Cathy here: If you’re like me, then you’re likely itching to get a half-day escape from this busy time of year. Just a teeny, tiny break before the summer season amps up with full-day barbecues and family time–enough to shake off the winter cobwebs.
Here’s your permission slip to take an afternoon off, slip out of responsibility, and go explore.
I did this last fall, and it was so, so good for the soul as it was a chance to wander without a schedule. It’ll be those little escapes that you’ll remember when you’re writing your memoir. Or…posting your next selfie onto Instagram. #guilty
But, we’re all different people with different tastes. While I may love to visit one style of shop, you may turn your head toward another. So, I thought I’d put together some quaint shops with unique finds that you can discover in Lanark County. It’s like Choose Your Own Adventure, but with shopping. How amazing is that?!
With that, here are five quaint shops that’ll satisfy your search for unscripted moments and humble hospitality in Lanark County:
For the Artiste:
Riverguild Fine Crafts
Just feet away from the Tay River in downtown Heritage Perth, there’s an eclectic shop where you will discover dozens of local artists’ and artisans’ creations. As one of Canada’s oldest artist cooperatives, Riverguild Fine Crafts is a local art store run by local artists. Discover the community’s authentic artistic flavour as you roam through the shop and unearth unique finds from over 75 local artists. Be amazed by the care put into creating delicate pottery, feel soft sheepskin slippers tickle your hand, and fall in love with the works of the ever-popular Frank Van Oort sketches.
For the Vintage Lover:
The Gilded Monarch
Smiths Falls, Ontario
Oh, sweet, merciful painted furniture, you’re going to love The Gilded Monarch! Located in the Davidson’s Courtyard on Russell Street in Smiths Falls, The Gilded Monarch is my Pinterest home-inspired board coming to life. Roam through this vintage-inspired boutique to uncover vintage décor, intricate jewelry and locally made soaps and more. And don’t even get me started on her vignettes. You’ll feel like you’ve met your future home when you walk into the shop and discover the owner’s own story that can be told by the discovering items in her shop. My favourite items: the antique mirrors, homemade soaps and a For Fox Sake’s mug.
For the Sweet Toothers:
Hummingbird Chocolate Maker
There’s a hidden gem in Almonte and it’s the sweetest thing you’ll see and taste. Hummingbird Chocolate Maker is an award-winning company run by Erica and Drew. Discover their fascinating world-travel, chocolate-inspired stories as you taste test their chocolate inside their workshop in Almonte. If you catch the owners, you could also discover the 10-step process to creating their organic creations, which is just the right fit when you want to experience delicious chocolate and connect with the story behind the Hummingbird.
For the Home Décor Inspirer:
The Amish Store
True story: one morning, I walked into The Amish Store. Three hours later, I left. This 30,000-square-foot store is stunning. They first opened their doors in the hamlet of Balderson in 2005, and have since expanded. Become inspired by the craftsmanship of these pieces, wander through the showroom, marvel at the rich colours highlighted in the wood, feel the quality of heirloom, solid wood Amish furniture, and the next thing you’ll know, three hours have passed.
For the Nature Lover:
Last year, we decided to hang a birdfeeder in our backyard. Since then, we’ve attracted a number of birds and it’s been a point of fascination for our four-year-old son. So whether you want to do the same for your backyard or you’re an avid birder, then you’ve got to head to Almonte to visit Gilligallou (pronounced Jill-ee-Gall-ooo) Bird (pronounced Bird).
You’ll discover a store crafted around the owners’ love of birding, and leave with a new outlook.
While you’ll see their passion is for birds, you can dangle your fingers through the wind chimes and see a new gift idea at every turn. So if you live in the city and want to create a little oasis in your backyard or you’re a seasoned birder, Gilligallou Bird is the perfect stop for your nature-loving, half-day escape.
I am really happy to work with our sponsors, Lanark County Tourism Association and Ontario Highlands Tourism Association, to share this information with you! Learn more about the region on OHTO’s gorgeous Come Wander blog and stay connected with all things tourism with Lanark County Tourism.