Monday, March 10, 2008

Bike and walk to see the world

Butterfield & Robinson, a Toronto-based touring company, has been in business since 1966.

The Canadian company specializes in biking and hiking trips, offering 90 itineraries in 60 destinations around the world.

I went on my first group bike trip in France with my husband and two friends several years ago. We found it to be a fun way to see a place from the inside out.

Not to mention being able to indulge in all of the fine food and wine of the region -- plus stay fit while on the road.

Here are Butterfield & Robinson's latest Canadian offerings:

Québec Biking

Québec is a predominantly French-speaking province on Canadian soil. On B&R’s five-star and five-night trip, a rendezvous and overnight at Le St-James in Montréal begins the trip. Then it's two nights in the Eastern Townships at the lovely Hovey Manor in North Hatley, followed by two nights at Québec City's elegantly rustic Auberge St. Antoine. Quebec City is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year so expect more than the usual joie de'vrie!

Gulf Islands Biking

Located off mainland BC, Canada’s Gulf Islands offer a haven of quiet roads and scenic vistas. The cycling routes take advantage of such designated bike paths as the Galloping Goose Trail and the Trans Canada, while stops along the way take in local wineries, cheese makers and artisans’ shops. The trip begins with a seaplane flight from Vancouver to Saturna Island, with stops on Galiano and Vancouver islands. Accommodations during the six-night trip are at Galiano Inn & Spa, Brentwood Bay Lodge and the award winning Sooke Harbour House on Vancouver Island.

Newfoundland Walking

Newfoundland is that quirky, isolated Atlantic isle as famous for its fun-loving inhabitants as for its cod fishery. Coastal walking trails are among the best on the continent, while a sunset paddle can find a kayaker face-to-face with a whale. Other highlights of the B&R journey include a scenic flight over Gros Morne National Park, a traditional mussel “boil up,” a visit to the site of the first Viking landing 1,000 years ago and a stay at The Lighthouse on Quirpon Island. Other accommodations include Strawberry Hill Resort overlooking the Humber River and Fishers’ Loft in Trinity Bay.

Biking in France's Loire Valley in 2005: Sue Frause, Bob Frause, Sandra Jean Wainwright and Victoria Locke