Ruralist »

{Try} A Day in Almonte

{Try} A Day in Almonte

photo credit – Winsome and Whimsy Photography

A Day in Almonte

Nestled in the Ottawa Valley, just 50 kilometres south west of the nation’s capital, lies Almonte (pronounced “AL-mont”, not to be confused with “al-MON-tay”). This picturesque village is a delightful travel destination for daytrippers and weekenders alike. Full of great shopping, beautiful architecture and scenery, we fell in love with Almonte on our recent Ruralist Road trip.

With just under 5000 residents, Almonte is small town living at its finest. It’s known as “the friendly town,” and I can personally attest that Almonte is indeed a welcoming and hospitable place to visit. Every encounter with Almonte is underscored by the positive and upbeat attitudes of the people who live there. Independent retailers have their fingers on the pulse of great design, local restaurateurs are serving up fresh, delicious fare and a local inn is an oasis of respite after a busy day of adventuring and exploring.

Join us on a tour of our day in Almonte and you’ll see why this little town is Ruralist Approved!

Almonte Highlights

General Fine Craft, Art & Design  – The name General Fine Craft is a nod to the town’s namesake, General Juan Almonte, whose portrait hangs above the shop door. This gallery exhibits and sells the work of highly skilled artists and craftsmen, many of them from Canada and mostly from Ontario. The bright and open space is inviting and the arrangement of the gallery is clever and surprising. What we loved most about General was the fresh and innovative selection and very high quality of the workmanship. Most pieces will undoubtedly be treasured for generations. The owners, Chandler Swain and Richard Skrobecki are accomplished artists themselves, so don’t hesitate to ask them about the works you see or if you are looking for something specific. They are welcoming, friendly and knowledgeable. – 63 Mill St.

Almonte Riverside Inn & Kitchen – This beautifully appointed boutique hotel is the perfect spot for girlfriend’s getaway or a romantic rendezvous for two. Overlooking the beautiful Mississippi river, the Almonte Riverside Inn has six rooms that give you the feeling of a chic urban hotel, with all the charm and personality that comes with small town service.  Our room was nicely appointed, with luxurious linens and a fantastic French-press morning coffee service delivered to your door at your selected time. Pre-order your incredible breakfast the night before and it will be made to order as you arrive in the dining room. Even if you’re not staying, the Kitchen is a must-try. The chef prepares an eclectic menu that changes daily and with the season.  The tasting menu is out of this world, with small bites just perfect to be savoured on the patio. – 81 Queen St.

Heirloom Café and Bistro – The self-described “serving seasonal cuisine in a casual fine-dining setting,” does not come close to explaining the incredible heart and soul that is poured into each dish. Sarah and I were blown away by the quality and creativity of our meal. We enjoyed a five-course tasting menu that made me realize that I had forgotten food could taste that good. I highly recommend you make a reservation: this is a popular spot and the tables fill up fast. – 7 Mill St.

Mississippi Valley Textile Museum – This museum showcases the historical and social significance of the industrial textile industry in Almonte from 1867 to modern day. Hands-on exhibits showcase the textile making process from “sheep to shawl” and invite patrons to experience what working in a nineteenth century industrial factory would have been like. During our visit we had a special tour of the current exhibit by Jill McCubbin titled Combinations, Crinolines & Clotheslines. Jill uses acrylics to paint vibrant interpretations of the historical textile manufacturing industry. The display is fresh and inspiring yet weaves local history into the exhibit making the pieces both interesting and relevant. The exhibit runs until August 3. For more of Jill’s fine art explore her website. – 3 Rosamond St. E

Tin Barn Market – The Tin Barn Market is a constantly evolving shop that brings together an eclectic mix of new, vintage, salvage and handmade objects. The store leans toward a farmhouse, industrial and shabby chic style that makes the atmosphere inviting and fun. Lots of wood, glass and metal objects with aged patinas can be found here. Sarah fell in love with some vintage light fixtures and I couldn’t resist picking up some jewellery made by Salvage Jewelry Co.73 Little Bridge St.

Palms Café – A chic interior and tasty menu makes this café the kind of place that will make you want to return again and again. Sarah’s toasted scone with ham and cheese and my decadent freshly prepared iced mocha was a perfect afternoon treat. The locals are huge fans of the Palms, and that speaks volumes to us. Serving fair trade coffee and free WiFi, Palms made us feel right at home. A rotating art gallery exhibits works by local artists adding a cultured feel to the café and provides the perfect place for a meditative gaze. – 78 Mill St.

The Barley Mow – A classic pub with a view, The Barley Mow is an Almonte institution. The patio is a great place to relax and the extensive pub menu offers simple and hearty fare. We loved sitting out in the evening and listening to the rushing waters below. You can’t visit Almonte without stopping here for a quick pint.  – 79 Little Bridge St.

Doree’s Habit – If I lived in the greater Ottawa area Doree’s Habit would be my one stop, go-to place for year-round clothes shopping. I love this store and the awesome selection of inventory that owner Brodie O’Connor has curated. There is a surprisingly extensive selection of excellent accessories and footwear as well as clothing to complete your look. You can also find Doree’s Habit on Facebook and Twitter. – 65 Mill St.

Special Mentions

Amy Eaton Photography – If you are in need of a commercial, portrait or wedding photographer, Amy Eaton is the one to call. All of the beautiful photography for this post was generously shot and edited by Amy who is a fun and delightful person to work with. We highly recommend her work.

Small Town Thinking – This local collaboration is an idea generation and creative execution agency developed by local entrepreneurs Emily Arbour and Dan Fallak. Small Town thinking invited us to experience Almonte and assisted in making our visit there the best experience possible. Their visionary leadership is helping to knit strong bonds between business owners and residents and is helping to create a increased awareness of this gem of a town through local and social media outreach. Now, if we can just get them to spread their ideas across more small towns! Read more about Emily in our recent feature {Get} Hello Yellow and Dan in our feature {Get} Ontario Made Custom Prints by WoodPosters.