By MAGGIE M, Wedgee-in-Chief, Editor, the wedge.LIVE 🖤 TO SHARE scroll to article’s end
“Life’s a beach,” is a timeless idiom used often for good reason.
Call out someone near you and engage them in a word association game. Say, “Summer.” You will likely hear, “Beach,” in response. It’s universal.
Every village, town and city on water’s edge should have a beach, the public’s most desirable site to enjoy their favorite season. Good beaches can be hard to find. This writer features three phenomenal beaches in our region.
1. Beach on Sand Lake, Westport (shown above)
This beach is located on the fringe of the famous village of Westport. It is big enough to claim towel space without landing your head in someone’s lap. I noted visitors quietly basking in the sun and catching up on summer reading in relative privacy. Moms and dads were paddling with their toddlers for the first time, their happy squeals hardly audible. It was enchanting.
The beach is well maintained by The Westport Lions Club (also owners). The water is always warm. You can comb the beach and collect mussels. Picnic tables and shaded trees surround the beach with an added rare feature, clean public washrooms mere steps away.
Don’t have a bathing suit, a towel or a floating toy? Westport offers more of these than anywhere in the wedge in a variety of shops that cater to throngs of cottagers and boaters.
Don’t have a picnic? Drop into groovy, independent grocer, Kudrinko’s, for ready-made sandwiches, salads, beverages, snacks–minutes away.
It’s all there to enjoy, spontaneously. No planning necessary.
2. Robert Simpson Park, Arnprior
Arnprior’s highly acclaimed Robert Simpson Park is so large many families can congregate in sheltered spaces in privacy. It is one of the largest and most beautiful parks in East Ontario. It also features the most pristine, supervised beach below its escarpment. Bathers are in relative privacy away from the crowds above.
The views are beautiful, calm. You can see Quebec in the distance. This park is a tourist destination on its own.
There is a second beach on the Madawaska River only a few steps East which is great for fishing. You might want to grab a few rods, hooks and worms.
Arnprior is hopping since the expansion of Hwy. 417 and its own completed revitalization. It is a fast-growing, idyllic town. You might want to grab a picnic from Valley Roots on your way in. This butcher is so popular, a line is often out-the-door; but, it moves fast. They are the go-to shop for take-out.
You can wrap up your day with a trip to Downtown’s excellent ice cream stands and flip-flop your way into its truly unique shops.
3. Joel Stone Heritage Beach, Gananoque
The beach at Joel Stone Heritage Waterfront Park is perfect for the kiddies. They can safely be monitored from your armchair in this gentle semi-circular enclave on the St. Lawrence. Rough waters in the wake of cargo ships, tall ships or yachts have no effect on this beach; but, they make for magnificent views.
There is abundant activity at this park. A playground and a marine-themed splash pad add to childrens’ excitement. A large marina on the West side, a music band shell on the East, and the famous Gananoque Boat Line are mere steps away. You can add an hour to your day with an adventure through the Thousand Islands from the decks of one of its wonderful ships.
Didn’t plan a trip? Panache Bakery, downtown “Gan,” will equip your whole family with delicious ready-to-go picnic fare including cutlery. The Island Memories Gift Shop adjoining the park likely offers what you need for the beach.
Stay-tuned for more Spring and Summer features.