Glenn and I had one night to spend near Foresta Lumina in Coaticook, Quebec. A quick search led me to the only place we could have chosen, La Maison Bleue du Lac Wallace, a charming bed and breakfast run by dear friends who have chosen to grow old together.
Location, Location, Location
Throughout our trip, we’ve striven to stay in unique properties at each of our way stations. While this charming B&B was 20 minutes from the attraction that drew us, once we saw it, we had to choose it.
Our room was one of seven or eight in the custom-built manse on a hill overlooking Lac Wallace, the source of periodic eerie loon calls that drifted into our open window as we settled in before heading to dinner at Coffret de l’Imagination and our Foresta Lumina experience.
Monique and Celine had greeted us a few minutes earlier when, it seems, the travel gods had deemed the evening’s guests were all to arrive simultaneously. The two of them handled the bustle with cheerful grace, treating us each with special care.
Celine chatted us up amiably as she finished pouring homemade nut bread batter into baking pans before placing them into the oven, and then she shared how this charming B&B had come into existence.
Years ago, she and her two other lifelong friends (she is the newcomer, having met them only 34 years ago), along with their husbands, had decided their golden years would be best experienced by pooling their resources and purchasing their collective retirement property. They came from the modest careers of an artist, a school bus driver and a retail clerk so, she explained, this approach would allow them to enjoy a higher standard of living than any one of them could afford individually – plus they would get to spend more time the dear friends they cared about most.
Their search eventually took them to this oversized custom home overlooking a lake that was lovingly built by a homebuilder for his seven-child(!) household. It dwarfed the Trois Amies’ original requirements of three bedrooms and three baths for the three couples, but after lingering unsold for six years, the sub-market price practically forced them to buy – lovely furnishings and all – quite a bit earlier than planned. But, they figured, it was meant to be and they’d find a way to make it all work.
And so they did.
Shortly after they bought the home, Celine read about how Foresta Lumina was causing a bit of a stir in nearby Coaticook as homeowners, wishing to monetize the growing demand for overnight accommodations by its visitors, were running afoul of hotelier rules by offering rooms on AirBnb and the like. That planted the seed for the the Trois Amies to put the extra beds and baths to use by establishing themselves as a licensed bed and breakfast.
Based on our experience, they found their perfect niche and blossomed into a thriving local attraction all their own.