You don’t have to go far to go away!
Where To Stay
Summer is a time for having fun, making memories, and trying something new. If you’re one of many who can’t get enough of those summertime vibes, then you’ll love a weekend getaway to the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry (also known as SDG Counties).
If you haven’t heard of it, let me introduce you to one of my favourite destinations located in South Eastern Ontario. SDG Counties is beautiful all year round but it’s especially enjoyable in the summertime. This escape is just over an hour away from Ottawa, Montreal, and two hours away from Kingston. So, pack your bags, because it’s time to say goodbye to the city and hello to the county charm!
Auberge Glengarry Inn
Nestled in the heart of Alexandria, Auberge Glengarry Inn is a century home that has been transformed into a chic oasis! It’s a charming bed and breakfast-syle inn with four rooms that can accommodate up to nine guests. We guarantee that after one stay at Auberge Glengarry Inn you will want to make weekend trips dedicated to going to this gorgeous Inn.
Opened in March 2022, owners Lucie Lajoie and Nathalie Crack were inspired to open their own bed and breakfast after a memorable girls’ trip they took to Italy in 2019. Fast forward to today, and the owners have created a place that is elegant in design with all of the creature comforts.
Your stay includes a gourmet breakfast, access to their gym, and hot tub. The shared fireside lounge makes for the perfect place to unwind and relax after exploring all day. You could also rent the entire house and have dinner provided by a local private chef. Everything from the soaps, paintings, and food is all sourced from local artisans and small businesses. Plus, the beds are literally like clouds, we had the best sleep!
We stayed in the Tuscan Room which can comfortably sleep up to 3 people. The room amenities included Keurig coffee, complimentary WiFi, a private balcony, and toiletries from local business Lavender Skincare Co. You can also add a charcuterie board, local craft beer/wine basket, and an in-house massage to your stay!
With the VIA Rail train station just a walking distance away, you can hop on the train from Toronto, Kingston, or Ottawa and arrive at your getaway. Auberge Glengarry Inn is also only a two-minute walk away from bustling restaurants so you can enjoy a couple of glasses of wine without worrying about who will have to drive!
Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, as a family, or with a group of friends Auberge Glengarry Inn can suit all travelers. This is hands down our new favourite place to stay when visiting SDG Counties. Our host Nathalie had a warm inviting vibe. This wasn’t just a place to stay for a couple of days, but a whole dang experience!
Don’t forget! The Ontario Staycation Tax Credit will provide up to $400 per family tax savings on vacation accommodations used in 2022 for Ontario Residents.
What To Do
Priests Mill Arts Centre
Ever wanted to try glass blowing? Priests Mill Arts Centre operates a glassblowing workshop and gallery out of a historic building in the heart of Alexandria. We were able to learn about the art of glass blowing and craft our own practice pieces before creating a beautiful glass flower and friendship bulb to take home. This was a first-time experience for my partner and I and we both thoroughly enjoyed our class. Our instructor, Mark-André was kind, patient, and explained each step clearly to ensure that we felt safe throughout the experience.
Priests Mill Arts Centre not only offers workshops but a gallery to showcase the work done by the artists and craftsmen at the Mill to share with the community. Plus, every Saturday from now until September 3rd, you can uncover artist inspiration and creativity at their Art Market. This area has an abundance of artists and artisans just waiting to tell their stories!
Split Rock Farms Alpacas
Get ready to meet your new fluffy best friend! At Split Rock Farms, they have plenty of room (250 acres to be exact) for you to take a stroll with their alpacas. This is one of Eastern Ontario’s largest alpaca farms with over 100 animals originating from across North America. After our walk, we got to hang out with these fluffy animals and feed them some treats. You can also enjoy farm tours, hay rides, and nature walks. Don’t miss out on the Alpaca Habit Boutique where you can purchase some of the softest hypoallergenic fibers made into anything your little heart desires.
Springfield Farm Organics
Try your hand at a new sport this summer when you visit this 200-year-old farm featuring a full disc golf course! Get your hands dirty at Springfield Farm Organics and learn both the backhand and front-handed throw, then finish off the day with a round to show off your new skills. Look here for their Field & Feast event on Saturday, September 10th which features a 9-course meal prepared by three chefs.
St. Raphael’s Ruins National Historic Site
It seems like around every corner in this region, there’s a historic gem waiting to be explored! Take the drive up to the intriguing St. Raphael’s Ruins National Historic Site. This is the location of the remains of one of the earliest Roman Catholic churches in English-speaking Canada, built by Scottish pioneers in the early nineteenth century.
In 1970, a fire destroyed the roof, and soon after, the Ontario Heritage Foundation began a stabilization project. In September 1997 the ruins were designated a National Historic Site which you can see for free! As you explore the majestic ruins, you can see why this site continues to attract tourists and photographers. While out touring this spot, visit Bishop’s House of Glengarry to learn more about this historic area.
Glengarry, Nor’Westers & Loyalist Museum
This museum is housed in the old Williamstown schoolhouse which was built in 1862 and was a school until 1962. In 1967, the Glengarry Historical Society opened The Nor’Westers and Loyalist Museum to commemorate Canadian and Glengarrian History. The museum proudly displays the story of Sir John Johnson and his Loyalist Followers who settled here in 1784. Upstairs, you can also learn about the Glengarry Partners of The North West Company – a competitor to the Hudson Bay Company for fur trade. Next to the museum is the fairgrounds for the annual Williamstown fair as well as other major events.
Where To Nosh/Sip
Buvette du Marché
Buvette du Marché is now a modern gastropub but it was once a historic meat market from 1904-2000. The building was nearly vacant for 18 years before a local couple Michelle Daprato and Serge Bellefeuille bought the business and opened up in 2019. This chic little spot has impressive cocktails and a creative tapas-style menu at fair prices. Eating here will have you feeling like you’re in a sophisticated resto bistro in Montreal.
The North Glengarry
Usually, when you go to a restaurant, the food is what you’re snapping photos of. At The North Glengarry, the food is good but the patio is unlike any other! The unique patio runs alongside the waterfall that once powered the mill onsite (Priests Mill Arts Centre). The building dates back to 1819 and is the oldest standing building in Alexandria! Dig into comfort food with their generous portions of pub-style dishes.
La Belle Sorelle Bistro
La Belle Sorelle Bistro has a little something for everyone, but if you go, you must get the caesar salad or their fiesta buddha bowl – you can’t go wrong here. Both were so fresh and bursting with flavour.
Wood Brothers Brewing Company
“Beer is fun” is what the team at Wood Brothers Brewing says and I couldn’t agree more! Their beers are bold and bitter so if you like a hoppy IPA and fruity NEIPA (like me) then, you will love this spot! There’s plenty of outdoor seating and the scenic views complete the visit. They also have a food truck on-site to satisfy your pizza cravings.
Stonehouse Vineyard is a five-acre vineyard that not only features a beautiful stone house that was built in the early 1800s, but a large renovated barn house that provides scenic views of the surrounding vineyard and farmlands. If you book ahead you can take a guided tour which includes patio time for six tastings and local artisan cheeses. We were lucky enough to visit on a day when their award-winning Marquette Rose was available for tastings. This is a lovely winery with the most romantic picturesque views.
SDG Counties is definitely close enough for a day trip but why not make a weekend of it to really take in all of the amazing things this little area has to offer? Whether it’s taking in the small town charm, tantalizing your taste buds, walking an alpaca, or visiting the historic sites, there are countless ways to enjoy SDG Counties.