Crowds making you crazy? Online shopping leaving you unfulfilled? Point your car to the Municipality of North Grenville, and you can check lots of items off your Christmas shopping list and enjoy a fun trip in the bargain!
Kemptville, the heart of the municipality, is just 30 minutes from Ottawa, Smiths Falls or Brockville, so it’s an easy drive. Follow this itinerary to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Start your day with coffee
From Highway 416, take exit 34 to County Road 43 and head west. Not only will that bring you right into Kemptville, but you’ll also find great shopping opportunities along the way. Along with outlets of many national chains, County Road 43 is home to lots of locally owned boutiques, cafes and restaurants.
If you want to fuel up for your shopping adventures with a warm beverage and delicious baked goods, pop into Brewed Awakenings (2868 County Road 43, Kemptville) for doughnuts, scones, fresh sandwiches and more, as well as specialty coffees and teas of all descriptions.
Shopping Stop 1: 2727 County Road 43
A three-minute drive west will bring you to a mall at 2727 County Road 43, at least three businesses are well worth a visit.
At Jac’s Boutique, you’ll find stylish clothing for the whole family from a range of Canadian and international designers, as well as bath products, Canadian-made jewellery, Christmas ornaments, pillows, throws, cocktail kits and other gifts. Check out the baking mixes, which include indulgences like Maison Zoe Ford crispy cinnamon donut pancake mix. Mmmmm…
Tanda Shoes sells high-quality women’s and men’s footwear from top brands, such as Rieker, Blundstone, Clarks, Taos, Birkenstock and Vionic. Sure, it’s a bit hard to give shoes as a present, but Tanda also has excellent gift options, including wallets, purses, packing cubes, socks and gloves. Suede Sorel slippers with faux-fur trim might be just the thing for that friend whose feet are always cold.
Saltastic Salt Therapy and Wellness Spa
And for that hard-to-buy-for someone who seems to have everything, how about a gift card for Saltastic Salt Therapy and Wellness Spa? Saltastic offers dry-salt treatments, where guests inhale air that has been infused with finely ground salt particles in an effort to rid their bodies of allergens, toxins and other foreign substances. Massage, alternative therapies, yoga and other wellness services are also available.
Shopping Stop 2: 2600 County Road 43
Three minutes further along County Road 43, you’ll find another mall at 2600 County Road 43, where four businesses may help you check a few more names off your list.
Kemptville Bed & Bath
For breakfast-in-bed and sleep-in-on-the-weekends types, the Kemptville Bed & Bath outlet store has excellent deals on luxurious duvets, pillows, comforters, sheet sets, mattress covers, blankets and throws, as well as plush towels and bamboo pyjamas. Look for clever items such as cooling memory-gel pillows, soothing weighted blankets and hypoallergenic wool comforters.
Smolkin’s Men’s Wear
The slogan at Smolkin’s Men’s Wear is, “If it doesn’t fit, Smolkin’s won’t let you wear it.” It’s not an idle boast—Smolkin’s has an on-site tailor shop and can do same-day alterations! The shop stocks business, formal and casual wear in a wide range of sizes from respected brands such as Bugatti, Leo Chevalier, Nautica, Dockers and Levi’s. Founded in Almonte in 1921, the business is now run by the fourth generation of the Smolkin family.
Country Treasures Home Décor & Gift
If you know someone who loves modern farmhouse décor, don’t miss the lovely throw pillows, planters, art and other household items at Country Treasures Home Décor & Gift. From soy candles in restful scents like almond-vanilla and citrus-coriander to fun dishtowels, quirky coffee mugs and goat’s-milk soap, the shop brims with stocking stuffers and larger housewares. You can also shop for charming baby blankets, toys and wall art.
Love Your Pet
To make sure your favourite feline or canine won’t feel left out of the holiday fun, drop by Love Your Pet for dog treats, cat toys, leads, collars, food bowls, pet beds, Christmas stockings and other items for the well-loved animal companion. There are even Advent calendars for dogs! And for humans, the shop has pet-themed décor items and handy gift cards.
Shopping Stop 3: 288 County Road 44
Class Axe Guitars
Just north of the intersection of county roads 43 and 44, you’ll find Class Axe Guitars (288 County Road 44, Kemptville). For the better part of three decades, this shop has supplied local musicians with all kinds of bass, electric and acoustic guitars from top makers, including Gibson and Fender. You can also browse for amplifiers, banjos, mandolins, violins and ukuleles. Vintage instruments are available, too.
Take a Break with Thai
By this point, you’re probably getting seriously hungry. For a treat, backtrack a bit along County Road 43 to enjoy plates of fragrant pad Thai, chicken satay, red custard curry shrimp, coconut rice and more at Nakhon Thai (2820 County Road 43, Kemptville). Chef Tan Masong and her husband Aaron Orlicky delight in sharing authentic dishes from Tan’s native Thailand with customers.
Sugold Jewellers & Giftware
For one-of-a-kind necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets, try Sugold Jewellers & Giftware (107 Prescott Street, Kemptville). For 35 years, owner-designer Su Ouelette has been custom crafting pieces for discerning customers. She can even rework a treasured heirloom into a new design. And if you’re shopping at the last minute, don’t worry—Sugold sells eye-catching, ready-made jewellery for women, men and children, as well as socks, scarves, purses and other accessories.
A few doors down, Healthy Pets (111 Prescott Street, Kemptville) is a family-owned businesses stocking just about anything you might need to keep your cat, dog, pet bird, hamster or rabbit happy, from high-quality food and treats to grooming accessories, supplements, collars, leads, harnesses, rainwear and climbing structures.
Home & Beyond
Housed in what was once the library of a now-decommissioned high school, Home & Beyond (304 Prescott Street, Kemptville) is a real find. Room after room is filled with artfully displayed calendars, clocks, stuffed animals, candles, jewellery, cards, books, decorative plaques, scarves, wall hangings, picture frames, ornaments and more. Gift wrapping and gift bagging is free for all full-price purchases.
Once you’ve finished your gift shopping, it might be time for a little reward. From downtown Kemptville, you have several choices.
Downtown, you could swing by the Crusty Baker (16 Prescott Street, Kemptville) for snacks like ginger cookies and cranberry scones, as well as made-to-order sandwiches and piping hot sausage rolls. If you don’t want to leave your family back home out of the fun, pick up fresh bread, imported British packaged foods, a house-made quiche and other treats to enjoy later.
From Prescott Street, you could head east on Van Buren Street. Shortly after Van Buren passes over Highway 416, turn left onto Townline Road, where you’ll find Spa Jada (383 Townline Road, Kemptville). There, you can indulge in a facial, manicure, pedicure or massage, or some of the many other beauty and wellness treatments available. (A spa gift card makes a great present, too!)
Alternatively from downtown Kemptville, you could take a scenic, 15-minute drive south to the charming village of Oxford Mills. It’s home to the equally charming Brigadoon (9 Bridge Street, Oxford Mills), a fine-dining restaurant located in a heritage brick mansion. Savour classic dishes such as bacon-wrapped scallops, chicken marsala, slow-roasted short ribs or rack of lamb. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert—perhaps a slice of white chocolate and raspberry torte.
Enduring Heart Bed and Breakfast
From Brigadoon, it’s a stone’s throw to Enduring Heart Bed and Breakfast (1590 County Road 18, Oxford Mills). Proprietors Sandy and Doug Wiemer realized their dream of operating a country B&B in May 2020, when they bought this 1830s stone house. Today, you can choose from three sun-filled guest rooms, each with private bath. The home’s library and parlour are also at your disposal. In the morning, meander down to the dining room to enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet. It’s the perfect way to end your North Grenville shopping expedition.
About the Author: Laura Byrne Paquet
Best known locally for her work on Ottawa Road Trips, a popular set of printed travel guides and website, Laura’s first encounter with the written word was unusual. Her birth announcement appeared in the newspaper under the heading “Livestock for Sale.”
Despite that rocky start, Laura grew up to become a 'go-to" source of travel information, write for more than 80 publications and websites in Canada and abroad, including BBC Travel, the Ottawa Citizen, EverythingZoomer.com and DreamScapes.
Laura speaks about travel and other topics on TV and radio, runs a local travel website called Ottawa Road Trips, and has written or co-authored 15 books.