Summer's still alive and well

Don’t tell anyone, but some people say summer is inching towards the end.

Never mind, however: the sun still shines over Westport and the Rideau Lakes, and there are still plenty of things to do.

All the villages in the area are alive with people who want to go for a stroll and perhaps buy an ice cream cone or visit the shops.

The canals are especially beautiful at this time of year, and become even more so as Fall approaches. You don’t have to have a boat to see them. They’re rich with parkland, walking paths, picnic areas, and history.

At Jones Falls, you can visit the old blacksmith shop, built in the mid-1980s, with a real blacksmith who plies the trade in the old-fashioned way.

Every bit as interesting is Sweeney House, the lockmaster’s house, which dates back to the 1830s. If you have an imagination, you will love this place, with its stories and gossip about the Sweeney family. You can peek into their rooms and a diary that tells it all. Plan to spend some time here. It’s worth it.

There’s a wonderful museum in Chaffey’s Lock, too. It depicts life in the area nearly 180 years ago; and it overlooks the pretty lock, with its boathouses and overhanging trees. If you like to take photographs, this is a perfect place.

In Westport, the Rideau District Museum is full of intriguing things from the past. The building was once a blacksmith shop from the middle 1800s. It has been restored to its original look and feeling; it’s good just to step inside. Once you’re there, however, you’ll see all the many things, big and small, that accompanied local people in their ordinary lives over two centuries.

Another lovely place just to “be” is the Old Stone Mill in Delta. It, too, has been restored with love and detail. The mill is actually in operation. Nearby is a full interpretative display of industry through the years, with artifacts from days of ironworks, cheese-making, and dairying.

Summer’s nearly over? No! Not yet; not here.

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