Christmas movies are classic, almost every household will have a few traditional holiday “must watch” selections. Best enjoyed curled up with a cup of hot chocolate in a special mug, a blanket and some snacks, for about an hour, all is right with the world as we immerse ourselves in the predictable yet sappy plot. Its comforting to see dysfunctional families come together, and couples finding true love in feel good endings. In our minds’ eye, we join the party and walk through the freshly fallen snow, and large perfectly formed flakes drift down, at dusk as twinkling Christmas lights illuminate the evening and familiar carols drift from a nearby café. It’s surreal, its magical, and it seems too perfect to be true.
There is such a place.
You can visit your own real live Christmas movie setting this holiday season. You don’t have to settle for a visit, though, you can even live here. (That’s where I come in).
Welcome to Barry’s Bay, Ontario.
Nestled on the shore of Kaminiskeg Lake, surrounded by scenic views, this historic little town of about 5,000 boasts some serious style and is a popular summertime destination for cottagers, and tourists. A blanket of snow adds a layer of charm, and whether you are passing through, or would like to add a visit to your holiday bucket list, it’s an absolute must-see!
If you’ve had the pleasure of enjoying this small-town hospitality, you’ll recognize my recommendations for your day filled with magic.
Begin your visit with a warm and delicious beverage. Isn’t that how we always begin our Hallmark Christmas movie? Madawaska Coffee Co has you covered for your artesian brews, with a main street fronting café, and private roasterie, they have uniquely Canadian flavours like maple roast. If you prefer a more main-stream delight, there is also a quaint and modern Tim Hortons just down the road.
Stroll by the visitors’ center and the water tower with your coffee in hand if you take it to go, and admire the restored train car, and historic Balmoral Hotel. Take a moment to pause for a picture under the Tree of Lights. Across the road, you will find a monument commemorating Avro Arrow Test Pilot, Janusz Zurakowski. Gift it Gray, and Grumbling Granny’s located side by side are popular destinations for everything from treats to treasures, and you’ll be sure to discover something that catches your eye. As you stroll down the main street, lit by eye-catching Christmas lights, and classic iron street lamps, you’ll find small town staples. Lorraine’s Pharmacy, Mad Outdoors, V&S Stedmans, Afelskie’s Shoes (they carry a lot more than shoes!), and Talk of the Town. Even the hardware store boasts some small-town charm, and with so many local artists, authors, and crafters in the Madawaska Valley, each small business offer’s some unique stock.
If you are going to star in your very own Christmas Movie, you’ll need to be on top of your beauty game! With salons like Trends, Eve’s Escape Spa, and Heavenly Touch Spa within walking distance, you can be selfie-ready. Warm and outgoing, the owners and staff will make you feel at home at each location, and greet you like an old friend.
Enjoy a mouth-watering lakeside lunch at the Ash Grove Inn, or stay downtown and check out the cuisine at Vito’s. Angelo’s homemade pasta sauce is made with a secret recipe, and will undoubtedly be the topic of some dinnertime debate as you guess the ingredients.
Stop by the Baykery, across from the Metro to take home some delectable desserts. My personal weakness is butter tarts, and when you step into the small shop, and catch a whiff of delicious aromas, you’ll appreciate why I suggested lunch first! You’ll want to try one of everything! Try one now and take some to go! Step across the road to the Metro and balance out the sweetness with some beautiful displayed fresh produce. With Valu-Mart also close by, local shoppers enjoy big town selection and variety. The local grocery stores offer a sweet hometown feel, and you’ll enjoy the festive seasonal decorations and offerings, and friendly, engaging staff who take pride in helping to make your day.
With year-round resorts, and quaint motels and inns, your visit to this beautiful corner of the world can easily become an overnight getaway. The Ash Grove Inn offers luxurious accommodations, and steps up the road, you’ll find the bright and inviting Pinewood Inn. If you don’t mind traveling a few minutes outside of town, Spectacle Lake Lodge offers private cabins, and Sunnyhill Resort is a magical winter retreat.
With so much to experience, your time in this surreal setting is sure to exceed your expectations. With historic sites, scenic views, and unique stops surrounding the Madawaska Valley, you are sure to want to return to explore.
Whether you already call the area home, and are considering a move, are returning back home, or considering making this area your new home, it would be my pleasure to work with you to make your dreams come true.
Sales Representative, EXIT Ottawa Valley Realty
Call or Text – 6136333226
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: Sharon Gardiner. Used with permission.