Staycation in the Ottawa Valley
Here we are summer 2020, our year so far has looked drastically different, and so does our summer holiday planning. As we start to emerge from our home base, still a little Ieary but yet no less excited to get out and enjoy all things summer. We are looking less at traveling to amusement or water parks and more to shorter road trips and finding those hidden gems...right here in our backyard. Luckily we live in a thriving area with some amazing talent, makers, and business owners. The Ottawa Valley in Eastern Ontario covers a large area from just outside of Ottawa up to Mattawa and includes some great little towns with a huge variety of history, art, shopping, dining, and a whole slew of makers that are incredibly talented in their field. Join us as we take a tour of a few of our favourites.
Out first stop is in the historic town of Almonte. This former mill town in Lanark County is known to be “the friendly town". There are some amazing shops and dining, as well as the “Riverwalk": a scenic walk down the Mississippi River. While there be sure to stop at Dairy Distillery on Industrial Drive. This environmentally friendly and innovative micro-distillery offers spirits that are Gluten, Lactose, and Sugar-free. The crisp tasting Vodkow is made using unused milk permeate sourced from local dairy farmers! They have created something amazing that helps reduce waste and gives dairy farms new opportunities to grow. Be sure to stop in for a sample of this smooth tasting vodka, and once things start opening again join a tour to get the full experience of how innovative science and artisanal distilling can take a waste product and create a spirit so yummy you'll be back for more in no time!
Next in line is the small town of Pakenham. Another town full of history, it is home to a 5 span stone bridge crossing the Mississippi River. It is one of only a few in North America, built-in 1903 then later reinforced and reassembled to handle our modern world of motor vehicles. This bridge is less than 8 meters wide and stands as a beautiful landmark as you enter into town. While there are many things to see and do in this town one of our favourites is Cartwright Springs. This brewery is located on Deer Run Road and offers a variety of beer in cans, bottles, and kegs too! In their tasting room and on tours of the brewery they love to tell you about how they work with their environment around them to make outstanding beers. Stop in for a pint on their patio right beside the running spring that makes their beer stand apart from other brewers, and you might as well go ahead and set up a delivery for next Thursday on their schedule because it is just that good!!
One last beverage stop on this road trip of ours,(did I forget to mention to bring a DD on this road trip?) Is in the beautiful village of Carp. Located just outside of Kanata on the tip of the City of Ottawa this town is best known for its fall fair. Carp Fair –The best little fair in Canada" hosts thousands of people in September for the midway, concerts and agricultural events. During the summer the fairgrounds a real so overflowing with people here to find the best of the farmers and makers at the Carp Farmers Market. One of those vendors is KIN Vineyards. Their vineyard is just down the road on Craig’s Side Road where they grow vines to create their exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. They are open for vineyard tours and wine tastings in their incredible Tasting Room and patio overlooking the vineyard. Or perhaps you are in need of a private venue for your next event? They are more than happy to help make your day special in this one of a kind venue within the vines of KIN.
The town of Arnprior has seen major growth in the last few years. This town, where two rivers meet: the Ottawa and the Madawaska Rivers, has countless nature trails, a marina, and beach on the Ottawa while still offering the small-town sense of community. There are many beautiful shops and restaurants to try out and it is home to 2 of our favourites.
The Vintage Crate is a family-owned and operated antique & gift store. The owners restored this charming little shop in 2017 to provide you with a one of kind shopping experience. They carry locally made goods and also spotlight Canadian artisans and designers. They live to find unique and antique items to display and love to chat about their local makers’ products. Stop in and take tour of this local gem and l promise you will leave with something amazing!
Just down the road on John Street lies Lumbertown Ale House, est 2017, where they are “Passionate about local beer and fresh food". The only local gastropub, they feature Ontario craft beer and wines on tap. They thrive to create a local focus and offer fresh, high-quality food in the finest of environments. With a seasonally rotating menu offered in house, on their patio and take out, you are sure to find something you’ll love, and yes, I promise, you’ll be back for more!
Our last stop on this trip is about 145km Northwest of Ottawa in the old timber town of Pembroke, known as the “Heart of the Ottawa Valley “In the early 20thcentury this town saw logging booms float down the river to local sawmills. Although the town still has a few timber-related businesses, watching the workers and logs float is a thing of the past. Farmstead Cheesehouse located on Greenwood Road is a second-generation family-owned and operated farm. The Petermann's, originally from Switzerland, settling as Dairy Farmers in 1980, missed the interaction with their customers. In 2019, Farmstead Cheesehouse was opened. Here, they thrive with the connections with their patrons and are thrilled to offer their authentic Italian Gelato -made in house! The seasonal flavours use local products to create one of a kind gelato you won’t want to miss! Join them on their patio and try out their creations or a cup of local specialty coffee and cheeses from Ontario and Quebec farms.
So, what does your summer travel look like? Will you be searching for activities in a distant town or will you be falling in love with the Ottawa Valley and all it has to offer?
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