MILLISLE B&B (MERRICKVILLE) By Bill Kilfoyle (Article)



Bill Kilfoyle

Mary and Derry Thompson are the hosts of this bed and breakfast located in a beautiful old home in the Village of Merrickville. I visited this place and started to write up a description of it. Then I thought I should check out the Janette Higgins Ontario Bed and Breakfast web site, and low and behold an excellent write up has already been done. It accords with my own observations of Millisle which I visited in January( 2005). If you need additional assurance about the Higgins’ web site you will be comforted to know that Adrienne Clarkson formerly of Toronto and more recently of Ottawa has said that the assessments of Janette Higgins are “totally dependable”. The Higgins web site is at . If this doesn’t work just go to and search for Merrickville.

While this bed and breakfast is very attractive it is only recommended because it is in Merrickville, a small village that has become a destination of choice for day trippers from Ottawa. Merrickville is situated on the Rideau River and the Rideau Canal. It was historically a small but important manufacturing location because of the water power generated by the falls on the river. But time passed by Merrickville and it became from the 30s to the 60s a sad backwater. The blessing of all of this is that it’s old historical buildings remained untouched and intact and when the ”outsiders” discovered Merrickville in the 70s and 80s they loved it for its old charm and were determined to preserved it. And so they have.

One place of historical note is the Block House. This is a fortified building constructed after the completion of the Rideau Canal in 1814/15. The Block House was to guard the canal from incursions by the Americans who may have been tempted to send an armed expedition down the cart path cut through the bush from Prescott to Merrickville. It is open to the public in the summer months and it has a well informed staff who can fill you in on the historical details not only of the Block House but of the entire era of the War of 1812.

Merrickville, interestingly enough, is the national home of the Canadian Recreational Canoe Association. It is within easy walking distance of Millisle. Check it out . Rent a canoe. Tour the area by water.

There are a couple of interesting pubs in Merrickville. The Goose and the Gridiron has old English pub decor and good pub food. There is often some fine musical entertainment on the weekends. The Harry Maclean pub is smaller and noisier. It also usually has entertainment on the weekends. It is named after one of the most interesting characters ever to come out of Merrickville and indeed ever to come out of the Ottawa Valley. Check out the exploits of Harry Maclean which are well described in displays on the pub walls.

The neat thing about Merrickville is that throughout the year but especially in the summer there are many interesting events taking place. This is a town that knows how to attract and entertain visitors in a small town way. If you want to know what’s going on in the village on a particular weekend it’s probably best to send an e-mail to the general inquiries desk of the village This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. I tried a couple of events calendars but they were not very helpful.

As for Millisle I can only add a couple of comments to what Janette Higgins says. If you want to reserve on a week end you had better call many weeks in advance . Over tow thousand people stayed at this place last year and week ends are always booked solid. Ask the hosts about the history of this old home. Associated with the interesting old building have been some interesting old characters.

Now if I ( a well traveled old codger of 65 )were taking a lady there for a romantic weekend I think I would choose the Victoria Room. It’s on the third floor in what was the sewing room of the old mansion. It has an antique Victorian footed tub in the room - with a antique privacy screen. But seriously, on a romantic weekend who cares about a privacy screen. Moreover, assuming that some hanky-panky part is part of any well planned and serious romantic weekend, the third floor has the advantage that you don’t have to worry about others overhearing the moaning and groaning.

The most recent price list is $80 per couple per night which includes full breakfast. For $155 per couple you can have a four course dinner with wine just down the street at the historic Baldachin restaurant and get champagne with your breakfast at Millisle the next morning.

For more information call Kathy or Derry Thompson at 613-269-3627.

Bill Kilfoyle

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