We’re hard-pressed to think of anything more romantic than a drive across sweeping landscapes of lush, northern forests and fields, to arrive upon a prehistoric lake, a tiny, historical town, and a grand hotel that has been romancing visitors for centuries. Just over an hour from Montreal or across the border of Vermont, Manoir Hovey awaits, picturesquely gazing down over the pristine lake Massawippi, with graceful dignity.
Authentically historic splendor, perfectly set in its surroundings, embodies this impressive destination hotel, part of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux hospitality group.
Walk through its entryway and into the lobby and your awe will be soon infused with the warmth of welcome, as the sincere friendliness of the helpful staff put you immediately at ease. It is just such pairings—the grace of antiquity with modern amenities and top-notch service—that set Manoir Hovey at the top of any list of world class accommodations, never minding that it feels worlds away from all of them. And while service, amenities and location are all of highest caliber; it is the undeniably relaxed, romantic atmosphere within the country setting that charmed us during our recent stay. (Well, the vibrantly delicious cuisine at its on site restaurant, Le Hatley also had something to do with it).
A self-guided tour of the extensive grounds which relax languidly into the forested hillside; an afternoon paddle boat ride from the small, private pier; or biking along one of the many sun-speckled trails: all lovely options for whiling away your day—though, when staying at Manoir Hovey, you’ll want to make sure you don’t skip meals.
After a swim in the refreshing pool, or a game of croquet on the lawn, stretch your legs out from an Adirondack chair and allow a cocktail to appear at your side as you watch the sunlight disappear gently over rippling water.
And then, when evening has arrived in full, let the renowned Le Hatley Restaurant, heighten your inclinations towards vacation indulgence without having to set foot outside the property. To be sure, you will want all your senses primed to enjoy the stunning culinary prowess of Chef Francis Wolf at Le Hatley. We New Yorkers, especially as foodies, are equal parts spoiled and jaded—falling into the rut of believing we already have the best food within arm’s length. However, nothing can compare to eating regional cuisine in the region to which it belongs. Yet, even more than merely getting a fix of the age-old traditions and locally-sourced seasonal bounties that we love, Chef Wolf takes inspiration from these local specialties and elevates them to new levels—showcasing the fresh immediacy of the ingredients, while creatively pushing traditions and exciting the taste buds.
It’s truly a special experience to be in the midst of the historic grandeur of the Hotel’s setting while sampling such deliciously innovative and stunningly beautiful takes on classic Quebecois cuisine.
Dining at Le Hatley is reason enough to come to the secluded shores of Lake Massawippi, but basking in the warm hospitality and and graceful surroundings of Manoir Hovey is reason to stay.
– Ava Fedorov
Photographs by Ava Fedorov for Socially Superlative