Brocante Casa: This cute little Knowlton shop on the outskirts of the village offers an interesting selection at very reasonable prices. The women who run it are very sweet. A favourite of out-of-towners and locals. Rating: Awesome. Last visited: regularly. Address: 544 Knowlton Rd., Knowlton, Qc., tel.: 450-242-2643.

Le Grand Duc Heritage Expo & Gallery: This beautiful century-old farmhouse in the Missisquoi Valley in South Bolton is a mecca of country art. It includes a workshop and exhibit space for rustic and artisanal furniture and crafts. Courses are offered in traditional furniture-making, decorative painting, dry flower arrangement and the art of stencilling. There's also an art gallery and B&B, plus you can sign up for a regular newsletter devoted to folk art. Address: 669 Route 243, South Bolton, Qc., email:


Petites Tuques: Cowansville mom and knitter Lisa Savage quit her job and started her own business making cool tuques, hats, mittens and scarfs. Kid sizes available too, along with baby booties. Visit, or visit Lisa's online store here. She also blogs about knitting here.

St. Edward Church's Thursday sale: Knowltonites and people from away flock to St. Edward (built in 1868) every Thursday afternoon for its famous sale of high-quality, dirt-cheap clothes and sundry other stuff. The first Thursday of the month is especially popular; $5 lets you fill a garbage bag with kids' clothes, toys, bowling balls, dishware, karate outfits, books, blankets, fabrics, scarves and anything else you can find. No limit on number of bags. Last visited: Every Thursday pretty much (that would be by our shopping correspondent, Rhonda). Rating: Awesome! Address: 366 Knowlton Rd., Qc., tel.: 450-263-1616.

Woolrich warehouse sale: Locals in the know jam the biannual sale each fall and spring for top-quality clothes sold at heavy discounts from the "original outdoor apparel company" (since 1830). I'm not a big clothing shopper, but I walked out of there with an armload full of cool country duds. Tip: don't go the first day. They restock every evening, so the looooong wait (up to two hours) isn't worth it. Rating: Awesome! Last visited: regularly. Address: 476 Knowlton Rd. (Odd Fellows Hall), Knowlton, Qc. Or if you just can't wait for the sales, visit the Woolrich outlet at 264 Knowlton Rd. (tel.: 450-243-0058).


Alpine Mont-Echo: Considered one of the best suppliers of alpine, rock garden and woodland plants in the country, this small specialty nursery in the foothills of Mount Sutton and Mount Echo couldn't be in a prettier setting. They organize regular events through the warm season, including their annual open house in June, which includes lots of other local growers and artisans and is on many local gardeners' calendars. Address: 1182 Parmenter Rd., Sutton, Qc., tel.: 450-243-5354. Website:

BMR (West Brome):
The place our contractors go for hardware. Friendly staff, good prices and selection. Rating: Very good. Last visited: regularly. Address: 15 chemin West Brome (route 139), West Brome, Qc., tel.: 450-263-1383.

BMR (Sutton): Supposed to be a fine hardware store, too. Last visited: not yet. Address: 200 rue Principale South, Sutton Qc., tel.: 450-538-1383.

F.G. Edwards Inc.:
Very cool, sprawling, country hardware store, with feed and farm supplies and oh so much more. Bought myself an awesome splitting axe there the other day. Rating: Awesome! Last visited: regularly. Address: 12 chemin McCurdy, West Brome, Qc., tel.: 450-263-2008.

J.L. Flanagan: Super-cool country-style store as old as the hills. Plenty of interesting stuff in here, including hardware supplies ranging from eclectic to handy, excellent maple syrup products, Highland beef from Robin Badger (see more on her on my food page, under "Farms & Gardens"), St. Viateur bagels (shout out to the old hood!) and great eats from the Abercorn bakery. Rating: Awesome. Last visited: regularly. Address: 39 Victoria, Knowlton, Qc., tel.:

Quincaillerie Home Hardware Malouin: This Waterloo hardware outlet is known for good selection and prices. Last visited: regularly. Rating: Very good. Address: 6400 rue Foster, Waterloo, Qc., tel.: 450-539-3722.


Au Naturel: This organic and natural-products shop in the heart of Sutton offers a nice variety of products, including organic food, at good prices. Rating: Awesome! Address: 1 rue Principale Nord, Sutton, Qc. tel.: 450-538-3720.

Mont-Echo Naturels:
This operation on Mont Echo, just north of Sutton, sells skin and hair products that use the legendary sea buckthorn, a healthful orange little fruit that is widely consumed in Europe but little-known in North America. Also known as seaberry, it was credited by Ghenghis Khan for giving his armies vast endurance, the site says. The oils were used traditionally to help heal skin problems and other health conditions from eczema to arthritis and diarrhea. Check out their cool products and learn more about this amazing berry at their new boutique and interpretive centre in Knowlton. Rating: Awesome! Address: 70 Lakeside, Knowlton, Qc., tel.: 450-243-5777, website:

Osteopath, Annie Fortin: Annie is awesome. She helped me out with a very painful sciatica problem in a couple of reasonably priced treatments. Based in Granby. Rating: Awesome. Tel.: 450-330-0233.

Osteopath, Nathalie Durand: Nathalie is incredible. She helped our babies with some super-gentle treatments after they were born that fixed some big breastfeeding problems that a long list of lactation consultants, doctors, midwives and nurses couldn't treat. Highly recommended for both baby and mom after labour. Nathalie specializes in pregnant women, infants and the elderly and treats adults too. Based in St Joachim de Shefford. Rating: Awesome. Tel.: 450-360-0188.

Naturopath, Tutti Gould: Highly skilled and renowned local naturopathic doctor. Her partner cured my wife Rhonda's very bad allergy to animals in one session by "talking with her unconscious." Hard to believe but true! Located in Sutton. Rating: Awesome. Tel.: 450-538-4041, email:


Boutique le Cotillon: One of the best toy stores I've ever seen, with two floors jam-packed with all sorts of cool and unusual toys, games, arts-and-crafts supplies, mostly of a non-commercial variety. Rating: Awesome. Last visited: regularly. Address: 4 rue Pine, Sutton, Qc, tel.: 450-538-2977.

CPC C'pas Cher:
Very reasonably priced, high-quality kids' clothes and supplies. Has good-sized adults' clothing section too. Rating: Very good. Last visited: Nov. 2007. Address: 725 rue Principale, Granby, Qc., tel.: 450-375-5966.


SakuShuKan Dojo: This Aikido and Iaido school in a beautiful, rustic setting in Eastman offers very high-quality, traditional training in Japanese martial arts. Classes are very reasonably priced and take place in a barn lovingly renovated by Pascal Taschereau Sensei, who has been teaching since 1993. Check out the cool pix of the dojo on the website. Address: 44 Orford sur le Lac, Eastman, Qc., tel.: 450-297-0195, website.


Brome Lake Books: This cute little Knowlton shop by the Mill Pond is one of the few English bookstores in the region and the largest in the Townships. Well-stocked with titles for all ages, they also regularly hold special events featuring local authors. Rating: Awesome. Last visited: regularly. Address: 264 Knowlton Rd., Knowlton, Qc., tel.: 450-242-2242, website.

Studio Nala Photographe: Photo studio with nice-quality work offering various packages for weddings, baby pix, school photos and more. Address: 100 Montée Lebeau, Cowansville, Qc., tel.: 450-263-1363, website:


Duotel Telephone: Country folk know all about how hard it is to get reliable phone and internet service. Once you've stopped cursing Bell and are ready for an alternative, call Duotel or their partner in Sherbrooke, Dave Moore. Duotel and Moore service and install phone and data lines much cheaper than the bozos at Bell, actually know what they're doing and can suggest creative solutions you didn't know existed. Duotel's Donald Gagné, based in Knowlton, services the eastern half of the Townships, while Dave covers the western part. Last used: April 2009. Rating: Awesome. Tel. for Duotel: 450-243-0000, 1-800-783-0933 or 450-242-2233 (h. and fax). Tel. for Dave: 819-564-2303, 819-571-6332 (c) or 819-573-1891 (p).

Electronique Fixtout: Super-nice and highly resourceful Michel Batko seems to be able to fix pretty much any busted computer device or electronic equipment you hand over to him. Very reasonable rates. Last visited: regularly. Rating: Awesome. Address: 328-B chemin Knowlton, Qc., tel.: 450-243-1118.

Larry Gagné: Bell-trained technician for satellite, phone and home theatre services. Tel.: 450-263-6366. Website: here.

Tim Woodard and Troy Jacob: Everyone has their renovation horror stories. But those days are behind us now that we hooked up with Tim and his partner Troy. These guys are highly professional, skilled, conscientious and detail-oriented. And they're just good guys. They do big and small jobs. And their rates are very reasonable. What can I say? Call them now! Bonus: They also supply firewood at good prices. Rating: Awesome and awesomer. Tel.: (Tim) 450-531-8278 (c) or 450-243-1933 (h) or (Troy) 450-405-2281 (c) or 450-242-2863 (h).