I’ve pretty much been going non-stop since last December. Work and writing don’t leave much time for relaxing so I made a conscious choice before I left for a long weekend in Canada. No phones, no internet, no laptop, no writing … for three whole days. The idea was painful. Forcing myself to leave my laptop at made me twitchy. I love writing. Deeply. But I know if I’m not careful I will burn out and that won’t do me any favors as a healthy human being or as a writer. So I loaded my tablet with books, turned off the internet, grabbed my camera, and headed to Canada!
Stratford, Ontario is a beautiful town. It’s home of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival, an amazing series of plays held from April through October in the four theaters in town. Primarily performances of William Shakespeare’s plays, they also perform musicals, one man shows, and other interesting dramas. Starting when I was eight years old, my parents took me every year. Once I met my husband, he came as well, and with few exceptions, I have seen at least one, often two, plays there every year.
Lake Huron, crossing the Blue Water Bridge from Pt. Huron to Sarnia
Normally, we go in September or October and after going at the end of June this year, I can honestly say I much prefer going in the fall! It was in the high-70’s and muggy that weekend and I am much happier when it’s 65 and drizzly. Still, I had a wonderful time and I am eager to go back next year.
The performances are always incredible. This year we saw King John and King Lear, neither of which I’d seen before. King Lear was especially heart-wrenching and we decided we might need to end the weekend on a high note next year and see a musical! It’s difficult to turn down the opportunity to see Shakespeare’s tragedies performed so well though.
For many years, we’ve stayed in a pretty little guest house in town. It’s like a bed and breakfast (without the breakfast) and it’s a charming little place. The room is comfy, the shower is nice and roomy, and it’s a fantastic price. The owner was an elderly woman who, sadly, passed away this spring. Her daughter is still running the place and although we’ll miss the owner, her daughter did a lovely job.
Since breakfast isn’t included, we always go to a cute little restaurant called The York Street Kitchen. The photo above is from when it was located on York St. It has since moved Erie Street but is every bit as delicious as ever. It’s a funky little place that I absolutely adore and I can’t believe I didn’t take a photo of it! We’ve probably eaten everything on the menu at least six times but it never disappoints and we always go back for more. One of my favorites is the H.M.S. Pinafore, but anything with smoked salmon is a winner in my book!
We were there Friday through Sunday, so in addition to the plays we went out to dinner. Raja, an incredible Indian restaurant where I had sweet chili spiced duck, is NOT to be missed and neither is Pazzo Taverna, an Italian place that we ate at twice because it was so good. Incredible mussels and thin crust pizza, along with a cucumber herb martini that I would really like to re-create at home. In addition to eating our way through town, we strolled the gardens, shopped downtown, browsed antique stores, and checked out an art festival.
We went crazy at a wonderful tea shop and I stocked up my usual bag of black currant black tea and tried out a new flavor of green and white tea blend flavored with grapefruit. I also picked up a few bags to give as Christmas gifts, which felt a little odd since I was shopping in June rather than September.
Oh, and if you ever get a chance to visit, this shop is a little slice of heaven. They have dozens of infused olive oils and vinegars to sample. Chocolate balsamic vinegar and green chile olive oil is incredible together.
There is plenty to do in town, and one of these days, I am going to take a tour of the backstage and costume warehouse. My inner theater nerd is so geeked by the idea but I’ve never managed to squeeze it in.
Oh well, there’s always next year.
Lake Huron, crossing the Blue Water Bridge from Sarnia to Pt. Huron.