Last weekend I covered the Mars Incorporated Bromont International for COTH, and I just had to gush about how wonderful it is!
I really missed going last year while I was laid up, but I’d been the couple of years before and fell in love with the area and the event so I was super excited to go back.
I’d done a day in Montreal before the start of the event last time I was there, and now I really wish I’d done it again, but with Oh So needing to stay in work with two upcoming events, I decided not to.
I fly into Burlington, Vermont, which is a pretty small airport right near the border with Canada. I guess it was fate, but former presidential candidate and senator Bernie Sanders was on my flight up and back between DCA and Vermont! It’s a small state!
I snapped this paparazzi photo in DC.
As you drive out of Burlington and towards the border, the countryside really opens up. You can smell the cows and get little glances at Lake Champlain through the trees.
The border crossing into Canada is usually pretty quick, then it’s another hour or so over paved and unpaved roads through rural Quebec as the signs turn to French and the miles turn to kilometers.
I stay in a little town called Granby about 20 minutes from Bromont because there’s a nice hotel and civilization. One of my favorite restaurants is La Casa Du Spaghetti, but this year I ventured into downtown Granby and found decent Indian food. There are so many cute restaurants downtown and so little time!
Sadly I didn’t make it to Chez Ben, which apparently has world-famous poutine, which is a must in Quebec, because the line was literally out the door when I drove back through on Sunday night.
My routine is to get Tim Horton’s for breakfast because they have cool bagel flavors, and of course, the donuts!
It’s pretty hit or miss as to whether someone is going to speak English in this part of Quebec, so I rely on what I remember of my high school and college French to get by, plus a lot of hand gestures!
Driving on the road in front of the event site, which served as the equestrian venue for the 1976 Olympics, the scenery hits you immediately, and it’s stunning. Lush green, blue skies and gorgeous views with the iconic Bromont sign in the background.
The weather was just divine, 70 degrees with a slight chill but bright sunshine. Perfect jacket weather, and it’s June!
The cross-country course is one of the most beautiful in the world, and the footing is usually quite good. The CCI*** is grueling with the terrain and challenging with the jumps, so it’s a true test.
It’s the most relaxing event with just the four divisions going and an overall chill feel. You also get a giant bag of Mars candy, which definitely weighed down my suitcase!
I drove back to Vermont on Sunday night to catch a Monday flight. I had a few minutes in the morning to go downtown and take a walk along the waterfront, which is lovely. Maybe I’ll do a vacation day there next time.
I came back from Bromont actually feeling refreshed, mentally and physically, which usually doesn’t happen after being on assignment. Now it’s back to the brutal Virginia summer…sigh.
I’ll have a recap of Seneca Valley Horse Trials soon!