DAY TRIPS AROUND OTTAWA: TOUR 13 By Ken Harley
Ken and Maxine Harley
This tour takes us across the Ottawa river and west into the region of Quebec known as the “Pontiac”. To begin, cross one of the bridges to the Province of Quebec and find your way to highway 148 west (ouest in French). We started from our home in Blackburn Hamlet, took Hwy 174 west, exited on the Vanier Parkway, then down to Sussex drive and across the Alexandria Bridge (the one Next to the National Gallery) then straight ahead to HWY 148.
First stop was at the Lavender Ridge Farm, 1983 Rte. 148, Luskville, Qc. It was about 50 km from our home. Just watch for a barn with a big green roof on the left. Lavender Ridge Farm is the next property. There is a sign in front, but you will have to drive about 200 or 300 meters further along and make a U-turn to get across the divided hwy. As the name suggests, Lavender Ridge Farm specializes in all things Lavender. The fields of Lavender are at their best in early July through to August, but the view of the Ottawa River and a wander through the vineyard and gift shop are a good reason to stop anytime from April through October.
Depending on the timing of your visit, you may also take a tour of the wine production facility. Regardless of the timing, you can always sample one or two of their award-winning wines (red or white) as well as some of the bakery products on sale in the shop. All of the products are made with a touch of lavender. This includes soaps, baked items, breads, cheese, biscotti, jams and a unique Tomato Pie that is a specialty of the house. It was delicious!
Very near to Lavender Ridge Farm is a Music Hall, Venturing Hall Farms, which is a venue for a Chamber Music Festival- Pontiac Enchante. It is in the loft of a converted barn at 440 Cregheur Road. We were told that visiting performers at the National Arts Centre occasionally use the Music Hall for practice sessions.
This farm is also an Equestrian training centre. The sign on the road is Venturing Hills/Farm of the Mountains. For more details, and a schedule of performances, check out the web site here.
From Lavender Ridge farm we continued west on Hwy 148 toward the village of Bristol.
It is about 40 kms west on Hwy 148. Watch for the roadside signs to Bristol. Do not turn on the road to Bristol Mines. You will turn left off Hwy 148 onto Bristol Road. After about 5 kms, you will come to the village of Bristol. Keep an eye out for River Road. Turn left on River Road (which leads to Norway Bay). After turning on River Road, it is less than 1 km to Coronation Hall and Coronation Hall Cider Mill on your left .
The Cider mill is a new addition to the Coronation Hall facility that is owned and run by Greg Graham. It is open from May –December. Cider pressing takes place on the site and visitors are welcome. If you want to see the whole process, it is best to call 819-647-2547 to check on which days the press will be operating. In addition to the cider mill, there is also a very pleasant Tearoom and Gift shop. The tearoom specializes in all things made from the delicious apples grown on the site. There are apple muffins, apple tarts, apple butter, apple jam and of course, a really good apple pie. In fact, we packed a light picnic lunch which we ate at the picnic tables in front of the Coronation Hall, and then visited the Tearoom for a yummy slice of warm apple pie with ice cream for dessert. There is also both regular and hard cider to taste and hopefully, take some home with you.
Coronation Hall is a 1930’s vintage village Dance Hall that is still in use and open to the public. Local Theatre Groups stage performances there during the summer.
You may also wish to check out the Pine Lodge resort hotel across the road from the Coronation Hall. Pine Lodge is a genuine 1930’s family resort hotel on the Ottawa River. In an earlier trip, we enjoyed a light lunch in the restaurant and a 9-hole round of golf on their very challenging little course. The resort has seasonal camping, summer cabins and 10 B+B rooms for rent. We have not stayed overnight, but the thought has certainly passed our minds. A summer evening theatre presentation at Coronation Hall with an overnight in Pine Lodge could make a very enjoyable get-away. For further details check out the website here or phone (819) 647-2805.
We returned to Ottawa via the cottage community of Norway Bay and back to Hwy 148 and home. There is, however, the option of taking the Quyon Ferry across the river at Quyon, and returning to Ottawa on Hwy 17. The whole trip is about 200 kms, depending on how many detours you take. We left home at 10:00 a.m. and drove back into our Driveway at 5:00 p.m. after another fun day of touring.
Tags: Ken Harley