From the Publisher: 'Bonjour,' Summer | From the Publisher | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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From the Publisher: 'Bonjour,' Summer


Published May 22, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.

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Technically, summer begins on the June solstice, still a month away.

Try telling that to the vacationers who've already set up camp at Burlington's North Beach — the place filled up overnight when it opened on May 15 — and the grass growing in my backyard. As I write these words, next to an open window, I can hear the whine of a lawn mower, birds chirping and the baritone horn of the Spirit of Ethan Allen as it departs Waterfront Park on its nightly sunset cruise.

After a long, chilly spring, I've relegated my 60-degree jacket to the closet. On Saturday, for the first time since October, I swam outdoors.

In other words, it's time for the Seven Days Summer Preview, in which our writers remind readers why we live here. The next three months offer up so many reasons, from music festivals to seasonal snack bars, to get out and explore Vermont.

But why stop there? For the first time in this annual issue, we've crossed the border to report on some unique summer travel destinations in the Canadian province of Québec. Last June we devoted an entire issue to reacquainting Vermonters with our northern neighbor after many of us paused international travel during the pandemic. In the meantime, a new highway has almost replaced the old three-lane road, Route 133, between the U.S.-Canada border and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Now, for most residents of Chittenden County, it's quicker to get to Montréal than Rutland.

But there's more to Québec than Montréal. Way more. Canada's largest province, which extends north of the arctic circle, has whales, fjords, cowboys, Nordic spas, polar bears and 11 Indigenous Nations. Simply put, it's got a lot of things that Vermont doesn't.

This year our Summer in Québec supplement focuses on extraordinary events and destinations up there. Anticosti Island, for example, is a paleontological paradise at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River — the best place in the world to study the Late Ordovician mass extinction, which happened roughly 450 million years ago. Fossils are everywhere. The island is also home to a large population of white-tailed deer.

Vermont-based travel writer Jen Rose Smith wrote this week's piece about Anticosti, a place she's "dreamed about going for ages." She also contributed a more practical guide to navigating Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, aka YUL. Jen is a pro, and we're lucky she agreed to assign, edit and find photos for all the other stories in this collection, which was timed with summer vacation planning in mind.

As part of a yearlong series on Québec travel, Jen has directed our Canada coverage since December — an article drops every six weeks or so. You can find everything we published last year and since on the "The Vermonters' Guide to Visiting Québec" landing page at — not to mention links to current border wait times and a currency exchange rate calculator that confirms: The U.S. dollar still goes a long way up there.

A few weeks ago, my partner, Tim, and I went up to Montréal for a Sunday night show at MTELUS Montréal, formerly the Metropolis. He'd wanted to see the band Belle & Sebastian live for years; they were booked to play Higher Ground in 2023 but canceled. Although I had some old-lady concerns about parking, standing for the duration of the concert and driving back that night in the dark, I needn't have worried. We found a safe, free spot to leave the car, grabbed a dumpling dinner in Chinatown and walked through the dazzling downtown Quartier des Spectacles to the venue. It was jammed with people of all ages and races with a shared appreciation of Scottish indie pop.

Guided by Québec's new highway streetlights, we easily navigated the Champlain Bridge and the wait-free U.S. border crossing to make it home by 1 a.m. It's not Paris, but pretty close.

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