Come Wander
Reading a good book in the Ottawa Valley

I love winter, but not in the way you might think. I’m not one to be outside frolicking in the snow, bundled up and excited to make fresh tracks, or enjoying the crisp air on my skin…I mean, it’s cold!

That being said, the sight of falling snow still sends little butterflies of excitement into my stomach. I love winter not for its cold, but for its warmth. It’s a cozy season, where we bundle up in thick knits and fuzzy socks; where we light fires to warm our homes; where we say yes to that second brownie because really, we could use the extra padding to help protect us from the chill outside; and where, in my case at least, we snuggle under a blanket and push the cold from our minds as we escape into a good book.

My winter holidays have always been filled with books; my Christmas wish lists chock full of the latest reads so I could stock up with enough pages to get me through until the ground has thawed. I’ve spent snowy days exploring the streets of far away cities; travelling back in time and skipping forward into the future; laying on the beach and striking up a summer romance; and of course, mastering my witchcraft and wizardry skills at Hogwarts.

I may not be the best skater (still trying to master the stop), my downhill skiing may involve a lot of ‘pizza’ position, and I might embrace a ‘slow and steady’ mindset when snowmobiling, but when it comes to winter reading, I consider myself an expert. Here are my thoughts on the top three ways to snuggle up with a good book this season, and some ideas on where to do this in the Ottawa Valley.

1. By the Fire

Reading beside the fire, the light of the flame flickering against the walls and its warmth filling the room is one of my favourite ways to cozy up with a book in winter. This particular scene can only be made better with snow lightly falling outside and a glass of wine by my side. For those of us who don’t have a fireplace at home, we can luckily escape to one of the following for a fireside read.

  • Love’s Healing Reading Room: Created as, “a home for poets, storytellers and bookworms,” this unique space in Killaloe was bestowed upon the community by the late George Finney Linn, III and is home to George’s lifelong book collection, covering a vast array of topics. Settle into a cozy chair with a cup of tea by the wood-burning stove and escape into another world.
  • The Deakins B&B: Stretch out on a couch or make yourself comfortable in a chair by the wood fireplace and let the hospitality of your hosts make you feel right at home during a stay at this charming B&B.
  • Sands on Golden Lake: Book a Lakeside Chalet and cozy up by the fireplace to read, with the frozen lake sparkling in the sunlight just outside your window.

2. Over a Steaming Cup of Coffee

Reading over a steaming cup of coffee – or better yet a deliciously frothy latte – is pretty lovely, though really any warm drink will do to keep you forgetting the chill of winter outside. Check out one of the following cafes for the added bonus of friendly hosts, delicious baked goods, and the warm hum of quiet chatter that quickly fades to white noise as you lose yourself in your book.

  • Bonnie Jane’s Coffee House: With plenty of baked goodness to accompany your warm beverage, and located next to The Arnprior Book Shop, this coffee house is the perfect place to grab a new read and treat your sweet tooth.
  • Neat Coffee Shop: An ideal spot for music lovers, this coffee shop’s homey feel is also great for a comfortable day-time read with steaming beverages and wood fired pizza to keep you warm.
  • Klaesis: This café welcomes you to stay awhile, and has the added bonus of homemade soups to keep you extra warm on a chilly day.

3. Under a Blanket

I have a bit of a blanket obsession and throws are stashed around my house in just about every room so I can pull one on when needed. You see, a blanket only adds to the coziness of the moment: whether you’re in bed, in a chair, stretched out on a couch, or even on the floor.

  • Greystone on Golden Lake: A lakeside cabin getaway, like to J.R.’s Hideaway, is a great way to surround yourself with the beauty of nature, while staying cozy inside. With a feather bed to relax in and the added bonus of a cornerstone fireplace, you can split your reading time between under a blanket and snuggled by the fire.
  • Grey Gables Inn: A stay at this inn not only includes a delicious homemade breakfast, but they even have a Library Suite – the perfect spot to cuddle up with a good book. You can also take a break from reading to ponder over the trials and tribulations of your novel’s characters while getting pampered at the spa onsite.


The Artist’s Way

Who says art can only be found in big galleries or urban showrooms? To find fantastic local and Canadian art you need to head to the places that inspire artists to create, and Ontario’s Highlands is among the most beautiful places in Ontario (in our humble opinion). Beyond the inspiration found in the rugged hills […]

Cozy Up to Fall Camping

So you’re not ready for camping season to end? Here’s a tip: It doesn’t! Just because the summer is over doesn’t mean we need to head indoors, when it comes to camping experiences, fall is where it’s at. Fall camping is an entirely different (and some would say better) experience from summer camping –no bugs, […]

The Best Fall Canoeing

Discover these top lakes and rivers in Ontario’s Highlands to discover the beauty of fall colours from a canoe.

Find Your Zen

It’s been a heck of a year, hasn’t it? If ever there was a year to test your capacity for resilience, it would be 2020. After such a momentous year, what we all could use right now is a little “me time” – a little pampering, and a little bit of peace and quiet to […]

With Love, to Frontenac County

Now more than ever we are drawn to our community, and the places that help us to unwind and get outdoors. To get away from the crowds and reconnect with our roots. Frontenac County tempts us to sit back, unwind and check into vacation mode, to rediscover a world of countless lakes and a region […]

With Love, to Haliburton Highlands

We are so lucky to come from a place that has it all: phenomenal views, rugged landscapes, abundance of trails, and infinite opportunities for recreation, all enticing you to leave your comfort zone and step into the wild. Here, endless forests meet cool, clear lakes and rivers to create incredible vistas that reach out to […]

With Love, to Lanark County

Lanark County is a land of sweet contrasts, where dense forests of sugar maple border lush, green fields and you’re as likely to come across a cyclist as a farmer on one of the region’s winding roads. Urban and rural unite here to create a region that’s as colourful and varied as the patchwork quilt […]

With Love, to the Ottawa Valley

From the rushing waters of the Petawawa, Madawaska and Ottawa rivers to the unspoiled woodlands of Algonquin Park, the Ottawa Valley is a sultry enchantress, enticing us with adventure. Renowned as a world-class whitewater destination and for the challenges found in its rugged hills and lush dales, the Valley pushes us to do more, live […]

With Love, to Lennox & Addington

Known for its pristine wilderness, incredible views and rugged natural spaces, the majestic beauty of Lennox & Addington speaks to the wanderer inside us all. From the craggy peak of Mazinaw Rock at Bon Echo Provincial Park to the starry skies overhead, there is wonder waiting to be discovered here, a vivid reminder of how our […]

With Love, to Hastings County

The deep lakes and meandering rivers here are ripe with life, both on land and in the water. This land is known as a region rich with minerals, and we haven’t forgotten how our communities were settled by the gold rush, where miners flocked, eager to delve into the earth to unearth its riches. Thick […]

Your Guide to COVID-19 Safe Travel in Ontario’s Highlands

We are happy to see that fall is in full swing here in Ontario’s Highlands, and even happier now that we have seen the lifting of many restrictions here in Ontario. After months of staying home we are eager to get out and stretch out legs and imaginations in a region made for discovery. This […]

Go Backcountry

You waken slowly in the early morning, the high-pitched warble of birdsong drifting lightly through the trees overhead. The sky is faintly brightening with the coming of dawn, and the natural world is gradually blossoming to life. Around you there is no trace of human activity, no murmurs of voices, clanging of dishes, or whir […]

Live the Yacht Life

Live the lifestyle of the rich and famous – for a week, anyway – with a Le Boat cruising staycation.

Just Show Up

Hit the water and take advantage of these easy kayaking and canoeing opportunities in Ontario’s Highlands.

Exhale and Unwind

Experience a slice of farm life at Dwyer’s Farmhouse in the Ottawa Valley.

Pampering at Home

Pamper yourself with a little self love with this recipe for an at-home spa day from Wind in the Willows Spa in Haliburton, Ontario.

Treat Mom at Home

A mother’s hands do a lot for us throughout our lives, from washing dishes to drying tears, and deserve a little break. Treat mom with this DIY home spa experience or purchase a take-home kit with everything you need in it.

Before the Lake Wakes

Wake up lakeside with a steaming cup of coffee from a roastery in Ontario’s Highlands.

Just Breathe

Discover the beauty of mindfulness and allowing yourself to Just Breathe.

Perfect Picnic Spots Near Ottawa

Discover these perfect picnic spots throughout the Ottawa Valley and Lanark County on your next road trip just outside of Ottawa.

Get Hooked

Expert fishing guide Sebastian Kowalczuk shares his secret fishing spots where you’re guaranteed a good catch.

Coming Home

Discover the story of Sarain Fox and her journey home to the Ontario’s Highlands, relieving memories of ice fishing and snowmobiling along the way.

Mad About Maple

Maple syrup isn’t just for pancakes. Celebrate Canada’s iconic sweetener in all its forms in Ontario’s Highlands.

Go Cross-Country

Glide over fresh snow on four cross-country ski trails near Ottawa.

The Hottest Views

Soak up incredible views and beneficial side effects across Ontario’s Highlands.

Bask in Romance

Add a little romance at one of these nine intimate Ontario retreats.

Daily Dose of Nature

Discover these places in Ontario’s Highlands that allow you to get out into nature, benefiting your mental and physical health.

Mindful Moments in Nature

Live in the moment and tune into yourself at one of these 6 nature spots in Hastings County and Haliburton County.

Golf, Eat, Sleep, Repeat

Discover these 5 golf courses in Ontario’s Highlands, perfect spots for your next golf escape.

Namaste Outside

Breathe the fresh air at outdoor yoga workshops and events near Ottawa, Ontario.

3 Cheers for Mom

Discover ways to give a mom a Mother’s Day to remember, with gift ideas that go above and beyond.

SUP with that View

Grab your SUP board and take in the beautiful views at these 5 places in Ontario’s Highlands.

An Escape into Nature

Find your connection with nature and each other during a cabin getaway at Deacon Escarpment in Renfrew County.

A Silent Ski Cross Country

Take a break to recharge your spirit and relax your mind while cross country skiing in the snow-covered woods of Silent Lake Provincial Park.

The Serenity Seeker

I’m a Serenity Seeker. I wander at my own pace, searching for a way to unwind and reconnect with myself and with the people who matter most.

Where Am I

Explore the sweet moments and ageless beauty of Perth, Ontario.

Bit by Serenity

An expert traveller’s advice on how seek serenity and embrace a slower pace in Ontario’s Highlands.

Glamping in the Wild

Experience Glamping and reconnect with your loved one at Elements Outdoor Hotel, located in Renfrew County.