Local Strawberry Picking

It’s finally strawberry season! Going to a pick-your-own strawberries at a local farm is a great summer activity for families. And with the first day of summer this week, it’s a great way to get out in the fresh air on a sunny Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Here are some of the area locations that offer pick-your-own strawberries:

Beckwith Berries: In Carleton Place, the Beckwith Berry Farm is a local favourite! Located on Cavanagh Road, Beckwith Berries has a huge berry field. They offer pick-your-own berries or you can pick-up various sizes of fresh picked berry baskets at their berry stand. Additionally, Beckwith Berries has stands in a variety of locations where you can pick-up a pre-picked berry basket. Remember to bring your cash, as this farm is cash only. Visit: http://www.beckwithberries.com/ for more info.

Mississippi Berries: Take a drive out to Lanark to visit the RiverRun Farms and their strawberry field, Mississippi Berries. They are a family run farm with a focus on sustainable production practices to produce high quality products. Their website mississippiberries.ca has some wonderful information about berry picking, berry facts and even recipes!

Kinburn Berries: Another wonderful family owned business located in the small town of Kinburn. They offer four different varieties of strawberries and allow you to pick-your-own or pick up a basket of pre-picked! The prices are a bit cheaper if you opt for pick-your-own baskets. For more information, including hours of operation, visit https://murrayhawley.webs.com/

Normally we are eating local berries by this time of year, but with the slow, cool, rainy spring we had, the season seems to be delayed a bit – so there is still plenty of time for you to take advantage. Not only is strawberry picking a great outdoor activity for the whole family to enjoy, but you also end up with delicious, locally grown, strawberries! There are many wonderful recipe ideas on pinterest.ca. Strawberries make the perfect addition to any meal. If you head out to pick-your-own this summer, be sure to take some photos and share your experiences with me on Facebook and Instagram!

Best Father’s Day Gifts!

Can you believe it’s almost Father’s Day? The month of June is flying by and we are already heading into our third week. Father’s Day is coming up on Sunday so have you purchased that perfect gift yet? It can be difficult to come up with something that shows your Dad how much they are loved and appreciated. Here is my list of wonderful ways to show your Dad you love them!

Buy him “Dad” gear: Many of our local gift shops have some great “Dad” gear in stock for Father’s Day. Some favourites include the traditional “Dad” mugs, “Dad” t-shirts & “Dad” accessories! A unique option is customizable “Dad” keychains, available from local maker 7 Paper Houses. Choose your keychain and add relevant charms. You can pick these up locally at Little Loves Company in Carleton Place!

Give him a BBQ gift basket: If your dad is a bbq chef, he will love a BBQ themed gift basket. Check out your local butcher or gourmet food shop to pick up specialty sauces, rubs and spices. Throw in a few accessories, like a scraper or brush to complete the gift! (If you include steaks, he can even cook dinner that night!)

Make him dinner: Create his favourite meal! Cook him his number 1 choice BBQ meat, homemade pizza, chili or whatever it is that is top of his dinner food list. Add in a special dessert such as ice cream sundaes or his favourite cake and dad will be sure to feel how much he is appreciated! And, don’t forget the perfect card.

Put together a “Local Coffee” gift basket: Is your dad a coffee connoisseur? We have a number of coffee roasters locally which always provide great gift options for the coffee lover in your life. Check out Equator Coffee Roasters or Fluid Solar Coffee Roasters for some one-of-a-kind beans. Equator, located in Almonte, also has some great coffee accessories available in their shop.

Make him a gift: There is nothing more personal than a homemade gift! This option is especially great if you have young children. It gets them directly involved in the gifting process. Check out pinterest.ca for a variety of clever (and useful!) homemade gift ideas. You could even create your own gift tag or card to top it off.

Any of these ideas will be sure to please dad this coming Sunday. The kind gesture, whether it be home made, a meaningful purchased gift or a simple phone call, will have an impact. Show dad how much you care and make this Father’s Day special.

What’s Going on in Almonte this Weekend??

It looks like it’s going to be a perfect weekend, weather wise! Luckily, there are a number of great events going on around Almonte! Our town has so much to offer during the summer months; festivals, fairs, farmer’s markets and much, much more. If you haven’t made your weekend plan’s yet, here are some great ideas on things you can do in Almonte…

Porchfest: If you receive my monthly Realtor Ezine (if you don’t, you can subscribe today by sending me an email), you’ll already have all of the details on Porchfest. This Saturday evening, residents of Almonte will be hosting the second annual Mississippi Mills Porchfest, which is sure to be just as wonderful as last year! Local musicians will be setting up on porch’s all around town. Visit the Porchfest website https://www.mmporchfest.com for venue details and performers, or, wander the town and follow your ears! Remember to bring your own lawn chair & water.

Busfusion: If you’ve lived in Almonte for a while, you’ll know all about Busfusion! You’ve probably seen the many Volkswagen Campers that flood our town for one weekend every summer. Busfusion is an annual event that allows Volkswagen Camper owners to camp for 3 nights at the Almonte Fairgrounds. There are events planned throughout the weekend for festival goers including a tie-dye workshop, live music, children’s activities and a puppy parade! Busfusion begins on Thursday, June 6th and runs until Sunday June, 9th, 2019.

Live Streaming of the Raptors Game: The Toronto Raptors will be playing Game 4 of the NBA finals this Friday, June 7t, 2019h. Almonte is the home of basketball inventor Dr. James Naismith. Our small town will be celebrating their history and love of the sport by hosting a live, outdoor screening of this Friday’s game. The first screening, last Sunday, was a huge success! Don’s Meat Market and the mobile Equator Coffee truck will both be on site to provide food and drinks. Visit the Old Town Hall at 7:30 pm this Friday!

The weather is forecast to be hot and sunny this weekend, perfect for any of these great local events. Keep me updated on which event’s you attend! I’d love for you to share your photos with me on Facebook or Instagram. And, I may run in to you around town!

Local Airbnbs

A lot of times, living in a small town means there aren’t any major hotel chains nearby. In the Ottawa Valley, we are fortunate to have a wide array of small boutique hotels, bed & breakfasts and Airbnb options. Airbnb’s are a growing trend and in Almonte and Carleton Place there are a number of great options available, depending on what it is you are looking for.
The Almonte Suites: Located steps from downtown Almonte, the Almonte Suites offers a number of different apartments. There are 2 different self-contained suites, each with their own kitchen. Also available is the entire house to rent for larger groups. Walk to downtown shops and restaurants in less than 5 minutes.

The Almonte Suites II: Just up the road from the Almonte Suites, is a beautiful 2-unit home with a full, 3-bedroom suite as well as a cozy bachelor apartment. Both are tastefully decorated and renovated. Each unit has a private entrance and own laundry facilities.

Pinehurst Manor (Almonte): For larger groups, this stunning historic home has been dubbed the “Downton Abbey” of the Ottawa Valley by previous guests. This beautiful home is ideal for entertaining and events. The exterior offers stunning yards with flower gardens as well as a large stone patio with fire pit and BBQ which overlook the waterfalls and river. There is a 95-yard golf hole and space to basketball or badminton. This great Airbnb can accommodate 20+ people. We have personally stayed at this venue and LOVE it!

Sunny Napoleon St. (Carleton Place): A hidden gem close to downtown Carleton Place! This Airbnb has been given rave reviews from previous guests. The entire, beautifully renovated, log house is for rent and can accommodate up to 5 guests. At just $100/night, it’s a bargain price for a beautiful home rental!

Chateau Jan (Carleton Place): Just outside of Carleton Place on a beautiful 2.6-acre lot, this Airbnb offers a wonderful apartment and a taste of country living! You’ll have private access to the entire walk-out basement of this stunning home which can accommodate up to 9 guests. Enjoy roasting marshmallows by the fire, sitting poolside and enjoy fresh eggs from the host’s chickens!

Whether you’re visiting family, attending an event or getting away for a weekend, any of these Airbnb options will be sure to please! Have you visited a great, local Airbnb? I’d love to hear your experience. Share with me on Facebook or Instagram.

Best Local Parks

One of the great things about family living in Mississippi Mills is that we are surrounded by a variety of wonderful parks! Our beautiful community parks offer splash pads, play structures, bike/walking trails and even a Geoheritage park. Visiting one of these locations is a great activity for you and your family to enjoy on a warm, sunny day. Here are some of the park options available to your family locally:

Gemmill Park (Almonte): One of the larger parks around, Gemmill Park offers a brand-new splash pad, multiple play structures, a skateboard park, baseball diamonds, a basketball court, tennis courts, a disc golf course, horseshoe pits and a natural amphitheater. The newly upgraded children’s play area has a great, recycled rubber surface. The forested area surrounding the park offers beautiful, peaceful, safe walking trails. This is a spot the whole family can enjoy!

Metcalfe Geoheritage Park (Almonte): Located on the picturesque waterfront at the bottom of Bay Hilil, steps from downtown Almonte, this unique park is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic. The Geoheritage portion of the park offers 22 samples of sedimentary rocks ranging from 490 – 440 billion years old! All of which are native to our area.

Riverside Park (Carleton Place): This park is situated just outside of downtown Carleton Place on the Mississippi River. It includes 2 public boat launches, a beautiful beach, large picnic area, play structures and a splash pad. Watch the kayaks and canoes go by as you enjoy the weather at this exceptional waterfront park.

Town Square (Carleton Place): Another incredible waterfront park, Town Square is located just behind the Carleton Place Town Hall directly on the Mississippi River just off of the main downtown core. It includes a new patio area complete with washrooms and unique life-sized chess, checkers and domino courts.

Fred Millar Park (Pakenham): You don’t have to go far to visit a great beach! Located behind the Community Centre in Pakenham, Fred Millar Park offers a fully operational beach. They even offer supervised swims on Mondays & Wednesdays from 12:00pm – 4:00pm, during the summer months. The park area has lit ball diamonds, horseshoe pits and a canteen.

The warmer weather is upon us (or at least will be soon) and you’ll be wanting to cool off at the nearest waterfront or splash pad. We are fortunate to have such a variety of fantastic parks at our fingertips. Visit one of these local gems and share your visit with me on Facebook or Instagram.

Local Farmer’s Markets

One of the best things to do on a Saturday morning in the Ottawa Valley is to visit one of the many, local farmer’s markets. Each unique market is filled with local farmers, artisans and makers. It is a wonderful way to support your local small businesses as well as an opportunity to meet the faces behind those businesses. Here are some of farmer’s markets available in your area:

Carleton Place Farmer’s Market: Located at “Market Square” which is on the corner of Beckwith and Lake Avenue in Carleton Place, the farmer’s market runs every Saturday, in the warmer months, from 8:30-12:30pm.This is one of the very few fully covered market’s around! So, you can visit it even when it’s raining!

Perth Farmer’s Market: The Perth Farmer’s Market has been in operation since 1992. It runs, rain or shine, from the Mother’s Day weekend until Thanksgiving weekend. The scenic location includes the beautiful “Crystal Palace” where many of the vendors set up their goods. There is always free parking available and wonderful live music to serenade you as you wander.

Almonte Farmer’s Market: Opening Saturday May 18th, the Almonte Farmer’s Market has been in operation since 1990. It has remained in the same location, at the Almonte Public Library parking lot, since opening. Bakers, woodworkers, potters and soap makers are among some of the vendors you’ll find at the Almonte market. Just steps from downtown Almonte, the market is the perfect place to start your Saturday!

Carp Farmer’s Market: The Carp farmer’s market is in it’s 29th season of operation! It is open every Saturday from 8:00am – 1:00pm from May until October. This market is the largest producer-based Farmer’s Market in Eastern Ontario. They are home to over 90 vendors and have thousands of people in attendance each weekend.

Renfrew Farmer’s Market: Entering their 49th season in operation at the Renfrew Fairgrounds, this market is bursting with wonderful vendors. They offer a variety of locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey, maple syrup, meats, baking and much more! Opening at 9:00 and running until 12:00pm every Saturday from May to Thanksgiving, this market is perfect for a Saturday morning trip into the Ottawa Valley.

All of these markets offer exceptional, local products. You’ll find something a bit different at each one. Share your Farmer’s Market purchases with me on Facebook and Instagram! I’d love to see what you were able to find.

Best Ice Cream Stops

Finally, spring seems to have arrived! And with the warm weather, comes Ice Cream stands! We are lucky in our area to have some wonderful, local, ice cream shops. From Pakenham to Carp over to Carleton Place, wherever you are located, there is ice cream waiting for you just around the corner!

The Almonte Ice Cream Shop: Located in the heart of downtown Almonte, the Almonte Ice Cream shop offers hard and soft serve cones, milkshakes and sundaes. The perfect location is central to the downtown shopping area and just steps from the picturesque Almonte falls! It’s located on the former Peterson’s Ice Cream lot, which many people will remember from days gone by. Check out their Instagram for some photos of their delicious offerings.

Scoops Ice Cream: This small, traditional, ice cream stand is located right around the corner from the main street in Pakenham. They offer a variety of sundaes, smoothies, and frozen yogurt as well as hard & soft serve options with an array of toppings to choose from!

Carp Custom Creamery: The Carp Custom Creamery is worth the drive out to Carp. Not only do they offer amazing hard ice cream in every flavour imaginable, but they have the most beautiful ice cream cakes! They truly have the most amazing flavour selection, and they offer their ice cream in 1L tubs so that you can stock your home freezer full.

The Cheddar Stop: This wonderful little store located in Carleton Place has a great selection of hard serve ice cream, delicious milkshakes and fudge! Yes, fudge! This is a great spot to pick-up an ice cream cone as well as do your gift shopping. They are also fully stocked with Balderson and Maple Dale cheeses, baked goods and a selection of spices, sauces and unique treats!

The Daily Scoop: A local favourite in Almonte! The Daily Scoop makes amazing (and huge!) hard serve ice cream cones. They also have chocolate and vanilla soft serve, 32 flavours of milkshakes, frozen yogurt and sundaes. The Daily Scoop not only serves ice cream but is known for their homestyle breakfasts!

There is nothing better than a delicious, ice cream treat, on those warm spring days. If you get a chance to try out any of our local spots, make sure to share your choice with me on Instagram and Facebook!

Mother’s Day Gifts

Are you prepared for Mother’s Day? It’s just around the corner! Make sure your Mom is feeling loved and appreciated this year on her special day. If you haven’t purchased that perfect gift yet, I’ve put together a great list of ideas that will be sure to please.

Personalized Gift Basket: Gift baskets are a wonderful idea. An even better idea is getting together all sorts of your Mom’s favourite goodies to put together in one basket! Gift baskets allow you to add your personal touches, making them extra special. You could even create a theme: Mom’s favourite snack foods, favourite make-up/personal care items, favourite seeds & gardening accessories, the ideas are endless!

Spa Gift Certificate: I’m not a huge fan of giving out gift certificates as they can seem impersonal. But, a gift certificate to the spa is a totally different story! Moms always need some time to decompress, and what better way to allow her to do this, than to send her off for a day at the spa! You could look in to a traditional spa or opt for something unique like Le Nordik near Chelsea!

A Homemade Gift: There are some great homemade gift ideas out there, ones that actually produce practical gifts! Log onto Pinterest and search “DIY Mother’s Day gifts” and you’ll be flooded with a wide range of tutorials on how to create that one-of-a-kind gift. This type of gift is also a great way to get the kids involved.

Take Mom out for a Meal: Material gifts are nice but taking Mom out for a meal and spending some quality time with her can be just as appreciated! Choose one of her favourite restaurants or try something new! Brunch is always a great idea on Mother’s Day. Add some flowers to her day and you’ll be all set!

Make her a Homemade Brunch: Invite mom over for a homemade meal! It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, a simple pancake breakfast (with real maple syrup! will be sure to tell your mom how much she means to you. Add a fresh bouquet to the table and a personalized Mother’s Day card to top it all off!

How ever you choose to pamper your mom this Mother’s Day, she will surely to know how much she is appreciated. Visit my Facebook page next Sunday to share “how you celebrated Mom” this year!

Best Places to Buy Shoes Locally

Spring is finally here, which means, putting away all of that winter gear and digging out your summer apparel. You may realize you’re in need of some new warm weather footwear, but where should you go locally to shop for a new pair of shoes? Fortunately, we are surrounded by a number of great options!

Crush Marketplace: Located in downtown Almonte, this wonderful boutique offers a variety of stylish, good quality footwear. They have been evolving since 2011 and have a full shop of not only footwear, but accessories, clothing and gift items. Additionally, you can shop from home via their online shop! I LOVE their Fitflop options, so be sure to check those out!

Vamos Outdoors: Another wonderful Almonte shop! Vamos Outdoors is your local outdoor wear expert, including quality clothing and footwear options. You’ll be all set for years to come with some of the well-known brands they have in shop including: Merrell, Bogs, Keen, Sorel and Blundstone’s.

Graham’s Shoes: Customer service that can’t be beat! Graham’s shoes has rave reviews on their customer service and product. Located in downtown Carleton Place, this wonderful local shoestore has been keeping local feet in foot wear for many, many years. It is truly the only place in the area that you can find quality, comfortable shoes. Carrying brands such as: Clarks, Rockport and Birkenstock they are the perfect spot to find your everyday footwear.

Brown Shoe Factory Outlet: You read correctly, it’s an outlet!! Selling Naturalizer shoes as well as bags and accessories, this one-of-a-kind store is a great place to purchase quality shoes at a discounted price. You’ll be able to load up on all of your spring and summer footwear at their amazing prices! The Brown Shoe Factory Outlet is located in Perth in an old factory turned boutique business strip mall.

Likkuid Sole: A relatively new shoe store option, Likkuid Sole opened its doors in downtown Perth in 2017. They have a wide variety of stylish, quality footwear as well as yoga & workout wear, accessories and more. Additionally, they have a men’s apparel section!

There you have it! The perfect list of local shopping locations for completing your wardrobe this spring. Where to start?! Don’t forget to share your purchase with me on Facebook or Instagram! I’ll be sure to share mine.

Things to do on Easter Weekend!

Easter is right around the corner! We are so fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful communities, each offering their own version of a celebration of the annual holiday. Whether you’re from Carleton Place, Almonte, Perth or Pakenham, there will be a great event going on for you and your family to attend! Here are some of the things local communities will be offering this weekend:
Fulton’s Pancake House & Sugar Bush – Easter Weekend Celebration: Located just outside of Pakenham, Fulton’s will be hosting a four-day long event. This wonderful venue is home to a pancake house/restaurant, complete with a “maple” gift shop and has a large area outside for everyone to explore and play! Keep an eye on their Facebook page, apparently the Easter Bunny may be dropping in over the weekend!
Destination Almonte Presents: The Great Egg Hunt: Join a group of businesses in downtown Almonte for their first ever “Egg Hunt”! The festivities begin at 10:00AM on Saturday, April 20th at Kentfield Kids. Participants will receive a free tote complete with your scavenger hunt details. Did I mention there will be prizes!?! This is sure to be a great event.
Carleton Place’s Annual Bunny Run: On Saturday, April 20th, the Easter Bunny will be visiting downtown Carleton Place, in this annual event know as the “Bunny Run”! Beginning at 11:00 a.m., children can collect candy from participating businesses and visit with the Easter Bunny. This event is put on yearly and is always a hit.
Perth Tourism presents the 7th Annual Easter Egg Hunt: Bring your basket! Starting at 11:00 a.m. sharp on Saturday, April 20th, the community of Perth will be hosting their Annual Easter Egg Hunt. Stewart Park will host a variety of family entertainment including children’s music, balloon artist clowns, the Perth fire truck and much more!
Easter weekend is always such a great way to get out and enjoy what your community has to offer. Take advantage of the event in your area and celebrate! Remember to share your Easter weekend festivities with me on Facebook.