Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Smiths Falls makes an excellent stopover on the Rideau

Unusual ducks at Smiths Falls convince us we need to start traveling with a book on birds of North America.

6 June 2009, 0805 hours, Smiths Falls

We decide to make Smiths Falls our turnaround point and not push on to Ottawa. It is a vacation, after all, and not a race. We will leave the northern half of the Rideau Canal Waterway for another time, possibly this fall.

We discover that we were over-charged for the first night at $1.60 a foot. The dockage fee should have been $1.20 a foot. Dave, the morning manager at Victoria Park, did not want to disturb us first thing in the morning. We discover all this when we go to the office to extend our stay for another night. Now, we are only charged 60 cents a foot.

We’re enjoying our stay in Smiths Falls, the largest town on the Rideau between Ottawa and Kingston, even though a number of people recommended we pass through and stay instead at Merrickville, 25 miles up the waterway.

Margo shows off her excellent pork sausages at the Farmer's Market in Smiths Falls.

Somehow, we managed to misplace the name of the couple who make a variety of preserves, including delightful dilly carrots.

We purchased garlic parmesan butter from Aunt Owl and yummy sausage rolls from her husband, Peter.

We check out the small Farmer’s Market. The Captain buys out the market with home-made dilly carrots, local honey, honey-garlic pork sausages, Peter’s BBQ sauce, Grace’s butter tarts and Aunt Owl’s garlic parmesan butter. Aunt Owl offers free sample sausage rolls today, much to the delight of the Captain.

The butter tarts are actually made by Anne, using the recipe of her aunt Grace, thus, the name. The tarts are finished with lots of brown sugar and molasses so the taste is almost like a brulee. Delish!

We tour the interesting Rideau Canal Museum where the Captain searches for suitable headwear. The second floor is under renovations and we are given a $1.00 off each for the admission price: $3.00 for adult and $2.50 for seniors.

We were not able to pick up any fresh produce at the Farmer’s Market so we head off to the Independent Grocer which is less than a 10-minute walk. Smiths Falls is a good stop for provisioning, with a Wal-Mart and Beer Store close by.

It is a hot day, so a bistro dinner is in order. Ice-cold Bacardi mojitos, fresh baguette, country-style pate and cheese, eaten in the cockpit looking out on the canal and surrounding park.

It was a slow day through the locks. We count only eight pleasure craft and General Brock, a tour boat.

Another reason to stay in Smiths Falls and within WiFi range was to catch Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final. We avoid the local sports bar and catch the game live on our Mac, above, thanks to streaming video from the CBC. Much to our dismay, the Pens lose 5-0.

Yep, red sky in morning, sailors take warning. The following day was rainy.

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