23 road trip ideas for this week: Classic rock, vintage cars, fine art, garlic…and pirates!

I have another overflowing cornucopia of road trip ideas this week. Hear Randy Bachman, Chilliwack or world music. Swash some buckles like a true pirate. Shop for garlic or comic books. See Prince Edward County by motorcycle or Vermont by bike. Or just relax and drink beer at one of four—yes, four!—craft beer events. Wherever you go, happy travels!

Head to the fair in Navan

Gone, gone, gone, she’s been gone so long… If those words ring a happy, nostalgic bell with you, then get yourself to the Navan Fair (August 11 to 14), where the Canadian band Chilliwack will be playing on Friday, August 12. But even if you wouldn’t know Chilliwack from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, there will be lots to see and do at the fair, including a midway, a softball tournament, a demolition derby, a truck and tractor pull, a parade, and a baby show. Heck, you can even learn about 18th-century musketry from the 78th Fraser Highlanders.

Enjoy music on an island near Kingston

This is the sixth year for the Emerald Music Festival, which entices music lovers to hop the ferry to Amherst Island, between Kingston and Napanee. The family- and pet-friendly event features acts in a wide range of genres, including the bluegrass band Beartracks (performing in the video above) and the classic rockers Little Caesar and the Consuls, celebrating their 60th anniversary this year.

Channel your inner rhinestone cowboy in Brockville

Here’s one for the country fans: the Brockville Arts Centre is presenting “Wichita Lineman: The Music of Glen Campbell” (August 10 and 11). You can catch a show at 8pm on either night or the matinee at 2pm on August 11.

Join the Irish in Killaloe

The village of Killaloe (named for a community in Ireland) is hosting four days of Celtic fun this week. Killaloe: An Irish Gathering (August 11 to 14) features everything from a red-hair-and-freckles contest and a pulled-pork pub dinner to a parade. Live music abounds, including an afternoon ceilidh on Sunday. You can download the full schedule from the township website (look for the link on the left-hand side).

See a car show in Gatineau

The AutoShow Gatineau revs up in Parc des Cèdres in Aylmer this weekend (August 12 to 14). Owners of classic cars will be competing for prizes and car buyers can try their luck at an auction, but even non-gearheads can enjoy the festival’s live music, comedy show and other free amusements (yep, that’s right—there’s no admission fee). Food vendors will be on site to keep you fueled up.

Step right up to the Vintage Carnival in Spencerville

Old-fashioned fun at old-fashioned prices ($5 for a family of five or fewer!) is on the bill at the first-ever Vintage Carnival at the Spencerville Mill and Museum on Saturday, August 13. Face painters, fortune tellers, races, games of chance and more will keep everyone amused.

Sample craft beers in Ottawa and Manotick

Flickr/Creative Commons photo by Lindsey G.

Flickr/Creative Commons photo by Lindsey G.

I’m getting the sense that people in the Ottawa area really, really like craft beer, judging by the number of beer events on offer this weekend alone.

Watson’s Mill in Manotick is holding a craft beer tasting on Friday, August 12, from 7pm to 10pm. Sip beers from about a dozen local breweries while enjoying food catered by the Mill Tavern and tapping your toes to live swing music. Tickets are $40 and money raised goes toward maintaining the heritage mill.

On Saturday, August 13, the Brewery Market returns to Hintonburg Park. Structured like a farmers’ market but promoting small breweries, this event has a different theme each month. In August, the focus is on American Pale Ales (APAs).

Ottawa’s Mill Street Brewery is presenting the Hopped and Confused Festival (August 12 and 13), featuring live music by the Sheepdogs, Wintersleep, Monster Truck and the Glorious Sons, along with 15 Mill Street beers on tap (including one brewed just for the festival) and BBQ dishes inspired by San Antonio’s food scene.

Finally, you can swig beers from a variety of local brewers and enjoy dishes from the Swan at Carp during the Diefenbunker’s beer tasting on Saturday, August 13. Cheers!

See the world in Sherbrooke

The Festival des Traditions du Monde de Sherbrooke (August 10 to 14) celebrates the cultures of the world with some 200 dance and music shows on eight stages presented by more than 600 artists. You can also sample some of the 17 international restaurants on site, check out theme pavilions and browse for international goods offered by more than 80 exhibitors.

Get geeky deals in Nepean

Do you love steampunk, comics, anime, SF and gaming? Do you like bargains? Then head to the Nepean Sportsplex on Saturday, August 13, for the Geek and Gaming Garage Sale, where vendors will be selling used items of all descriptions.

Talk like a pirate in Alexandria Bay

Photo courtesy of the Alexandria Bay Chamber of Commerce.

Photo courtesy of the Alexandria Bay Chamber of Commerce.

Arrgh, mateys! It’s time once again for Bill Johnston’s Pirate Days in Alexandria Bay, New York (August 12 to 21). Bill Johnston was a St. Lawrence River pirate during the Patriot War. And what was the Patriot War, you ask? I’m a history buff and I had to look it up. It was an American war waged in sympathy with the 1837 rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada (the Battle of the Windmill near Prescott, which I just learned about in June, was part of it). Anyway, I digress. The family-friendly festivities in Alexandria Bay include pirate skits, children’s crafts and games, a parade, boat cruises, demonstrations of vintage weapons and more. While it starts this weekend, many of the events take place from August 15 to 21.

Shop for garlic goodies in Carp

Vampires, beware: the Carp Farmers’ Market is holding its annual Garlic Festival this weekend (August 13 and 14). According to the organizers, 86 types of garlic, garlic products and garlic-related pottery will be on sale, including bulbs, spreads, dressings and more. Chefs will be whipping up garlic-accented dishes and experts will be giving garlic-growing tips. And once you’ve exhausted all the garlic options, you can check out the rest of the farmers’ market.

Row, row, row your dragon boat in Cornwall

The Cornwall Waterfest (Saturday, August 13) is centred on the historic Cornwall Canal. Dragon boat races are the highlight, but you can also enjoy an artisans’ market and live music.

Ride your motorcycle through Prince Edward County

The Amazing Ride for the Canadian Cancer Society Wheels of Hope winds 125 kilometres from Napanee to Bloomfield on Sunday, August 14. The entry fee is $20 per motorcycle and registration starts at 9am at the Napanee Mall.

Groove to great music in Calabogie

The Calabogie Blues and Ribfest rolls into the Calabogie Peaks Resort this weekend (August 12 to 14) with a full slate of barbecue goodness and classic music. Randy Bachman tops a musical bill that also includes the Legendary Downchild Blues Band, MonkeyJunk and Soulstack. Horn Dawgs, Gator BBQ and Jack the Ribber will be serving up ribs galore.

Bike for a good cause in Vermont

Okay, so it’s a bit of a drive from Ottawa, at 500km each way. And you have to find a way to rustle up the US$75 to US$95 registration fee and fundraise US$150 by Saturday, August 13. But, hey, I thought some of you keen cyclists might still be keen to try the Harpoon Point-to-Point ride in Windsor, Vermont. You can choose from 20-, 25-, 50- or 100-mile rides (in metric, those are 32-, 40-, 80- or 160-kilometre rides) through some pretty scenic-looking countryside. You can register online until August 9 or sign up on site on the day of the ride. Funds raised go to support the Vermont Foodbank.

Make music in McDonald’s Corners

Pack your fiddle, mandolin, guitar or instrument of choice (well, OK, it probably doesn’t make sense to bring your piano) and head to McDonald’s Corners on Sunday, August 14, for the Hilltop Jamboree. An afternoon of jam sessions will be followed by a home-cooked meal.

Enjoy local food in Ottawa restaurants

As part of Savour Ottawa Summer Tables (August 12 to 21), a range of Ottawa restaurants and food shops are holding events or offering special menus featuring locally grown products. Participants include Signatures at Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa, Absinthe, the Red Apron, the Green Door and the Fairmont Chateau Laurier.

Rock out on Arlington Avenue

Do you have some antsy teens kicking around your house claiming there’s “nothing to do”? Then send them off to the Ottawa Rock Camp for Girls/CHUO Summer Block Party fundraiser on Arlington Avenue on Saturday, August 13, where they can try out the skateboarding ramp, munch on BBQ treats, shop for zines and pins, enjoy live music (including a cover-band contest), and more. Admission is just $5 or pay-what-you-can, and the event is open to all ages.

Get artsy at the Central Experimental Farm and in the Haliburton Highlands

Art lovers have two events to choose from this weekend. Here in town, Art on the Farm on Saturday, August 13 (rain date August 14) will feature artists selling their works under the trees at the Arboretum at the Central Experimental Farm. If you’re looking for a weekend-long road trip, check out the Highlands East Art Tour, a studio tour that runs this weekend and next (August 13 to 14, and August 20 to 21) in the Haliburton Highlands, between Bancroft and Haliburton.

Want more tips on road trips from Ottawa—including info on hotel discounts, contests, festivals and other cool news? Subscribe to my free weekly e-newsletter! I will never spam you—promise.

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