Reasons to visit the Magdalen Islands
As I told you in My story, I live in the Magdalen Islands. The picture you can see above is called ”The Bluff”. It’s a little quiet beach behind my house. I got to walk 10 minutes in the wood trails behind my house to get there. I always called it my secret beach.
You need to come visit the Magdalen Islands if you :
Are looking for a safe place to visit.
This place is one of the most save place to visit, and I can tell you without any research on the subject. It’s that kind of place where everybody knows everybody. Where you don’t even lock your car’s doors. That kind of place where you introduce yourself as ”someone’s boy/girl”. When I introduce myself to people I say ” Hi I’m Audrey-Anne. Mario’s daughter” or ”I’m Franky’s little girl”. And they automatically know where I come from, who’s my family, etc.. So you can guess, there’s none or almost no crime here. I’ve never traveled much, but I would say that the Magdalen Islands are the safest place to travel. The most dangerous thing about here are the tides. If you plan on coming on the Magdalen Islands, make sure you know about tides before going swimming.
Want to see amazing landscapes.
Everything here is so natural and bright! We beautiful views on the sea. It is breathtaking! I’m from here and I still fall in love with this place everyday. When I go in big cities, I HATE the smell when you leave the house. It smells like traffic. But here on the Magdalen Islands, wherever you are (even in our city) it smells fresh! It smells like nature. It is a very small place surrounded by water so you can always smell that ocean breeze. The sand on the beach is amazing. It even squeaks when you walk on it on some beach. Old Harry beach is a ”squeaky sand beach”. Maybe you have never heard of Old Harry beach before or maybe you have. It’s in the top 10 most beautiful beaches of the world by national geographic and the number 1 in Quebec! Not only we have nice beach but red cliffs as well. And let me say that our sunrise and sunset here are MEMORABLE! It is worth a picture.
You like outdoor sports.
You can do all kind of sports here. If you like to hike, there’s the East Point National Wildlife Reserve and we have a couple of hills to go on. It’s not gigantic hills but good enough to work your legs. If you come here and have the chance to go on Entry Island, GO! Entry Island is separated from the rest of the Islands. It is very small. There’s about 60 people there. BUT, It is so beautiful. There’s the ”Big Hill” that you can climb. I think it’s the biggest of all. Entry Island and Grosse-Île are the only english speaking part of the Magdalen Islands.
The Magdalen Islands are known for its wind. There’s is always a little bit of wind. Rare are the days where there is no wind at all. This is why it is so popular for kite surfing! Kite surfing is getting more and more practiced here. Since there is always that wind it is ideal for kite surfers. If you like kayaking, SUP, canoe, and more there’s a couple of places that offers those activity. If you want a unique experience i would recommend you doing the caves exploration! I worked at the Auberge la Salicorne for a couple of years and they offer the caves exploration! I really recommend you to go and visit them! It is very unique and FUN! The team working there is SOOOO friendly. I just love them all!
You like fisheries.
Yes, the biggest economy on the Magdalen Islands is the fisheries. The main fisheries here is lobster. Grande-Entrée is the lobster capital of Quebec. We have around 120 fishing boat in the harbour. People here are really friendly and who knows..? you might have the chance to go lobster fishing with a fisherman if you come in june.. :p Lobster fishing usually starts the 1st saturday of may for 9 weeks. Lobster is, as you probably know, a traditional dish.
We also fish crab, scallops, clams, quahogs,mussels, herring, mackerel, cod, smelt and halibut.
If you have the chance to go quahogs digging on ”l’Île de sable”, don’t miss that chance. We usually go by boat and we dig quahogs in the afternoon and play music on the boat. And then we have a BBQ on the boat for diner and after diner we go mackerel fishing just before sunset. So you will get a beautiful sunset on the sea.
You like good food.
The Magdalen Islanders are good cooks. We specialize in traditional food. What is best than eating at a restaurant, but feeling like your eating at home? There is a lot of places to eat that offers succulent meals. You are going to fall in love with our culinary traditions. Restaurant serves great quality food that is original and delicious. Our local products are excellent quality and succulent.
Our must tries:
Seafood Pot-en-pot. This meal is really appreciated by everyone. If you are expecting guests, this is a great dish to make your visitors happy. It is like paradise in your mouth! Most people put scallops, lobster and quahogs in their seafood pot-en-pot. Served with a green salad, it is to die for!
Croxignoles. O.K. What is that? The croxignoles is like a donut but it’s fried in seal oil. It’s that kind of food that either you LOVE or you HATE. Personally, I think I’m one of the rare people who stands in between. I like it, but it’s not my favorite. But some people would go through fire to have one. This recipe is originally from ”Havre-aux-Maison”. The croxignole dough is braided in a unique way before we fry it. If you can understand french, here is the story of the croxignole .
Shell lobster. Oh YEAH! As I mentioned above, lobster is a traditional dish. If you want to be a ”Magdalen Islanders of adoption” you have to try our lobster. I know it’s a creepy species but, god, it’s good! And if you want the real experience you have to eat it from the shell. It’s going to give you a hard time to take it out of the shell but it is really worth it. Served with garlic butter it is delightful.
Quahogs chowder. As we have a lot of seafood and fish around us, we use them in our everyday cooking. Some people make this chowder with clams, cod, or quahogs. This chowder is really divine no matter what kind of fish/seafood you put in it. Comforting, creamy and tasty, it is one of my favorite meal.
Salted meat stew. This is one of the most popular traditional meal in our cookbooks. Salting the meat was our way of preserving the meat in the old days. Women cooked with what they had and created this stew with salted meat and root vegetables from the garden (carrots, turnips and potatoes). They also made what we call ”doughboys”. It’s a soft dough that we add to the end of the cooking. This slow cooking recipe was passed on from generation to generation.
Lobster nachos. If you are a fan of Nachos just like me, you are going to love that dish! It is served at Auberge la Salicorne. It is a very big plate. A lot of vegetables and cheese. But mostly, a lot of lobster. Ideal to share with your lover or friend. It is served with lime wedges, salsa and sour cream. It is just something that you will be craving for, once you try it.
Our local products. Let’s not forget to mention our local products. We make cheese, smoke herring (and more), wine, beer, ”bagosse”, goat cheese, honey, seal products, herbs, jams and much more!
The Magdalen Islands is rich in gastronomy!
You like history.
The Magdalen Islands has a lot of incredible stories. From when it was found to when it was commercialized, you will find an interest in some stories for sure! Shipwrecks, fishing stories, treasures legends, Micmac, seal hunting tragedies, Brion Islands, Bird Rock, deportation of the Acadians, Lighthouses and many more! There’s a ton of amazing stories to tell about the Magdalen Islands and we have a lot of talented storyteller here.
Even if we are a small archipelago, we have a lot of museums that you can visit :
Musée de la mer – Havre Aubert
Little red school-house – Grosse-Île
The veteran’s museum – Grosse-Île
Seal interpretation center – Grande-Entrée
La maison du potier – Grande-Entrée
Le site d’autrefois – Havre Aubert
Salt mine museum – Grosse-Île
Le fumoir d’antan – Havre-aux-Maisons
Fromagerie le Pied-de-Vent – Havre-aux-Maisons
Grosse-Île and Old Harry churches – Grosse-Île
Entry Island museum – Entry Island
Grande Saline – Havre Aubert
Economusuem of ”mi-carême” – Fatima
These are all different museum that are worth visiting if you are a lover of history and culture.
The Magdalen Islands are known as the Jewel of the Golf and I would say that every reason to come and visit us is good! It is my home and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!