Best Date Night Recommendations

It can be challenging to find new and exciting “date night” activities in our small communities. I’ve come up with a great list of local things that would be wonderful to add to your calendar for date night!

Dinner & a stroll on the Riverwalk: Enjoy one of downtown Almonte’s many wonderful restaurants and then take a stroll down the Riverwalk boardwalk. The walking path starts in behind the Old Town Hall and takes you on a beautiful scenic route following the Mississippi River. During the warmer months, this is truly the perfect evening and best way to experience downtown Almonte

Bowling in Carleton Place: Did you know there is a bowling alley in downtown Carleton Place? The bowling alley has been there for many years but was recently purchased and given a modern make-over by its new owners. Chasin’ Turkeys Bowling Alley is a great place to spend the evening with your significant other. They offer snacks and drinks (including alcoholic) for purchase as well as shoe rentals. This unique date night is a must!

Board Games at Almonte’s Mirco-Brewery: Crooked Mile Brewery offers a one-of-a-kind experience in Almonte. They welcome you to bring in your own food to enjoy with one of their many craft beer choices. They have a selection of board games that you can play while you enjoy your food and drinks. What a great way to spend an evening bonding.

Take a drive out to Burnstown or Calabogie: If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, the drive out to Calabogie & Burnstown is truly beautiful. There are a number of different routes you can take, all of which are scenic. Both small towns have a number of great little cafes and restaurants.

This unique list is a good start on things that you can add to your date night calendar! Now you just have to make the choice of which experience to indulge first!

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, without Drinking Green Beer!

Everyone loves St. Patrick’s Day! But, not everyone wants to celebrate by drinking the St. Patrick’s Day staple “Green Beer”. Here are some wonderful, non-alcoholic, alternatives to joining in on the celebrations!

Start the day off by making green pancakes: Start the celebrations early! Using your favourite pancake recipe, add a bit of green food colouring, and voila! You have St. Patrick’s Day worthy pancakes to start your day off.

Do a Green craft with the kids: This is a wonderful way to involve the whole family in your celebrations, even the youngest members! Pinterest is full of great “Green” craft ideas, including things like: make your own green slime, create a fruit loop rainbow, marshmallow shamrock stamping, creating a pot for the end of the rainbow and much, much more.

Host a St. Patrick’s Day tea party: Your tea party could be for your adult friends, your children and their friends or invite your family friends! Start by decking out your home with St. Patty’s Day decor; lucky shamrock garland, paper shamrock centrepieces and green fabric wreaths. Have everyone wear their festive, green attire and incorporate green colour in to all of your favourite finger food. Make up a pot of green coloured tea (add a drop of food colouring into any flavour of tea) and you’ll be all set to celebrate.

Participate in Ottawa’s St. Patrick’s Day Road Race: On Saturday March 16th, the Ottawa Irish Rugby Club will be hosting their annual one and two mile races. Both races end at Lansdowne Park (just in time for Beau’s annual party if you’re feeling extra adventurous). All participants are encourages to dress in costumes to show off their Irish pride! If you’re not up for the run, you are able to watch the event and cheer on the participants. The costumes are always entertaining!

Attend the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Every year, Ottawa celebrates this Irish holiday by putting on a parade. This year will be their 37th annual, and will start at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 16th at Ottawa City Hall. The parade heads out onto Elgin Street, continues onto Laurier, goes South down Bank Street and eventually ends around 12:00 p.m. at Lansdowne in the Glebe neighbourhood. This is another great way for the entire family to celebrate!

I haven’t quite decided how I’ll be celebrating this year, but the above list gives me many options to think about! Make sure to post photos of your celebrations to Facebook and Instagram! I’ll be keeping an eye out for them! (And don’t forget to play Irish music!  There is nothing that makes you smile like listening to songs about unicorns and things!!)


Best Things to do with the Kids over the March Break!

While the winter seems to have gone and on, and Christmas seems like a lifetime ago, we are already at the March Break which can only mean one thing – even to those without kids in school – that Spring is just around the corner!
In case you find yourself home during this week of March, looking for a way to entertain your kids (or grandkids as in my case), check out these great local offerings to get us through the next week.

Free Public Skating: Local arenas will be offering free public skate times during the March Break. Both the Almonte and Pakenham arena have scheduled skates each week day, from Monday to Friday between 1:00 – 3:00. Just bring your skates and have some fun Kid’s World in Carleton Place: If the weather doesn’t allow you to be outside, head on over to Carleton Place and let the kids expend some energy with a day pass to Kid’s World, in the Industrial Park off of Townline Road. Closed Mondays, they are open the rest of the week from 9-12:00 p.m. and 4:00 – 8:00 p .m. on weekdays, and from 10:00 – 7:00 p.m. on weekends.
Fulton’s Maple Sugar Bush: Located at 399 Sugar Bush Way between Pakenham and Almonte is open daily during the March break, from 9-3:00 on weekdays, and 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on the weekends. I am guessing it might be slightly less busy through the week, depending on the weather.
Daily they offer walking trails (no dogs please) for walkers, snowshoers and nordik skiiers. They even have some adult snowshoes to borrow. They have a self-guided Heritage Maple Path to teach you about the history of tapping trees and making maple syrup. Visit the Sugar Camp and see how syrup is made today – and pray that the sap is running by then! There are Trail Games and a Tobagganing Hill, and don’t forget the cafeteria with home-made pancakes, sausages, bacon and baked beans. Don’t want a full meal? No problem – but don’t leave without buying a sample of their maple taffy or maple cotton candy.

Mississippi Mills Youth Centre: In Almonte has a week of “day camp” ideas planned. The camp is available for kids between 10-18 years of age, with a variety of activities from tie-dying of shirts, to a trip to Extreme Trampoline. Times are between 11-5 each day, with a different charge each day depending on the activities. Registration before March 8, 2019. Check them out on Facebook @MississippiMillsYouthCentre.

Beckwith Township Day/Sports Camp: Two different camps being offered by Beckwith Township. They were offering a fun camp called LEGO Mindstorms Robotics Workshop for the budding scientist between the ages of 8-14, but it’s full!
Day Camp for little ones from 4-8 is offering a week filled with fun activities, and for the older kids from 9-13, there is a Sports Camp offering competitive activities that will help develop motor skills & knowledge of various sports. For more information about any of these camps, call the Beckwith Township Office at 613-257-1539.

Now, I just need to figure out what I am going to do with the little darlings in my life. I am going to pick the sunniest day there is this week and head outdoors. We are just so cooped up feeling – need to get some vitamin D and some sunshine! Hope to see you around.

Best Coffee Shops Around…

Best Coffee Shops Around!

We have lots of local options for “coffee dates”, either as a way to catch up with friends, or for a business meeting with clients.  While there are lots of “chain” coffee shops in the area, it’s nicer to be able to support local owners – people just like you and me, who live and work in the area.  Owners who you will bump into at the grocery store, ore meet in the line-up at the bank, and see them at the soccer field with their kids (or grandkids!)

Below is a list of some of my favourite local coffee shops, that you absolutely must try!

Equator: Located just at the edge of Almonte, as you approach from Ottawa, Equator has turned into a growing concern.  They started out as a local “roaster” in 1998, sourcing fair-trade, organic beans through Cooperative Coffee, trading directly with the farmer cooperatives and eliminating much of the “middleman/red-tape”.  With more than 20 years in the business, they have experienced much change and growth, and recently completed a rehab project which doubled their space in Almonte to now include the café, the roastery and a coffee-lab for training purposes.

Their menu continues to grow as well – so you can expect to find a variety of blends being brewed, as well as specialty coffees, specialty teas, fresh baking from Baker Bob or Sweet-Cheeks Kitchen gluten-free treats.  The expansion included new food offerings such as pizza, wine and beer…  more than just a coffee shop!  They are still famous for their “Freakin Good” coffee…  which is one of my favourite blends.

They have expanded services to a shop in Westboro Village, at the NAC in 2018, and a coffee truck starting in 2019.  Even if you don’t live local, it’s well worth a weekend drive to experience Equator.

North Market Almonte: Looking for something a little more “main street”, then stop into North Market, literally in the middle of Mill Street in Almonte.  Amanda and Rick Herrara are an amazing couple who we have watched grow their business, and food offerings, over the last several years.  They started at the Almonte Farmers Market several years ago, providing delicious summer breakfasts and baking, and preserves, and have quickly outgrown their space in an artist cooperative to move into their own restaurant – North Market.  Open daily they offer breakfast and lunch meals, with plenty of home-baked treats and serve “Fluid Solar Coffee” roasted in near-by Clayton Village.  

Baker Bob:   Another local Almonte “fixture”, is Baker Bob’s bakery on Mill Street.  Baker Bob (Graff) has been serving up coffee and buns for more than 20 years to Almontonians.  Easy to spot with his striped canopy, and wooden sign, Baker Bob provides a small seating area for you to enjoy his own blend of Equator coffee “Baker Bob’s Blend”, with a variety of baked-on-site treats from date squares and peanut butter cookies, to chocolate croissants and danishes, to butter tarts – with and without raisins!  Bob is closed on Sundays, presumably to rest his “buns”.

Under Pressure Coffee House:  One of my favourite go-to spots in Carleton Place, located in the mall on Landsdowne Avenue in Carleton Place.  With a variety of coffee from lattes to americanos to cappuccinos, and specialty teas, the fresh-baked loaves and muffins and cookies will tempt your palate.  She also offers a daily soup, and delicious sandwiches made fresh on site, but I mostly go here for coffee meetings.  Owner, Cara, is happy to help you make a selection of the best baking of the day!

Gathering Grounds Café:  Formerly known as the Owl Café and located at 135 Bridge Street in Carleton Place, open 7 days a week, 8:30-4:30.  This is a social enterprise, providing employment for youth and adults with learning disabilities, where they can learn a skill and build confidence, while providing hot and iced coffees, teas, smoothies, juices, as well as chilli, soups and sandwiches.

So, the next time you need to meet a friend, or have a business meeting, think local and support one of our locally run businesses.  You won’t be disappointed.