27 road trip ideas: Chaudière Falls illumination, fashion bargains, marathons, foliage cruises and ski jumpers!

There’s more to this long weekend than turkey and stuffing! Along with enjoying a seasonal feast or two, you can also visit a country fair, watch ski jumpers compete, hear spooky stories, see butterflies, make a scarecrow, or shop for home decor products, world crafts or Quebec fashions. The new Mìwàte installation will start lighting up Chaudière Falls on Thursday, too. You can even work off all those holiday goodies by running a marathon. Happy travels…and Happy Thanksgiving!

Get a fright in Cumberland

House and barn at Cumberland Heritage Village Museum.

Sure, it looks tranquil in this photo, but the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum will be haunted this month.

This month, the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum becomes the Haunted Historic Village (Friday and Saturday nights, October 6 to October 28). Be prepared to be scared as you wander through dark rooms and spooky forests. Advance tickets are available now (the event often sells out, so act quickly if you’re keen).

Thrill to a new illumination of Chaudière Falls in Ottawa

The Canada 150 celebrations aren’t over yet! This week, the Ottawa 2017 organization will unveil its latest attraction: Mìwàte (October 6 to November 5). Montreal’s Moment Factory and the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, in consultation with Métis and Inuit representatives, have designed this sound-and-light installation to evoke the Indigenous history of this thundering waterfall. (Moment Factory also designed the Kontinuum installation in the Lyon LRT station earlier this year.) Visitors will view the show from a new public platform above the falls.

Shop for crafts of the world in Manotick

If you’ve been visiting this website for a while, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of the Third World Bazaar in Manotick. The sale features goods gathered from artisans in countries around the world, such as Turkey, Thailand, Indonesia, South Africa and Guatemala. The family behind the event adheres to fair trade practices and deals directly with artisans. The resulting sale is enormous, and it’s a great chance to get a jump on your Christmas shopping (assuming you’re the type who plans way in advance—if so, I salute you). The bazaar is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until November 12, as well as Thanksgiving Monday.

Listen to Bach by candelight in Ottawa

A row of candles glowing in the dark.

Flickr/Creative Commons photo by Arghya Banik.

This sounds lovely: a performance of Bach piano pieces by candlelight at Dominion Chalmers United Church in Centretown on Saturday, October 7.

Enjoy a country fair in Luskville

The Pontiac Country Fair (October 7 to 9) offers three days of fun at Luskville Falls. Highlights include a farmers’ market, equestrian demonstrations on Saturday and Monday, and animal presentations on Sunday. Admission is free.

Decorate pumpkins and celebrate fall in Old Ottawa East

The Old Ottawa East Community Activities Group is holding a pumpkin sale and fall festival in Brantwood Park on Monday, October 9, from 10am to 2pm (you’ll still have time to get home and enjoy some turkey!). Bring the family to decorate pumpkins, gobble up food truck fare, enjoy a petting zoo and bouncy castles, and just generally work off some of that holiday weekend energy.

Enjoy folk vibes in Westport and Wakefield

Turpin’s Trail, the popular Kingston Celtic/East Coast group, is playing the Cove Country Inn in Westport on Friday, October 6.

Gatineau folk group Outside I’m a Giant (see video above) is releasing its debut album, Point Comfort, at the Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield on Saturday, October 7, with special guests A Leverage for Mountains.

Browse for fashion deals in Gatineau

La Grande Braderie de Mode Québécoise, a fashion sale featuring more than 60 Quebec designers, will be drawing fashionistas to the Hilton Lac-Leamy in Gatineau from October 5 to 7. Admission is free and designers are offering discounts of up to 80%.

Celebrate the harvest in Manotick

At the Harvest Festival at Watson’s Mill in Manotick (Saturday, October 7), the fun will include wagon rides, a scavenger hunt, a flower and vegetable show, and children’s crafts. While you’re there, why not take a guided tour of the mill and check out the farmers’ market?

Take a Thanksgiving cruise from Kingston or Gananoque

Gananoque Boat Line boat.Eat, drink and go sightseeing: Kingston 1000 Islands Cruises is offering three-hour Thanksgiving lunch and dinner cruises from October 6 though 9. The cruises aboard the Island Star and Island Queen follow a scenic route from downtown Kingston through the 1000 Islands. Reserve in advance.

Gananoque Boat Line is offering a 2.5-hour fall foliage lunch cruise on Sunday, October 8, featuring turkey with all the trimmings. You need to reserve by October 7.

Refresh your decor in Merrickville

Looking for something unique and beautiful to spruce up your decor for fall? Merrickville’s Living Spaces Makers Market on Saturday, October 7, may be just the ticket. Artisans, vintage and antiques dealers, furniture reclamation specialists, and others will present 14 living spaces to inspire you, all stocked with furniture, drapes, rugs and decorative items you can buy.

Get spooked in Smiths Falls

On Thursday nights this month (October 5 to 26), the Heritage House Museum in Smiths Falls is hosting candlelit ghost walks through the museum’s spooky Victorian rooms. Guides will regale visitors with unsettling tales of local history.

Tiptoe through the butterflies in Ottawa

Photo copyright Laura Byrne Paquet.

Photo copyright Laura Byrne Paquet.

You can see 1,300 free-flying butterflies from 41 species during the annual Carleton Butterfly Show in the Nesbitt Building greenhouses at Carleton University (until Sunday, October 8). Admission is free (but donations are most welcome). Visit early in the day and/or on a weekday to reduce your chances of being caught in a crowd.

See world cinema in Montreal

I doubt many of the films showcased at Montreal’s Festival du nouveau cinéma (October 4 to 15) will be showing up on Netflix anytime soon, so catch them while you can. From Greece, Brazil, Thailand and many other places, filmmakers have submitted everything from experimental animated films to documentaries. You can also catch more mainstream fare, such as Borg/McEnroe and Blade Runner 2049. Over its 46-year history, the festival has presented films by all sorts of innovative directors, including Guy Maddin, Jane Campion, Atom Egoyan and Wim Wenders.

Make up for your holiday feast in Ottawa or Rivière-Rouge

Worried about packing on some post-turkey weight? Rev up your metabolism before the big feast with a short run or a full-blown marathon on Sunday, October 8. In Cumberland, the Ottawa Fall Colours Run offers 3K, 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon runs, as well as a 1K run for kids. Runners set off from the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum. In Rivière-Rouge (north of the town of Mont-Tremblant), the Marathon Desjardins de la Vallée de la Rouge includes 2.5K, 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon events.

Browse for art in Carp, Perth, Mississippi Mills and Haliburton

You can see a mural by local artist Laurel Cook of the now-gone Floating Bridge at the Union Hall in Clayton, which is one of the stops on the Crown and Pumpkin Studio Tour. Photo of Kelly Prescott in front of the mural courtesy of the Festival of Small Halls.

At the Union Hall in Clayton, one of the stops on the Crown and Pumpkin Studio Tour, you can see a mural by local artist Laurel Cook of the Floating Bridge, which once spanned a nearby waterway. Photo of Kelly Prescott in front of the mural courtesy of the Festival of Small Halls.

The artist studio season seems to be winding down a bit, but there are still three to choose from this weekend. Lanark County is home to two of them: the Crown and Pumpkin Studio Tour in Almonte and Clayton (October 7 to 9), and the Perth Autumn Studio Tour (October 7 to 9). To the west, you can catch the final weekend of the Haliburton County Studio Tour (October 7 and 8).

Prefer your art all in one place? The West Carleton Arts Society’s fall show and sale, Expressions of Art (October 6 to 8), is taking place at the Carp Fairgrounds and features works by more than 30 local artists.

Take in a thought-provoking play in Prince Edward County

Are we all too addicted to a compelling story? That’s the question posed by True Crime, a touring production presented by the Festival Players of Prince Edward County in Wellington from October 3 through 7. The show stars Torquil Campbell of Broken Social Scene playing a real-life con artist.

Eat, drink and see ski jumpers in Lake Placid

The Flaming Leaves Festival at the Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid (October 7 and 8) is a family-friendly event centered on a ski jumping competition. You can watch some of North America’s top jumpers and enjoy live blues music, barbecue treats, craft beers, and wine and cheese pairings.

Make a scarecrow in Picton

Flickr/Creative Commons photo by Tela Chhe.

Flickr/Creative Commons photo by Tela Chhe.

Would you like to make an eye-catching autumn decoration for your front yard—or your cornfield? Then point your car to Picton for the Scarecrow Festival (October 7 and 8) at Small Pond Arts, an art centre and gallery. For $25, you’ll get all the supplies and instruction you need to build your own bird-frightening decoy.

Check out Chinese culture in Ottawa

The Ottawa Welcomes the World events in the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park continue this week with a four-day showcase of all things Chinese (October 5 to 8). See acrobats and opera singers, sample Chinese food and tea, check out a photo exhibition, and more. Admission to the building is free. (If you’re planning ahead, next week’s host embassy is Japan, on Sunday, October 15.)

Sing along to Supertramp in Gatineau

OK, all you folks who wore out your copy of Breakfast in America in high school (I know I’m not the only one): Here’s a show for you. Tramp of the Century is a Supertramp tribute show happening at the Casino Lac-Leamy on Friday, October 6.

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.

Are you promoting an upcoming event you’d like to see in a future weekly road trip roundup? Please email me the details at least two weeks in advance of the event, and I’ll add them to my files. If you have a horizontal photo or two I could use, even better. Thanks!

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2 Responses to 27 road trip ideas: Chaudière Falls illumination, fashion bargains, marathons, foliage cruises and ski jumpers!

  1. Rudy Bos October 4, 2017 at 11:36 am #

    Thanks for doing such a marvelous job to get us out of the house each weekend.
    You”re the best!

    • Laura Byrne Paquet October 4, 2017 at 11:43 am #

      Thanks so much, Rudy! I’m so glad to hear that you enjoy the tips. Happy travels!

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