Lose yourself on an exotic island where the sound of the surf lulls you to sleep, ocean breezes cleanse the senses and worries and cares seem a million miles away. Even better, do it without leaving Canada, without the hassle of long waits in airports, security and customs invading your person and privacy.
Quebec’s Magdalen Islands, numbering eight, seven inhabited and six linked by an excellent paved highway, are tucked away in the Gulf of St. Lawrence about sixty miles from the Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. They are a secret which the Quebecois need to share with their neighbors. I will in turn share with you the secret of Havre-sur-Mer (Harbor on the Sea) Inn, located on the Island of Havre-Aubert overlooking the sea with its own beach and ocean views that seem to stretch to eternity. The inn’s proprietor, Suzie Baillargeon, has exquisitely decorated her hostelry with original art and Swedish modern furnishings rendering it as bright and glistening as the white sand that surrounds the islands.
While the rest of the islands beckon with picture postcard villages, fine art studios and dining on local produce including the freshest seafood you will find anywhere, my friend Carla and I somehow find it difficult to pry ourselves away from the Havre-sur-Mer. A part of the island graced by grassy bluffs and fine old catholic churches as well as traditional Madelinot homes we find ourselves musing that it would be nice to just kick back and stay here on the “bassin” for a couple of weeks.
After a day of beach combing, collecting choice pieces of pink calcite that dot the beach in front of the inn, it is nice to enjoy the Havre-sur-Mer’s hot tub and dry sauna. Followed by a chilled glass of the local fresh fruit based wine, bagosse, sipped on the deck, we watched the northern sun slowly set, splashing the ocean and clouds with tints of gold and pink. The end to a perfect island day.
If you go …
Havre sur Mer
Îles de la Madeleine
Tourisme Ile Madelein
Written by George Burden and Carla DiGiorgio
All photos by George Burden – All Rights Reserved
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