Just 20 minutes west of Kanata, Almonte is a scenic mill town located along the Mississippi River. Almonte is home to beautiful heritage buildings set around gorgeous waterfalls and a vibrant main street. Explore galleries, boutiques, antique shops and fantastic restaurants, plus stroll the grounds of the historic Mill of Kintail, or take in a show at the Almonte Old Town Hall. Let your imagination come to life with the whimsical and fanciful Puppets Up! Festival and visit the birthplace of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball.
At Tin Barn Market located at 73 Little Bridge St., owners Errin and Vicki believe your space should tell a story about YOU. Together, they have curated an eclectic, hand-picked shop filled with up-cycled, salvaged, pre-loved, handmade, vintage and new-home decor. Tin Barn offers interesting and beautiful items, including one-of-a-kind furniture pieces, antique knobs, hooks and more. Tin Barn also carries the full line of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and hosts monthly Learn & Create Chalk Paint workshops at their warehouse studio located at the Mill Creative Centre in Carleton Place.
Cozied up to Tin Barn Market is Baker Bob’s at 73 Little Bridge St., Baker Bob’s is an adorably quaint bakery and food shop, that offers specialty food items including jams, pasta sauces, chocolates and candies. Located at the back are baskets of freshly baked goods on display, including fan-favourites – almond croissants, butter tarts and chocolate chip cookies.
Cross the street and find a little piece happiness at Cheerfully Made Goods, located at 72 Mill St. In every corner of this shop you will discover something to make you smile. Cheerfully Made is the result of the creative vision of owner Emily Arbour, who also curates Cheerfully Made Markets (formerly Handmade Harvest) and Etsy Canada in Ottawa. A retail gift shop that carries only items made in North America (mostly local), a custom framing shop, a DIY workshop space, and Emily’s own Campy Home Decor line (which includes her best-selling, hand-poured soy candles), Cheerfully Made is a ray of sunshine.
Current Works of Glass at 112 Queen St. is a teaching studio and gallery for kiln-worked and fused glass, featuring the work of artist Jennifer Kelly and offering classes for adults. Jennifer’s glass art designs are as varied and fluid as the river, ranging from large sculptural pieces for the garden to wall art and table pieces. Glass has always held an element of magic and mystery for Jennifer, who has worked in the medium for 24 years. She now shares her passion and energy with students through various classes, from beginner to advanced, as well as “fusing parties.”
With its convenient location just minutes from Ottawa, Carleton Place offers visitors a glimpse into traditional small-town life, in a community that celebrates its history and unique local flair. Home to festivals including Comic Book Day, Wine’d Around Downtown, Lambs Down Park Festival and the Bridge Street Bazaar, Carleton Place offers the daytripper an opportunity to discover hidden gems nestled along the Mississippi River.
The Green Counter Boutique at 18 Mill St. is aptly named for the antique general store counter that adorns the centre of the shop. Bright colours, cool fabrics and uniquely interesting fashion staples are core to the design style at GCB. With affordable labels including Cut Loose, Bryn Walker, Lisa Todd, Part Two, Jackpot and more, owner Brigitte Diogo ensures her store is filled with pieces that are both chic and comfortable. You’ll find tunics and dresses, Canadian-made accessories, espadrilles handmade in Spain, and the internationally-acclaimed wax-cotton carryall – The Brave Brown Bag by Ontario designer Charlotte McKeough.
The Ginger Café at 132 Coleman St. is located in the heritage Canadian Pacific Railway station. It’s a full service coffee bar with a healthy pay-per-weight vegetarian buffet, hearty soups, sandwiches, smoothies and fresh-pressed juices; there are also vegan and gluten-free options. Enjoy the customer-favourite summer rolls, meatless meatballs and one of their homemade, hearty desserts, including their colossal date squares. When you’re finished, pop upstairs to visit the office of KKI Designs with interior designer Kim Kostuch, who is the creative force behind design projects including Cheerfully Made in Almonte, and the Father & Son Barber Shop in Perth.
S.M.art Art Gallery and Studio at 50 Bennett St. is located in an unassuming industrial building at the edge of Carleton Place, but once inside you enter the beautiful world of visual artist Sarah Moffat. Both an art gallery and studio, Sarah showcases her glittering metallic foils, brightly-coloured flowers and her whimsical trees series set against melted silvers and dreamy backdrops which are up to six feet tall. By request, Sarah offers weekend workshops where students work directly alongside her to learn the tools of her unique style and imagination.
The Mill Creative Centre on McArthur Island is home to several local artists who have transformed the old woolen mill into a thriving hub for creativity and inspiration. Built in 1870, the Mill is open by request, with the artists offering occasional workshops, art shows and studio space rentals.
The Trans Canada Trail now runs where train tracks once brought steam engines through Stittsville as early as 1870. It winds its way through the heart of the community, making it a great destination for walking, running, biking and exploring. Once a quiet farming community, Stittsville is now a fast-growing suburb with a village feel and hidden history along its Main Street. Daytrippers can enjoy great food, local shops and parks. A must-see is the charming Goulbourne Museum which hosts children’s activities and offers self-guided walking tours of the community and surrounding areas.
The Grounds Café, located in The Shoppes at Fairwinds at 5703 Hazeldean Rd. has been created by its owners, along with interior designer Heidi Helm, as an energetic urban space to serve the community with quality service and food. With Chef Jon in the kitchen, the Grounds offers breakfast entrees, deli sandwiches, soups and salads using fresh, local ingredients. Cauliflower and Gouda Soup, Italiano and Asian Bean Sprout Salads, Chicken Chipotle Wrap, fresh baked biscotti, frozen lattes, Equator coffee and Numi teas are just some of the tasty treats that earn rave reviews.
Pretty Pots Flower Shop at 1528 Main St. was once a general store and then a Royal Bank, but now the little white house dating back to 1885 is home to one of Ottawa’s finest floral shops. The old bank vault has been turned into a flower cooler and the door is something of a curiosity for every visitor, yet inside, Pretty Pots is awash of a colour and fresh blooms. With a penchant for romantic, vintage-inspired arrangements, owner Shannon Gorman and her team create lush arrangements for weddings, special occasions and holidays.
Quitters Coffee located at 1523 Main St. is the result of an idea by local resident and singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards, who transformed a dated antique shop into a vibrant hub for coffee, conversation and community. Eclectic and comfortable, Quitters offers a variety of baked goods and breakfast sandwiches inspired by recipes honed by Kathleen herself. From lattes and teas, to luscious lemonade and lemon cake (and we can’t forget the giant M&M cookies), Quitters also offers wine and local craft beers plus trivia and Euchre nights weekend evenings.
Mad About Patchwork at 2477 Huntley Rd. is located on a country road just past the Goulbourn Museum. It’s a cornucopia of creativity for anyone who loves colour, quilting and DIY patchwork. Also offering an online fabric store, this gem of a shop delivers a curated inventory of beautiful fabrics in bright, bold colours, as well as patterns, embellishments and modern-quilting workshops. Workshops for beginners and advanced students are often run on Thursday evenings and Saturdays, with the occasional weekday class. The workshop classroom is fully equipped and offers an array of themes to choose from including handbags, quilts, clothing and more.