A short getaway to this destination will only give you a taste of what it has to offer… oh, and there’s LOTS!
Cornwall is one of those destinations that has postcard beauty all year round. It’s located on the beautiful St. Lawrence River and is surrounded by the SDG Counties and Akwesasne Mohawk. It’s a quick 2-hour drive away from Kingston, so there really is no excuse to not get up and go. Here are four new experiences you have to try this summer!
Have A Picnic Curated By Cornwall Food Tours
Our trip started with meeting up with Vanessa Leduc, Cornwall Food Tours at Lamoureux Park. Cornwall Food Tours hasn’t officially started up but in the meantime, Vanessa has organized the next best thing: picnic baskets featuring the best from local restaurants. After a quick intro on what we were having for brunch, we were off to enjoy the lovely greenspace with our basket!
Lamoureux Park is the largest waterfront park in all of Eastern Ontario. The park is right along the St Lawrence River which features incredible views. I love that the park has picnic tables galore and restrooms which makes all the difference in enjoying a scrumptious and peaceful picnic.
All cutlery and utensils are provided by Vanessa so all you need to worry about is remembering to return the basket back the next day. Our basket included breakfast poutine and caramel crunch french toast from Brunch on Pitt, vegan smoothies from Simply Jennifer, fresh strawberries from a local vendor, and fritters from a local bakery. The cost for a picnic is $40 per person with a $5 donation going towards the local women’s shelter, Baldwin House. If you’re a foodie, you will enjoy this experience!
With plenty of time until the next part of our itinerary, we walked along the riverside. All of the paths are paved in Lamoureux Park which is perfect if you enjoy cycling, walk, or a run. There were a lot of experienced bikers enjoying the path and the view. There’s the option to rent bikes from Marina 200 if you wanted to join. We continued to walk along the Waterfront Trail which passed a wooden bridge and led us to a beautiful hidden waterfall.
Visit The Native North American Travelling College
Did you know that Cornwall has an island? The island is part of the Akwesasne Mohawk reserve which is divided by the Canada United States border and by the Canadian provincial boundary between Ontario and Quebec. You will go through a Canada Border Services post but you won’t actually leave Canada. We weren’t asked to show our passport at the bridge but it’s handy to have it on you if you plan to visit. There’s also a toll for crossing, ($3.75 both ways) so make sure you have money on you.
On the island is the Native North American Travelling College (NNATC). The traveling college promotes and preserves the Mohawk and Akwesasne language, culture, and history. They’re currently in the final stages to open their museum and gift shop for in-person visits. I was fortunate to be able to visit the museum and was accompanied by Mikayla Francis, Cultural Educator at NNATC. The start of the tour began with the Creation Story and Skywoman – a fascinating introduction. We learned about the Longhouseses, Wampum belts, and a few phrases. Having Mikayla with us created an interactive experience where we could ask questions and listen to Mikayla as she shared with us her stories and experiences. You could always read the plaques yourself or take a photo of them to read later, but having an educator with you throughout the tour allows you to immerse yourself in Mohawk culture. If you’re not able to visit the museum in person, NNATC is currently offering virtual tours and workshops.
Tour The Waterfront In A Pedicab
We made our way back to Lamoureux Park to meet with Mike from Waterfront Tours for a tour of the park in a pedicab. Waterfront Tours has launched these guided tours as a way to show off the best parts of Cornwall in a new way. The eco-friendly electric-assisted pedicabs slowly take you around the waterfront and along the trails. We laughed, joked, and waved at other pedestrians who seemed to be amazed by this futuristic-looking teardrop.
If wandering through nature or learning about history and culture isn’t your thing then you’ll love the little shops that line Cornwalls’ downtown. One of them includes Happy Popcorn Co which offers a wide variety of popcorn, novelty candy, and chocolate bars. I definitely recommend checking this spot out and living out your candy store dreams! The selection was amazing with popcorn flavours like pizza, nacho, blue raspberry, and jalapeno. They have an incredible mix of candy and chocolate that you don’t see in other stores.
One of my favorite things about traveling throughout this region is staying at all of the different beds and breakfasts. I’ve always adored bed and breakfasts because you get to meet the owners and it’s always a different experience when you visit one. However, hotels just evoke nostalgia for me. As a kid, it was considered a pretty big deal if my family and I were staying at a hotel because it just didn’t happen that often. Plus after a long day, there’s something about staying at a hotel that just feels so relaxing.
The Ramada Cornwall is a 112- room hotel that offers your standard rooms to luxury suites. With the help of renovations and other upgrades in the past 10 years, The Ramada has been awarded the “Best Of” Award by Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. Some of the most recent renovations include an indoor heated pool and Tesla charging stations.
Once we were situated in our room, I texted our concierge for a couple of robes and a couple of wine glasses for us to enjoy the rest of our evening in our room. We were still so full from brunch, that we actually cancelled our reservation at Eight Zero Zero. Here is a list of other restaurants to check out.
The next morning, we felt so refreshed after having nearly the best sleep this summer. As someone who lives in an apartment with no air conditioning, I can really appreciate a good sleep with air conditioning. After checking out, we walked over to the newest mobile truck in Cornwall – Aurra Coffee. Located beside the Ramada, Aurra Coffee offers specialty Italian espressos and pour-over coffee. As a mobile coffee truck, I was impressed with the variety they offered – you can get a standard pour-over or something decadent. We got the espresso and the ice coffee which was smooth and tasty providing a boost to start the day. They passed the vibe check with their friendly staff and an instagrammable aesthetic. In the early afternoon, they sell tacos which normally wouldn’t go hand in hand but after speaking to some locals I was told that they’re pretty darn good. Next time, I’ll have to try this out myself!
Every Sunday from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, the parking lot of the Cornwall Civic Complex is reserved for the Cornwall Waterfront Farmers’ Market. The market features vendors from Cornwall, Akwesasne, Stormont Dundas and Glengarry, and Prescott Russell. Since we don’t live in Cornwall, I have to limit my desire to buy everything since the small cooler we packed was quickly filling up. I love visiting markets when we travel and this one had an assortment of fresh fruit and vegetables, preserves, and baked goods.
Because we enjoyed the b-fast poutine and the caramel crunch french toast from our brunch picnic, we wanted to dine in at Brunch On Pitt. We ordered the b-fast poutine and the benny and the jets (eggs benedict). If you enjoy the classics like eggs and bacon they also serve that too. There were other fun creations like the cinnamon roll pancakes and the Good Morning Burger – beef patty in a pancake bun, but I knew ordering this would also mean I would be clocking out shortly after for a post-meal nap.
No trip to Cornwall is complete without a stop at Rurban Brewing. Since 2015, this husband-wife duo has produced dozens upon dozens of innovative beers. Some of the varieties include their signature Cornwall Golden Lager, a Bacon German Style Smoked Lager, and a Wheat N Berries IPA. The one I really enjoy – especially on a hot day is the Salted Lime Gose. The brewery features a retail shop and taproom where you can purchase something to refresh yourself on their patio.
Paddle In A Translucent Kayak
The last thing to do on our itinerary was to go kayaking at Guindon Park – a large waterfront park on the west end of Cornwall. At Guindon Park, you’ll find multiple trails, washrooms, picnic spots, and the Cornwall BMX track. There’s also a new business operating at Guidon, Boatingery Adventure. Located in the Trillium Drive entrance this new kayaking rental company is offering translucent kayaks to take on the St Lawrence River. The two-seater kayak is $45 for two-hour intervals. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can spend the day kayaking out to where the remnants of two of the Lost Villages are and have a look below. The kayak was clear enough for us to see what was below us as we row along but there wasn’t much below us. All around us were amazing views of birds like Hawks, Great Blue Herons, and the panoramic view of St. Lawrence.
Cornwall is the place to be when summer rolls around. From beautiful views of the St. Lawrence River, a hidden waterfall, Akwesasne Museum, and unique shops and restaurants, there are plenty of things to do in Cornwall. The list is endless on where to begin!