...Well not entirely, since we'd peeked at the website pictures...
However, I would give almost anything to be able to go back and find the Denaut without having a clue.
We visited in very late Fall. Grey, rainy, cold, windy, miserable (just like Britain, in fact) and driving through The Canadian Shield was just stunning.
After the pretty New England Fall stuff, this is almost the same, except with a more rugged edge to it.
(Incidentally, if you like the whole Fall Foliage thing, any random bit of South-ish East-ish Canada slaughters New England for spectacle In the without any effort (or publicity) at all.)
You pass by farms, and get a real impression that the soil goes down about two inches, then you hit solid granite. Harsh.
The towns and villages are functional, rather than prettified.
Then you arrive at The Denaut Mansion. For anywhere else, the name would be a bit of a try-on. However, it really does qualify. You'll have to read the original owner's name plate to find out why. There is no way I'm giving away that surprise.
A very English looking stone house with walls a mile thick, it is a literally incredible contrast to everything you'd seen on the way there.
The lobby / hall and staircase are quite jaw-dropping, and then it gets even better. I've seldom seen such a sympathetic and well-executed restoration. Understated good taste is difficult. Visit this place to see it done properly.
The calm of the rooms was something to behold, and the light could create a Dutch Oil Painting feel and a personal swerve off into the ditch of pretentiousness.
The hosts are very welcoming, even with a tough act like us to contend with. We were the only guests there, somewhat overawed and not, it has to be said, all that chatty (no matter how much I ramble on in print...)
Nevertheless, they are really lovely, and we were made most welcome, and a real chef came in to cook some real food for us. We've seldom felt so guilty. (All that trouble for us?)
Much to my shame, I did not get the chef's name, but he can really cook. Beautifully presented, imaginative stuff that also manages the rare trick of actually being delicious.
I really can't recommend this place to you highly enough.
For sightseeing, here are plenty of small towns nearby. Many have Scottish names, and it really is like being in the Borders.
If driving anywhere, make sure you take as many of the small side roads as possible. They are a barely paved, potholed, deeply rutted and entirely hilarious treat. I actually washed the hire car before giving it back, it was so coated in red mud. The Colin MacRae accent took longer to wear off.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are a B&B located in a heritage mansion built in 1849. Situated in Delta in the beautiful Rideau Lakes. A rural and peaceful little village in Eastern Ontario. In between Kingston and Brockville. If you are looking for a break from your fast pace life this is the place to relax and unwind. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Country Inn Ontario
- Ontario Country Inn
- Denaut Mansion Country Inn Delta, Ontario