Adventures in Your Own Backyard

Since last weekend, I have been feeling rather off. What first began as terrible fatigue and weakness coupled with a headache that wouldn’t quit, morphed into a furious cough that has me pretty much hating life. I waited two and a half hours at Apple tree, the “family clinic” for some help. The doctor saw me for under two minutes and told me to buy some Tylenol. Thanks buddy. I went to another one last night and the doc actually treated me like I was a real person.
He explained a few things to me, and gave me some extra strength stuff that should at least abate the symptoms a bit We’ll see. Anyway, one of my friends has been having a rough week work-wise, and we’ve been each other’s sounding boards. It made me realize how much I am looking forward to this weekend, and how much I hope I’m better. If not, I’m still going. Where? I had told my friend about Merrickville, a tiny dot of a village located along the canal. An hour south of Ottawa, the village is not the Disneyland of attractions, but I think it makes for a nice afternoon of sweet repose from the lights and sounds of the capital.


Merrickville is considered ‘the jewel of the Rideau’, and has long been considered one of the cutest towns around. Considering the Canal is a UNESCO World Heritage site, you’ll surely find a bit of history and interesting architecture too.

If you head this way, your afternoon should include: a bit of (un)necessary window shopping, an ice cream cone while seated beside the canal, and an alcoholic beverage and bite at one of the many quaint restaurants.

One of my favourite stores has to be SilverandChina. The owner calls it “up-cycled and recycled custom jewelry.” What she does is amazing. If you have old or broken watches, tea cups, anything, she can turn it into something new for you. If you have a picture of a loved one, she can make it into the most beautiful or eccentric design you can think of. Spoons, post cards, stamps, light fixtures nothing is safe! You can even e-mail her your cherished photo if you don’t want to lose it.Take a look in Larkspur Lane.


If you love to cook, or you’ve eaten but can still nibble, go to Mrs. McGarrigles Fine Good Shop. They sell the ever popular Mustard Kitchen line of products, and even do cooking demos in the back. They have a selection of excellent cheeses too, and ready-made meals you can bring home if you’re having a lazy Sunday. Plus… Free samples! Walk around, try their sauces, oils, chocolate, mustards, even if you don’t want to buy. Don’t feel guilty, everyone does. I do. They also carry a selection of imported foods and snacks if you hark from the UK.121555_MrsMcGarriglesFineMustardFineFoodShop_

There are two places my family always tends to eat. I enjoy Gad’s Hill simply because they put their menus in old Dickens novels. Their burgers are great too! Their patio is quite tiny so don’t sit outside if you don’t want passersby watching you tackle that monstrous sandwich you just ordered.The other is not a ‘looker’, but it has become part of family tradition. My parents and I would always drop our car off in Burrits Rapids and bike here for lunch or a beer. This is a great option if you enjoy cycling. It takes under an hour. Anyway, I am talking about The Family Restaurant. This place has cheap-ish food that will never steer you wrong. The nachos are honest nachos that get layered in the good stuff. There is no deception here my friends. The patio faces the park with the canal. You just feel happy out there, kissed by the sun while you sip a cold one. Mmmm.


Your day would not be complete without a visit to the Downtown Ice Cream Shoppe. They make their own ice cream and have developed over 150 flavours! It is a bit more expensive, but well worth it. I just perused their site and started craving … At 830am. You’re certain to find a cone you’ll enjoy. Now take that cone and walk over to the park. Their will be a few families or couples hanging out. Perhaps a boy or two fishing over the waters edge. The word I equate with time spent here is relaxing. I hope that word finds you if you decide to come here too. I hope after a day here my friend will get a sense of the small-town pleasures I enjoyed as I grew up. All you really need to be happy is good company, good food, good drink. A bit of sunshine won’t hurt either. 🙂

Even the smallest adventures in your own backyard can be great enough to settle a restless heart.


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