Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sugaring Off by Train

One of the fun aspects of late winter-early spring in Quebec and the nearby parts of the northern U.S. is sugaring-off parties. Everybody is tired of winter by this time of year, especially with our recent large dump of snow, so it's nice to get out in the country and enjoy a traditional heavy meal covered with maple syrup in a sugar shack.
There are a lot of sugar shacks that offer these meals, but they are hard to get to without a car. One option is to take an excursion offered by Montreal's commuter train network, the AMT (
 On two remaining Thursdays and all the Saturdays in April, they offer day long excursions to a sugar shack in Mirabel from Central Station downtown, right next to the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. Prices are reasonable, $38 or Thursdays or $42 on Saturdays, which includes transport, an all you can eat meal that usually is made up of pancakes, bacon, ham, and potatoes, all swimming in this season's fresh maple syrup. You can also enjoy maple syrup on a stick dipped in snow to solidify it, traditional Quebecois music and a walk in the woods. And you can bring your own wine or other alcoholic beverage--I have actually seen groups sharing a bottle of whiskey with their meal.
It's several years since I have been to a sugar shack, but with the ease of getting there by train I may visit one again this year.


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