Exploring Stratford, Ontario

Stepping into downtown Stratford, Ontario, is like taking a step back in time. We mean this in the best possible way! Everywhere you look, there’s a little piece of history and beauty in every corner. We recently took a drive to Stratford, as neither of us (nor our dog) had ever been. Having had a free Saturday, we decided that it would be a great time to explore what this little town had to offer.

On our way up to Stratford, our tummies began to rumble – we had forgotten to eat lunch. And what a perfect time to try someplace new, considering we were in a town new to us! Upon arriving (and parking) in Stratford, we decided to check out a place called Boomer’s. (We may or may not have chosen this place specifically because it shared a name with our dog, BUT we’re glad we checked this place out.) Their food was delicious. Boomer’s is actually known for their delicious gourmet fries (and poutine!), but their burgers are to die for! We highly recommend that you visit this place if ever you’re in town and searching for a quick but delicious spot to grab some gourmet diner food!IMG_20170703_201526_856IMG_20170703_201620_694

After politely stuffing our faces with burgers and fries, the rain had stopped (we forgot to mention that it was POURING rain for our first hour in Stratford…) we decided that a river walk was in order! Right away we made our way to a paved path leading to a bridge over the water. We paused to take in the view until Boomer stumbled across a trail and we were following her down to the water’s edge. There was a beautiful semi-cobblestone, semi-concrete path that led you under lazy weeping willows and along lush green grass.We saw more beautiful old buildings and bridges – Stratford is quite the scenic town!IMG_20170703_202003_943IMG_20170629_081614_216IMG_20170703_202206_844IMG_20170703_202256_532IMG_20170703_202117_306

We followed it as far as we could until we came across steps leading back up to street level. Following the sidewalk, we wanted to do some more exploring when some lovely flowers caught our eye and made our way toward them. Once we got closer there was a sign that read “Shakespearean Garden”. There was no question that it was a garden that we’d have to walk through, considering that Alicia has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and is well-read in all things Shakespeare.

Entering the garden, you had to walk through a lovely trellis and down some steps, not before passing beautifully trimmed hedges paired with stunning, brightly-coloured flowers. (Oh…and the bust of Shakespeare himself)

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The further into the Shakespearean Gardens that we went, the more hidden gems that we found! Cutesy little wooden bridges leading to mini-islands with benches, single foot trail stepping stones leading to gazebos, and lots more!IMG_20170703_202517_145IMG_20170702_100256_973IMG_20170627_084855_970

Once we finished frolicking around in the garden and trying to keep our dog from jumping in the river, we continued our walk through the town. There were so many lovely shops and restaurants, all with such beauty and character, unique in their own way.IMG_20170703_202805_586IMG_20170630_095124_336IMG_20170703_202847_009

After some more exploring, we came across Jenn and Larry’s and stopped to grab a chocolate milkshake. This little ice cream shop was the cutest, and they served us the best milkshake that we’ve ever tasted… 100% serious. The pricing was fair, and the atmosphere was super inviting. This is another place you’ll have to check out if ever you’re visiting Stratford!IMG_20170704_174839_743IMG_20170704_175105_267IMG_20170704_175419_402

Stratford, Ontario is such a beautiful town. It is full of life, great places to see, and delicious restaurants to try out. We didn’t have time to do nearly half of the things that we wanted to, but there always seems to be a lot of events taking place, including the famous Stratford Festival. The Stratford Festival is “North America’s largest classical repertory theatre company. Each season, we present a dozen or more productions in four distinctive venues. We produce classics, contemporary dramas and musicals, with special emphasis on the plays of Shakespeare” (from StratfordFestival.ca). Stratford always has something interesting to experience, and something for all ages to enjoy! If you ever have the opportunity to visit, make sure that you do!

For those of you from, or those who have visited Stratford, what is your favourite part about it?

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Happy Traveling!

–The Calkins’

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