrich and Zen Den. Accessories and jewellery are from Trésors d'ici. A draw following the show offers the audience the chance to win gift certificates from the many boutiques.
In the past, the event has been consistently sold out, so manager Patenaude advises early reservations. There is no charge for the show
Reservations may be had by calling Le Relais at (450) 242-2232.

Sleeping with History in Quebec.
By Alison Gardner
Website "Travel with a Challenge"
January 2006

Quebec is a four season travel treat for visitors attracted by a deeply-rooted cultural, historic and artistic tapestry unique in North America. Travel with a Challenge editor, Alison Gardner, highlights one of her favorite reasons to stop and stay in La Belle Province, by guiding readers through three of her favorite destinations: Old Montreal, the Eastern Townships and Old Quebec City. Whether low budget-friendly or fit for royalty (and rock stars!), large and small accommodations are today's theme, each one sampled and selected because they have a uniquely historic story to share with guests.
Click below to read full story on Auberge Knowlton.
Country History is Alive and Well

Quebec's Eastern Townships.
By Pat Mestern
Website "Mestern.net"
April 2006

... The village is home to Auberge Knowlton, an excellent place to stay while exploring the area. The Auberge, located at the corner of Lakeside and Knowlton Road, in the heart of the community, advertises that the building has been an inn for 150 years. Present owners, Gabereau and Signy Stephenson have done a great job of sympathetically renovating the heritage structure. It's such a pleasure to stay in a room that has windows that actually open! Their on-site Restaurant-Bistro, Le Relais, specializes in local cuisine. Patrons rarely stop at one basket of warm crusty baguette with creamy Eastern Townships butter and their soups are excellent...
Click below to read full story.
Quebec's Eastern Townships

Knowlton, Eastern Townships.
National Geographic Traveler
Nov/Dec 2004

"The autumn Brome Lake DuckFest is a great place to meet all the local wine producers and makers of all sorts of liqueurs - there's even one made from maple syrup." ~ North Hatley sommelier, Steven Monfett Knowlton is one of the best-looking hamlets in the Eastern Townships, a fertile area of lakes, farms, and gentle hills 60 miles southeast of Montreal and adjacent to Vermont. In the town center, 19th century brick buildings trimmed with Victorian gingerbread surround leafy Coldbrook Park, with its millpond and waterfall... The region's best known product is undoubtedly Lake Brome duck, raised in Knowlton and exported around the world. (Knowlton is part of a community called Lac Brome, made up of six villages on Brome Lake.) In fall,usually late September, gartronomes flock to the DuckFest, which celebrates the local large white Peking variety, with orange feet and bill. "It's the most gorgous time to be in the Townships," says Monfett. "The trees are all turning red and gold and yellow and amber. And the people at the festival are so freindly - it's hardly ommercialized. You feel as of you've stepped back to an earlier time."
Stay at: Auberge Knowlton, the oldest continuously operating inn in the Eastern Townships, built as a stagecoach stop in 1849 and renovated in 2000. It has 12 guestrooms and a bistro, Le Relais.

Wandering At Will in Quebec's Eastern Townships
By Bob Fisher
Talkin' Travel
October 27, 2004

Transferrable skills: Signy Stephenson and Michel Gabereau left impressive careers in business, publishing, and public relations in Toronto to operate the Auberge Knowlton, an 1849 inn and the first such establishment to offer food, beverages, and accommodation in the Eastern Townships. Their professional acumen and business talents are excellent examples of the kind of "transferrable skills" that the marketplace in the 21st century requires. The Inn and its restaurant have been faithfully restored and renovated; this is a place for people to gather. The ambiance is pure Cantons de l'Est especially on the day I arrive when the fall Duck festival is in full swing. (If you order duck in Paris, chances are it came from this area which is considered one of the best duck producing areas in the world.) Signy and Michel introduce me to friends who all seem to be on their way somewhere but en route are passing by or through the inn. The streets are full of visitors, musicians, artisans, and the residents of Knowlton. Knowlton is known for the super friendly dogs in the town's businesses. Actually there is a competition in the spring when clients get to vote for the most accommodating dog. Among other dogs I meet, I would vote for Henry if I could. He likes to mind the till in the shop next door to the Auberge Knowlton.
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Talkin' Travel

Treasure Hunting in Quebec's Eastern Townships Antiques,
plus a little wine, cheese and Brome Lake duck.
By Carolyn Walton
Good Times Magazine
March 2004

...All this food makes us hungry, so we enjoy lunch on the patio of the historic Auberge Knowlton in the village of Knowlton. Built in 1849 and the oldest continuously operating hostel in the Townships, the auberge was restored in 1997 by ex-Torontonians Signy Stephenson, former editor of Style Magazine and Michel Gabereau, a former TV cameraman who had previously opened the Auberge du Joli Vent in 1988. Of course I had to try some of the area's famous Brome Lake duckling, and the smoked duck salad was divine.

FODOR's 2003 Montreal and Quebec City
Knowlton (Lac Brome)

Auberge Knowlton
The 12-room inn, at the main intersection in Knowlton, has been a local landmark since 1849, when it was a stagecoach stop on the road between Bolton Pass and Gilman's Corner. The current owners gutted the building but retained the historic exterior. The inn attracts a corporate clientele (the rooms have Internet access) as well as vacationers and locals who like coming to the old, familiar hotel to celebrate special occasions. The on-site bistro (Le Relais) ($$-$$$), serves local wines and cheeses and offers a wide range of duck dishes, such as warm duck salad served with gizzards. Confit de canard is made with the leg of duck, roasted slowly in the oven, then marinated in its own juices for several days before being reheated. The result is tender, tasty meat.

LONELY PLANET Canada 2003
Knowlton (Lac Brome)

Auberge Knowlton/Le Relais
Doubles from $90. At the Auberge, stay in very pretty rooms in a Victorian hotel. Le Relais, a reputed restaurant on the 1st floor, serves very nice regional and international cuisine. There's a nice terrace. Appetizers go for $3 to $7, dishes for $15 to $22.

Lighting Up The Locality
By Helga Loverseed
Weekender, The Gazette, Montreal, Qc.
December 7, 2002

This town looks as if a corner of New England has been transported to Quebec ... The village is draped with hundreds of tiny white lights (part of Knowlton's Festival of Lights), which make it look even more festive than usual. The setting, too, is Christmas card pretty. A pond with a millrace through the centre of town and at the top of Lakeside Road is the imposing Auberge Knowlton. Constructed in 1849, as a coaching inn, it is the oldest hotel in continuous operation in the Eastern Townships. (The inn sells gift certificates, and you can pick up a brochure for a self-guided walking tour around town at the restaurant entrance.) ...

Brome Sweet Brome
By Merilyn Simonds
Gourmet Magazine, New York
September 2002

Topography, climate and a certain sensibility create a small paradise for the palate in Quebec's Eastern Townships.
Where To Stay: Auberge Knowlton.
Small hotel with 12 rooms for bed-and-breakfast in a lively, historic town.

Imprints II : Discovering the Historic Face of English Quebec * The Eastern Townships *
By Ray & Diana Baillie
Published by Price-Patterson Ltd., Montreal
Copyright 2002

Blinn's Inn, 286 Knowlton Road, Knowlton * The Eastern Townships *
Belden's Atlas (1881) called Knowlton pleasingly picturesque. The coming of the railway in the 1870s helped this lakeside village, set among hills, to become a resort and cottage area for English speakers. Edward Blinn built his hotel in 1849 when the stagecoach was the principal means of travel. The stagecoach passed right in front of the hotel on its way to the Bolton Pass, Knowlton's Landing, and Magog. In the 1850s, this building became well-known as Kimball's Hotel, and later, as Robinson's Hotel, and others. Today, it operates as Auberge Knowlton, carrying on a 150-year tradition.

Heaven Just a Short Drive from Montreal
Peterborough This Week, Peterborough, Ont.
August 9, 2002

Eastern Townships Offer Neat Little Treats Around Every Corner
The Burlington Post, Burlington, Ont.
October 6, 2002
By Sam Ion
The Eastern Townships, just an hour's drive from Montreal, have all the ingredients for a great escape - food to die for, comfy beds and inns for every budget ...
Now I'm hooked on what is a truly four-season destination. In fact, I'm already making plans to go back to cross-country ski, while my husband does his Jean-Claude Killy downhill imitation on the majestic mountains, some more than 1000 metres high. Mind you, we may go back before that because himself wants a rematch with some of the golf courses he played while I was sightseeing and the fall colours are spectacular ...
And oh the little villages. It was hard to chose a favourite, Hatley, North Hatley, Bolton, Magog, Sutton and of course, Knowlton, voted one of the prettiest villages in Canada. Which brings me to the food... and a great burger and fries at Le Relais ... So was the accommodation which ranged from spectacular ... to reasonably priced ...There's a landmark Auberge Knowlton in the village of Knowlton, owned by writer Signy Stephenson and Michel Gabereau, where a pretty room and breakfast costs $ 100 for two. Have fun, we did.

Eastern Townships Well Worth The Trip
By Richard Landon
The Press Republican, Plattsburgh, New York
September 15, 2001

Friends arranged for us to spend the next night at Knowlton. Found on Brome Lake, this appears to be a village particularly cognizant of its Loyalist heritage. Auberge Knowlton is a small hotel rather than a bed and breakfast. The large rooms have antique furnishings and private baths. There's even television, with all the Plattsburgh and Burlington stations for those who want to check in with the home front. Lac Brome is famous for raising duck, so I chose breast of duck for dinner at the Auberge's Le Relais restaurant. One of our companions found his rack of lamb to be excellent. My waitress suggested the homemade chocolate cheesecake. Why not ? I'd biked 25 kilometers, about 15.5 miles.

Biz Beat
By Morri Mostow
Brome County News (Sherbrooke Record), Sherbrooke, Qc.
June 6, 2001

June began with a flurry of activity at the Auberge Knowlton. Its ground-floor restaurant-bistro, Le Relais, just opened an outdoor patio, on the roof of Bousada's furniture store. This terrasse, which seats 65 and serves three brands of McAuslan beer on tap, overlooks the leafy lawn of the public library. For now, patrons can reach the terrasse via the restaurant, but stairs will soon provide direct access from the parking lot in the back. Upstairs at the Auberge, a new conference room equipped with audio-visual equipment, Internet access and a photocopier, as completed just in time toaccommodate its first business group this week. This 12-room hotel stays busy year round serving corporate clients. Almost 50% of bookings come from the Auberge's Web site, which lets visitors view each room separately and book the room of their choice. Decorated in antiques and antique reproductions by Signy Stephenson, each room has its own individual cachet. Former owners of the Auberge du Joli Vent in Foster, Stephenson and husband Michel Gabereau own the Auberge Knowlton and the building in which it and the restaurant are housed. They are also partners in Le Relais with manager Lynn Patenaude.

Patrons toast Knowlton Landmark
By Wendy Denman
The Guide, Cowansville, Qc
December 18, 1999

"The extensive renovations saved the old building and a piece of Knowlton history."
With the upbeat melodies of "Little Fish" in the background, guests and patrons joined innkeepers Signy Stephenson and Michel Gabereau on Friday, Dec. 3 for a celebratory drink on the 150th anniversary of the Auberge Le Relais (sic)Knowlton ...
Stephenson and Gabereau set the tone by their greeting guests while decked out in period costumes as the original Inn owners Agatha and Edward Blinn ...
... clever use of subdued lighting, iron fixtures, wood paneling, shaker chairs, pictures of Victorian matrons, c uriosities and open hutches has kept the ambiance of the old days alive ... The Gabereaus are only using a portion of the renovated building as a restaurant. They're rented space to "Paddies Boutique" and a realtor and the lower level is now "Bousada", a shop for upscale country furnishings and accessories.
"We haven't finished yet," says Signy Stephenson. "We'll soon start renovations on the upper floor, We'll have guest rooms there as they used to in the old days."

Auberge owners celebrate 150 years Inn style
By Tanya Tkach
The Brome County News (Sherbrooke Record)
December 8, 1999

"The inn was the life of the town and we wanted to bring it back to what it should be," Gabereau said.
Visitors to the Auberge Knowlton may have been surprised being greeted by Edward and Agatha Blinn this past Friday, since they had founded the historic inn 150 years ago. As part of the Auberge's sesquicentennial, current owners Michel Gabereau and Signy Stephenson dressed up as the Blinns in the spirit of the occasion
... Stephenson and Gabereau finally bought the building in 1997 and apart of salvaging some of the building's original beams, extensive renovations have been made ... Two boutiques have been added on the first two floors, with plans to add guest rooms on the top two floors. As well, Auberge Knowlton now houses a restaurant bar called "Le Relais" which is under the helm of (manager) Lynn Patenaude ...

Old fashioned country comfort at Le Relais
By Sunhil Mahtani
The Sherbrooke Record
December 3, 1999

Run by a triumverate with years of experience in the service industry owners Signy Stephenson and Michel Gabereau, and manager Lynn Patenaude "le Relais" is a charming, country-style eatery distinguished by large windows along virtually three-quarters of the dining room. It is a large space tastefully divided into sections by old-fashioned cabinets and panes of stained glass; paintings decorate the walls and wicker baskets hang from the ceiling.
As patrons are seated in French-Canadian high-back chairs, they are given a menu that is the height of comfort food ... A nice touch is a wine list featuring local creations, sold by the bottle or the glass ... regular bottled wines are sold at their SAQ price plus $9.
We are told that Warm Brome Lake Duck Salad is a chef specialty, and so begins our meal. A very generous portion, sufficient for two, soon arrives. It is a succulent dish a perfect starter ! The Trout Amandine was a very well-prepared dish of grilled trout seasoned with lemon, butter and white wine, sprinkled with parsley. Simple, unadorned and delicious. The Veal Forestière was a devine dish of tender, thin grilled veal scallops covered in a pepper sauce and topped with plenty of muchrooms…
… The desserts included in the table d'hôte commanded their rightful place on the evening's menu…
… The two table d'hôtes … with the addition of the duck salad – not including wine or tip – cost $60.
As 'Old Man Winter' finally rules the Townships, the 150-year-old building "Le Relais" provides a perfect escape for some old-fashioned country comfort.
Fl
Auberge Knowlton, 286 Knowlton Road, Knowlton (Lac Brome), Quebec, J0E 1V0
Tel: 450-242-6886 - E-Mail: Info@AubergeKnowlton.ca
GPS Coordinates: N 045° 12.995, W 72° 30.644
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