Toronto Star

Rea­sons to day­dream

Stay­ca­tion ideas for a post-pan­demic world

- NINA DRAGICEVIC SPE­CIAL TO THE STAR This con­tent was funded but not ap­proved by the ad­ver­tiser. Travel Inspiration · Canada News · Travel · Ontario · James Mitchell · Stanley · Kingston · UNESCO · Queen's University · Lake Erie · Erie · Lanark County

Re­tirees love to travel. Beaches, cruises, ad­ven­tures, tours — the in­dus­try used to be a favourite for those who have just shed the work­week from their lives.

The pan­demic has halted recre­ational travel, how­ever, and a grad­ual loos­en­ing of re­stric­tions may fol­low in the com­ing months and into next year. But there will come a day when we can ex­plore again — and while we wait, ev­ery­one de­serves to day­dream.

Stay­ca­tions are an ideal op­tion in a post-pan­demic world: in­province re­stric­tions are likely to be lifted first; lo­cal travel is cheaper; and we sup­port our fel­low com­mu­ni­ties with tourism dol­lars.

When the time comes, con­sider all that On­tario has to of­fer in raw beauty and charis­matic towns.

Day drives

Day drives are a re­fresh­ing break — drive early, ex­plore the scenery, and ar­rive back home in the evening. And they can in­volve rel­a­tively lit­tle out­side con­tact.

There are some “spots that aren’t very far away from Toronto, but they feel worlds away,” says Christo­pher James Mitchell, co-founder of Ul­ti­mateOn­ Af­ter trav­el­ling the world and liv­ing abroad for years, Mitchell re­turned to On­tario and de­cided to ex­plore his prov­ince with the same pas­sion as a trav­eller — thus the web­site was born.

Port Stan­ley: “It feels like an es­cape, like a great place to go when the sun is shin­ing,” Mitchell says. “They have a light­house; they have an ex­tended pier that gives you a nice view of the whole town. It’s a great spot to go in the early morn­ing, go down to the beach, get some sun, walk around the pier.”

Must-visit spots — if open to vis­i­tors — in­clude Brod­er­ick’s Ice Cream, Quai Du Vin Es­tate Win­ery and the Port Stan­ley Ter­mi­nal Rail.

Kingston: When the prov­ince con­firms travel is safe, Kingston’s colour­ful cul­ture and ex­quis­ite ar­chi­tec­ture is ready.

Me­gan Knott, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Tourism Kingston, says the UNESCO-rec­og­nized city has scenic driv­ing routes through the city and along the wa­ter, in­clud­ing the Fort Henry Na­tional His­toric Site, the sprawl­ing Queen’s Univer­sity cam­pus and beau­ti­ful con­ser­va­tion ar­eas.

“You can travel along the wa­ter and there’s around 20 sites to take in safely from your car,” Knott says, “or safely stop for a few mo­ments to see it in per­son, have a bite to eat and get back on the road.”

Down­town restau­rants are of­fer­ing store­front take­out ser­vice, she says, so vis­i­tors can pick up a meal and en­joy a pic­nic in one of many city parks.

Short stays

Kingston: When it’s safe to stay longer, Kingston’s plans for street life are al­ready in the works, in­clud­ing a down­town prom­e­nade to al­low shop­ping and din­ing with rec­om­mended dis­tances.

“We’re con­stantly evolv­ing,” Knott says. “We call our­selves ‘Kingston: Fresh Made Daily’ — you can’t ex­pe­ri­ence the same thing twice in Kingston.”

Ev­ery­thing changes sea­son­ally, from culi­nary of­fer­ings and wine se­lec­tion, to var­i­ous cityand na­ture-fo­cused at­trac­tions. Knott says Kingston’s ar­ti­sans pro­vide one-of-a-kind keep­sakes and ex­pe­ri­ences.

“We’re a city of mak­ers and we’re very proud of that,” she says. “We try to keep the au­then­tic­ity of Kingston by high­light­ing the peo­ple that make that am­bi­ence what it is.” Erieau to Chatham to Pelee Is­land: “My wife and I usu­ally stop at a place called Erieau,” Mitchell says. “It’s a re­ally in­ter­est­ing spot that has two bod­ies of wa­ter on ei­ther side — they have a lit­tle park, a re­ally nice pier, a beach, right on Lake Erie. It’s just a strange lit­tle land mass that feels unique.”

Drive to Chatham and spend the night at the Retro Suites Ho­tel — a re­gional high­light, ac­cord­ing to Mitchell. “It’s a re­mark­able spot,” he says. “I’ve never stayed in a ho­tel like that in On­tario.”

Up next? Pelee Is­land for two nights to ex­plore the nat­u­ral beauty and unique cul­ture — and of course that fa­mous wine. “The is­land is just some­thing else,” Mitchell says. “Pelee Is­lan­ders are a whole dif­fer­ent breed.”

Perth: Re­cent re­tirees might love an op­por­tu­nity for “a ro­man­tic week­end away,” Mitchell says.

“I would strongly rec­om­mend stay­ing at a bed and break­fast near Perth called Clyde Hall,” he says. “It’s amaz­ing, run by a cou­ple — they ran a fa­mous bak­ery for a num­ber of years. I’ve never eaten so well in my life.”

Mitchell de­scribes La­nark County as “gor­geous” and says Perth and other nearby ar­eas are idyl­lic places to ex­plore. “I would ar­gue Ste­wart Park (in Perth) is the crown jewel there.”

Be­fore you go

Wait for lock­down to lift in On­tario. Be­fore trav­el­ling any­where: check pro­vin­cial and lo­cal reg­u­la­tions; plan your stops and call ahead; con­sult your doc­tor; and pack pro­tec­tive and clean­ing sup­plies.

Visit Ul­ti­mateOn­ or VisitKings­ for more in­for­ma­tion and ideas.

 ?? ISTOCK ?? Re­cent re­tirees might want to con­sider a ro­man­tic week­end away once travel is pos­si­ble again.
ISTOCK Re­cent re­tirees might want to con­sider a ro­man­tic week­end away once travel is pos­si­ble again.
 ?? RETRO SUITES HO­TEL ?? Retro Suites Ho­tel of­fers a play­ful bou­tique ex­pe­ri­ence.
RETRO SUITES HO­TEL Retro Suites Ho­tel of­fers a play­ful bou­tique ex­pe­ri­ence.

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