Not originally being from Quebec, I only started exploring the local countryside in the last few years. Prior to this, I used to leave the province or even the country to go on vacation. I knew the Montreal region quite well, having studied and worked here for years. But I started yearning to discover the rest of this beautiful province. And so, I set out to organize a road trip to Gaspésie.
It was the summer of 2019, and I really had no idea what places to visit versus others. What activities I should do, and which were simply tourist traps. An embarrassing amount of research later, I finally made my selection. But then came the unfortunate discovery that Airbnb wasn’t really popular in the region at this time. It was slim pickings trying to find an Airbnb in places I wanted to stay. But I selected what I could, and set out on this 6 days/5 nights road trip through Gaspésie.
It was really exciting to see how much natural beauty existed just five+ hours away. And, although some of the activities I’d chosen were not nearly as good as what the locals knew to do, I learned from this trip what to do the next time around. As well as, where I should actually stay, and how to reserve these locales in advance, off Airbnb. I also vowed, in August 2019 that summer 2020 in Gaspésie would be amazing.
As we all know, the world changed in March 2020. With international travel strongly discouraged and countless countries enacting border closures, Gaspésie with its beaches, mountains and seaside towns, became a very hot ticket for summer 2020. Luckily for me, my vacation plans had been made in January, prior to these developments. So I simply maintained a cap, and set out for 8 days/7 nights as planned.
This time, I only stayed in L’isle-verte, Rimouski, Carleton-sur-Mer and Percé. Obviously, it was a lot more crowded than the previous summer had been, during the same period. A lot of Québécois, Ontarians, and international tourists were present. Altogether, us out-of-towners overwhelmed the locals, literally filling these tourist towns to the brim, with little notice to them that this might occur. Through it all, they managed to remain friendly and welcoming, all while maintaining strict Covid-19 sanitation protocols. Their diligence allowed us to escape the confines of the major cities most of us resided in, and temporarily forget our worries in the mountains, and by the sea.
After having such a lovely time, two years in a row, I definitely hadn’t had my fill of Gaspésie. So I set out to spend another week there in August 2021. To my surprise, from summer 2020 to 2021 there was quite a modernization of the region I had discovered just two years prior. Every restaurant and tourist attraction now had working phone lines, and online reservations, which hadn’t always been the case during my previous visits. But now they were equipped for us non-locals to reserve activities far ahead of our arrivals. These towns had also received federal investments to further beautify and expand their capacity to answer the growing demand for regional tourism.
As a result, there were many more wonderful rentals to choose from. This time, I stayed in Rimouski, Carleton-sur-Mer and Percé only, as they had become my favourite cities to visit. I didn’t get through everything I had planned, as wonderful impromptu discoveries got in the way. Which often happens when you’re having a great vacation. What I got was the sound of the sea outside my windows every night, and seagulls providing me with a daily wake-up call. Sore legs, and sore feet, as I spent so much more time outside than I have gotten used to in the past 18 months. And constant daydreams of being closer to nature, and resourced by it more than just once a year.
Enjoy my amateur photography which illustrates this blog, I hope it does the region some justice. I highly recommend booking a local getaway, or organizing a camping trip to explore the beautiful province we’re blessed to call home.
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