12 Jun, 2013
(Another) Road trip to Almonte
I’ve written about Almonte before, and I’m already looking forward to going back. This place is a MAGNET for me, for lots of reasons. There is a lot to love here. Shall I count the ways?
- It’s a relatively short drive
- there is fabulous shopping
- … and history
- and it’s very scenic.
Now that I’ve done it twice in recent memory I can lay out a good game plan if you’re planning your own visit. Here’s how I’d like to do it the next time we go.
First stop: obtain fuel in the form of coffee. Equator Coffee brews up the best latte I’ve probably ever had. AND they roast their own beans. AND they are fair-trade. They’re located in a strip mall right beside the highway before you get into old Almonte. It is really worth pulling over.
Second stop: the Mill of Kintail. My youngest and I took this small side trip because she was working on a project about Dr. James Naismith and we thought it’d be cool to see the exhibit at the Mill. Bonus for us: it happens to be a gorgeous spot, just ignore the directions on the website because they’re wrong. The Mill also didn’t come up on my GPS. Just follow the roadsigns in Almonte. (I wasn’t worried AT ALL.)
We stopped at the site of his boyhood home right near one of the last turn offs to the Mill:
It’s pretty cool to think that basketball was born here, isn’t it? (You can read more about Dr. Naismith here.) I hope the people who live there weren’t too freaked out by our roadside picture-taking.
From here we continued to the Mill. I recommend parking in the lot closest to the road (parking costs five bucks – bring change!) and walking to the mill for the full effect. We took the trail by the river. And I’m glad we did. It’s only about a 5-10 minute walk and worth every second.
It’s a very easy walk, even if you don’t wear the proper footwear. Ahem.
I’ve never actually been to the Mill of Kintail before. It’s a pretty cool building with a rich history:
It’s a fairly quick stop and admission is by donation. The Naismith exhibit contains photographs, documents, a large rock (long story), and biographical information about Naismith… along with this puppet:
The rest of the house is a neat little slice of history too. It’s the former summer home of Robert Tait McKenzie, an artist and sculptor. Don’t forget to peek upstairs.
Once you’re back outside, follow the trail along the river towards the bridge and you’ll be rewarded with some pretty views:
If you walk for another five minutes you’ll find a small river study area, which includes some small nets with which you can catch things in the water if you are so inclined:
We spotted a massive snapping turtle, and lots of cool bugs in the water:
A note for next time: BRING A PICNIC!
We soon made our way back to the car – stopping to peek at a cute little chapel along the way – and drove back to the village of Almonte.
Street parking is free and plentiful. We used the rest of our time to browse the main drag. There’s a lot to see, if you know where to turn your head:
Don’t forget to pay a visit to the doctor himself:
Where to eat in Almonte? Good question. My date and I chose THE SUPE (a.k.a The Superior) for the diner vibe. We liked it.
I had a perfectly decent pea soup and grilled bacon and cheese sandwich and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg. There are lots of other places to eat here too but I’m sure this is the best deal in town. Next time I might try the Heirloom Cafe just for something different. (Here are some reviews on Yelp.)
Before we left I snapped a quick pano of the river. It was getting a bit rainer by then and it was time to go home, but I’ve promised myself I will return. The mode of transportation I choose however, is up for question. Lana Stewart (a.k.a. Modal Mom) has written a blog post about a recent bike ride to Almonte. Question is, dare I do it?