As the wind grows ever colder, and the days shorter – there is an awakening of sorts in our collective psyche. For as long as recorded history, human beings have seemingly shared a common observation as summer turns to fall – and the long dark quickens its approach. [Read more…]
Autumn is here, and although summer has come to pass, a stunning array of colourful beauty awaits. Already, the days grow shorter, if ever so slightly and the night’s breeze carries a cool whisper of the next changing of the season. The vivid emerald shades of summer are giving way to a breathtaking palette of fiery fall colours that will envelop the region in an explosion of colour and beauty.
As the fall approaches, there is a collective celebration all throughout South Eastern Ontario in honour of the coming harvest, friends, family and most importantly community. Historically, celebrating the harvest season is an important tradition that strengthens our social bond and reminds us that we won’t be facing the cold embrace of winter alone.
Collected here, for your reading pleasure is a fun assortment of fantastic fall festivities and local farms to visit in The Great Waterway this year!
Cornwall & the Counties
Explore a Visual Wonderland at Upper Canada Village’s Pumpkinferno
The brilliant and visually stunning spectacle: Pumpkinferno makes a triumphant return to Upper Canada Village this fall. Take a wonderful stroll through a beautiful outdoor exhibit consisting of 7,000 hand crafted pumpkins that illuminate the night with a warm and gorgeous ambience, arranged along a kilometre-long path situated within the village’s vivid Victorian atmosphere.
Pumpkinferno is only open for select dates between September 29th and October 29th, 2017. This year’s event will have a fun Canada 150 theme that showcases Canadian culture amid a wonderland of glowing pumpkins.
Rideau Heritage Route
Take the Squad Apple Picking at Mountain Orchards
Apple picking with friends and family is a staple and authentically Canadian autumn activity. For the past 44 years, the Lyall and Hobson families have been the proud owners of Mountain Orchards. Originally from Manotick, the families purchased this historic farm in 1973 pursuing a simpler way of life well away from the urban sprawl.
Today, they continue to welcome visitors to their orchards each season. In addition to several varieties of apples throughout the season, Mountain Orchards also has a bakery store that’s filled with delicious delights!
Brockville & 1000 Islands
Score Some Apples, Cider and Baked Treats from Hall’s Apple Market
A short 8-minute drive from downtown Brockville will land you at Hall’s Apple Market – your one stop apple shop in the 1000 Islands region!
Kingston & 1000 Islands
Get Lost in The Wolfe Island Corn Maze
Another staple fall activity is visiting a good ol’ fashioned corn maze. For the past 16 years, visitors have flocked to the famous Wolfe Island Corn Maze for a fun fall adventure. For a closer look at the corn maze, and the owners – check out this blog post by Jordan Whitehouse
This year, the Wolfe Island Corn Maze has two uniquely designed mazes to discover along with a refreshment area in between called the Oasis Rest Stop. Wolfe Island Corn Maze sits on a large 50-acre property that is prime for a variety of fun activities for the whole family!
Corn Mazes, Pumpkin Patches and More at Fruition Berry Farm
When it comes to fun outdoor activities – you need not look further than Fruition Berry Farm in Kingston. From pumpkin picking to wagon rides and a creative and unique corn field adventure – there’s a whole lot happening at Fruition this fall!
This year’s theme for their famed corn maze is “Celebrating Canada 150.” Also – pro tip for any teachers who may be reading this – they do school visits!
Fruition is a great place to bring a picnic lunch and make a day trip of it. After your visit, make sure to pick up some delicious honey, preserves or apple cider to bring home!
Always Something Happening at Glocca Morra Farms
Formerly a dedicated dairy farm, Kingston Ontario’s Glocca Morra Farms has expanded to include several diverse agricultural offerings in its six generations of farming. The Doyle family’s farm, located on Highway 15 very close to the 401 is in a prime location on the Limestone City’s growing East end.
Chickens and a greenhouse now adorn the veteran farm, along with a robust roadside market, a food truck and even a creative craft studio! As the fall season approaches, Glocca Morra is a great place to stop to visit some cows, support a local independent farm and even pick your own pumpkins!
Stay tuned to Glocca Morra’s Facebook page, as they do several events throughout the year; including art classes as well as giant pumpkin carving and family fun events in October!
Celebrate AppleFest With Waddell Apples Orchard & Bakery
Waddell Apples has been in operation since 2003. However, farming has been a part of the family for well over a century. Today, the farm uses sustainable and ecologically sound agricultural practices – and enjoy sharing the fruits of their labour with the public every year during the late summer to fall harvest.
Every year in September, Waddell Apples holds AppleFest, a community fundraising initiative that features family entertainment, live music, orchard wagon tours, a corn roast and much more. The 2017 event has not been announced yet, so be sure to stay tuned to their Facebook page for more info on AppleFest, and a slew of other exciting events at the farm!
Get Scared Out of Your Pants at Fort Henry
For thrill seekers and horror aficionados alike – there is likely nothing as exquisitely blood curdling as a trip to Fort Henry National Historic Site to experience Fort Fright. Prepare yourself for a spine tingling tour into the darkest depths of the fort’s undercroft, filled with marvellous macabre moments and memories you won’t soon forget!
As an added bonus for those who long for thought provoking history, and paranormal intrigue, visitors can also partake in the Haunted Walks Experience at Fort Henry. Take a guided tour through this immense 19th Century fort for a unique and thrilling adventure of the supernatural variety.
To be completely honest, I’m a little freaked out already.
Land O Lakes
Take a Drive to Spring Meadow Orchards, Adolphustown
Located on the scenic Loyalist Parkway (Highway 33) Spring Meadow Orchards has been a choice destination for apple picking and family fun since 1969. Spring Meadow is a short and beautiful 35-minute drive West of Kingston, situated close to the Glenora Island Ferry and Prince Edward County.
The main orchard on the farm today was grafted from the famous Macintosh apple originating in the 1900’s. There are now several varieties of apple growing at Spring Meadow, as well as other fresh fruits and vegetables.
Spring Meadow holds an extra-special place in my memory, as it’s where I went apple picking as a kid with my family, and on class trips.
Rideau Heritage Route
A Unique Experience at Wendy’s Country Market – Lyndhurst, ON
Amid the scenic charm at work throughout the Rideau Heritage Route is the unique and wonderful Wendy’s Country Market. Located in Lyndhurst, this market has been featuring the produce of over 70 local farming operations for the past decade. In fact, on August 27th, 2017 Wendy’s Country Market celebrated their 10th anniversary!
Aside from an ample produce market, there is a scrumptious array of food entrees available at Wendy’s. Visitors can pick their own food, and then have it prepared for them in a fantastic farm to table dining experience. During the recent On The Way campaign, our guest blogger Melissa Eapen visited Wendy’s mobile market – and you can read all about it in her awesome blog post!
Prince Edward County
Visit Campbell’s Orchard & Country Market – Carrying Place, ON
Located close to Rednersville in Prince Edward County, Campbell’s Orchard & Country Market is a huge farm with a lot to offer visitors. The farm’s owners Colin and Dianne Campbell have been in business for over 30 years and love to welcome families to their farm. They also help students and visitors alike learn more about agriculture through a variety school tours and wagon-ride adventures!
Campbell’s is a fantastic destination for a range of harvest goodies. They grow over 19 varieties of apple, in addition to fruits and veggies and a robust on-site bakery. Within the bakery, you’ll find a cornucopia of delicious items that can be made to order or purchased during your visit! They also have a great selection of jams and preserves to stock the pantry with!
Have an Adult Beverage (or two) at County Cider Company – Waupoos, ON
We’ve touched on several apple picking venues in this post, each of them fantastic in their own way. There is another Apple-related activity, however, that takes place long after they are picked. And pressed. And fermented! Oh, yes indeed! I’m talking about sweet, delicious cider (the one for the adults) – and Prince Edward County is home to some of the best cideries in Canada.
Well known among them, is The County Cider Co. They have been specialising in delicious hard ciders since 1995, and have won several awards over the years. County Cider Co. is located on a gorgeous plot of land that overlooks Lake Ontario. They offer fantastic educational tastings for groups or individuals and also serve up some amazing food to enjoy while taking in the view.
Bay of Quinte
Join the Festivities at Belleville’s Flavours of Fall Festival
The Flavours of Fall Festival is a spectacular celebration of the fall harvest, held in historic downtown Belleville. Ran and organized by the Belleville Chamber of Commerce, this festival is ideal for families, and will feature an entire day of fun activities, several vendors from the community as well as pony rides, a petting zoo, food tastings and so much more!
The 2017 event is taking place in the former Quinte Hotel’s parking lot on September 30th from 10 am to 3 pm. For additional details, follow the Flavours of Fall Facebook page!
Celebrate the Harvest Season!
As the leaves begin to fall, and the breeze grows ever colder, there is no better time to pack up the car with friends and family and get out for a fun road trip to a local farm, orchard or autumn festival! South Eastern Ontario has a ton of places where you can get your hands on some excellent harvest goodies, and meet the people who dedicate their lives to growing and making it!
I hope this post has provided you with some ideas, and inspiration to make the most of this fall season! As always, check out the Google Map below, which has, even more, epic places to go apple picking, or discover the amazing agricultural features here in The Great Waterway.
Until next time, thanks for reading!
Celebrate Harvest Season!
Explore South Eastern Ontario!
Here in The Great Waterway, there is a multitude of ways to have fun on the water ranging from paddling to boating, windsurfing, wakeboarding and beyond! [Read more…]
Not so long ago, I was writing a story about the incredible variety of adventures that take place beneath the 1000 Islands. Above the waves of the majestic St. Lawrence River, there is a venerable bounty of experiences to be had; both on the water, and dry land. From boating to camping, hiking, or cycling – there is no shortage of ways to plan a unique trip and forge memories that you will keep forever.
Lately, I’ve been truly inspired by the breathtaking panoramic landscapes and natural features that the 1000 Islands region is famous for. Seemingly endless emerald and blue vistas that stretch off into the distance like a world all its own. Sprawling forests, and gorgeous trails ripe for exploring. Scenic drives along the shoreline, and time spent out on the river. The wind in your face, the warmth of the sun and the sheer majesty of it all.
For this particular experience, we decided to create a custom day-trip and get a good sampling of the many ways to enjoy the 1000 Islands. My wife (photographer, and partner in story crafting): Heidi Csernak quickly set to work on planning a dynamic itinerary. Our primary goal with this story was to include some of the iconic attractions – while making sure to visit a few lesser known, but equally brilliant locations between Gananoque, and Mallorytown Landing.
Panache Bakery in Gananoque
Our trip begins in the Town of Gananoque, Ontario – the fabled Gateway to The Thousand Islands. Gananoque is a prime destination for vacationers, and a fantastic starting point to discover the captivating 1000 Islands region. Our first stop, was at the famous Panache Bakery to score ourselves a delectable déjeuner to go.
Upon entering this quaint storefront located on Gananoque’s main strip, you’ll be instantly taken by its small, bright and intimate format. It has an authentic “small town” feel with a classic and welcoming motif. After taking a few steps in, I was quickly drawn to the glimmering display case – behind which a sumptuous array of baked finery sat lovingly arranged.
Choosing from such a variety of tempting items was rather difficult. We chose a pair of delicious looking cheese croissants, as well as an apple turnover for Heidi – and a raspberry scone for myself. With our coffees and mouthwatering munchables in-hand we left the cafe and set out toward the 1000 Islands Parkway, and the next stop on our road trip.
A Peaceful Morning Picnic at Gray’s Beach
A short drive East along the parkway, and situated just past Gananoque is a picturesque little roadside park called Gray’s Beach. This rest area is an ideal spot to have a picnic and get a splendid first look at the St. Lawrence River.
This quaint little rest area sports a picnic shelter, tables and some great photo opportunities with a panoramic backdrop. On-site you’ll find a gazebo style picnic shelter and tables that overlook a gorgeous open area that leads to a natural stone stairway to the water’s edge.
After enjoying our breakfast and a short walk around Gray’s Beach, we were ready to get back on the road – to visit a particularly interesting location in Lansdowne, Ontario.
Explore a Natural Wonderland at Landon Bay Centre – Lansdowne
Landon Bay is a unique natural reserve that encompasses 225 acres of lush forested areas and brilliant walking trails that range in difficulty from easy to moderate. Nestled within the world famous Frontenac Arch Biosphere, Landon Bay is easily one of the best casual hiking areas I have ever visited.
There are five trails at Landon Bay, each of them unique in their way. The trail that we sampled was the Donevan Trail, which was marked by a mythical looking stone archway like something from the pages of a storybook. The arch was flanked by gorgeous flowers on either side and added to the already fantastic atmosphere.
From the Donevan Trail, we made a quick detour to the “Easy Trail.” The terrain was perfect for beginners, which lead to some fantastic views of the St. Lawrence River. Landon Bay would be ideal for spending an entire day exploring, hiking and enjoying the natural splendour at work all throughout this wonderful hidden gem.
I could have easily spent the remainder of the day trying to spot Osprey or large cargo ships from the lookout point – but it was time to continue our trip!
Feeling on Top of the World at The 1000 Islands Tower – Hill Island
Stretching 400 feet above the horizon of Hill Island Ontario is a familiar and world famous landmark known as the 1000 Islands Tower. I was particularly excited to visit this iconic destination because despite living in the area for most of my life, I had never actually visited the tower.
I had heard plenty of stories about the amazing views from the top – and now it was my turn to experience it for myself! I’ve explored the 1000 Islands from many angles over the years – but nothing would compare to what I witnessed after the quick elevator ride to the top of the tower.
As I stepped off the elevator and gazed out over the horizon, I was able to get a real appreciation of just how immense the 1000 Islands region truly is. Stretching in all directions for as far as the eye can see was a sprawling and vexing landscape that put it all into perspective. From up here, you can see exactly why we call this region The Great Waterway.
The tower has three observation levels – each offering some sensational views of the area in all directions. It was on the main observation level that we had the pleasure of meeting staff member John Raas, who was kind enough to point out key points of interest and share several fascinating stories about the 1000 Islands region that date back to long before Canada was colonized.
When the time came to continue our epic road trip, It was pretty hard to pry ourselves away from the tower’s spectacular view. After experiencing it first hand, I can say with confidence that a trip to the top of the 1000 Islands Tower is an essential attraction to visit – that gives you an authentic and awe inspiring introduction to this magnificent area of South Eastern Ontario.
Bodacious Burgers at Cornwall’s Pub – Rockport
After our exhilarating experience at The 1000 Islands Tower, we returned to ground level and made our way to the charming riverside hamlet of Rockport. Situated in the “Heart of the 1000 Islands”, Rockport is a very popular destination for travellers and boaters from far and wide. This historic village is a shining example of the storied St. Lawrence River lifestyle with a unique vintage appeal.
We were getting pretty hungry at this point, so we headed to Cornwall’s Pub post-haste, for a bite and a frosty beverage on their lovely patio. The menu at Cornwall’s Pub is fantastic, with a range of delicious choices and traditional pub favourites. We decided to each have a Boathouse Burger with cheese and bacon.
The burgers themselves were absolutely legit and certainly hit the spot. They were sourced from local Angus beef and made in-house. Nothing compares to a handcrafted burger made with local beef – and paired with a cold pint of craft beer. It made for a perfect lunch in the sunshine amid the bustle of travellers as they came and went from the cruise boats docking nearby.
Palaces and Palisades Cruise – Rockport Boat Line
With our appetites completely satisfied we made our way to the main event of the trip: a breathtaking two-hour sightseeing cruise with Rockport Boat Line.
The tour that we selected was the popular Palaces and Palisades Cruise; a stunning trip through the St. Lawrence River that would take us beneath the 1000 Islands International Bridge, around the legendary Boldt Castle and through a fabled stretch of luxurious cottage country known as Millionaire’s Row.
The Palaces and Palisades Cruise is nothing short of a photographer’s wonderland. From beginning to end, the tour is loaded with fantastic views from the water. It’s a thrilling sensation to stand at the bow (front) of the ship, feel the wind in your hair and be surrounded by absolute paradise.
Once we arrived at Millionaire’s row, the tour transformed into a cool marine version of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Some notable properties were Zavikon Island, which is home to the world’s shortest international bridge. Of course, the star of this showcase of elegant properties was Boldt Castle. The history behind this illustrious Rhineland castle is the ultimate fusion of both beauty and tragedy.
What stood out for me the most during this amazing cruise, was the sense of community out on the river. The passengers of nearly every boat that passed our vessel were all waving hello. From other travellers on tour boats to house boaters, jet-skiers and everything in between, there was an overwhelming sense of: “welcome!”
After returning to dry land, we decided to take a brief walking tour of the village. Rockport’s history goes back 200 years and was once a thriving shipbuilding port. Noteworthy landmarks are, of course, the Boathouse Inn and of course the rustic Rockport General Store. The stroll through Rockport is visually striking, with ornate murals that depict various eras throughout the hamlet’s two-century timeline.
Heidi and I were absolutely smitten with Rockport. This beautiful little town has a huge amount of intrigue and is now officially on my list of awesome weekend escapes.
Kick Back and Unwind at Mallorytown Landing
The final stop on our incredible road trip was the Thousand Islands National Park Visitor’s Centre located at Mallorytown Landing. As we arrived, the centre itself was closing, so we decided to walk along the surrounding trails and explore the park area.
Hugging the picturesque banks of the St. Lawrence River, Mallorytown Landing is a great spot for picnics with family or friends. There are well-maintained coal BBQ’s on-site as well as picnic areas and a delightful stone gazebo.
Along the pathway that leads to the water’s edge are several outdoor exhibits including commemorative stone carvings that honour the First Nations, and other exciting educational points of interest.
After a long and eventful day of exploring the enchanting 1000 Islands region, we were overjoyed to find a pair of Parks Canada’s iconic red Muskoka chairs, positioned conveniently right at the water. In the end, as the sun began to dip below the horizon; we were simply content to recline in those chairs, and unwind from the day’s adventures.
It was a most fitting end, to a completely unforgettable day.
Experience The Beauty of the 1000 Islands!
There is an endless list of fantastic ways to experience South Eastern Ontario. This story is but a small sampling of the premiere attractions and amazing destinations to choose from! As always, we’ve included a handy Google Map of this trip. Feel free to download it, and try this experience for yourself. Or, customise your own exciting journey and make it your own!
Until next time, thanks for reading!
*Photos: Heidi Csernak & Mike Hector
Discover The Great Waterway!
Plan a Memorable Trip of Your Own!
What a whirlwind month! When I was first approached to travel through The Great Waterway with the ‘On the Way’ team, I knew this would be a rare and unique opportunity. After 32 days of amazing moments, wonderful adventures and awesome food, I have no regrets, it was truly incredible.
For 32 days we hit the road and explored the regions of The Great Waterway, which include; The Bay of Quinte, Prince Edward County, Land O’Lakes, Rideau Heritage Route, Kingston 1000 Islands, Gananoque 1000 Islands, Brockville 1000 Islands, and Cornwall and the Counties. As a pretty seasoned traveller, if I’m not on an adventure, I’m planning one. For example, right before this trip, I was lucky enough to go to Iceland, then head to Vancouver for a few weeks. Now, after exploring The Great Waterway, I realize how much diversity we have right here in South Eastern Ontario. Now I don’t have to go far to discover tons of great things! I’m going to continue travelling through this part of Ontario, whether it’s hiking through Rock Dunder, taking a cruise through 1000 Islands, visiting breweries and vineyards; there’s so much to do and see right in our own backyard.
Here are some of my favourite stops along the Great Waterway:
Prince Edward County
Visiting Prince Edward County was a great way to kick off this campaign. This region is up and coming, with so many great things to see and do. A trip to The County can include everything from touring breweries and vineyards to seeing local artisans work to visiting quaint shops and so much more. With so many experiences to try, travellers are sure to find something that interests them, whether it’s adventure, relaxation or even a new hobby! While there, we were able to participate in many activities and one of my fondest memories was our visit to Parsons Brewing Company. The food was fantastic and the beer was delicious. We even had the incredible opportunity to talk with the owners about their inspiration behind the beer and brewery. Ever since visiting Parsons, I’ve been following them on Instagram and can’t wait to take a trip back.
Bay of Quinte
Admittedly, I had no idea how many things this region has to offer until stopping here – we had so much fun! First there was the incredible adrenaline rush that we had kayaking through in the region with Twiggy of Cruising Canoes and then wakeboarding for the first time at Trenchtown Wake Park. This region also had the cutest coffee shop called The Brake Room, which is also a bike shop. The coffee was great and the vibe was even better. While in Belleville, I had the best Indian food I’ve ever had in Ontario, at the Royal Haveli. The Bay of Quinte should definitely be a stop for any adventurer in South Eastern Ontario.
Ah, Land O’Lakes, our location where weather was not on our side. There were many stops on this trip that had to get rescheduled due to wet weather and unfortunately this happened a lot in this region. We were able to have a quick stop on Wolfe Island before the rain hit and I’m excited to go back to explore it more for myself. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to visit MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Co. It’s one of my favourite breweries, so this was an incredible experience! While there we were able to see the farm and taste some of their delicious beer. Luckily, in September, we will be back in this region for the #OnTheWay campaign, so check in then to catch all the things we will be exploring!
Kingston 1000 Islands
My oh my, exploring Kingston was a real treat. As a resident of Kingston, I find that many people often take the beautiful architecture and history of Kingston for granted. Having the opportunity to travel through Kingston like a tourist opened my eyes to a lot that Kingston has to offer. We were able to visit the Kingston Pen, which has been on my list of places that I wanted to visit. The architecture and history is absolutely incredible. If you haven’t visited the Pen yet, drop everything you’re doing and book a tour now!
The Kingston Food Tour was also a great experience and allowed us to taste food at many different locations in Kingston. The food was great but what I really appreciated, was learning about how many restaurants in Kingston use local suppliers for food.
Gananoque 1000 Islands
In this stunning region, we were able to explore by land, water and sky. We started by touring the area from above with 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours – so amazing! Then we saw the region by kayaking on the water. 1000 Islands Kayaking Co. made sure we had everything we needed to have a fantastic time paddling. We also spent time exploring the waterfront and driving through the area. It was incredible to see how beautiful this region is from every angle. Many people travel to waterfront properties and beaches in different countries, but Ontarians should definitely be spending their time here instead. The 1000 Islands is one of the most beautiful places on earth and there are so many fun things to do!
Brockville 1000 Islands & Rockport
This is the region where we finally had the opportunity to visit Boldt Castle! After hearing so much about it and seeing it from the sky, it was amazing to finally be able to set foot in this majestic castle. The castle and the island have an interesting history that includes a love story that’s both tragic and beautiful, read about it here.
One of the most thrilling parts of our entire trip was being able to visit Skywood Eco Adventure Park. Here, we navigated through the treetops on a series of adventure courses that included ropes and zip lines. It was a fun challenge and I definitely want to go back to try the expert course one day!
In Brockville, we were able to get a sneak peek of the Railroad Tunnel, which is an incredible location and is now open to the public!
Rideau Heritage Route
The best way to describe this region of Ontario is by comparing it to a remote oasis. Filled with beautiful small towns and peaceful nature, it’s the perfect destination if you want to spend some time outside. Rock Dunder, which recently became a popular go-to spot because of numerous posts on Instagram, is a great spot to hike and see awesome water views. If you’re a fan of cliff jumping, there’s a great spot to do this at Rock Dunder.
Another great spot here is Jones Falls; I’m a huge fan of history, so I loved that local historical interpreters teach visitors about the area. There are many areas to explore in this region, making it a fun adventure for all ages!
And last, but certainly not least…
Cornwall and The Counties
I just need to start off by saying I dream about the poutine we had in Cornwall, I even wrote about it in the blog for that region. Needless to say, it was the best poutine I’ve ever had and totally worth a visit to Cornwall to try it at Sheep Head’s Bistro.
Being a penchant for history, I loved that we were able to visit the Historic Cornwall Jail. It was interesting to learn about the prisoners and executions that took place there. Another wonderful spot to visit and learn about history is Upper Canada Village. Plus it’s always a fun time for any age group!
So there you have it. 32 days travelling with someone who I didn’t know at all beforehand and it was a total blast! Now, I tell everyone how amazing this region is and I totally recommend traveling here. Before booking your next trip anywhere else, consider making this region your destination location. There’s so much to do, so many great people to meet, local food to taste, and so much more! Follow The Great Waterway on Instagram to see what all this region has to offer!
In the coming months, our full video adventure will be released. Be sure to check back soon!
Day 24: July 26th, 2017
We started our day by having breakfast at Island View Restaurant in Rockport. We sat on the patio that overlooks the water and enjoyed the beautiful view. We arrived just after the restaurant opened, so it was peaceful and quiet. We then walked over to the Rockport Boat Line, which meant I was finally about to take the tour to see the inside of Boldt Castle! (If you’ve had a chance to read my Gananoque post, I’ve basically seen Boldt Castle from every angle – both sky and water – but haven’t yet been inside). The smooth ride to Boldt Castle took only 30 minutes on the Rockport Boat and I’m happy that it was a short ride because it meant we arrived at Boldt Castle quickly. If you’re not familiar with Boldt Castle, it is the physical memento of a tragic love story.
Time for a quick history lesson! Bold Castle was created by George C. Boldt, the millionaire proprietor of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. He loved spending time near 1000 Islands and as such he wanted to create a grand castle as a display of his love for his wife, Louise. Starting in 1900, construction began on the 120 room castle that would be six stories high. In January 1904, Louise passed away, leaving Boldt broken hearted. He couldn’t imagine his castle without Louise and commanded workers to immediately stop construction on the castle. From 1904 to 1977, the castle was left to be destroyed by vandals. The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority then acquired the property and have put millions of dollars into rehabilitating Boldt Castle.
When we arrived at Boldt Castle, we quickly went through customs and finally were able to see the castle! It kind of felt like seeing the castle from Beauty and the Beast- it is incredibly majestic and beautiful. We walked into the castle and toured various rooms and reconstructions of the castle. It was interesting to see the contrast of the rehabilitated rooms of the tower, compared to the old rooms that had not been redone and were still covered in graffiti. I personally hope that the entire castle doesn’t get rehabilitated, just so everyone can see what the castle looked like compared to the rehabilitation. Both are beautiful, in different ways.
The ride back to Canada took us an hour, as the boat takes a different path to get back to Rockport. After docking, we quickly changed and headed to Skywood Eco Adventure Park, which was by far the most adrenaline-packed adventure of our trip!
Located in Mallorytown, Skywood Eco Adventure Park is Canada’s largest aerial adventure and zip line park. I had mistakenly thought Skywood only had zip lines, but it has so much more. It is basically an extremely fun obstacle course up in the trees. Being at least 15 feet off the ground navigating through the forest canopy on wooden planks or ropes is super fun (and for some less daring, possibly a bit scary). We started with the beginner course and made our way up to intermediate. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to conquer the advanced course, which means I’ll be heading back there soon! After the course, we zip lined back to the base. It was an incredible experience and I highly recommend checking it out with your family or friends. Pro tip: Take bug spray with DEET and water! You’ll need both, I promise.
After quickly freshening up, we headed to Tall Ships South Coast Grille for dinner, located above the Aquatarium in Brockville. Not only does this restaurant have a beautiful view of the water but the menu is incredible with lots of options.
Day 25: July 27, 2017
I’m a huge animal lover, so I get really excited to see animals regardless of if they are land or water dwellers. It made my day when we started off the morning with a visit to the Aquatarium in Brockville. Scott and I raced on antique row boats (I obviously won) and then we began to explore the aquarium. There were so many creatures, but my favourite animals were the otters! They were incredibly adorable and it was a fun experience to watch them get fed. I would never have known, but the Aquatarium also has a high ropes course! At first, I thought it was designed for children as it was themed to resemble a ship, but as soon as I started climbing, I realized that it was actually fairly difficult! It was a good challenge. Similar to Skywood, it was a lot of fun and it makes you feel preeeeetty invincible!
After the Aquatarium we headed to The Brockberry for lunch. The Brockberry has a southern inspired menu, with items such as “Southern Fried Buttermilk Chicken”, “Memphis Pulled Pork”, “Low Country Cornbread” and more. They also have some fantastic traditional unsweetened iced tea that they make in house.
Then we were off to Fulford Place. We had driven by this beautiful mansion a few times and now we were finally able to go inside and explore. Another quick history lesson: Fulford Place was built by Senator George Taylor Fulford, who made millions of dollars from “Pink Pills for Pale People”. It was a patented medicine he created in Brockville and sold around the world. With his success, he was able to build the 20,000 square foot Edwardian mansion, Fulford Place, between 1899 and 1901.
The house is incredibly beautiful, with original tapestries, paintings and more items collected during their world travels. It’s very grandiose, with large rooms and expensive decor. Fun fact: The family often hosted many Canadian Prime Ministers in this house for dinner! And last, but not least, we ended our leg in Brockville by having a sneak peek of the railway tunnel. Man oh man, I had seen a few sneak peeks of this on Instagram before, but it was absolutely incredible. It felt like we were transported to a different world, and the lights and sounds were absolutely beautiful.
Canada’s first railway tunnel was built in 1860 in Brockville. It was completed 21 years before the Canadian Pacific Railway and was very controversial for its time. It is now being restored for access for the general public and act as a connection from the Trail at the city’s waterfront, through the Gorge, and to other sections of the Trail. The Railway Tunnel opens on August 12, 2017, so make sure to check it out!
And there ends our journey to Rockport and Brockville. We only have two more destinations left; are you following along? Check out the live stories on Instagram at @greatwaterway, and check out some of the other destinations we went to, like Prince Edward County, Bay of Quinte, Gananoque, and Kingston!
Brockville/Rockport Blooper Reel
Enjoy Scott’s rendition of MTV Cribs at Boldt Castle!
I never grow tired of writing about South Eastern Ontario’s vast historical significance. Every destination from The Bay of Quinte to Cornwall, and beyond is built upon a fascinating series of stories, each chapter contributing to the overall story of Canada itself. The chapter that we will be exploring in this article is a personal favourite of mine: Transportation. [Read more…]
Finally! We can now recite two of my most favourite words in the english vocabulary: Patio season! Time to get out with some family and friends, hit up our favourite spots and enjoy some delicious food and perhaps a beverage (or two) while in fine company.
There is a huge selection of great patios throughout South Eastern Ontario, many of which offer a breathtaking view of the St. Lawrence River or Lake Ontario. For your reading pleasure, here is a tempting look at some amazing waterfront patios to discover in the Great Waterway!
Are you a geology nut who loves to spelunk for cool rocks or minerals? Perhaps biology is more your thing – and you’re dying to unravel the mystery of the American Eel’s decline. Have you ever wanted to hunt for fossils, dig up dinosaur bones – or even spend a day walking among some life-sized prehistoric giants? [Read more…]
There’s nothing more cult-classic, and carnivorously comforting than sinking your teeth into the juicy bliss of an epic hamburger. I’m not talking about fast food here, but rather the experience of enjoying a master crafted burger from a wide range of fantastic pubs and unique restaurants, right here in South Eastern Ontario. [Read more…]