I’m back! And you’ll be pleased to learn that I spent my summer vacation previewing the sights and tastes of North Hatley for the Clintons. An advance team for the Secret Service, as it were.

Ha!

Seriously, the town is a gem, picturesque, quaint and lovely, with some excellent eats – at Hovey Manor (where the Clintons are staying), and around town. While Hovey Manor is not exactly in my snack bracket, I did lunch on a lobster roll there.

But even the fried fish sandwich at the Pilsen, the local watering hole on the lake, was delish.

Our private little beach at Villa Massawippi.

Picnic on the lawn.

René’s soufflé.

Café Massawippi’s duck magret. I ate the foie gras before thinking to photograph it.

We stayed about one-quarter of a mile down the road from Hovey Manor, at the Villa Massawippi B&B, in two rooms with balconies overlooking the lake. The lovely hosts, René and Laila, served up sumptuous breakfasts, including a magnificent soufflé and crepes bursting with berries.

The dining highlight of the trip, though, (note to the Clintons) was Café Massawippi, an unassuming but very fine restaurant right off the main road in town. A “duel” of foie gras, the ballotine sitting on a brioche with subtle chocolate flavour, was heavenly. And the magret de canard – perfection!

On the way home after five lovely days, it was off to Balnea Spa, my first visit, but surely not my last. As wonderful as the hot tubs and cold showers and steam rooms are, there is nothing like a lake – and this one was pristine, like swimming in silk at just the right temp. We were very lucky with the weather.

Scenes from Balnea Spa, including a delicious poké bowl,

And then there was lunch, a poké bowl of smoked salmon, black rice and bits of cucumber and other veg. Just right.

So basically, I have had writer’s block, or rather writer’s unwillingness to sit down and hit the blog until it became a thing.

But with the fall season upon us, it’s time to saddle up.

On my radar: the Festival Mode & Design is on next week, Fine Print magazine has scored international distribution, and I have wanted to write about Lamarque and its new shop for some time.

Stay tuned.

And by the way, if you have been interested enough to read this far, you might like to know that I am embarking on a new adventure in September: teaching the Business of Fashion at UQAM’s École supérieure de mode. It will be a learning experience, for me – and, I hope, for the students!