In any season, there is lots to see and do within a short drive from the cottage.
Keene, ON is a beautiful rural community located along the Trent Severn Waterway, a national historical site that was once an important route for fur traders and timber. Today, Keene is home to artists, farmers, bustling local businesses, growing families and empty nesters. Nestled on the north shore of the scenic Rice Lake and close to the Hiawatha First Nation's Serpent Mount Park and sacred burial ground, it's no wonder Keene was once voted "Prettiest Town in Ontario" by Harrowsmith Country Life magazine.
Lang Pioneer Village sits along the banks of the historic Indian River, Lang Pioneer Village Museum features over twenty-five restored and furnished buildings constructed between 1825 and 1899. Many of the buildings were donated by townships within the County of Peterborough and moved to their present site when the Museum was founded.
Peterborough Lift Lock & National Historic Site is one of only two hydraulic lift locks on the Trent Severn Waterway, and is the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world! It opened in 1904. There is a visitor centre beside the lock, that offers interactive simulations of going over the lift lock in a boat, and historical exhibits detailing the construction of the lift lock. Residents and visitors skate on the canal below the lift lock in the winter. You can read more here, and watch a video showing what it's like to take a boat through the lock here.
ZimArt Gallery, founded in 2000, ZimArt's Rice Lake Gallery represents over 50 Zimbabwean stone sculptors. Their work is on display in a beautiful natural oasis overlooking Rice Lake and the Northumberland Hills. Gallery visitors can stroll around the gallery on self-guided tours, drink an espresso under a safari tent, picnic under a tree or a tent, birdwatch or count frogs in the pond, read up on background material about this art movement and even meet one of the artists. During much of the summer season the artist-in-residence, visiting from Zimbabwe, is on site teaching workshops or talking and demonstrating to gallery visitors.
Hope Mill is a historic sawmill on the shores of the Indian River, now restored & open to the public. The original sawmill (circa 1835) and wood-finishing equipment have been fully restored. The upper floor of the building is a wood-working museum with archival records from the early wool and carding era. Come and watch the heritage equipment cut and finish lumber just like it was done by our pioneer ancestors. This mill welcomes visitors with no admission charge, but to sustain this volunteer-run project, donations are gratefully received. There are one-of-a-kind craft Items available made by Hope Mill volunteers available only at the Mill.
Art Gallery of Peterborough presents contemporary visual art by artists from the region and across the nation. Some historical and international works are also shown. Admission is free, and the usual hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm. Visit the link to confirm hours, as there are occasional holiday closures.
Canadian Canoe Museum is a national heritage centre that explores the canoe’s significance to the peoples of Canada, through an exceptional collection of canoes, kayaks and paddled watercraft. This family-friendly museum has more than 100 canoes and kayaks on display, plus lots of interactive exhibits.
The Lang-Hastings Trail was completed in the fall of 2012, and is one of the newest sections of the Trans Canada Trail in Ontario. The trail allows you to travel 33 km from Assumption, south-east of the City of Peterborough, into the Village of Hastings. The many permitted uses include walking, cycling, horseback riding, skiing, and snowmobiling. The trail takes you through a large culvert before taking you along the Trent Canal, leading you to the Village of Hastings. Leaving Hastings, only after you enjoy an ice cream cone, you can start on your trek back.
Mark S. Burnham Provincial Park is located at 846 Highway 7, Otonabee. This day-use park has hiking trails and some of the oldest trees in Ontario. Majestic stands of ancient maple, beech, elm and hemlock can be found here. A picnic shelter is available on a first come, first serve basis. Visit the local geocaching page to learn how you can go on a treasure hunt in the Park.
Two Small Rooms Thrift Shop in Keene. This volunteer-run shop is open Thursday & Saturday 12 to 3:00 p.m.
Small-town Bingo every Wednesday night in the Gold Room at the Otonabee-South Monaghan Memorial Community Centre, located at 24 Fourth Street in Keene, ON.
Pickleball is a raquet sport that is a combination of badminton, tennis and ping pong. It’s played at the Keene United Church 30 North Street in Keene, ON. If you would like to give it a try, stop by the Church between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Mondays.
Peechy Keene Café is on the main corner in the nearby town of Keene. Picturesque.
Local Yoga Classes at Renew from Within Workshop, in Peterborough or Keene. Visit the link for dates and registration information.
Free Public Skating is offered at the local Community Centre in Keene, ON. Visit the link for the schedule and directions.
Skiing is easily accessible, with two downhill ski clubs within a 40-minute drive. The closest is Devil's Elbow, a 30-minute drive from the cottage. Brimacombe in Kirby is next-closest. If cross-country is your preference, Kawartha Nordic is less than 45 minutes away.
Golfing is easily accessible, with 19 courses within a 45-minute drive. The closest 4 are: Pinecrest Golf & Country Club (5 minutes away by car), the Baxter Creek Gold Club, the Bellmere Winds Golf Course, and the Black Diamond Golf Club. Take your pick!
Mountain Biking at Harold Town Conservation Area. With over 10 kilometres of biking trails, it's ideal for both quick spins or combined laps for epic adventures. Currently, the Trails Network consists of a circular loop of wide open double track trail, with connecting trails of flowy bermed single-track, technical rock gardens, switch-back climbs, rock pile features, log hops, bridges, small rock drops and tight turns.
Treetop Trekking in Ganaraska Forest is a zipline and "aerial adventure" centre. They have several courses ranging in difficulty, and even offer night-time trekking. If you just feel like a nature walk, Ganaraska Forest is worth the visit, as it is Southern Ontario's largest forest.
Peterborough Folk Festival is a free, three-day music and art festival in the heart of the city of Peterborough. There is music, workshops, food and craft vendors. The Peterborough Folk Festival’s mandate is to foster the artistic and professional development of local culture. The Festival is free but donations are appreciated for this volunteer-run event. Check the link for this year's dates, and it usually takes place in August.
The Farms, Fields, and Food Tour takes place annually, during the heart of harvest. This self-guided tour to the farms of the Township of Otonabee-South Monaghan allows you to get up close and personal with the farmers and their animals or crops. You and your family can enjoy activities, meet farm animals, and try samples of the incredible local food. Visit the link to find the date and map for this year’s tour.
Three Roads Farms is very close-by. They offer grocery items, fresh & frozen produce—much of it locally-sourced—as well as some prepared foods, including breakfast sandwiches.
The Old Railroad Stop is the flagship business of the Hiawatha First Nation, located on the shores of Rice Lake. The restaurant portion of the building is unique, as it encloses a log cabin train-stop that was intended for the Grand Trunk Railway across Rice Lake. The restaurant gets good reviews, and there is also a convenience store, gas station, and some gift/craft items for sale.
The Hiawatha First Nation Pow Wow takes place on the Victoria Day (May) long weekend, at the Lakeview Ceremonial Grounds (126 Paudash Street, Hiawatha First Nation). Grand Entry takes place at noon each day. Information about Hiawatha First Nation events can be found on the HFN website.
Keene Pumpkin Festival (and antique car show) is held each year in October in downtown Keene. The festival promises something for everyone, beginning with a Kids & Pets Costume Parade. Children are invited to display their carved pumpkins for the Pumpkin Pyramid to be lit at dusk. Also featured are: Pony Rides & Petting Zoo, Hot Diggity Dog Show, Obstacle Course, Wagon Rides, Straw Bail Maze, Pumpkin & Face Painting and the Kid’s Corner. Each year, growers from all across Ontario are invited to submit their gigantic ‘plumpkins’ for a weigh-off competition. In the downtown area, there is an Antique Car Show, Farmer’s Mini-Market, Church Harvest Supper, Ghost Walks, and a variety of artists & entertainers performing. Visit the link for this year’s date.