A few weekends ago, a friend and I went for a weekend away in Gananoque. The fall weather was beautiful and it was a great getaway, even after things had slowed down since the busy summer months. We stayed at the beautiful Victoria Rose Inn, discovered some amazing shopping gems, and dined at the breathtaking waterfront restaurant, The Ivy. Here’s a run-down on where to stay, shop and eat when visiting Gananoque.
1) Sleep at the Victoria Rose Inn
Driving up to this beautifully restored Victorian house is a sight in itself, with the pretty wraparound porch, full garden and incredible architecture. We walked through the doors into a spacious foyer with a sparkling chandelier overhead. As for our room? Complete with a four poster bed, marble-mantel fireplace and decorated with an abundance of whites and creams. The innkeepers, Susanne and Bernie, were wonderful and made us feel like their own visitors, rather than just guests of the inn.
2 Grab a coffee at The Socialist Pig
Don’t think too much about the name — instead, turn your focus to the quirky design of the space and the unique beverage flavours (you must try the harvest apple pie tea latte!). Located in a beautiful old building on Gananoque’s main strip, the shop is a community hangout area with WiFi and a smiling team of baristas behind the counter. We settled down with some tea on a windy fall day and fell in love with the counter space made from stacked books and the patron tables topped with old plastic Samsonite suitcases. They don’t have a website yet, but you can follow them on Facebook.
3 Dine at The Ivy
About a 15 minute drive from Gananoque’s downtown is The Ivy, a breathtaking restaurant on the waterfront property of the Ivy Lea Club. Recently having undergone an extensive renovation, the restaurant is grand, yet cosy — we loved the large stone fireplaces, beamed ceilings and enormous wrought iron chandeliers. Oh, and don’t let me forget the food! The meal was delicious, from the warm bread and butter rolled in poppyseeds to the flavourful salmon atop a bed of lentils. Yum!
4 Shop for locally made home accessories at Willow Soul
I love stumbling upon little boutiques, and Willow Soul was such a great treasure to find. The owner, Lisa, really takes the time to showcase items from local artists, whether from the 1000 Islands region or Kingston (where she has another Willow Soul location). You can find great gift items (soaps, handmade napkins, customized Moleskine journals) or perfect accessories and artwork to pull your home together. And don’t get me started on the jewelry — oh, that beautiful, beautiful jewelry. But the best part of Willow Soul? Everything is wonderfully affordable.
5 Spend hours shopping for architectural salvage at Balleycanoe
If you drive for abut 20 minutes outside of Gananoque, you’ll stumble upon the most precious of hidden gems called Balleycanoe – maybe. Hidden down windy farm roads is a barn that houses an overwhelming amount of architectural salvage — hardware, newel posts, stained glass windows and some 1500 doors just to name a few. Balleycanoe is its name, and John Sorenson is the man behind this jawdroppingly incredible space. The great thing is, any store you pop your head in to in Gananoque will have a piece from Balleycanoe used to display clothes or add some artistic appeal. As for me, I picked up two old crates for just $50 a pair and am planning some great things for them for the holiday season.