Welcome to Jones Falls and Hotel Kenney
Phone: 613-359-5500 or 866-KENNEYS

Why the Rideau Waterway? Why Hotel Kenney?

This post is a revised issue of a past newsletter. It is being mailed out to you, our loyal guests, of yore as a reminder, as well as to any “political refugees” heading our way in search of peace of mind and quiet beauty. New guests deserve to understand what’s in store for them.

The fact that among the many wonderful guests to Jones Falls, there have been those from the White House, Hollywood, Buckingham Palace; guests from as far away as Great Britain, Australia, China, New Zealand, British Columbia, Herzegovina, Italy, Germany, and many more, would suggest something special. A princess has honeymooned here and another visited just long enough to proclaim this the most beautiful place in all of Canada. A Minister of Culture from an amazingly beautiful Asian nation has seconded the princess, and National Geographic has endorsed this United Nations World Heritage Site as the second most important place to visit in the world.

We have a guest book, renewed six years ago, that is filled with wonderful thank-you’s and compliments.

But, and I know because I had the unusual good fortune to have been there: Mt. Fuji at dawn, sunset in the Indian Ocean, afternoon tea in a sampan on Hangchow Lake, Lake Louise at midnight in midwinter-moonlight while waiting for one’s train to move on, these are all more dramatic, and certainly as beautiful.

There are old world hotels like the Peninsula in Hong Kong, Rafaels in Singapore, The Imperial in Tokyo, The Royal Hawaiian in Honolulu, Hassler in Rome, Savoy in London, Ritz’s in Paris, Barcelona, etc., all steeped in a fashionably nostalgic sense of tradition and the good life, and certainly of luxury.

Jones Falls is certainly not luxurious nor fashionable. Social observer Emily Post once wrote that the village of Edgartown on the island of Martha’s Vineyard was “not fashionable” but indeed “distinguished.” Jones Falls is distinguished. Distinguished for its charm and open-armed hospitality, going back 140 years.

This lock station is as friendly as it gets on any waterway in the world. Strangers talk to each other. Canal lock staff initiate conversation rather than wait for questions. Until recently closed for reasons of austerity, children visiting the Jones Falls blacksmith would be put to work pumping the bellows as a welcome into the Canadian family, and Canada is what it’s about. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, just how you behave as a human being, and if you pass muster, you might as well be family. All of this with what I would call real frontier dignity in the second largest country in the world. All of this in a nation with fewer than 35 million citizens, yet the second highest number of “skyscrapers” (Toronto) in the world.

The “Economist” shows Vancouver to be the benchmark high in its index of culture and entertainment “based on indicators that include comfortable climate, lack of social restrictions, sport, culture, food and drink.” And please, trust us, we think Hotel Kenney and Jones Falls can match that any day! Not on the same scale, but some prefer life on a quieter scale where you can hear the echo come back through the woods and over the locks to bounce off the dam built in the wilderness to become, after great loss of life, one of the wonders of the world at the time, and today, a United Nations World Heritage Site.

Ottawa with its stately parliament buildings stands at one end of the Rideau Waterway and Fort Henry at the Southern end as a reminder on the edge of a huge military complex of Canada’s long-standing commitment to democratic principals and the rule of law. There in the city of Kingston, two fine teaching hospitals are the pride of Queen’s University. Fine restaurants abound. Theater, symphony and a richly historic downtown on Lake Ontario where it meets the St. Lawrence, are generously shared with knowledgeable American neighbors crossing the border by boat, auto and plane.

Between Ottawa and Kingston there is more to do and see than possible for most to digest in a lifetime, yet it is the perfect stretch of space in which to withdraw, drop out, become the anonymous observer in a land overwhelmingly populated by wildlife, and where, if it is your inclination, to live off the land. A place where if you wish to be reminded of your fellow man, perhaps a visitor like you, you only need to go down the road apiece and there he can be, even a dozen or so. But that’s it on the Rideau Waterway. There are no crowds, only occasional gatherings.

Dozens of charming small villages surround Jones Falls. Antiquing in what is still heavily a farming economy is exciting as barnload after barnload of stuff moves from one romantic to another. Farm shopping, gallery hopping, golf, fishing, boating, kayaking, trekking, shepherding field trials, riding, it’s all here. Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto aren’t far away if a more sophisticated big city break is in order.

But to appreciate fully the charm of this place, you must be able to sit quietly on the porch looking over the edge of the book you took from the library and be blown away by the long brown line of adult geese leading their young from left to right off Whitefish Lake, under the foot bridge into the fish sanctuary to graze for an hour on a small piece of the lawn that makes up Hotel Kenney’s 26 acres. Here you can truly feel peace and if in the shoulder seasons smell that fabulous wood smoke from the fire Paul has built in our wonderfully comfortable living room. And if you want to have a day that ends as close to perfect as it gets, introduce yourself to Paul who is from Scotland and is married to a fine Canadian lady, and who will obviously enjoy your company. Then try the wine and prime rib in our dining room overlooking the sunset harbor. Back on the porch for an after dinner drink. Perhaps a game of chess. Then off to your room in one of the cottages to finish your book and notice on the way that here in Jones Falls, those stars up there in the sky punch out like nothing you ever saw before, or maybe only once before, after that sunset in the Indian Ocean.

For heaven’s sake, come visit us. It’s the greatest, really. Besides we need you to hold this whole special thing together in hopes that all our grandchildren might enjoy the cry of a loon in a place where loons are supposed to be, and perhaps where you have learned to feel you belong.

Thank you.

Franklin Folts (Frank)



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59 Kenney Road
Jones Falls, Elgin Ontario
K0G1E0, Canada



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