a peek inside the fishbowl

20 Apr, 2012

A road trip to Almonte

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Ottawa|Publishing/writing/career stuff|travel talk

My most recent piece for SavvyMom is about the wee town of Almonte. You must go there. You must. Because if you’re anything like me you will love it.

For starters, it is awfully pretty, with a healthy dollop of history:



Almonte, neat view

Almonte, view of the river

Tribute to Dr. Naismith in Almonte

Street parking is free and shopping opportunities abound, whether you’re looking for new goods:


Almonte, cute shop alert

PaperThin in Almonte

… or old goods.

Almonte, Wade owl family

Secondhand shopping in Almonte

Old keys


Not to be forgotten from our list of fave shops in Almonte is Gilligalou Bird Store (sadly I didn’t have a good photo to show here) but if you love birds like we do you must pay Bob and Louise a visit. Ask about their new spotting scopes!

There are plenty of places to grab a bite too. This one happens to be Cafe Postino, which is located in the historical post office:

Almonte, Cafe Postino

Here’s the big question? Do you go as a family? Or solo? Or what?

I had to venture into Almonte alone for research purposes and although I was a little sad I wasn’t there with my family it turned out to be an AMAZING day. Imagine walking la-di-dah, coffee in hand, restfully, tranquilly, like a ship sailing calm waters… wherever your heart leads you. That was me, lingering contentedly and stopping to smell the roses and relishing every moment.

IMAGINE doing that without someone tugging at your pant leg (I mean that both literally and figuratively) begging you to hurry up.

But then again, you could also make this road trip into a little getaway with your girlfriend or spouse. See above re: peaceful lingering but add a quiet dinner for two, without someone dropping napkins on the floor, asking you to cut their meat, and begging you to hurry up.

But then AGAIN, you could really make this road trip into a little family getaway (which was, admittedly my original intent). Just alter your expectation and take a deep breath and accept pant tugging and hurry upping and enjoy this spot for what it is.

What say you? :)

9 Responses to "A road trip to Almonte"

1 | Brodie

April 20th, 2012 at 10:44 am


Thanks! I was thrilled and super pumped to see a photo of one of our dresses in your blog! I am the owner of doree’s habit in Almonte (and Merrickville)…and I REALLY appreciate you making us a part of your trip to this great little town!
Your Blog is AWESOME! Thanks!

2 | andrea

April 20th, 2012 at 10:47 am


Thank you for your comment. I should have mentioned the name of your shop here instead of assuming readers would get the info from the SavvyMom piece! Your store is fabulous and I can’t wait to go back… this time with my tween. :)

3 | Jacquie

April 20th, 2012 at 11:57 am


We love Almonte! We travel there as a family, in the summer to see the Puppets Up Festival. A wonderful, friendly small town to spend a weekend. The Puppets Up Festival is fabulous.

4 | binki

April 20th, 2012 at 12:40 pm


Almonte is my favourite day trip (from Ottawa). I re-discovered it last year. We used to go to the Mill of Kintaill and would always stop for ice cream in Almonte. But it’s changed A LOT in recent years. It’s full of great/unique shops (home décor, fashion, birding, bakery). If you’re into antiques, there are a few great stores to check out. Antique shopping (or viewing) is actually quite fun with the kids since there’s lots to discuss (how things used to work in the old days). I picked up a real Hudson’s Bay blanket (the red and black one) for a fantastic price. And lots of old wooden kitchen utensils, which I collect. Great food (old-school diner style to high end foodie). Almonte is a jewel. Oh and if you go, have a stroll to the Mill of Kintaill (a drive from the centre of the town). Try to go when the Mill (visitor’s centre) is open and check out the special treat on the second floor. Well worth seeing.

Go with the kids or alone or for an overnight (stay at a B&B). Any of these work for me.

5 | Sara

April 20th, 2012 at 2:21 pm


I love visiting Almonte and am now thinking what a great backdrop it would make for a photo shoot :)

6 | Erica at Kitchissippikids

April 20th, 2012 at 3:40 pm


And they have the most amazing international puppet festival – August 11 and 12th this year http://www.puppetsup.ca.

Absolutely love it and keeps the kids (and parents) busy, entertained, and laughing, all day long!

7 | Pamela

April 22nd, 2012 at 5:22 pm


Be sure and try Equator Coffee on your next visit…its our favourite coffee shop

8 | Jen Hughes

April 23rd, 2012 at 8:50 pm


I love Almonte too, and since I live in CP I’m nice and close. I know a few of the shop owners and there are so many great little shops and places to eat. (And they also happen to have a great little hospital!) In fact, sometimes I wonder why we don’t live there!

Next time you want to hang out there, let me know – I can meet you for coffee or lunch! :)

9 | Jen Hughes

April 23rd, 2012 at 8:53 pm


Oh, and just wanted to second (third?) the suggestion to visit the Mill of Kintail conservation area. Great walking trails, beautiful heritage stone mill building, playground, apple trees (in late summer/fall the apples are quite edible) and just a pretty place. My kids go to the day camp there for a week each summer, and love it.

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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