Summer is officially here! With its arrival, many of us are busy making travel plans. Ontario offers so many places to explore and recently, I went to Stratford with my best buddies for a quick overnight getaway – a 24 hour sojourn. Here are some of the things that I loved about Stratford:
We stayed at Mercer Hall, which is first and foremost a restaurant and bar, with the bonus of 14 comfortable, renovated rooms above for overnight guests. It is located right on Ontario Street, in the heart of downtown Stratford. We booked two double rooms, each with two queen beds (pictured above), a wet bar with mini-fridge and full, ensuite bathroom.
We met some ladies at the theatre and they raved about the house that they had rented through VRBO for the weekend, complete with a hot tub that sounded as if it was well-used!
The Bruce Hotel is the newest and most luxurious addition to the Stratford scene. With 25 elegant rooms and suites, an indoor pool and a restaurant that is getting some great reviews, it looks like a wonderful place to enjoy a decadent weekend away.
Stratford is a real foodie town, perhaps in part to the wonderful Stratford Chef School which has turned out some of the best in Ontario. There are many gems to discover.
Our supper at The Red Rabbit before the play was exceptional. They were crowded for the pre-theatre dinner but despite that, the service was smooth, all of our orders came out on time and and we enjoyed some of the best dishes and cocktails that I have tasted in Stratford in a long while. We ordered several starters which we easily shared as they served them all together on a wooden board (pictured above).
The restaurant at Mercer Hall has recently had a complete overhaul and it is stunning, from the studded, comfortable seating to the copper feature wall. The eclectic, interesting menu has something for everyone’s palate. (If you like craft beer, this is the place to go!)
Features for breakfast was a real treat. No fuss and no frills, they consistently deliver a completely satisfying breakfast or lunch at a fair price.
The Stratford Festival is the real draw here, and it is not just for Shakespeare lovers. We saw “A Chorus Line” which left us singing well into the evening hours (thanks to the brilliant Marvin Hamlisch). The play is one of my favourite musicals from the 70’s and the actors in this company did not disappoint. I highly recommend seeing it if you can get tickets.
We loved visiting Family and Company, the local toy store. Two completely packed rooms are filled with board games, water games, old-fashioned toys, art and crafts, and more, including blasts from the past – we spotted Gumby and Pokey figures.
The Green Room is another cool find on Ontario Street. They have you covered with everything from Hunter boots in the entire range of colours, sizes and heights, to eyewear, including Eye Bobs (my fave cheaters). Another store with diverse inventory, you will need some time to peruse here.
The Milky Whey is a wonderful place to stop before you check into you hotel to pick up some delicious cheeses and crackers, and toppings like pepper jellies and more. They have a good selection of cheeses, including the creamy, delicious and locally made C’estbon Chevre.
Images: Mercer Hall Inn, courtesy of the website; Appetizers at the Red Rabbit, courtesy of Deborah Winer Photography; Family and Company, courtesy of Deborah Winer Photography.