Welcome to the Weekend Route your guide to one-of-a-kind eats, locations, and featured routes. This curated route for our weekend route adventurers is the Historic Trent Severn Gem Towns Route starting in Lakefield. This route explores the Trent Severn Waterway Locks while discovering off-the-beaten-track experiences and stops in these historic gem towns. Brace yourself for lunches in rustic cafes, biking trails sure to make you weak in the knees, outdoor theatres, and breweries based on the lore of the town you are visiting. Follow the Historic Trent Severn Gem Towns Route from Lakefield all the way to Trenton this summer!
The Trent Severn is a historic pathway leading from Georgian Bay to Lake Ontario and it features locks which help boaters navigate the 386km trail. Each one of the towns featured on the Historic Trent Severn Gem Towns is home to one of the waterway’s locks or just past one. Learn more about the geography of Ontario through this route and visit historic monuments, rustic restaurants, and off-the-beaten-track experiences. Visit the Parks Canada Trent Severn waterway page for an in-depth trail guide to each lock.
Exploring the great outdoors should be on the top of your to-do list this summer, what better way to do that and kick off the Trent Severn Waterway route than visiting two locks via bike. To begin this 100km bike trail rent a bike at the Lakefield Marina, where they have started renting bikes to residents and visitors 16 years of age and older. This bike route is named a county favourite by the Lakefield community tours Lakefield and Peterborough. This route is the “Cottage Country Route” and highlights the beautiful nature of the Kawarthas while rolling along the Otonabee River. There are numerous places to eat along this route and scenic photo ops in the Haroldtown Conservation area.
If biking is not your forte, don’t worry we can hit up all the hidden gems that would have been made aware to you per the bike route. Our first stop via car is “The Nutty Bean Cafe”.This smalltown cafe staple is family owned and operated. This cafe has been in business since 2003, and they feature organic and locally sourced products on their menu. Their coffee is shade-grown and can be purchased by the bag or coffee cup. Enjoy a refreshing coffee and meal on their shaded patio or in their indoor dining area which feels as comfortable as your family cottage.
Leahy’s Farm and Market is a family tradition. This location has been running for 45 years and has all the makings of a perfect produce shopping experience. Every member of the family does their part to keep the farm in shape, even the youngest of the bunch. The market is open every day and offers baked goods, preserves, cheese, beef, maple syrup, vegetables, and fruit. You do not want to miss out on these home-grown delicacies.
Lakefield’s Lock is lock 26, located 10 minutes walking distance from downtown Lakefield. Address: 1-47 Katherine St S, Peterborough.
Lang Pioneer Village is a Peterborough staple, if you grew up in the Kawartha Lakes area I’m sure you visited this interactive historical location on a class field trip. If you are from out of town and never got the chance to experience this authentic experience be sure to stop by. The village is made of over 30 homes and business made to bring Peterborough’s lush history back to life, including the old mill. Explore First Nations traditions and the story of their heritage and trading posts within the towns and watch their facebook updates page as well as their website for classic demonstration dates and their special events. The Old School House is my favourite building amongst the village.
St Veronus has become a Peterborough taproom staple in the twenty years they have been serving Belgium classics. Each dish is paired to a Belgium beer and recommended to you; with Belgium having 180 breweries the wide variety of flavors that St Veronus provides is unimaginable. St Veronus provides traditional Belgium food, seafood all the way to fruit, beer, and beef. Plenty patrons have claimed this is the best tap house in Peterborough with the most extensive list of beers. Recently this Belgium restaurant opened up a backyard patio they call the “Beer Garden”, a lush seating area meant to compliment the beer. Peterborough is brimming with local options for beer; satisfy your beer buds with St Veronus or venture to Publican House Brewery & Pub, or Ashburnham Ale House.
Nostalgic Journey Antiques is home to all things we at the Weekend Route love, collectibles, memorabilia, and knick-knacks you cannot find anywhere else. Featuring over 50 vendors this antique stop has something for everyone, even Jar Jar Binks fans, a dwindling number at that. This store offers vinyl, vintage clothing, books, maps, arts, and a life size statue of the most hated character in the Star Wars Universe. This stop is open 7 days a week and is a location you do not want to pass by.
Marie Cluthe Antiques Collectibles is an antique store curated with only the most elegant period pieces, lights, and mirrors. This antique store is located in the heart of Peterborough on Water Street. Each piece looks as if it could have been featured in an episode of Bridgerton and with your visit we ensure you will feel as though you have stepped into another era. If you are looking for more vintage pieces and collectibles we also recommend checking out the multitude of antique and thrift stores littered through downtown Peterborough; This and That Redux, Things From Mom’s Blanket, and Curated.
Muddy’s Pit BBQ is an authentic ranch style BBQ restaurant. Imagine it is the age of the Wild West and you are looking at the town tavern and their are two swinging doors leading to the restaurant, your cowboy boots clack on the ground, and you look to your right and see a rustic sign stating the name of the tavern. While Muddy’s is not quite a Wild West tavern the rustic and authentic outdoor seating area decorated with license plates and vintage signs, as well as their live music, embodies that historic picture. They barbeque using only log hardwood, and they offer plenty of sides to accompany their Pork Back Ribs, Pulled Pork, and Beef Brisket. They are seasonal open from April to December so stop in this summer and stuff your face with Muddy’s Pit BBQ.
Liftlock Paddle Co, is a kayak, canoe, and SUP rental location that also provides assistance to you and your family when attempting to flow through the liftlocks. You must reserve a time slot and then you will be met at the launch point in Beavermead Park. There they will assign kayaks, etc, to the group and then you will be free to float through the liftlock, the lazy river, or in the fountain. Liftlock Paddle Co is fun for the whole family and provides easy access and preparation for a kayak adventure.
Peterboroughs’ lock is lock 21, is located on the Trent canal, and is the largest hydraulic lock in the world. Address: 354 Hunter Street East, Peterborough.
Lured Away Cottages is a dream tucked away within this small town. These cottages are against the water and provide a home away from home in this scenic location. Each cottage has a three or four-piece bathroom, the rooms each have double beds or bunk beds, and there is a bbq along with other necessities provided. In the evening venture through downtown Hastings or take a stroll through their neighbourhoods where rustic architecture defines each home. Finish the evening with hotdogs and marshmallows at Lured Away Cottages community fire pit and a swim off your personal dock. Each cottage is only a five-minute walk away from Hastings’ downtown yet still manages to make you feel isolated from city life.
While Hasting’s is typically recognized for its charm and fishing opportunities, they have a hidden atypical location. Dodd’s Bowling Lanes is a Hasting’s classic, with only 6 lanes be prepared to cozy up with other Hastings visitors and locals. It is decorated to resemble a time capsule of the late 90s and early 2000s, making bowling, a dwindling sporting outing, even more special.
As Hasting’s is a fishing town it would not be fisherman friendly of me if I did not recommend a fish and chips restaurant to stop at. The Captain’s Table is one of the few restaurants in Hastings but its reputation makes it a sought-out restaurant in the Quinte/ Kawartha area. The outside of this shop is made to resemble a classic fish and chips shack on the seaside. If you plan to venture to this restaurant during the winter months you will be delighted with their Christmas decorations which cover every flat surface in the eatery. As a kid, I remember having a toy train that made its way around the trunk of my family’s Christmas Tree, we had to get rid of it. But this eatery’s Christmas decorations are reminiscent of this set and make you feel like a child on Christmas yet again.
Fitkitty Farms is the next stop on our Hastings to-do list! Escape city life with this experience buried deep in the countryside; tap into your inner Snow-White and bond with alpacas, llamas, goats, pigs, mini horses, and more at this interactive farm. Feed the animals, veg out with the goats, or take a walk through their sprawling farms on your trip to Fitkitty. This interactive farm is by appointment only; call in advance to secure your own private viewing of farm life or wait until the holidays when they have set visiting hours and activities. These set times can be found through their Facebook!
Hasting’s Lock is lock 18 and it is located in the heart of Hastings. Address: 4 Bridge St N, Hastings.
D’s Island Shack is a family-run Caribbean restaurant located in downtown Campbellford. Take a break from your comfort food; branch out and try authentic Trinidadian cuisine. This business used to be run out of a chip truck but recently they made the move to a storefront. Enjoy traditional jerk pork or their pepper shrimp! Wash your meal down with a thick mango smoothie and if you are lucky try some vanilla Caribbean fudge when it is available!
Enjoy the Trent Severn Waterway while indulging in a casual yet gourmet dining experience at The Dockside Bistro in Campbellford. This family run restaurant broke into the food industry in the GTA but becoming tired of city living they began their research surrounding the quaint towns and villages in the surrounding area. Falling in love with the uniqueness of the Trent Severn Waterway they settled down on the water in Campbellford. Their meals are crafted from scratch with using the freshest ingredients. While they have been in the food industry for 25 years this bistro has only been open to the area in the past few years. During your visit try the fan favourite Herb Crusted Salmon Fillet or the Dockside Bistro Burger!
Take a hike to Ranney Falls Lookout, Cambpellfords very own Niagara Falls. Walk through Ferris provincial park until you stumble across these falls. They are the entire width of the Trent waterway; 50-60 metres and at least 4m high. The lookout is a ten-minute walk from the famed suspension bridge and is easy to locate by the multiple signs pointing the way. While this lookout is special at any time of the year, this lookout is even more spectacular during the fall. The fall bush comes in the corner of your vision and the falls make up the rest. The Ranney Falls is better than visiting the commercialized Niagara Falls as chances are you will be the only one visiting and the scenic view is enough to make you move to the countryside.
Church Key Brewery is a legendary location on this featured route. Have you ever heard of a brewery located in a church? This brewery was the first Microbrewery ever in Northumberland County. They support other local businesses by using only products from the area when possible when crafting their authentic brew. Enjoy a beer in the church or in their surrounding outdoor seating area. They also work with the Empire Cheese Factory’s local business to provide a wide variety of cheese and other delights to snack on while sipping your beer.
The Empire Cheese Cooperative is a 135-year-old tradition and is the only standing cheese company and manufacturer in Northumberland County. The majority of the cheese made and sold by this company is located at their home location in Campbellford but if you search for it you can find this cheese sold in Peterborough, Linsey, Oshawa, and more.
It would not be an authentic Campbellford visit if our final stop was not Dooher’s Bakery. This Campbellford classic has been thriving since 1949 when Harry and Muriel Dooher opened the shop with the intent to provide baked goods to their community. In 1977 the bakery was passed down to their son Peter Dooher who ran it with his wife. The bakery has since been passed to his daughter Corey Dooher who has run the bakery since and has provided her three children with jobs at the establishment throughout the year. Dooher’s donuts are world famous and it would be a disgrace if you did not pick up a dozen donuts, each a different flavor. They also offer an array of bread, tarts, pies, rolls, muffins, cookies, and more. If you visit during the holidays you can have your pick from an assortment of Christmas cakes or pumpkin-flavoured treats surrounding thanksgiving.
Westben Theatre, or more commonly known as Westben; is a theatre meant to bring communities together through music. It has been open for 22 years and holds more than 400 people. Westben have three locations built to provide authenticated music experiences for local and out of town visitors. The music performed at this Theatre ranges from Indigenous, to country, to broadway, to symphony, to folk. Enjoy one-of-a-kind sounds and performers at Westben an established theatre dedicated to providing authentic music to listeners.
The Ranney Gorge Suspension is open year round within Ferris Provincial Park, it provides an easy hiking trail for all ages and can even provide a small scare. Stand on this suspension bridge and look down 30ft to the waterway underneath. It is within walking distance to the Locks, to downtown Campbellford, and to Doohers Bakery.
Campbellord is Lock 13 and it is located on Ranney falls, visit the lookout and the lock all in one trip! Address: 6199 County Rd 50, Campbellford.
Hopefully, this far in our road trip, your stomachs have room for Ice Cream. The Scoop is a longstanding ice cream shop. This store is no bigger than your family washroom and has a little window where you are able to order any flavor under the sun. This ice cream location is owned by a grade nine student Taya Visser! The Scoop is open from May to early September 7 days a week 2-8 pm. If ice cream is not enough to convince you of visiting, supporting a 15-year-old in her business endeavour is.
Longtooth Beverage Co. is a small-town brewery that is focused on creating unique Western European-style beers! Their brew is made in small batches to ensure that each brew is crafted with care and so that the flavours have time to ferment and shine through. Their menu in terms of food is limited to their in-house-made pizza as well as shareable nachos, and other snack-attizers. The brewery and dine-in location are out of a garage and the patio portion is located on the driveway. The brewery is open six days a week and is typically open till around 9 pm.
Brambleberry Farms is a U-Pick farm with many other unique experiences to offer. Visit this farm anytime from June to September and pick the freshest strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Bring your favourite fishing rod and catch your dinner in Brambleberry’s pond or take a wagon ride around the farm to learn about its lush history. Brambleberry encourages its guests to stay the night on one of their five campsites! This farm is run by a small family dedicated to providing the community with the freshest berries! Stop by Brambleberry in the coming months before it closes for the season.
What’s Your Scoop is a Kawartha dairy ice cream location that sells 32 yummy flavours of ice cream and over 12 flavours of slushies. This ice cream store is open from May to October which is longer than most seasonal shops. In the fall months, pies created by local farmers with their local produce are included as an ice cream side. My personal favourite is their apple pie with a side of vanilla ice cream. The ice cream shop is located in a picturesque barn surrounded by lush greenery.
The Glen Ross lock is lock 7 and is located in a rural area and has many picnic tables and walking trails for you to explore. Address: 3, 29 McGuire Ln, Frankford.
The Quinte Museum of Natural History is a museum dedicated to providing education for people eager to learn. their exhibits projects integrity of knowledge, collegiality, honesty, objectivity, and openness. With exhibits surrounding the carniverous dinosaurs, the long knecked dinosaurs, the horned dinosaurs, and the armoured dinosaurs. This summer season they have developed an exploration exhibit that provides a series of dinosaur specimen open for research and interaction. Plan your trip to the Quinte Museum of Natural History and fuel your inner childhood love for dinosaurs.
Saige’s Sweets is as sweet as it sounds, when seven-year-old Saige expressed an interest in cany more than just eating it at Halloween and Easter her parents made sure her dream could become a reality. At just seven years old Saige is a small business owner, and no it’s not just a lemonade stand that we all tried to grow at age 7 by using minute maid lemonade. This candy shop while small is much grander than our seven-year-old hearts could imagine. Saige has all the candy you can imagine in her shop and in recent years she has become a chocolatier by making and selling her own chocolate. Now, this stand is only open on special occasions so make sure you keep up with Saige’s Facebook profile for her shoppe so you can guarantee you show up when the business owner is in.
The Old Church Theatre is the next stop along our route in Quinte West. This is an intimate setting which features local Canadian artists, playwrights, and local short films. Throughout the summer they have performances most Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. They also have a pub located inside the pub open on performance nights from 5pm-10pm. This pub serves delicious meals as well as drinks and if you sit on the patio outside the old theatre you can try one of their fantastic wood pizzas with your own choice of toppings. This summer check out Canadian performances by Melissa Payne, and many more; or try your hand at their open-mic nights.
The National Air Force Museum of Canada located in Trenton is a must stop in the Bay of Quinte area. The NAFMC was created to preserve and retell the history behind Canada’s aviation. It tells the story of Canada’s first flight, it’s major role in the world wars, and to know its role in peacekeeping missions across the globe. Marvel at the glorious first Canadian Aircraft and other interesting exhibits but dedicate your time learning about the brave people who flew these planes and the lush history behind each craft during your visit; that is what makes this location truly special.
The Old Bank Cafe while new on the block has roots embedded in the history of Quinte West and has managed to maintain its rustic charm. The Old Bank Cafe was once a Bank of Montreal, only recently was it reformed to suit a coffee shop. The shop takes inspiration from the historical location by decorating its interior with large bills and checks. The truly unique aspect that this location boasts, is the refurbished bank vault now used to seat visitors and their coffees. Take a page out of Danny Ocean’s playbook and take a coffee in a newly emptied bank vault.
There are four locks located in Quinte West, the lock 5- Trent lock, the lock 4- Batawa lock, the lock 3- Glen Miller lock, and the lock 1- Trenton lock where our route ends!
Address Lock 5: 27 Hannah Ln, Frankford
Address Lock 4: 997 Glen Miller Rd, Frankford
Address Lock 3: 551 Glen Miller Rd, Quinte West
Address Lock 1: 29-45, Regional Rd 33, Trenton
For lots more off-the-beaten-track experiences, one-of-a-kind eats, and hidden gems only locals know about check out the Historic Trent Severn Gem Towns Route.
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