15 AUG 2017: You will have to excuse me for gushing, but I am enamoured with the story of a family’s vacation plan that was predicated by ‘words.’ It started with words of mystery by an accomplished writer, and subsequently heartfelt words in a letter of condolence. This is how US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her family came to spend a vacation in the eastern townships of Quebec.  

In 2014 the New York Times Sunday Book Review covered Secretary Clinton‘s reading choices. No room on her bedside table for a remote for cable news; it was stacked with books, some that she was reading at the same time, some that she had yet to read.

When asked about her favourite authors, Clinton offered many, but included were Canadians Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro and Louise Penny of Knowlton, Quebec.

In 2016 Penny’s husband Dr Michael Whitehead, former Director of Hematology at the Montreal Children's Hospital passed away. Among Penny’s letters of sympathy was a touching one from Secretary Clinton.

Clinton reached out to a mourning woman in a different country and she did so during her candidacy in a tumultuous presidential campaign, where she underwent the most vicious of attacks by her opponent. Her note was a simple, selfless act of humanity.

Recently Penny extended an invitation to Secretary Clinton and her family to visit the Eastern Townships of Quebec. The President and Secretary Clinton, their daughter Chelsea and her children graciously accepted and arrived at their accommodations, the Manoir Hovey on Sunday.

The US Secret Service had approved the location in a prior security check.

Travel & Leisure Magazine rated Manoir Hovey, which spans 35 acres on the shores of Lake Massawippi, in the top 20 of the world’s finest hotels.

Having enjoyed winter ski vacations and fall weekends of shopping and dining in the Eastern Townships I am excited for the Clintons and the folks who may get to meet her.

To a woman who has always chosen her words carefully and a presidential candidate who once said, “Words matter when you run for president” I have four words,

“Bienvenue et bonnes vacances.”

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Pam Stellini

Pam Stellini delivers her original spin on alternate Tuesdays in her column Without Reservations. (Formerly titled, Notes from A Broad)

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