Farewell, beloved Ile d’Orléans

TheOldHouseOr, rather, Au revoir. Ile d’Orléans, the island in the St. Lawrence River just a few kilometres east of Québec City, has been our family’s second home since 1987.

This weekend, we drove the 800+ kilometres there (and back again) to pack, disperse and transport the accumulation of more than two decades. This, and the preparations leading up to it, is one reason this blog has been so quiet lately.

We love our island. In summer, we’ve devoured its early and late strawberries and turned its raspberries into jam.

We have watched ships and sailboats pass. We’ve seen the river in all its moods and phases. High tide has brought surprises, from shards of shipwrecked blue willow pottery to a baby harp seal that once lost its way.

We’ve learned the island’s secrets; the best roadside stand for leeks (in St-François) or berries (the second one on the right in St-Laurent). Where to buy sugar pie (Spence in St-Laurent) or bread (La Boulange in St-Jean).

I spoke in my last post about blessings, and we have been blessed to have had our front-row vantage point on the mighty St. Lawrence River. Once you discover Ile d’Orléans, it’s impossible not to want to return.

But, while we love our island, we love our maman, grand’maman and belle-mère more, and this move brings her closer to her children and grandchildren.

So, good-bye island, for the present. Hello, next phase of our lives.


  1. How painful it must be to say farewell to such an enchanting place, but for a very good reason. Much happiness to you and yours in this new phase of life. 🙂

  2. Helen, The island is beautiful and must be heartwrenching to leave. It sounds like you have embraced the new and the great gains of having your maman, grand'maman and belle-mère close at hand! Thank you for sharing your memories, beautiful photos and this transitionary time in your life with us. gail

  3. Hello Helen,
    The changes sound bittersweet. Do I read correctly, that your children's grandmother, your maman is moving to be with you in Toronto? That sounds like a wonderful thing for your family. I do hope there is not too much sadness after so many years in such a lovely place.
    (I've looked up belle-mère – a word that was unfamiliar. What a perfectly beautiful term for a 'mother-in-law.' I love the French language – wish I were fluent ;~))

  4. I visited Ile d'Orlean last summer. It was lovely and can imagine giving up your foot-hold there would be a great wrench.

    Thanks for visiting my garden. It was a pleasure showing you around. Hope you'll both drop by again soon.

  5. Rosey, Yes, many great memories. I'll be taking advantage of the high Canadian dollar to get my iPhoto book order in soon!

    Nancy, Thanks for your good wishes. The island will always be there, and we're looking forward to returning and enjoying it, without the attendant cares of a 250+-year-old house to occupy us.

    Gail, I'm lucky to have the best mother-in-law in the world, so it's a pleasure to have her closer.

    Tatyana, We know how lucky we have been, and we treasure that.

    Alice, "Belle-mère" can also mean "step mother", but in my case is very well applied to my MIL, who is a gem.

    Barry, It's a great place, isn't it? As is your garden, which I look forward to seeing in other seasons. Thanks for visiting the blog.

    Thanks for your comments, everyone.

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