If you’ve heard of Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, then you have heard of Almonte. Or at least know of it as it was the town Naismith was born. What you may not know is that this cute little town just 20 minutes west of Ottawa is filled with unique, fab shops and restaurants, a vibrant arts community and much more. On the exterior it’s like stepping back in time; the interior filled with contemporary treasures.
I spent a wonderful few hours in the quaintness of Almonte on Saturday. I had breakfast plans to catch up with a girlfriend who I used to work with. We decided on the Mill Street Crepe Company. It did not disappoint.
|Tomato fennel soup with a ham, asparagus & gruyere crêpe|
We were seated at a window overlooking the street with sun rays filling the room. We chatted over coffee then committed to placing an order. The daily special sounded too good to pass up so we both went for it: cream of tomato fennel soup with a ham, asparagus and gruyere cheese filled crêpe. My mouth is watering just thinking about our meal again. It was sinful. The perfect brunch combination.
Karen and I took turns sharing stories, more so the other could enjoy what was in front of us. Our server was friendly, attentive and engaging. She checked in numerous times even though the restaurant had filled.
What impressed me even more was when the owner came over. He didn’t just ask if everything was ok. He noticed a draft and wanted to ensure we were comfortable. He ensured the food wasn’t just OK but that we were happy with the quality. The attention he provided us in the 22 seconds he was at our table topped the already great experience for me. I would absolutely return to this café.
|Greeting at cash of Hello Yellow|
A couple of hours after arriving in the restaurant we toured the charming main street. There is something peaceful about no sky scrapers or modern designs overwhelming the senses. The exteriors are preserved filled with unique and eclectic finds. Hello Yellow is my absolutely favourite shop in Almonte. Essentially it’s Etsy in a box. Emily (don’t forget: small town where everyone knows your name) carries the cutest, one-of-a-kind accessories and home décor. Of course I did not leave empty handed. I needed to support the local economy after all.
There are lots of other unique shops in Almonte. The Tin Barn Market is a neat store that is filled with vintage - you guessed it: tin – items. You can’t go to the Tin Barn Market without being sucked into Bob’s Bakery next door. The aroma is like a hook with the bakers on the other end reeling you in. There are a few antique stores which are great to go treasure hunting in. You’ll also find some funky clothing & shoe stores. I even saw a Minion on the main street on Saturday. So truly, something for everyone.
|Waterfalls at the end of the River Walk|
After you have your fill of goodies and want to burn a few calories off, head to the River Walk. Almonte has built a boardwalk along the Mississippi River that runs through the middle of the town. I stopped and got lost in the falls for a while. There is something absolutely mesmerizing about cascading water.
Almonte is also renowned for its fantastic festival lineup. A popular one is Puppets Up! an international puppet festival entertaining adults and children alike. For the music lovers there are Celtfest and the North Lanark Highlands Games.
No matter what your style or tastes are, there is something for everyone in Almonte. If you’re planning a staycation this summer or looking for a quick day trip, I would highly recommend putting this cozy little town on your to-do list.0