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.


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