Combining a very up-to-date Saturday night music program with old world charm, The Cove Country Inn keeps guests coming through all four seasons.
Built in 1872, the inn was once the most prestigious home in Westport, a little village on the Rideau Waterways, in Eastern Ontario. Turned into an inn back in the nineteen twenties, it ran through a series of owners until it was purchased in 1985 by the Cowan family, Mary, Terry, Jeff and Seamus, as an exciting new venture and a long range project. "It was in alright condition when we bought it," said Seamus, "We just had to do a lot of upgrading which is never ending in an old building."
Now, old world charm is embodied in the welcoming front verandah, the large lobby which contains the long bar, two dining rooms, large patio and in the 15 bedrooms, some comfortably furnished with local antiques and some with colourful quilts. Four of the bedrooms are in the inn's 19th century Fredenburgh House, across the road and overlooking the Westport Harbour. There is only one bedroom with a TV and telephone on the property - considered a popular move by many guests. In the large friendly lobby/dining area which includes a grand piano, high speed internet is available.
But to keep guests coming year round, not just in the summer, the Cowan family hosts their very popular jazz and blues music events during the off season. The local Spenser trio performs every Thursday at jazz night. On the third weekend of every month from October to May '
Blues on the Rideau' featuring well known North American musicians and a buffet dinner is a book-early-sold-out event for about 125 people each night. Part of the proceeds goes to local charities. Other Saturday nights highlight piano music and a roast beef buffet dinner. Friday is seafood special and Sunday is 10 oz prime rib night. Menus include seasonal local produce with a homemade touch.
Come summer, their programs change. This is prime cottage and boating country. Rideau River trips, hiking weekend specials in
Foley Mountain Conservation Area, canoeing, bicycling and shopping in Westport's one-of-a-kind stores and weddings are on the agenda for guests. Thursdays, there is a solo guitar performance and acoustic blues on Sunday evenings.
The Cowan family are active participants in all local events, such as fall leaves tours, art tours or antique shows, which are all good for business for everyone in the community.
Using a well-designed website that fully describes what is available at a full service inn for 12 months of the year is another method that promotes business. Their site includes pictures of rooms, prices, complete menus for lunch and dinner, and seasonal schedules of upcoming events - which includes the dates and descriptions of the jazz and blues and other events.
Courtesy The Cove Country Inn And Spa
Katherine McIntyre is interested in Canadian and Central American tourism, aboriginal tourism, aboriginal art, architecture, the Canadian north, hotels and inns. She has written for Canadian History Magazine (formerly the Beaver), Country Connections, Windspeaker, The Revue (Guatemala), Heritage Canada, Medical Post, Lighthouse Digest, and Lodging News. She lives in Toronto.
Cove Country Inn
Westport is a village in Eastern Ontario, Canada. It lies at the west end of Upper Rideau Lake, at the head of the navigable Rideau Canal system, between Kingston and Ottawa.
The village of Westport was incorporated as an independent municipality in 1904. Surrounded by the Township of Rideau Lakes, within Leeds and Grenville County, Westport is one of Ontario's smallest municipalities. An idyllic village with a population of about 700 (2001), it is a notable destination for residents of nearby cottages and passing travellers in the summer time, due to specialty shops and being the sole sizable town in the area.