Gaspe the Romantique Revisited captures the story of a family vacation to the Gaspe. The book's 350 pages cover a journey to the region's modern tourism attractions and national parks filled with practical travel guide and trip planning information. The narrative flows as the family travels from town-to-town, while adding in the history, legends and folklore of the seaside fishing outports and natural wonders where mountains-meet-sea.
Walter grew up in the Bay of Chaleurs town of New Richmond and has been long fascinated by the history, stories and legends of his native Gaspe Peninsula. Walter attended Sir John Abbott College in Montreal, and Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec, and now resides in Ottawa.
Gaspe the Romantique Revisited is available at Amazon Kindle in e-book, paperback and hardcover versions.
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A nonfiction travelogue-style guide book to the history, legends, and tourist attractions of the Gaspe. Following a loose narrative recounting a three-week family vacation road trip in the summer of 2021, author and native Gaspesian Walter Charles Willett and his family, embark on a quest to discover his own Gaspe roots. His journey uncovers the authentic story of Gaspe, its folklore, myths and modern tourism attractions. The story begins with a question the author poses; Does the romantic Gaspe described in his ancestor's book, Olive Willett Smith’s 1936 classic travelogue “Gaspe the Romantique”, still exist?
A travel and history guide to planning the great Gaspe road trip.
Olive toured the Gaspe with her family during the summer of 1934, and two years later published her famous travel guide that captured her experiences, along with recounting for the reader, the history, legends, and myths of the Gaspe and its storied past. Eighty-five years after her “love letter” to the Gaspe was published, Walter Willett and family hit the road on a quest to retrace and reimagine Olive's journey. Following her route from 1934 as closely as possible. The book captures a journey of discovery, to unravel the changes that eight decades have made to the Gaspe road trip experience and the many ways the remarkable ‘tour de la Gaspesie’ is the same. For anyone planning the famous road trip, considering it again, or seeking Gaspe’s authentic history and story, the author shares the modern Gaspe road trip experience while exploring the legends, myths, and history of Gaspe’s colourful past. Empowering today’s tourists with a travel guide that connects between past and present to reveal the essential Gaspe road trip spirit.
In The News
“Starting in Sainte-Flavie, northeast of Rimouski (known as “La porte de la Gaspesie”), the book sends readers on a winding journey through the Parc nationale de la Gaspesie (which didn’t exist when Gaspe the Romantique was written) via Gaspe and Perce to New Richmond. Along the way the journey is shot through with history and legend, including stories of a Viking settlement that may have been established in the region centuries before Jacques Cartier planted the French flag”.
Ruby Pratka, Quebec Chronicle Telegraph, January 2023 article “Author retraces ancestor’s Gaspe road trip”
“Even though the book is eminently readable, it has the depth of research and contains an extensive bibliography. Walter can recount fascinating historical facts about the Gaspé and his love and appreciation for his ancestral home is evident. He is a masterful storyteller. There are very few books available in English about the Gaspé and this would be a great resource for anyone who is interested in history, myths and legends of this peninsula, or planning a road trip for the first time”.
Diane Skinner, The Gaspe SPEC, December 2022 article “Newly published book: Gaspe the Romantique ‘Revisited’”