This long weekend we’re staying close to home. We’re taking a trip to Stratford.
The fun and friendly town has much to offer beyond the theatre, so this long weekend I’ve planned a lot of adventures.
Where to Stay?
The last time we stayed overnight in Stratford we nicknamed our hotel “The Much Ado About Nothing Inn,” so this time we decided to stay at a place that is run by its owner.
There are many family friendly B&Bs in Stratford. Here’s a story I wrote about the Bed and Breakfast Association. They’re the organization that assures all members offer a top quality visit.
This weekend we’re staying at Avery’s Inn Next Door. They’re a new supporter of this site. As you know, I only run a few ads, and I always spend some time with these local businesses before working with them.
Avery’s Inn Next Door is a luxurious new boutique inn. Each room comes with mini-fridge, microwave and coffee maker. We’re staying in The Gingko Suite.A fold out couch is available, so I guess you know where Cole will sleep.
In the middle of the night he’ll probably sneak into bed with us and I’ll end up on the fold out couch.
If you don’t have plans to escape this weekend, but would like to get away, here are some thing to consider about a visit to Stratford.
Park the Car and Walk Around
The city is small, so you can basically park the car. You can walk or rent bikes.
Half day bike rentals are available at my favourite local bike shop, Totally Spoked. It’s a family friendly store run by folks who care about the world.
This photo is a load of bikes donated by Stratford & area residents being sent to Bicycles for Humanity, who are sending the bikes to Namimbia, Africa.
If you’d prefer to get on the water, you can rent a paddle boat, canoe or kayak from Avon Boat Rentals.
The Stratford Lions Water Park and Deep Pool is conveniently located at 15 William St., just off Huron. The 25-meter, 6 lane deep pool offers adult swims and a splash pad for the kids that includes a spray water features including geysers, water umbrella, dumping buckets and rain showers.
Check the schedule for family swim, and lap swim times.
Next it’s toy shopping.
Our favourite toy store is Family and Company, a old fashioned shop, with wood floors, and overstocked shelves featuring every type of toy imaginable!
If you can’t find something, just ask the staff will, they’re really helpful.
Favourite Places to get Picnic Food
Now that you`ve had some fun and built up an appetite, get ready to head to the lazy curves of the Avon river for a picnic. There you’ll find plenty of picnic benches by the river and lots of shade. But before heading to the river pick up some food in town.
You can get delicious food-to-go at these restaurants:
1) County Food Co. Chef Janet Ashworth studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She has a great selection of foods ready for you to take out. Plus, the staff is really helpful for folks like me with food allergies.
2) York St. Kitchen is conveniently located just down the street from County Food Co. making it easy to compare. Many of the actors at the Festival frequent York St. Kitchen, for their excellent sandwiches, so keep your camera handy.
3) Boomers Gourmet Fries, was featured on The Food Newtork’s “You Gotta Eat Here.” Boomers has the best fries, burgers and more. The teens will love the “Jersey Shore” burger.
Stratford is known for the majestic swans that swim the Avon.
Keep an eye on your food, or the swans enjoy might enjoy your picnic before you do.
Now it’s time for a show.
Naturally we always plan our trip around a show. Our son saw his first Stratford Festival performance, Peter Pan, at age three. Then at age four, he saw Camelot with his friends who were six and nine years old.
Don’t worry about the little ones getting bored, the shows are so lively, and well produced, the kids will sit still.
This season Alice Through the looking Glass is perfect for the whole family. It’s at the Avon Theatre – Saturday, August 2, at 2:00 PM.
It’s a double feature for our family Saturday. After “Alice Through the Looking Glass” we’re seeing the 8pm performance of Crazy For You.
The performance runs 2 hours and 42 minutes, so it’ll be a late night for Cole, but I’ve seen Crazy For You and I know the dancing, music, comedy and costumes will keep him watching all night.
The complete weekend schedule is here.
Slow Food Market
Sunday I’m looking forward to visiting with some of the local farmers and food vendors at The Stratford Slow Food Market.
These are some tasty garlic scapes. I posted a recipe for Sautéed Garlic Scapes on the blog post from my last visit to the Slow Food Market.
New Play Care Day Care
The Festival is running a new child-care service for children ages 4 to 10, on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The fee is just $15 per child and that includes lunch.
Check the Festival`s Family Experience page for money saving coupons and more, including details on an offer for up to four $36 youth tickets with each regularly priced adult ticket to any performance.
The Stratford Festival offers a few cool activities, including a behind the scenes tour of the costume and props warehouse, which runs one hour and costs $8.00 for adults and $6.00 for kids.
The Biebs Launched His Career Here
What kid doesn`t think of Justin Bieber when they think of Stratford?
At age 12 Bieber played guitar on the stairs of the Avon Theatre. His busking earned him enough money to take his mom on a trip to Disneyland. It was their first ever holiday.
In June 2012 Bieber did a secret performance on the steps of the Avon Theatre. He surprised people on the street by busking, and then quickly dashed away in his SUV before the crowds got too big. Check HERE for video of the impromptu performance.
Check out this cool map of Justin Bieber’s favourite places in Stratford. His favourite restaurant for breakfast is Features, a classic, old fashioned diner renown for it’s over-sized ‘Paul Bunyan’ breakfast.
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