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Boston to Quebec

Hello all.

I am from Australia and am hoping to have a white Christmas in Woodstock, Vermont. My current plan is to leave Boston on 23rd December and drive to Woodstock and spend 3 days there over Christmas. We will leave on the 26th December and drive to Quebec. We currently havent made any plans other than that.
I was hoping someone who knew the area could please give me an intinery of places to see, towns to stay in overnight and things to do on the way. I am thinking that we will take about 5-7 days to make that trip so I am very keen for suggestions and ideas.

Thanks so much!


Posted by
11368 posts

Enjoy your time in Woodstock, a perfect wintery Christmas setting. Definitely spend a few days in Montreal on your way to Quebec City.
And when in Quebec City,stay in the Old Town.

Posted by
1449 posts

Being from Australia, you understand distance in terms of drive time, but since you aren't used to winter driving conditions and most of that is mountainous, please get up dated information as you travel. I say this as still being triggered by being a grad student in Boston and trying to teach my best friend from Mississippi how to drive in the snow. He rear ended a city bus :)

Posted by
2490 posts

but since you aren't used to winter driving conditions and most of that is mountainous, please get up dated information as you travel.

Depends where the OP is from. It snows in the southern, mountainous regions of Australia.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks everyone.
I am from Melbourne so I do not understand the icy roads but I will definitly take your advice before we start to drive.

In Quebec we plan on spending time in the Old town then a night in their ice hotel!

Posted by
1453 posts

It sounds like a lovely trip and I'm sure you will enjoy it. I assume you will be renting a car so make sure the car rental agency knows that you plan on taking it to Canada. Canadian border agents may ask for documentation. I've only crossed the land border between Vermont and Canada once in the summer and the line wasn't too long. But lines may be longer over the Christmas holidays.

Posted by
220 posts

Remember that Woodstock is a small town and most businesses including restaurants will be closed on Christmas Day and will possibly close early on Christmas Eve. Finding a place to eat may be a challenge unless you will be staying in a self catering accommodation.

Posted by
35 posts

The Woodstock Inn is one of my favorite places. Christmas there would be magical. In Quebec City, I've stayed at, and very much enjoyed, the Hôtel du Vieux-Québec. It's a charming building, conveniently located with easy parking, and they bring you a little picnic basket of breakfast each morning (pastries, hard boiled egg, juice...I'd call it elevated continental breakfast).

As others have said, just allow more time than you think you'll need to get from Woodstock to Canada. You'll either be driving through northern VT or NH depending which route you take & conditions could be snowy or icy, plus factor in potential ski traffic since it's a big vacation time. Of course, we've also had Christmases in the 60's in recent years, so you never know.

Posted by
35 posts

Also, to add: if you plan to go through VT to Montreal, you might want to consider a stop in Burlington, a very fun small city, home of the University of Vermont & lots of great bars and restaurants.

Posted by
1449 posts

Liz, Vermont is lovely, though my experience is from summer and fall. I'm glad others are giving you good insights for this trip

Posted by
700 posts

OK, you're headed to Quebec City. Quebec is the whole province -- Quebec City is... a city. I'm not trying to be nitpicky or critical, just letting you know that if you say "we're driving to Quebec," that's a big area and could mean a lot of different routes, so make sure you're specific if you need to ask for directions :-)

So from Woodstock you'll likely head up I-89 to the border. Along this route, you can stop in Waterbury and do the Ben & Jerry's factory tour, which is fun. There are also some good restaurants in the Waterbury area; it's had a growing "foodie" reputation over the last few years.

There are some shops and places to stop along Route 100 north of Waterbury, including the Cold Hollow Cider Mill and a Cabot cheese store. You’ll find Cabot everywhere; we are pretty serious about our dairy here — just ask someone for their opinion on the best cheddar or milk and you can get a very strong reply! Used to be a glass blowing studio with demonstrations along Rte 100 but I think he may have closed.

If Woodstock wasn't enough quaintness for you, you could head further up Route 100 to Stowe, which is lovely in the winter. If you have any winter gear with you (boots, especially), you can rent snowshoes and do some hiking, or you could rent equipment and go skiing (you can do this at multiple places along your route -- Stowe will be one of the most expensive).

If downhill skiing isn’t your thing (and even if you’ve never done it before, it’s easy to try — lessons/instructors are at every mountain, as well as bunny slopes and gear rental), then try cross country skiing. Very easy to pick up and a lovely way to spend some time outside. You can do this in many places in Vermont, just google.

In Stowe there is a nice bike path along the river, which will likely be either cleared or packed snow, so it will be easy for walking.

For a really “authentic” Vermont experience, stop at Cochran’s ski area in Richmond and take a lesson. It’s very small and very famous; many, many, many kids have learned to ski there, including lots of Olympic athletes. On Friday nights you can ski under the lights and have a sit down dinner, all for $10.

Burlington is a nice stop along the way, although the downtown area in recent years has really degraded. There are still good restaurants along Church Street and the waterfront and it is known for its many brew pubs. Check to see if there are any interesting shows at the Flynn Theater. But don't stray too far off of Church Street at night -- some areas are getting sketchy, very sadly.

Jay Peak Resort would be a nice overnight or two. It has an indoor water park and lots of outdoor activities.

Vermont is really about the outdoors, so, depending on the weather and what you have packed, see if you can get out and take some walks, go sledding, get outside.

And definitely plan some time in Montreal. There is a ton of stuff to do, just google for your interests.

Do pay attention to the weather. Roads are very well maintained in Vermont and drivers are generally cautious, but you have to be aware of changing conditions. The stretch of I-89 between exits 3 and 9 is especially prone to slippery road surfaces because of the elevation, and things can change fast. Slow down and don't be afraid to get off the interstate and take a break if you feel unsafe. Make sure your rental car is equipped with snow tires, an ice scraper, and windshield washer fluid.

Have a lovely trip -- winter in New England is beautiful, and Woodstock will be magical at Christmas time. Hopefully it will snow for you!

ETA: you also have the option of driving up I-91, but I can't recommend much along the way... it's pretty, largely farmland, but very empty :-) I'd go I-89.

ETA again: added some more suggestions to the above

Posted by
1972 posts

I am from Boston by birth and love the city.

Xmas time is very magical. There will be lots of lights and decorations. You mght have very cold and even icy weather or it could be not terribly cold and pleasant.

Boston is a wonderful walkable city although that depends on the weather.

I love Copley Square, Faneuil Hall, Boston Common and Boston Gardens. Boston has great museums. Great restaurants. Very historical city.

If you are still looking for a hotel and it is in your budget, I suggest that you check out hotels in Copley Square.

Check out visitor information for Boston.

Posted by
15674 posts

Are you planning on leaving the car in Quebec?

While in most cases you can drive a car rented in the USA to Canada, you may not be able to drop it off there.

Check with your rental car company about their rules.

I tried to do a dummy reservation with Hertz of picking up the car in Boston and dropping it in Quebec City. They wouldn't accept it.

Posted by
273 posts

Ditto on what Frank said about car rentals. I flew from Montreal last October, hoping to rent a car in NY, then return it to Montreal. I checked several of the rental car companies; none allowed me to return a car over the border. Ended up taking my own vehicle.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks so much everyone for your suggestions and input. Greatly appreciated. I cant wait to explore the Vermont region in December :)

Posted by
33311 posts

looks like you have your answers - but I'll pipe up anyway if you don't mind.

As said above, Quebec (PQ) is the province, Quebec City is the home of the ice festival.

As one from the area, I would have been confused. My initial response having seen the thread title before I read the question was immediately White River Junction because in my mind's eye I saw you going from Boston to Montréal - a journey I have made literally dozens of times.

Regarding the ice, take it seriously. Just outside Burlington one winter I managed to start down a hill in a VW bug with a toddler in the back. I have driven on icy and snowy roads since I could drive, and a passenger since I was born. Got about 2/3 of the way down at about 15 mph and the back came around and the rest of the way down I was going backwards, too late to try to correct. We went across the single track bridge (the kind with concrete planks and a gap in the middle) backwards and stopped as we started up the other side. Child's tummy didn't like it and the car suddenly didn't smell as sweet as it had. Yuk.

So if that's what happens when you know what you're doing you can understand why I say to be careful around ice.

Have a great time in Quebec City - I sure did, as did my friends.... but don't miss Montréal

Posted by
453 posts

I saw on another forum the idea to drop car at last point in USA, take bus to Montreal, pick up another car there if you need one there. From Boston the last stop on bus route to Montreal is Burlington Vermont so maybe that would work for you.

Posted by
857 posts

Ok so Woodstock is closest to I91 not 89, it doesn't make any sense to drive west only to drive east again.

91 should be fine for the most part, you'll have to watch out for elevation at Sheffield Heights (between St J and Newport), weather gets a little bit more squirrely in the elevations but VAOT is pretty decent at plowing, etc.

Then after you cross the border, it should be all interstate up to QC. Signs are in both English and French. It's almost a 5 hr drive this way, without weather.