Tents, sleeping bags, S’mores, and freaky ghost stories by a crackling fire. They’re all synonymous with a cultural phenomenon that has lasted centuries. Well, maybe it’s more like several millennia. [Read more…]
This incredibly beautiful section of the Waterfront Trail in the 1000 Islands is 37 kilometers long and runs between Brockville in the east (begins near Butternut Bay) and Gananoque in the west. It excels for day cycles or for multi-day cyclo-touring. You feel like you’re away from the city but still have the convenience of small townships and amenities along the way.
It’s so easy to let yourself go here and enjoy fresh breezes cooling you from across the water as you cycle in the sunshine while birdsong competes with the buzz of cicada. It’s summer in the 1000 Islands!
If you like sandy beaches, swimming in clear water, parks with restrooms, picnic areas, hiking trails, charming small townships, restaurants, camping and lodgings scattered along a cycling route, you’ll like this one.
Since the 1000 Islands bike path has been repaved, it has become one of my favourite off-road cycling routes in Ontario’s Waterfront Trail network. You can relax and not worry about road traffic. And, you can’t get lost. Signs along the adjacent 1000 Islands Parkway give you indications to other destinations you may want to visit.
The 1000 Islands are recognized around the world. There are 1,864 islands located in an 80-kilometre (50-mile) stretch along the St. Lawrence River between Canada (Brockville to Kingston, Ontario) and the United States (New York State). That’s a lot of islands, and a never-ending canvas of interesting views for you to enjoy.
Enjoy the beautiful, newly-paved 1000 Islands Waterfront Trail lined with scenery of the 1000 Islands, wildflowers, gardens, granite cliffs and picturesque waterfront cottages. The water is across the road from the cycling path, so be careful if you cross.
Brown’s Bay Beach: Large 25-30 acre park, two sandy beaches, 1,000-foot long roped-in swimming area, picnic spots in shade or sun, boat launch, cantine, restrooms, parking fee, six waterfront campsites with no services for RVs. The park restrooms close at 8:00 p.m., depending on the season.
Mallorytown Landing: Five waterfront oTENTiks for overnight camping (must be reserved), picnic areas and picnic shelter, historic 1904 gazebo, restrooms, hiking trails, parking, boat launch, docks, parking fee, Visitor Centre.
Landon Bay Centre: 125 campsites, RV and tent camping, large covered pavilion surrounded by gardens, swimming pool, restrooms, showers, hiking trails with lookouts, and a natural swimming hole across the 1000 Islands Parkway on the St. Lawrence River. No beach.
Rockport: Restaurants, inn, marina, boat tours and cruises. I enjoy the Boathouse Restaurant. It’s best to reserve ahead of time.
Ivy Lea Campground: 146 campsites, RV and tent camping, four camper cabins, laundromat, showers, beach, swimming, playground, washrooms, trails, boat launch, docks, Visitor Centre.
For more information about cycling the 1000 Islands:
You may also enjoy:
- What I like about the Mallorytown Landing oTENTik
- The Long Sault Parkway: A cyclist’s dream!
- A sweet cycle on the Waterfront Trail, Gray’s Creek to Guindon Park, Cornwall, Ontario
- Cycling the Moira Riverfront Trail, Belleville, Ontario
Publisher of the BaffinPaddler http://baffinpaddler.blogspot.ca
If you’re visiting Belleville, Ontario, you may want to park the car and bring your bike and some good walking shoes so you can enjoy the Bay of Quinte’s beautiful waterfront pathways and parklands.
We traveled from Ottawa, Ontario and stayed at the waterfront Travelodge at 11 Bay Bridge Road for a few days of shows at the historic Empire Theatre, restaurants, and cycling the waterfront trails in Belleville.
Zwick’s Park Trails are right next door to the hotel. They are excellent for cycling, walking, and jogging. The hotel and the waterfront trails are dog friendly too.
The trail rewards with lots of lookouts, park benches, picnic tables, and beautiful pavilions, giving you a choice of places to stop, relax, enjoy the views, picnic, or grab shelter from the sun or rain.
Zwick’s Park Lions Pavilion is located on the west side of Zwick’s Park. It’s a beautiful waterfront venue! It has an open-air design and sound system for outdoor concerts and other events. A large stage is located at the north end of the building which has ample space for seating and dancing. The Pavilion gives you a break from the hot summer sun, and lets the show go on even if it rains.
If you want more waterfront pathway to cycle or walk, you’re in luck in Belleville.
There are two more trails nearby you can catch: The Bayshore Trails (2.5 kilometres of pathway) at Jane Forrester Park further east at 1 South Front Street, next to Meyer’s Pier Marina, or the Moira Riverfront Trail northeast of Zwick’s Park.
To help guide you along the way, you’ll see Waterfront Trail signs and maps as these well-developed pathways are part of a much larger network of trails and cycling routes.
Ontario’s Waterfront Trail stretches some 900 km from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the Quebec border. It follows the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, so you can choose the sections of path that suit you best for day cycles or multi-day bicycle touring.
The Waterfront Trail varies from city to city. Thirty percent of the Trail is off-road dedicated path and 70% follows residential streets or shoulders of major roads.
In Belleville, we were happy to hop from trail to trail. From the Zwick’s Park Trail loop we cut over to Mary Street and headed up to Dundas Street, making a right towards Front Street near Victoria Park to catch the 4.4 kilometre long Moira Riverfront Trail. It was lunch time, and this is where you’ll find restaurants and shops in the downtown section of the route.
Belleville, Ontario is a small waterfront city on Lake Ontario’s Bay of Quinte with a population of about 50,000. The Moira River runs through the heart of town. Belleville offers modern amenities, historic charm, lots of waterfront parks, events, a wide choice of lodging and restaurants, and a year-round Farmer’s Market.
Belleville is easily accessible from Hwy 401 and only a few hours drive from:
- Ottawa, Ontario 270 kilometres/160 miles (3 hours)
- Toronto, Ontario 180 kilometres/107 miles (2 hours)
- Montreal, Quebec 379 kilometres/224 miles (4-hours)
- Syracuse, New York 286 kilometres/170 miles
- Buffalo, New York 360 kilometres/213 miles
And, of course, you can get there by boat! Meyer’s Pier Marina is operated by the City of Belleville. Dockage by day/month/season, transient slips, water and power available, washrooms, showers, pump out, gas diesel, laundry, chandlery and sail repair nearby.
For more information:
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Publisher of the BaffinPaddler www.baffinpaddler.blogspot.ca
On the Moira Riverfront Trail you are never far from the restaurants and shops on Front Street. So packing a lunch is optional. There are places to picnic along the way and restaurants. Either way you look at it, you’re going to be eating out.
Belleville is a small, charming city with a population of about 50,000. The Moira River runs right through town with its mouth on Lake Ontario’s beautiful Bay of Quinte.
The path is popular with residents and tourists for walking the dog, jogging, cycling, and spending time along the river.
What I like about the Moira Riverfront Trail is that you’ve got variety.
The pathway passes alongside Belleville’s historic downtown, so you can hop off the trail for easy access to the Front Street shops, restos, Farmer’s Market, and even the Empire Theatre if you want to catch a show.
The Empire Theatre, on 323 Front Street, dates back to the 1930’s. It has been beautifully renovated with plenty of retro-chic infused with modern touches. Don’t let the modest exterior fool you.
The atmosphere inside is both warm and elegant, with 700 comfortable seats that come with leg room. Add in a good sound system and it’s perfect for enjoying a show. When I walked inside I thought, “Wow, this is how the theatre should be!” We saw Rick Mercer at the Empire in June. Two thumbs up! The theatre has pretty cool programming. For more information on shows visit their website at: The Empire Theatre
Now, back to the bike! The Moira Riverfront Trail also passes through well-groomed pretty parks and the surrounding neighborhoods. The section of the path that runs alongside the historic downtown area is paved, the rest is packed gravel.
From Victoria Park on the south end of the route to the northern reaches of the 4.4 kilometre/2.7 mile long path that ends on a hill with a lookout where Hwy 401 crosses the river, you’ll find park benches, gazebos, pergolas, flower beds, and wildflowers.
Not only do the bridges give you access to both sides of the Moira River and pretty cool views of the middle of the river as you cycle across them, the bridges along the Riverfront Trail also provide a refuge underneath if you get caught in a bit of rainfall or a thunderstorm. Awesome!
We cut off the Moira Riverfront Trail to Front Street.
It didn’t take my French cycling partner long to find an authentic French restaurant and bakery in Belleville – L’Auberge de France. It was easily recognizable by the traditional blue awnings and a French and Canadian flag out front.
Finding a French restaurant and bakery with old world charm in an English town in Ontario was like finding a treasure chest for my hungry French cycling partner. The owner and chef of L’Auberge de France, Jean-Marc Salvagno, is from Avignon, France.
The lunch menu includes delicious homemade soups, salads, quiche, and sandwiches. The bakery features organic bread, croissants, pastries and tempting desserts. Inside the restaurant you’ll also find a small gourmet shop stocked with artisanal cheeses, homemade terrinnes, pâtés, and imported delicacies to take home. While there, don’t forget to check out the classically French dinner menu too!
We soon learned you need to reserve your Saturday morning croissants the day before. There’s a line up outside the door before they open at 9:00 a.m. We witnessed it Saturday morning at 8:45 a.m., and soon after, several hundred croissants were picked up.
The menu, decorations, furnishings, music, and even the plates the cuisine is served on at L’Auberge de France all have the personal touch of a traditional, warm and charming French bistro. You’re transported back to France. And yes! They have a full bar and a choice of wines.
I asked the waiter to suggest a Chardonnay for me. After tasting it, I asked which part of France it came from. The waiter smiled, “It’s an Ontario wine from a Prince Edward County winery just over the Bay Bridge. They are surprisingly good.”
“Yes, I agreed” surprised.
Our lunch break was longer than usual. Several glasses of local Ontario wines, French cuisine, topped off with a frothy cappuccino and a choice of pastries and desserts created by a pastry chef (pâtissier) invites conversation and relaxation.
Then my cycling partner said, “You know, we still have to cycle after this . . . It’s raining outside, let’s head back to the hotel.”
But I said, “Let’s keep going. I want to see what’s up the rest of the Riverfront Trail!”
We continued north on the Moira Riverfront Trail from the paved downtown and onto the packed gravel section of the path that runs through residential neighborhoods and parklands in a light spring drizzle.
Suddenly I heard, “Hey, is that a real turtle!”
Alongside the Riverfront Trail, we came across a large female snapper laying her eggs in a hole she’d dug in the sandy earth. The nest, which may contain about 40-50 eggs, will stay warm and dry in the path’s sunshine and elevation from the river below. The baby snappers will hatch late summer or early fall and run down the hill from the path to the Moira River. It was a surprising sight to see a female snapping turtle laying her eggs in such an urban area.
We visited the city of Belleville travelling from Ottawa, Ontario and stayed for two days at the waterfront Travelodge in Belleview, Ontario with views of the Bay of Quinte on Lake Ontario. The Moira Riverfront Trail is about a 10 minute cycle from the hotel. There are other nearby hotels and accommodations in the area. The Moira Riverfront Trail is easy to find. You can’t miss the Moira River in Belleville. In the downtown section, it’s parallel to Front Street.
The Moira Riverfront Trail is fun to follow. Enjoy!
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The wind in your jacket! Cycling the Bay of Quinte Waterfront Trails
Publisher of the BaffinPaddler http://baffinpaddler.blogspot.ca
Sometimes, the best part about the beach is what you find at the beach. There are obvious things we expect to find, like soft sand and inviting water to swim in.
A big, blue, 10′ x 10′ floating dock to catch some sun, or to jump off of for a swim is a plus.
Other times, it’s what shows up at the beach that steals the show.
What you find at a public beach and what you find at a little wild beach can be different and wonderful just the same.
It’s nice to have both in the same spot!
In May, we rented a small waterfront cabin at Lower Beverley Lake Park, a 106 acre, full-service public campground and park nestled into beautiful mature forest, with large open grassy areas on the north east shores of Lower Beverley Lake.
Lower Beverley Lake Park, located in Delta, Township of Rideau Lakes in Ontario, has a public beach in the campground and little wild beaches along its shores.
It was an easy 1 ½ hour drive south from our home in Canada’s National Capital Region (Ottawa, Ontario/Gatineau, Quebec). For others, the park is only a 40 minute drive from the U.S. Border, 2 ½ hours from Montreal or 3 ½ hours from Toronto.
When we arrived at Lower Beverley Lake Park I asked the friendly woman at the campground reception where we could launch our kayaks. She responded with a smile, “Hon, you can launch right in front of your cabin.”
I responded, “Awesome!”
Our cabin, number 8, had it’s own dock running out from a little wild beach. A perfect spot for launching our kayaks and many photo ops.
Other cabins are close to the public beach, so there is a good choice of cabin location depending on your preference. The cabins are located waterfront, away from the campgrounds for more privacy.
I didn’t have to go far. I just kept looking out the cabin window. The Canadian geese always put on the best show. The Mallard duck was not impressed, but it always makes us laugh to see a big goose upside-down.
The geese are very shy here and protective of their babies, unlike urban geese in Ottawa, Ontario, who often let you walk amongst them. I had to shoot these images from the cabin window, otherwise they would quickly swim away.
We didn’t even need to bring a dog. The neighboring cabins always seemed to have one we could borrow. Dogs are kept on a leash throughout the park, and are not allowed on the public beach. And it seems dog owners, and the park administration, are very good about picking up after dogs on the grounds.
Hey look! Just as we thought it was too windy to paddle that day, and decided we’d try out one of the region’s back-country cycling itineraries instead, a fleet of 12 paddlers in awesome sea kayaks poured out of Delta Creek, just south of our cabin, and zipped past.
I had to run out of the cabin barefoot to catch them.
When I returned to the cabin, my paddle partner said, “Your eggs are really cold now.”
It’s silly to try and eat breakfast next to a window in a waterfront cabin on a little wild beach on Lower Beverley Lake.
This is when all the action happens.
Or is it? The full moon showed up that night and it stayed until dawn.
Enjoy the beach. Large or small, near or far, public or wild, beaches bring us hours of pleasure and many surprises. We certainly enjoyed the beaches at Lower Beverley Lake Park in Delta, Ontario. In the heat of summer, and early fall, the water will be warm enough for a refreshing swim.
As with any beach in a popular park, the busy season is from mid-June until the end of August.
For more information about Lower Beverley Lake:
- Lower Beverley Lake Park, Delta, Ontario
- Map and tours, Lower Beverley Lake, Old Stone Mill, National Historic Site of Canada, Delta, Ontario
In my upcoming stories about Delta, Ontario in the Township of Rideau Lakes, we’ll get off the beach at Lower Beverley Lake Park and into the sea kayaks.
Lower Beverley Lake is an an awesome lake for day tripping with kayaks, wind surfing, boating, and fishing, with 28 kilometers (17 miles) of diverse shoreline adorned with granite rock formations, forest, marshland, small sandy beaches, and some cottage development.
Lower Beverley Lake offers open water, large and small bays to hide in on windy days, 14 islands to skirt around, and several adjoining creeks that are interesting to explore (Delta, Lyndhurst, Morton).
It’s a fairly deep lake with an average depth of 9.1 meters (30 feet), the deepest parts are 28.7 meters (94 feet).
There are some limestone shoals to watch out for. Most are marked with small white rock buoys with reflectors and lights.
We’ll also get off the beach and onto the bikes to test one of the Rideau Lakes region’s back-country cycling itineraries.
I’m a recreational cyclist who is more of a tourist preferring easy off-road pathways with my hybrid mountain bike. My cycle partner is a real cyclist with big strong legs and a hot red and white cyclocross bike for on and off-road touring at higher speeds who prefers to let loose on the open road. So you’ll get two points of view from two different types of cyclists on the same route.
Here’s more on that in my blog story on The Great Waterway: Backcountry Biking, Route 8, Rideau Lakes, Ontario
You may also enjoy:
Top Ten Beaches: Sandbanks, Grass Creek, Joel Stone, and more! By Peggy Varner
Publisher of the BaffinPaddler http://baffinpaddler.blogspot.com
I’ve made a list of cycling hot spots that I want to check out from the cycling itineraries provided by The Great Waterway website.
I’ll be biking through towns, forests, wetlands, parkland and farmland, on paved recreational pathways,
Occasionally wandering off trail.
the first signs of spring,
fauna and flora along the pathways,
cool places that inspire me to stop, get off the bike and strike a yoga pose in as many waterfront picnic spots and gazebos as I can find,
free and ample parking,
and interesting people to meet along the way.
It’s a big list. But I’ll find it all (again!) and more in my biking travels along Ontario pathways.
You can follow me and my outdoor travel stories as they develop here on The Great Waterway blog throughout the seasons, or plan trips using the cycling itineraries provided on The Great Waterway website as a base to customize your own awesome adventures.
Ontario’s beautiful waterways and well-developed cycling infrastructures will often leaving me wondering . . . “Do I cycle or paddle today?” I’ll be prepared for both!
Enjoy the water and the wildflowers along the way!
For more information about cycling itineraries in Ontario visit:
Happy trip planning!
Publisher of The BaffinPaddler http://baffinpaddler.blogspot.ca/