Explore authentic rural communities surrounding Small Halls!

It all starts tomorrow, folks! We’re kicking off the Festival with a sold out show featuring Justin Rutledge at Chaffey’s Lock Community Hall.

So, you have your tickets for this weekend? Super! Explore some of Eastern Ontario’s intriguing small towns while you’re here. It’s easy to celebrate small town charm and community – by discovering it.

Don’t have your tickets? Never fear – the lineup is here!  We look forward to sharing big music in a little place with you.

Here are some suggestions for authentic experiences to get you in the spirit for kicking off the Festival this week.

Spend time in…

Chaffey’s Lock Grab an ice cream cone and stroll the grounds at the fabled Opinicon in Chaffey’s Lock or go for a walk along the Cataraqui Trail – just five minutes from the hall is a brilliant view from a former train bridge high above the Rideau Canal! Or, come earlier in the day and see the lock in action – or take a boat cruise, rent a kayak or bikes to explore with Rideau Tours. There is also an outdoor community meal taking place on the hall grounds for ticketholders, put on by The Opinicon. Yum!

Manotick – So much to see and do, so little time! No trip to Manotick is complete without visiting Watson’s Mill, the unique 1860’s grist and flour mill located on the shores of the Rideau River. Next, feed your sweet tooth and find the best cookies on the planet at the Gingerbread Man. If you want to experience the harvest, visit Miller’s Farm Garden and Market Centre just south of the village for pumpkins and more! Make a day of it before settling in for a delicious community dinner and show seeing Jeremy Fisher. Watch Manotick in a few weeks for the opening of this year’s Third World Bazaar – handcrafted goods from around the world! There’s also a delicious community dinner planned at the United Church before the Jeremy Fisher show – details here.

Bolingbroke – Discover country charm in Bolingbroke! This is the definition of Sunday drive. The winding roads, gorgeous scenery and even a nearby elevated bridge high over picturesque train tracks – you never know what is around the next bend! Fall River Restaurant and coffee house is only minutes away on Hwy. 7. The Bolingbroke road is also known as a scenic route for motorcyclists, and often welcomes riders to traverse its corners, hills and scenic vistas.

Burritt’s Rapids – Straddling the Rideau River, near Lock 17 on the Rideau Canal and a waypoint on the Rideau Trail, the village is a mecca for paddlers, hikers, fishermen, cyclists and birders. Lace up and enjoy the Tip-to-Tip walking trail and the self-guide heritage walking tour. There is also a charming public beach here and opportunities for paddling and picnicking.

Lyndhurst – Venture across the road to Wendy’s Country Market where you’ll find the goodness of harvest season first-hand.  On site animals are also fun to watch – or head into the village to see if you can find the quilt squares on buildings throughout town, take a photo in front of the Plaid House, and enjoy the waterfront and the Lyndhurst Bridge – reputed to be the oldest bridge in Ontario! Be sure to come back for dinner, as Furnace Falls Farm is pulling out all the stops for an incredible BBQ for only $10/person.

Tamworth Tamworth has the beautiful Salmon River flowing through it – and nearby Beaver Lake to accent its variety of amenities and highlight its history. This town was even featured in Michael Ondaatje’s “In the Skin of Lion”! Before the Madison Violet show, visit the incredible SpindleTree Gardens a 20-acre lush paradise just south of the village and then take a relaxing walk in the Beaver Lake Lions Park along the waterfront to enjoy the scenery! You might want to swing into the Black Cat Café for specialty drinks – or lose yourself at The Book Shop, with two floors of a century-old red-brick coach house featuring hand-picked second-hand books in quality condition. Fall in love with Tamworth and then see Madison Violet wow the crowd!

McDonald’s Corners Make memories while visiting nearby Wheeler’s Maple Museum, which holds a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest collection of maple artifacts in the world! Lace up and visit the Purdon Conservation Area – home to a unique nature trails (one is even an accessible boardwalk), as well as the largest colony of lady slipper orchids in Canada. McDonald’s Corners Agricultural Hall will be buzzing with activity!

Tweed A hidden gem of a winery is tucked away near Tweed, Potter Settlement Wines. Explore here and indulge in a wine tasting for $10 before the show, while learning about the history and wine-making process first-hand. Tweed is also rife with art galleries to peruse, shops to discover and trails to hike, so spending a day in Tweed is easy time.

Morton – Park in the hall lot and take a short walk to the Morton Dam for a quiet lake view and immediate immersion in nature. Sit on the dock for a moment and revel in this rural paradise while listening to the water rushing below. Make a day of it and head over to Jones Falls to marvel at the engineering genius of this UNESCO World Heritage site as you watch boats going through the locks. Don’t forget to visit Wendy’s Country Market on Fortune Line Road before the Tomato Tomato matinee show or get dinner afterwards at The Junction about five minutes down the highway.

Balderson – Even getting to the Balderson United Church is remarkable while driving through the gorgeous Lanark Country landscapes to arrive at the Jeremy Fisher show. Balderson is home to a unique shopping experience with stores right next to the church, but also antique shops dotting the countryside. Before the show, stop by Balderson Cheese (1410 Highway 511 in Balderson)  to sample some of their delicious cheeses – and maybe even take a few home too!

We can’t wait to see you soon, Small Hallers!