Along the north shore of Lake Ontario, about 70 miles north of Oswego, and approximately a two hour drive up Rte. 81 North, then west on the Canadian 401, sits Kingston, Ontario. Kingston is a city of 115,000 in the Canadian Province of Ontario. It’s a city overflowing with great dining experiences, an array of shopping opportunities, and clean, beautiful scenery.
On a recent weekend away I was pleasantly surprised with the warmth and charm of Kingston. My wife, Rachel, and I stayed at the Holiday Inn Waterfront, and it was quite comfortable. The Holiday Inn is located at the foot of Kingston’s main strip, Princess Street, and within walking distance of just about everything that the city has to offer for a weekend getaway. With a fabulous restaurant on its 6th floor and a full service fitness center (or should I spell it the French-Canadian way – “centre”?), complete with a large indoor pool, steam room, and hot tub, on its 2nd floor, the Holiday Inn Waterfront is the perfect place to stay while visiting Kingston.
Kingston has street after street full of fun restaurants and pubs. Many of the establishments offer sidewalk café style seating, making your dining experience that much more enjoyable when the weather is nice. One of these places is Brandee’s. On my first night in Kingston I was able to not only enjoy a scrumptious coconut shrimp appetizer and a large fish n’chips dinner (and oh yeah, a Labbatt Blue, of course), but with the café seating I was also able to witness the busy nightlife of an exciting, yet gentle city. Throughout the evening visitors can take part in a nightly ‘haunted walk’ through Kingston’s historic grounds, or simply stroll the city’s streets without real fear of one’s safety.
My Saturday in Kingston consisted of touring the Queen’s University campus, shopping along Princess Street, and enjoying some wonderful conversations with several of the local shop owners. Queen’s University is within blocks of the city’s heart and offers the tourists a glimpse at its scenic campus. Along Princess Street sits many unique and fun shops, restaurants, and coffee houses; while the common Starbucks, Quizno’s, and Gap storefronts are also found within the fifteen block downtown.
Of course when speaking of Kingston you can’t forget its main draw……the water. Kingston’s waterfront is spectacular! It should serve as a model for any city that has the luxury of being located along the water (hint hint Oswego). The nightly dinner cruises are always full and quite often need to be booked in advance. Kingston’s waterfront park and beach serve as a community gathering place. The sense of pride that Kingston has for its city is quite evident as you walk through the clean streets and talk to the friendly shop owners.
Within a few blocks from downtown, in an almost protective stance over the city and its waterfront, sits Kingston’s historic Fort Henry. Tours are available at Fort Henry, and many community events are scheduled throughout the year at the history-filled site.
So whether you want to take in a sunset cruise, enjoy eclectic dining at a variety of restaurants, such as one of my favorites- The Atomica, or simply go for a quiet walk while enjoying one of the city’s popular waffle cones from the White Mountain Ice Cream Shoppe, Kingston, Ontario is perfect for a weekend getaway this fall.
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