Renfrew County and the Ottawa Valley are home to the mighty Ottawa River, rugged highland terrain, and tons of outdoor activities. The area is steeped in history from its Algonquin roots, to tree logging (Log Driver’s Waltz anyone?), and even Canada’s largest Polish Kashub settlement.
Here’s what we say you should see and do this winter in The Valley!
1. Start your day off right by putting the heaps of snow to good use — visit one of the Valley’s many snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails! The Petawawa Terrace offers 6 kilometers of groomed trails for skis and snowshoes and you’ll find Pembroke’s Forest Lea Ski Trails just off of highway 17. A bit further West is Logos Land, a waterpark by Summer, and Winter wonderland by December, that offers groomed trails and horse drawn sleigh rides (just look for the giant Noah’s Ark, you really can’t miss it).
2. Once you’ve worked up an appetite from all that skiing, head to Cobden for local craft beer at the Whitewater Brewing Co.‘s brand new Lakeside brewpub. Whether you’re looking for brunch, dinner, charcuterie, or just 16 ounces of cold beer, this spacious restaurant is the Valley’s latest local treasure! We love their Midnight Stout and can’t wait to try the Honey Badger Northern honey brown.
Bonus: if you already live in the Valley (lucky you!), they’ll deliver right to your door.
3. If you prefer to “wine & dine”, grab a glass and a hot meal in the artsy, tucked-away community of Burnstown, just South of Renfrew. The Blackbird Cafe serves up Ontario wines, great food (even greater portions!), and makes the perfect backdrop for good company or a good book. The wood-burning stove and earthy decor is super inviting, and sure to keep you cozy on a cold night.
4. Another day calls for another adventure, so bring yer binos bud, cause we’re goin’ sightseeing! Even in Winter, Renfrew County has enough lakes, rivers, lookouts, and wildlife to keep you busy all year round. Hillside towns like Eganville and Wilno have great lookouts, the Barron Canyon at Algonquin Park’s East gate is a sight to behold, and the Twin Rivers golf club in Petawawa has a stunning view of the Ottawa river and Quebec’s Laurentian Hills. In fact, you can arguably see more sights by snowmobiling than with any other mode of transportation. With over 2,500km of both remote and highway-side trails, you can explore pretty much anywhere you want!
5. Now I must admit, I’m an all-seasons ice cream lover, and Brum’s Dairy in Pembroke makes the best ice cream in the valley, hands down! Brum’s history spans an incredible 98 years, and people come from all over Renfrew County for their top notch dairy. So dry off from your day of sightseeing or ski-doing, and search for the perfect ice cream to accompany a warm apple crumble or pumpkin pie (we’ll take four buckets of the egg nog ice cream please!).