Fall In The Ottawa Valley
Bring on sweater weather. Fall is my favourite time of the year, and there’s no way I’m letting Covid ruin that. Fall in the Ottawa Valley brings some stunning scenic views and fun things to do with your “social bubble” and you're not going to want to miss out on anything. I’ve got a list of fall activities in the Ottawa Valley that will (pumpkin) spice up your life this season.
1) Pumpkin Picking at Hugli's Blueberry Ranch
Located in Pembroke, Hugli's Blueberry Ranch is an award winning agri-tourism attraction. Hugli's has always been one of my favourite places to visit in the fall. The store is filled with beautiful fall decor and delicious treats you can purchase. On weekends they offer wagon rides to the fields, where you can pick your own pumpkin. This is an awesome way to spend a beautiful October afternoon with your friends and family.
2) MacLaren Orchards
Maclaren's offers a unique apple orchard experience on Burnstown Road in Renfrew. They have a charming store where you can purchase apples, fresh cider, pies, maple syrup, honey and more. MacLaren's offers 16 different types of apples throughout the season. You definitely want to stop here for some farm fresh produce.
3) Have A Shop Local Day
Shopping is the perfect activity for any season. In the Ottawa Valley, we have some incredible locally owned shops, boutiques and stores. Towns such as Renfrew, Pembroke and Arnprior have a great main street shopping environment. If you're in Renfrew, you need to check out Pick It Fence. You will absolutely love this boutique that offers trendy clothing, unique home decor and gifts. They have a great supply of fall clothing as well as decor and are beginning to release their Christmas supply too. In Golden Lake, The Cottage Cup is known for their amazing coffee beans and loose leaf teas. They also provide shoppers with lake wear apparel, ladies fashion, pyjamas and more. In Pembroke, Cork and Coral is a new trend-wear boutique that has a wide selection of clothing, footwear and accessories. The stores listed haven't even scratched the surface of all that the Ottawa Valley has to offer for shopping. I definitely recommend taking an afternoon to discover it for yourself and get some serious retail therapy in.
4) Have Dinner at The Whitewater Brewery
The Whitewater Brewing Company is one of the Ottawa Valley's local breweries. "Brewed by friends, for friends," the brewery has the perfect mix of work and play and offers you a lunch or dinner experience like no other. The Brewery has an awesome alcohol menu that makes for a great night out with your bubble. And of course, their food menu is as good as their alcohol menu and the two compliment each other perfectly. They have a seasonal menu with unique options that will satisfy your taste buds. They also offer a lot of diet sensitive options which is perfect if you're like me and have food sensitivities. The Whitewater Brewing Company owns two locations in the Valley, one in Cobden and one in Forester's Fall's. The location in Forester's Fall's is closed for the season so make sure you book your reservation in Cobden.
5) Take A Road Trip To Barry's Bay
Barry's Bay is located in The Madawaska Valley. It is a picturesque town with beautiful scenic views that turn so bright and colourful in the fall. I definitely recommend grabbing your camera and taking a trip that way. While you're in the area, make sure to stop at the Wilno Tavern for lunch and check out the unique store Grumblin Granny's to complete your trip.
6) Shaw Woods
The Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre is a gorgeous nature preserve located on Bulger Road. It is especially beautiful in the fall when the trees are changing and turning beautiful colours. This location has a 4 km hiking trail through a protected area of old growth forest. The trail takes you to a beautiful lookout overlooking the Snake River. Walking through this forest is incredibly breathtaking and calming. You can see trees that are 200 years old or more. It is one of the few untouched natural wonders left so I would definitely recommend exploring this site.
7) Algonquin Park
We are so fortunate in the Ottawa Valley to live so close to Algonquin Park. Fall is an amazing time of year to visit, since the fall colours are so breathtaking. The secret is definitely out about how beautiful the park is in the fall, with thousands of people visiting every year. This year due to the recent pandemic, Algonquin Park has the safety of visitors in mind and has implemented measures to address overcrowding and promote physical distancing in the park spaces and buildings. Some of my personal favourite places in the park to visit in the fall would have to be Barron Canyon and High Falls. Going for a hike is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the natural scenic views the park has to offer this fall.
8) Have Lunch At A Local Bakery or Cafe
We have a wide variety of locally owned bakery's and cafe's in the Valley that will satisfy your sweet tooth and caffeine needs. The Bonnechere Bakery in Renfrew is a family owned bakery and bistro that makes fresh farm style bread, soup and salads everyday. They have a wide selection of gluten and dairy free options perfect for anyone with dietary restrictions. In Calabogie, Oh-el-la Cafe recently opened and has received rave reviews. Their menu includes delicious coffee and food options that you can enjoy on an outside patio with a beautiful lakeside view. The Oh-el-la atmosphere is friendly and welcoming and the service is exceptional.
9) Eagles Nest
The Eagles Nest Lookout is located outside of the town of Calabogie in the Greater Madawaska area. It offers a gorgeous scenic lookout that is like no other in the Ottawa Valley. On this hike you will find a 1.5 km trail along an old logging road that climbs gradually uphill, through the woods, leading to a spectacular lookout at the top of the cliff. The hiking trail to get to the lookout is short and not too strenuous so it is perfect if you’re looking for an easy hike.
10) Go For A Bike Ride
Biking is a great way to get some exercise and explore the Ottawa Valley. Across the Valley, there are numerous mountain biking trails to challenge oneself, with many of the snowmobile trails converting to multi-use trail systems beyond the winter season. Cyclists can also enjoy off-road recreational riding along abandoned railway beds that include the K & P Trail and new Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail. Check out this link to explore what the Valley has to offer on two wheels.
With only two weeks left of October and Christmas just around the corner (I know, yikes), it is so important to take advantage of this beautiful time of year. We are so fortunate to live in a place that has such incredible natural beauty, so make sure you take in all the Ottawa Valley has to offer this fall.
Happy exploring everyone!