This Spring, lose yourself in the local arts and culinary scene in the 1000 Islands Rideau Waterways.

The arts represent an outlet of expression, and the 1000 Islands Rideau Waterways has an abundance of artists and artisans telling the story of the area. Their imaginations, creativity and skill provide a wonderful visual experience showcasing our culture and natural beauty. Find your masterpiece among the art galleries and shops, or visit a studio to meet some talented artisans and see Canadian works of art. 

It’s official, Ontarians can get some money back if they choose to travel within the province thanks to Ontario’s staycation tax credit. The Personal Income Tax (PIT) credit would provide Ontario residents with the support of 20% of eligible 2022 accommodation expenses of up to $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a family, for a maximum credit of $200 or $400, respectively.

Please check with all businesses for updated hours of operation, programming, COVID-19 policies, and restrictions.

Day 1: Westport

Take the drive up to Westport and check in at this charming Ontario country inn situated on the Rideau Canal system – The Cove Inn. Onsite activities include hiking, mountain biking, guided fishing and canoeing.

For lunch, visit Scheuermann Vineyard & Winery which offers handcrafted wines in one of Ontario’s most northern Vinifera vineyards. This lovely, family-owned business, serves up wonderful wood-fired pizza and surf and turf. Enjoy a selection of elegant wines, while taking in the gorgeous views of Sand Lake, the vineyard and the Westport Sculpture Garden. 

Next up, check out Dancing Moon Gallery and Tea Room, which showcases Canadian art and local artists. Then, appreciate the beauty of variety and pretty things at The Pinecone; the culinary decadence of Rosie Yumksi’s Fine Foods; and shop for ‘all things good’ at Jake By The Lake. If you’re visiting on a Saturday, check out the Westport Market. The small town boutiques in Westport are brimming with lovingly-made jewelry, decor, artwork and artisan foods – all perfect for gift-giving, or for treating yourself!  

Take it up another notch, and head over to Westport Brewing Company. Not only a nice addition to the village, but also Westport’s first small-batch brewery offering four beers on tap. 

Finish the day with a stroll along the harbour, then back to The Cove for dinner and live entertainment.

Day 2: Lyndhurst

Next on the map is Furnace Falls Farm. This working farm has an onsite bakery, production kitchen, country charming suites, as well as a Big White Barn for hosting live music. Furnace Falls Farm has curated chef’s table dinners throughout the year made with local food in an elevated country setting. Watch for a spring celebration, kitchen party with live music, and a legendary Mother’s Day brunch this spring! Spend the night and embrace country living.

Day 3: Merrickville

Take a drive to Merrickville and uncover artist inspiration and creativity. Merrickville is the stunning backdrop to shops that cater to every whim – think antiques, beautiful artist studios, clever high-end culinary stores, one-of-a-kind home décor, book nooks, and more!

Fuel up at The Village Bean Coffee House.

Of course, there are numerous galleries in Merrickville, such as internationally-renowned Angelina Wrona’s Anarchy Gallery and Monsky Creations with ceramic, pottery and fused glass. Stop in Gray Art Glass, too, to witness the gallery and studio. 

Head to The Goose and the Gridiron for dinner and stay the night in one of Merrickvilles charming accommodations. 

Start the day early and let your imagination wander at Rideau Woodland Ramble. This is a hosta lover’s dream: more than 400 varieties of hosta grow here! Visit at your own pace through lush greenery and be inspired by grasses, conifers, magnolias, Japanese maples and perennials. Be sure to look for the labyrinth, too!

End the day by visiting Green Gables Vines. This vineyard is local to North Grenville and features 5 acres of grapes planted which are grown organically with no uses of pesticides and harmful chemicals. The neatest part? Green Gables offers free wine tasting with the purchase of one bottle and free vineyard and winery tours. Visit the winery and enjoy the vineyard!

Trendy boutiques in places like Westport mix effortlessly with historic artsy villages like Merrickville making the Rideau Waterways a beckoning to be explored!  Uncover artist inspiration and creativity around every corner – all with a trademark welcoming vibe.