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Au Diable Vert Giant Moose sculpture
A giant moose is your neighbour when you stay at Au Diable Vert in Québec’s Eastern Townships. There’s a giant chicken, too.

One of the benefits of exploring beyond the tourist hotspots is the opportunity to discover not just places that are authentic and less trafficked, but the chance to find unique or quirky places to stay. Québec’s Eastern Townships region prides itself on being ‘off the beaten path’, and what Henk and I discovered on a recent visit was that they offer accommodations that promise the same. And 3 of the places where we stayed, a bonafide treehouse, a “Rectangle” in the woods, and a Flintstones-style ‘Rock House’ gave us the opportunity to get close to nature, too.

Quirky Places to Stay #1: A Bonafide Treehouse at Au Diable Vert

Quirky places to stay Eastern Townships Eagles Nest Treehouse Exterior
Treehouses have always inspired me since I was a kid

I’ve dreamed of living in a treehouse ever since I watched Swiss Family Robinson as a child, and I’m clearly not the only one, given the popularity of shows like Treehouse Masters that showcase incredible modern-day structures anchored in the branches of trees. So the chance to stay in a bonafide treehouse now that I’m a grownup was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up.

Quirky Eastern Townships Au Diable Vert sign
A sign on the rocks welcomes you on the steep road up to Au Diable Vert

Au Diable Vert (the Green Devil) is a 400+ acre property nestled between the Green Mountains of Vermont to the south and the hills surrounding Glen Sutton, Québec. In fact, its elevated location in the forest actually inspired the Green Devil name and logo because a topographical map of the area resembles the outlines of a devilish face.

au diable vert logo

Au Diable Vert offers everything you’d want when it comes to getting away from it all: a 1000-foot altitude vantage point offering great views of the surrounding mountains, a river flowing on the property if you want to kayak, paddle board or float down the river on a tube, plus there are acres of forest for hiking. With no traffic or noise pollution, this place invites you to unplug and enjoy its beautiful surroundings where you are more likely to hear cows lowing than car horns honking. (They raise organic beef here, too.)

Au Diable Vert cows

When it comes to their accommodation options, the management at Au Diable Vert is as creative as they are with their logo: there are about two dozen options including airstream trailers, ground-level arched ‘pods’, and rustic cabins. But when it comes to ‘quirky’ places to stay, it was their treehouses that got my attention, and there are 8 on the property to choose from.

Settling into our Eagle’s Nest at Au Diable Vert

Our treehouse was The Eagle’s Nest, the first treehouse built at Au Diable Vert, and apparently one of the smaller ones. Yet Henk and I were surprised with the size of this lofted cabin that had 2 queen sized beds, one on the ‘ground’ floor (if you can call it that in a treehouse) and one in the little loft above. What was more impressive was that this solid little story-and-a-half cabin was suspended in the branches using a unique support system that doesn’t harm the trees (even Henk was impressed with the construction.)

Eagles Nest Treehouse Quebec

Inside there was a wood stove that could be used for heating, cooking or both, and a battery-powered light to illuminate the interior at night. Solid construction and good doors and windows meant that these treehouses can be used year round, and as we found out, even when rain started pattering on the roof, our little treehouse stayed cozy and comfortable.

Unique Eastern Townships Eagles Nest treehouse

Actually the rain made it pretty romantic, as Henk and I sipped on grownup drinks with a fire going and the sound of raindrops on the roof. (Admittedly, the romance faded a little when those drinks necessitated a short walk to the outdoor toilet with an umbrella…take note, this may not be the accommodation choice for those who are ‘weak of bladder’!)

Quirky Eastern Townships Treehouse Interior
Our cozy Eagle’s Nest interior (cookware kits are available to rent, but you need to bring your own bedding)

Notwithstanding the call(s) of nature, our overnight in our Eagle’s Nest cabin in the trees was the fulfilment of a childhood dream of staying in a treehouse, and the reality was even better – because it included wine!

TIP: There’s no need to have to cook on your treehouse vacation: the cute town of Sutton is only a few minutes’ drive away and they have some great restaurants like the Sutton Brouerie. But it’s always nice to have something in the morning when you wake up, so hit up the local grocery store like Henk and I did if you’d like a few things on hand in the treehouse for breakfast.

Sutton Brouerie glass of rose

How’s This for Quirky: an Aerial Cycling Trail in the Trees!

Jane on VeloVolant cycle
Jane on a VéloVolant ‘tree bicycle’ at Au Diable Vert

If the treehouses aren’t quirky enough for you, Au Diable Vert also offers a truly one-of-a-kind activity: VéloVolant, the only suspended bicycle trail of its kind in Canada! If you like zip lining and cycling, this is the perfect love child of both, because participants get to hop aboard a recumbent bicycle and pedal their way through the trees on a 1-km circuit.

Unique Eastern Townships VeloVolant Cycles
The bicycles are powered by the passengers at their own pace

The bikes are suspended on cables that wind their way (literally) through the trees. The track itself is level (so the cycling itself isn’t difficult) but because of the hilly geography here, as the ground drops off below you, cyclists find themselves almost 5 stories up in the trees at some points.

Jane on VeloVolant cycle in tree canopy

Henk is notoriously not a fan of heights, (but in spite of that, he’s game for all kinds of high-flying adventures that I want to try), and even he could appreciate the cool factor of Vélovolant. I actually loved it, and made sure to go at my own pace to really appreciate the forest and the beautiful views. In fact, I would happily have gone around again.

Henk VeloVolant cycling
Even Henk was smiling (by the end!)

TIP: Vélovolant is not for you if you are terrified of heights, and there are age and weight restrictions for riders, so be sure to check the website before you book.

Quirky Places to Stay #2: A ‘Rectangle’ in the Forest at La Station du Chêne Rouge

La Station du Chene Rouge Eastern Townships Quebec

When owners Philippe and Hilda literally “bought a forest” in Québec’s Eastern Townships between Sherbrooke and North Hatley, they knew they wanted to share their tranquil piece of property with people in a way that would be as close to nature as possible. But they also wanted to offer a range of accommodations that would satisfy everyone from ‘glampers’ to traditional campers.

Unique Eastern Townships Chene Rouge deck
The main reception building at La Station du Chêne Rouge has a great view from their deck

So they came up with a vision for La Station du Chêne Rouge that included structures that they called ‘Pods’, ‘Triangles’,”Saisonniers’ and ‘Rectangles’ to augment their traditional pitch-a-tent campsites. Their idea was that these permanent structures would not only be a unique place to stay but would offer different levels of amenities, depending on what type of back-to-nature experience and level of comfort you prefer.

La Station de Chêne Rouge accommodations
Which shape fits you best? *Photos: La Station du Chêne Rouge

This concept sounded perfect for Henk and I since we typically don’t pack tents or pots and pans when we travel, but love the idea of staying somewhere that allows us to hike, see dark skies and enjoy nature. So we chose to stay in a ‘Rectangle’, which offers the most amenities for people like us who are more ‘glampers’ than campers.

‘Rectangle’ Amenities at La Station du Chêne Rouge

Rectangle Exterior La Station du Chene Rouge
Our Rectangle was like a Tiny House in the woods

Our little Rectangle was newly-built with a ‘modern-rustic’ design aesthetic and floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of the surrounding forest from almost every side, while still offering plenty of privacy from any neighbours. We even had patio doors leading to a small deck if we wanted another place to sit other than around the fire pit.

Unique Eastern Townships Rectangle Deck
Our Rectangle even had a deck

Inside, our tiny house in the woods was furnished with a rustic table and chairs and a proper queen-sized bed with linens provided. There was a small kitchen area including a sink, a single burner propane camp stove and shelves stocked with cookware essentials, and of course a bottle opener and wine glasses (a must when glamping in my opinion – plus we were in Québec after all!).

Unique Eastern Townships Rectangle Interior
Interior of our Rectangle

Unplug and Unwind

All in all, Henk and I had everything we needed for a comfortable sleep in the woods that did not involve tents, sleeping bags, air mattresses, or sleeping on the ground – perfect! The best part was that since our Rectangle had no electricity, we weren’t obsessed with finding enough plugs for our cell phones, chargers and cameras, something we regularly do when we travel. Instead, all we needed to do was unplug and recharge ourselves.

Eastern Townships Dark SKies Chene Rougejpg
Henk took this photo of the Milky Way on Chêne Rouge’s deck

With no light pollution and a clear night filled with stars, we spent some time enjoying the view of the spectacular skies before finally going to bed. Nothing disturbed our peaceful night’s sleep, and we woke to the sound of birds and a view of the sun filtering through the trees outside the windows.

Talk about a breath of fresh air.

To Pee or Not to Pee

Washroom icons

Getting close to nature is one thing, but the call of nature is a whole other matter. So one thing to know is that when it comes to ‘facilities’, none of Chêne Rouge’s accommodations include a bathroom, which means walking a fair distance. (And why does it always seem that the farther the distance to the facilities, the greater the need to pee? I might have to rethink the wine idea next time….)

TIP: If you want to be close to the main reception building which has full washroom facilities including showers and flush toilets, request the ‘L’Air’ Rectangle which is only about 50 yards away. Otherwise, there are temporary toilets located around the property that will be replaced with composting toilets soon. (La Chêne Rouge just opened in the spring of this year, so work is still ongoing.)

Quirky Places to Stay #3: La Pierre de Feu Ecolodge

Who says you have to travel all the way to New Zealand to see a ‘Hobbit House’, when you can book a stay in one right here in Canada!

Rock House Exterior with Fire Pit
Entre Cîmes et racines in Québec’s Eastern Townships has unique eco-lodges

If you love unusual accommodations paired with a side of eco-friendly, you will love the offerings at Entre Cîmes et Racines near Bolton-Est in Québec’s Eastern Townships. The name of the property means ‘between root and crown’ and is a family business whose owners are committed to providing an experience that is both one-of-a-kind and friendly to the earth. Guests who come here can get away from it all on this beautiful 175-acre forest estate with over 12 km of roads and trails, a maze, 3 streams and more. There are campgrounds for those who are truly outdoorsy, but one look at the property’s forest eco-lodges, and in particular the quirky lodges named ‘Le Hobbit” and “La Pierre de Feu’, and I was sold!

Entre Cimes et Racines Reception
Main Reception at Entre Cimes et Racines

Obviously I was not alone in my fascination with quirky places to stay, as the actual ‘Hobbit House’ ecolodge was completely booked when I went to reserve it, but our second choice, another equally charming house called ‘La Pierre de Feu’ was available and turned out to be just as fun.

La Pierre du Feu ecolodge Eastern Townships
La Pierre du Feu forest eco-lodge

Full points to the creative minds behind this property. Apparently the owner had been so inspired by his travels and the Hobbit House down under that he decided to create his own version of Middle Earth here with a pair of dwellings that are both charming and functional. Painstakingly crafted with the attention to detail that any Hollywood set designer would envy, La Pierre de Feu feels like something out of a Flintstones cartoon.

Entre Cimes et Racines artwork turtle
The owner’s love for whimsy extends to these prints, created by a local artist and for sale in the reception building.

While not actually constructed of boulders, this ‘rock house’ as we nicknamed it sure looked the part. And with its green roof plantings spilling down in front of the arched windows, you can almost believe that you are subterranean.

Entre Cimes et Racine Le Pierre de feu window
An authentic green roof helps to insulate the eco-lodge which is also open in the winter

Inside, the main room is welcoming with a wood stove and several places to sit, and the space is well-lit thanks to the 3 windows and a skylight over the well-equipped kitchen. And the property provides plenty of drinking water for you to use. Since there is no electricity in this eco-lodge, candles are provided once it gets dark, (although I would recommend doing any food preparation before then, or bring your own lanterns for additional light.)

TIP: There are other eco-lodges on-site that offer electricity, if reading by candle-power isn’t your thing. But like all the lodges here, you do need to bring your own linens, food and camp stove.

Rock House interior kitchen and main room

The bedroom at La Pierre du Feu is cozy and outfitted with a queen bed and 2 bunkbeds that can accommodate another 2 people. Thankfully, there’s a dry toilet inside the bathroom, so there’s no need to go outside or for a hike just to answer the call of nature.

Henk and I weren’t planning to cook for the one night we were staying, so instead we headed into the nearby town of Eastman, and had dinner at a great little bistro: McMurray’s Pub. Afterwards, we picked up a few things for the next morning’s breakfast, and of course, some adult beverages to enjoy alongside our rock house’s fire pit.

Surrounded by towering trees, with our bonfire crackling and dancing in front of us, we couldn’t think of a more peaceful way to end our evening at a one-of-a-kind property that truly rocked!

Entre Cimes et Racines Le Pierre du Feu bonfire

Up AND Off the Beaten Path

“Off the beaten path” is something so many travellers are seeking these days. And on our visits to the Eastern Townships in Québec, Henk and I have taken that to a new level with these quirky places to stay. We’ve rocked a Flintstone house, gotten squared away in a Rectangle, and have been both UP and off the beaten path, in our Eagles’ Nest Treehouse (and our VéloVolant adventure!)

As quirky and fun as this all was, Henk did make a suggestion that it might be time to implement a new Grownup Rule when it comes to where we stay: No having to get fully dressed just to go for a pee.
He might have a point…

But I’m not making any promises – especially where treehouses are concerned.

If you liked reading about these quirky places to stay, check out when Henk and I stayed in a ‘ball in a tree’ on Vancouver Island.


Special thanks to Tourism Eastern Townships who hosted Henk and I at these quirky places to stay in Québec.

Jane with Hat Tanzania

Jane Canapini is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada and the North American Travel Journalists Association. She established in 2014 to share information and tips based on personal experience so her readers could get the most out of their travels.

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