STAYCATION OTTAWA: EXPLORING THE NATION’S CAPITAL THIS FALL

STAYCATION OTTAWA: EXPLORING THE NATION’S CAPITAL THIS FALL

STAYCATION FILES: FAMILY ADVENTURES AT OTTAWA’S WEST END AND BEYOND

We have always LOVED to travel and taking holidays away, which is something I know you and your families also like to do. With the current pandemic putting a lot of these plans on hold, we are called upon to be extra careful, be more creative AND… explore our own locally!

If there’s one silver lining from COVID-19 is that we get to explore more local destinations and support more local businesses. We’ve had such opportunity to experience more #MyOttawa gems with Ottawa Tourism recently and here’s some of the highlights!

Take a lot of notes as you will LOVE these staycation ideas for you and your family!

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What does an #OttawaStaycation looks like? Well, take some notes my friends! The weekend’s a coming (you can also do these any day of the week!) and you’re gonna WANT these ideas! Without further ado… We’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a staycation with @ottawatourism and we present to you… Your ultimate guide to exploring Ottawa’s West end and beyond: ✅ Stay at @brookstreetott Visit: ✅ @carpfarmersmarket ✅ @Diefenbunker ✅ @aliceincarp ✅ @carpcustomcreamery ✅ @swanatcarp ✅ #PinheysPoint by @ottawacity ✅ @log.cabin.orchard ✅ Valleyview Little Animal Farm ✅ And more! Make sure to check out our stories (we made a shortcut for you with our STAYCATION HIGHLIGHT) for more in-depth look at each of these must-see destinations! And… Check out @ctvottawamorninglive! Some of our staycation fun was featured today from our experience at Valleyview! Don’t miss the goats and the trains, the singing chickens and more! Start planning your Ottawa Staycation today! ♥️

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CHECK IN AT THE BROOKSTREET HOTEL

Nestled at the heart of Ottawa’s Silicon Valley with glorious views of the greens at Marshes Golf Club, stands Brookstreet Hotel, a towering white building that you cannot miss as you drive from the main boulevard.

Check-in was rather smooth. The hotel has implemented obvious COVID safety measures in place such as hand sanitizing stations right at the entrance, plexi glass for reception and of course, plenty of official signage from the City of Ottawa for mandatory use of face mask inside.

Both Ottawa Tourism and Brookstreet Hotel have kindly provided us with some backpacks to start off our weekend in style!

While the kids have their colouring kits and some Brookstreet swags like cool water bottles, we got a loot bag (for adults!) of Ottawa ‘map’ notebooks, pens, maple candies, hand sanitizers by Vodkow (produced locally in Almonte, Ontario by Dairy Distillery) and our new faves: #MyOttawa facemask by Ottawa Tourism!

4-DIAMOND EXPERIENCE AT THE BROOKSTREET HOTEL

As you may recall, we’ve mentioned the glorious views from the room but it’s even more spectacular to see it in person!

The gradual break of dawn brings about intense yellows, oranges and reds of the sunrise while the sunset is just as vivid with a burst of magenta, indigo and scarlet red. Set against the greens of the golf course and the changing waters of the outdoor pool, it was truly one of our favourite features of Brookstreet Hotel.

In fact, we set our alarms in order to wake up early in the morning to try to catch a timelapse of the sunset making its way over the horizon.

That sunrise would eventually welcome a beautiful morning, a perfect way to start the day!

Speaking of starting the day the perfect way, both of our suites were also equipped with ‘executive style’ office desk (with a view!), a bonus for me and E as he was able to continue his work and meetings, thanks to the complimentary wifi for guests.

ULTIMATE COMFORT AND AMAZING AMENITIES AT BROOKSTREET HOTEL

I’d be amiss if I don’t mention the pure comfort and coziness of the beds and pillows that truth be told, it was hard to wake everybody up from their slumber.

And awake you must if you’re staying at the Brookstreet Hotel as there are so many activities to experience.

Here are the highlights of what you CANNOT MISS:

  • Indoor Pool
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Starbucks Café
  • Indoor and outdoor dining
  • Gym (some equipment has been closed off to maintain social distancing between work-outs)

AMAZING DINING EXPERIENCE AT THE BROOKSTREET HOTEL

Of course we tried both pools (the outdoor one changes colours, which is mesmerizing to watch from our suites) and we had not just one but two dining experience at Brookstreet’s Perspective Restaurant.

We started off our weekend staycation with a bang – dinner outdoors at Perspective’s heated patio overlooking the pool and the white tent where Brookstreet has been hosting a special BACKYARD DINNER AND SHOW: a 3-course dinner with a LIVE band on certain days of the week!

As a matter of fact, we’ve overheard the band playing and have seen the parade of servers with silver trays and silver domes surely carrying incredible mains and dessert and I am seriously putting this on our bucket list.

With a wide selection of items in the menu, our dinner was an enjoyable experience.

We tried a variety of salads and mains – from steak to salmon, from the chicken curry to the carbonara, there was something in the menu for everyone.

A note on some of the in-room amenities such as kettles and coffee/tea service: they have been removed as part of the hotel’s COVID safety protocols.

Buuuut…

And this is one ‘BUT’ that you will LIKE.

It means complimentary coffee and tea at the Starbucks Café in the lobby!

That’s definitely something I am not mad about, ha ha!

BROOKSTREET HOTEL

525 Legget Drive, Ottawa, ON K2K 2W2

1-888-826-2220
www.brookstreethotel.com

https://www.instagram.com/brookstreetott/

SUPPORT LOCAL FARMERS AND VENDORS AT THE CARP FARMER’S MARKET

Every Saturday from 8:30am to 1:00pm, a crow of folks coming from all over form a socially distanced long line at the entrance to one of Ottawa’s biggest farmer’s markets – the Carp Farmer’s Market.

Did you know?

The Carp Farmer’s Market has been around since 1990?

It’s the largest producer-based Farmers’ Market in Eastern Ontario and it’s been used as a model for other Ontario markets, which is a pretty cool distinction to have, don’t you think?

It was indeed rather large to explore in just one market day that we absolutely need to plan a re-visit. The market clearly has a large and loyal following and there’s a real sense of community when you go.

We’ve checked the farm’s website and social media pages to review the COVID protocols and review the list of vendors. We have bookmarked the booths we wanted to visit but like I mentioned, we sincerely did not have enough time to visit them all as there is quite a long and great selection of vendors at the Carp Farmer’s Market.

DON’T MISS THESE AT THE CARP FARMER’S MARKET

As we didn’t have breakfast at the hotel, we hungrily devoured the delicious scones from Rocket Scones and heartily enjoyed the apple cider from Hall’s Apple Market.

We stopped by and purchased lots of items from several more vendors (check out the current roster of market vendors here) but as you will soon find out for yourself, you definitely need to visit multiple times in order to get to see them all!

Please read the market’s COVID-19 Safety Protocols here before attending.

THE CARP FARMERS’ MARKET

3790 Carp Road (Located on the Carp Fairgrounds)

Village of Carp, Ontario

https://carpfarmersmarket.ca/

https://www.instagram.com/carpfarmersmarket/

WELCOME TO THE DIEFENBUNKER MUSEUM: CANADA’S COLD WAR MUSEUM

Love spy movies and conspiracy theories? How about history, geo-political wars and what could have been?

These are just some of the many interesting facets of the bunker that was once a TOP SECRET of the federal government, an underground bunker built to protect the Canadian Government from nuclear attack in the Cold War era.

CELEBRATING 75-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE GOUZENKO AFFAIR

As this year marks the 75th Anniversary of the Gouzenko Affair (read the Spies Among Us blog post here for more information), our visit couldn’t have been more perfectly timed.

We had the pleasure of having a guided tour by Emma as she walk as through the many levels underground.

DO NOT MISS THESE AT DIEFENBUNKER

Even though Eric and I have been to Diefenbunker before, the rest of the family have not and I’m sincerely glad they had the opportunity to visit as it gave us a deeper look at this era in Canadian history.

Here are the highlights of what you CANNOT MISS:

  • The Prime Minister’s Suite
  • The War Cabinet Room
  • The Medical Centre
  • The Bank of Canada Vault (so cool!)
  • The Old School (not the official name) Canteen (my personal favourite!) – it’s actually called the CANEX

While the cafeteria was originally designed to be open 24 hours a day, unfortunately, it is not a working cafeteria right now so there are no dining option at Diefenbunker.

Around the corner from the cafeteria is the concession store, which is my personal favourite.  The CANEX is where staff assigned, to work in the bunker, can buy necessities and toiletries such as soap, shampoo, razors and toothpaste.

Stepping into this room is like taking a step back in history as you can see brands such as Coke, Pringles, Head and Shoulders and other popular products displayed in their original design and packaging in that era – around 1959 and 1961 when the bunker was built.

SELF-GUIDED TOURS, GUIDED TOURS AT GROUP TOURS AT DIEFENBUNKER

Please note that while self-guided tours, school tours and group tours are now open, the group size is temporarily limited to 9 people. Lucky for us, we are exactly 9!

Check out Diefenbunker’s Museum’s hours and COVID safety protocols here. In order to properly plan your visit, you can also take a virtual tour of the museum for FREE. You can even have a preview of the Bank of Canada vault before you go!

You can also watch “the making” of the cold war museum here.

DIEFENBUNKER MUSEUM

3929 Carp Road
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K0A 1L0

613-839-0007 | hello@diefenbunker.ca

http://diefenbunker.ca/en/

https://www.instagram.com/diefenbunker/

LUNCH TIME AT ALICE’s VILLAGE CAFÉ IN CARP

After our entertaining and educational tour at the Diefenbunker, lunch at Carp’s Community Hub – the Alice’s Village Café was perfectly scheduled.

Known for their coffee, homemade soups and sandwiches as well as breakfast and sweet treats, Alice was truly a crowd favourite as evidenced by the long line-up and what seems to be regulars of the café.

It was a gorgeous sunny day so we requested to dine outdoors and we were seated on a long table at their spacious backyard.

As with most restaurants, it is recommended to call ahead and book as capacity has been reduced at the moment to ensure safety of everybody.

This is a very important step, especially for us, as we are usually an entire village when we travel – all 9 of us during this staycation!

Here are the highlights of what you CANNOT MISS:

  • The BALT – like BELT but with avocado
  • The Grilled Cheese
  • The Fries!

A COOL CONCEPT: MULTI-VENDOR SHOP LOCATED IN THE HEART OF THE VILLAGE OF CARP

One thing that we were curious about that’s right beside Alice’s Village Café is THE HIVE.

A unique one-stop experience in the heart of Carp, Ontario is The Hive, which houses three very different businesses in this three story building.

As we waited for our food at Alice’s, my mum and sister surely had a shopping spree at all the beautifully organized and charmingly decorated multi-level stores at The Hive.

I’d be amiss if I don’t mention this…

If you want to take home some of Alice’s delicious treats, you can pick up frozen pies, scones, quiche, tourtiere, baked beans, pulled pork, soups as well as freshly baked goods like muffins and English muffins.

ALICE’S VILLAGE CAFE

3773 Carp Road, ON, Canada

(613) 470-2233

alice@alicesvillagecafe.com

http://www.alicesvillagecafe.com/

https://www.instagram.com/explore/locations/250710421/

ENJOY FROZEN TREATS AT THE CARP CUSTOM CREAMERY

Right next to Alice Village Café is one place that’s popular both online and IRL. Every time we visit or we drive by, there is always a line-up to get the day’s featured ice cream and other frozen treats.

But don’t let the long line up discourage you, the process moves fast enough and by the time you know it, you are enjoying some classic favourites or some new fusion of flavours you have not even imagined!

Our go-to have been the Butterscotch, Rocky Road and Raspberry.

Sadly, some of these delicious goodness did not make it to the photographing part for this blog post!

THE CARP CUSTOM CREAMERY

3763 Carp Road

Carp ON K0A 1L0

+1.613 839 3336

carpcustom@gmail.com

https://custom-creamery.com/

https://www.instagram.com/carpcustomcreamery/

LEARN MORE ABOUT UPPER CANADA AND OTTAWA’S HISTORY AT PINHEY’S POINT HISTORICAL SITE

After a really satisfactory lunch and ice cream, we headed to a place we’ve never been before.

In fact, I have never heard of this historical site until we received our official itinerary from Ottawa Tourism.

Not to be confused with Pinhey’s Trail, Pinhey’s Forest and Pinhey’s Sand Dunes, which we have visited and are located right next to Nepean Sports Complex, the Pinhey’s Point Historical Site is located approximately 40 minutes west of downtown.

Nestled on the banks of the Ottawa River, we’ve quickly learned that Pinhey’s Point is popular amongst boaters, cyclists and families alike.

ONE OF ONTRARIO HERITAGE TRUST’S HERITAGE PROPERTIES

As one of Ontario Heritage Trust’s heritage properties, the Pinhey’s Point Historical Site features a nearly 200-year-old manor house, surrounding ruins, massive garden, look-out, grounds, marina and a conservation point, which is off limits to the public to conserve the fragile ecosystem.

At Pinhey’s Point Historic Site, scenic views, historic buildings, stone ruins and rolling green hills come together to create one of the most spectacular places to visit in Ottawa.

Come visit to learn about history, explore the property or just relax and have fun with the family.

Here are the highlights of what you CANNOT MISS:

  • The mini marina
  • The big tree – perfect spot to set up your picnic blanket or take a nap
  • Absolutely DO NOT MISS the self-guided tour of the almost 200 year old mansion

Reservations are required to visit inside the Pinhey’s Point Historic Site Museum. You can make reservations with the City of Ottawa the day before. You can find the details below for more information.

Pinhey’s Point Historic Site

270 Pinhey’s Point Road
Dunrobin, Ontario, K0A 1T0

Tel: 613-832-4347 (August 5 to September 6)
Tel: 613-580-9638
Email: museums@ottawa.ca

https://ottawa.ca/en/arts-heritage-and-events/museums-and-historic-sites

https://www.instagram.com/pinheyspoint/

DINNER AT THE CHARMING LOCAL SPOT: SWAN AT CARP RESTAURANT

While we originally called ahead to book for dinner on the patio, it was after dusk when we arrived at Swan at Carp Restaurant and the mosquitoes were out and about. Unfortunately, the temperature considerably dropped by several degrees as well.

They already had a long table beautifully set up for us at the patio deck overlooks the lush and beautiful garden so it was a shame we did not get to enjoy it.

Fortunately, we were moved to the main dining section, which turned out to be a lovely option. It also gave us a glimpse of the charming interior as we walked to our table.

Though it wasn’t bustling, the takeaway part of the restaurant seems buzzing with activity with packages of food being lined up for pick-up.

From ordering to getting the mains delivered for us to voraciously enjoy was QUICK. Fast service is always a BONUS feature for a restaurant especially since we were famished from our packed itinerary!

A MENU THAT OFFERS A FUSION OF INTERNATIONAL FLAVOURS AND INSPIRATION

Here are the highlights of what you CANNOT MISS:

  • Bibimbap with Beef
  • Smoked Chicken, Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya
  • Fettucini Alfredo with Chicken and Freshly Shaved Parmesan
  • Don’t forget to try the Meatball Spaghetti for the kids

Next time we will visit during the day to experience dining on the patio!

THE SWAN AT CARP RESTAURANT

108 Falldown Lane
Carp, Ontario
K0A 1L0

Call at (613) 839-7926

https://www.theswanatcarp.ca/

https://www.instagram.com/swanatcarp/

DON’T MISS THE BRUNCH EXPERIENCE AT BROOKSTREET HOTEL

Depending on where you go, breakfast experience at hotels are not always to die for. Picture run of the mill hotel breakfast buffets with limp bacon and cold scramble eggs.

Well, that could be farther from the truth at Brookstreet’s Perspetives Restaurant.

TRULY ENJOYABLE DINING EXPERIENCE INDOOR AND OUTDOOR

First of all, we were seated at this private room overlooking the pool and the Marshes Golf Course so the view was indeed covetable.

Secondly, the ambience, and the level of comfort and safety at Brookstreet is second to none.

Thirdly, the food is indeed something to call home about and the service and the welcome were exceptional!

We had Roch for dinner and he has worked at the hotel for over 17 years. For brunch, we were served by Deb who has also been there for many, many years. Both were charming, knowledgeable and extremely professional.

MENU THAT OFFERS A WIDE SELECTION OF DELECTABLE DISHES INCLUDING VEGETARIAN OPTIONS

While there are many classic breakfast options in the menu like steak and eggs, there are plenty of globally-inspired items, which I encourage you to try!

Here are the highlights of what you CANNOT MISS:

  • Steak and Eggs
  • Chicken and Waffles (Did I mention it’s no ordinary chicken but General Tao’s Chicken atop a cute and savoury waffle?)
  • Vegetarian Option: GARGANELLI PASTA in a pesto sauce with plant-based sausages (I’ve tried it and it tasted like the real deal!)
  • Chicken tender and fries for the kids
  • DO NOT MISS THE MIMOSAS and COCKTAILS

Kudos to Executive Chef Clifford Lyness and his team!

If you haven’t been, book ASAP!
We will definitely be back.

Our brunch at Perspectives is definitely one of our most memorable dining experience of late. Thank you Brookstreet for hosting me and my family.

PERSPECTIVES RESTAURANT

RESERVATIONS

613-271-1800

reservations@brookstreet.com

RESERVE ONLINE

PLAN YOUR OWN OTTAWA STAYCATION WITH YOUR FAMILY THIS FALL

When planning your own fall staycation Ottawa, do check out Ottawa Tourism’s ‘It’s Still on Us’ promo on Ottawa Hotels including Brookstreet!

Angelo totally wants to go back ASAP so he can build his hotel fort again! 👀

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Book a 2-night stay by October 30th, for stays between August 31 to December 31, 2020. 🗓

Step 2: Receive $100 off your final hotel bill! 💰

Step 3. Celebrate your savings! 💃🏼

FALL FAMILY ACTIVITY: APPLE PICKING AT LOG CABIN ORCHARD

Just approximately 20 minutes south of Downtown Ottawa is the Log Cabin Orchard. It is a 33-acre apple orchard that you can visit for both pick your own or pre-picked apples.

There is no surprise that families make it an annual event to come to the orchard for apple picking as it truly is a wonderful place to visit.

It’s not only the charm of this classic fall activity but the farm itself is also home to 180 years of history.

That’s a lot of families and children that this orchard have provided beautiful memories with. It also provides a perfect backdrop for family photos.

We did see some engagement shoot and bachelorette party during our visit for apple picking and of course, we had to do a mini shoot of our own.

Admittedly, some of our “shoot concept” were a FAIL but hey, maybe we’ll try this again sometime soon!

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Its apple season folks!!!

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One of the best things of visiting an apple orchard for fall apple picking is that most of them are HUGE, which means there are plenty of space for social distancing!

In case you are craving for more than just apples, the Log Cabin Orchard has its own café where they serve quick snacks like nachos, churros and fritters as well as coffee and tea.

The cabin, which was the home stead of Clark Moses, an Irish immigrant who settled in Canada in the 1840’s is now a unique “gift shop” that offers country gifts, baked goods, Apple Cider and Apple products.

Come discover Log Cabin Orchard this fall!

LOG CABIN ORCHARD

6121 Cabin Road

Osgoode, Ontario

K0A 2W0

613-826-5081

logcabinorchard@yahoo.com

https://www.logcabinorchard.ca/

https://www.instagram.com/log.cabin.orchard

A DELIGHT FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY: VALLEYVIEW LITTLE ANIMAL FARM

As our last but certainly not the least stop – we visited the Valleyview Little Animal Farm.

Unbeknownst to me, this beloved animal farm has been around since forever and have been a go-to for many families for many generations.

I am so pleased that we “discovered” this gem, thanks to Ottawa Tourism, as it’s truly a delightful place for the whole family and I do not say that lightly.

The kids DO NOT WANT TO LEAVE.

AS SEEN ON TV: @20YS FAMILY ON CTV OTTAWA MORNING LIVE

As a matter of fact, we had such a wonderful visit, which you can see featured here at CTV Ottawa Morning LIVE with Farm Manager Heather Brophy and CTV Ottawa’s Jasmin Ibrahim!

The animals in the Little Barn were so adorable. You can go up close to pet them.

Do be careful of course as they may nibble on your fingers or your children’s. It was definitely one of Chee Chee and Angelo’s fave activities at the Valleyview Little Animal Farm.

The farm also have huge sections for quintessential farm machineries like trucks and tractors and a play structure with a mix of vintage and modern play stations like airplane, train and pirate ship!

It is important to note that due to COVID, visit to the farm is by RESERVATIONS ONLY.

Or you’ll get a TIME OUT!

Just kidding!

You’re just not able to visit unless you make a reservation ahead of time.

Here’s how:

Email: valleyviewfarm2020@gmail.com.

(Include your Name, Phone number, the Number of guests in your party, the Date of your visit and your choice of morning or afternoon)

THE SINGING CHICKENS ARE HILARIOUS

Here are the highlights of what you CANNOT MISS:

  • Train ride through the farm with educational tour by Farmer John
  • “Porky and his Peeps” – The Singing Chickens plays every half hour starting at 9:45 in the Century Old Barn
  • Creative Farm Play
  • The Corn Maze – Do not miss!
  • Country Walk – home to larger animals such as llamas, donkeys, ponies, horses and sheep
  • Little Animal Farm – home to little animals, just check out these cute baby goats

VALLEYVIEW LITTLE ANIMAL FARM

4750 Fallowfield Road,

Nepean, ON

K2J 4S4

valleyviewfarm2020@gmail.com

Phone Number: (613) 591-1126

BOOK YOUR OTTAWA STAYCATION TODAY

With all the above-mentioned fun filled activities, are you notes full yet?

The nation’s capital is truly a home to endless must-see destinations and must-do activities for the whole family.

Make sure to visit OTTAWA TOURISM for the latest updates in Ottawa and for more staycation activity ideas!

FRIENDLY REMINDER TO ALWAYS BE COVID SAFE

When you do go… don’t forget to be COVID safe: wear your mask on when going inside, keep social distancing and make sure to check the establishment’s COVID safety protocols.

Have lots of fun with your Ottawa fall staycation!

 

 

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