Magog is 4 hours from the major metropolitan areas of southern New England, and perhaps a little farther from the New York area, but those who make the trip once do it over and over again.

Mont Orford is minutes away from the many B&Bs in Magog; Owl's Head is a 45-minute drive around Lake Memphremagog, but worth it.

Luc St-Jacques, who with wife Vicki owns A Tout Venant B&B, says, "Magog-Orford remains a popular yet secretive area for people to spend their Christmas holiday period. It is busy, but not crazy busy, and it remains affordable for all to come out and take a break. There are still rooms available, even for Christmas or New Year's.

"All shops, restaurants, boutiques, spas, B&Bs are open for this time period offering a wide variety of choices to spend the holiday period. There is always great opportunities for some last minute plans to attend a New Year party at the local ski hills, pubs and restaurants amongst other winter enthusiasts," he said.

St. Jacques says area B&Bs offer skiers and snowboarders reduced rate tickets at [R307R, Owl's Head], [R242R, Orford], [R245R, Sutton], and [R192R, Jay Peak], Vt., the holiday period, as well as lodging and gourmet breakfasts.

One American couple who visited Magog last winter stayed at La Maison Drew, and enjoyed homemade breakfast in the sunny front dining room each morning. That B&B, like most in the town, is within walking distance of pretty much everything.

Christmas holiday events are offered at the area ski resorts, including three Christmas camps at Owl's Head. Participants receive 12 hours of instruction over three days, 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. each day Dec. 27-29; Jan. 2-4, or Jan. 5-7; cost is $145. The resort also has a Head Demo Dec. 27, and New Year's Eve gourmet buffet in the Owl's Head dining room.

More information: Magog-Orford B&Bs; Owl's Head, or call 800-363-3342.