BY HATTIE KLOTZ
This article was originally published in the Summer 2015 print edition of
Get far, far away from the sights, sounds, and pollution of the big city with a weekend at Owl Rafting, a resort on a quiet bay in the Ottawa River. Just a 1½-hour drive from Ottawa, Owl offers whitewater rafting for every level of thrill-seeker, from sedate family trips to serious whitewater adventures. Choose a big boat for stability or a small boat if you’re looking for a soaking. Owl is best enjoyed over two days: the first spent rafting, the second enjoying kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, canoes, volleyball, the beach, hot showers, and a sauna at Owl headquarters.
If you’ve purchased a two-day package, you can pitch a tent at Owl and enjoy a barbecue dinner and a hearty breakfast on-site. If you prefer something a little softer under your back and shoulders, you can rent a small on-site rustic cabin.
For those who choose a one-day rafting trip, there are plenty of interesting places to stay within a 30-minute drive of Owl HQ.
One is the Stuart Log Cabin, which comes complete with white-chinked walls and a family-style bedroom that sleeps four and offers a true country get-away-from-it-all experience on the shore of Mink Lake. With an outdoor firepit and woodland walks just outside the front door, it offers a chance to reenact pioneer activities while enjoying the modern comforts of a 21st-century bathroom.
Or you can get your hands dirty by renting Dwyer’s Farmhouse. This century-old farmhouse has three bedrooms, sleeps six people, and offers the chance to feed the chickens, gather your breakfast eggs, and even offer a helping hand during haymaking in June and July.
Founded in 2011, Whitewater Brewing Company recently opened a brew pub offering soup, rustic sandwiches, and gourmet pizzas with dough made from leftover beer grains. Wash it all down with a pint of Whitewater’s finest. What’s more, it’s just a stone’s throw from Owl Rafting, where the three founders first met.
After a day of whitewater rafting, find thrills of the underground kind at nearby Bonnechere Caves. Just a 30-minute drive from Owl, the caves were carved by nature through limestone deposited 500 million years ago and offer a fascinating peak at myriad different fossils. Take a flashlight to get the best close-up view.