Oops, we did it again! Looks like last year’s trip to the Stratford Festival was the first in what has become an annual family thang. I was hoping to write to you about all of the new things we did on our kicking-off-the-summer-in-style vacay this year. Of course, the plays we saw were different from last year’s, but as for all of the other wonderful extras, well, we kept them pretty much the same. Still, everywhere we went, we were able to up our game!
So, what’s the secret?
What’s our magical Stratford”routine”?
First things first, we leave town as quickly as possible after school lets out in order to make the start of summer actually feel like the start of summer! We grab a car from enterprise, pack our bags, and drive like the wind.
Next, we grab lunch at Boomer’s Fries and a “blast” at Jenn and Larry’s.
Wait, you wanted something new? Why not something new from an old favourite? How about the Poutini Martini from Boomers Gourmet Fries [26 Erie Street] ? Onion rings and fries with gravy, cheese, and green olives! Perfection!
Oh, and in addition to the amazing chocolate/malt and chocolate/creme de menthe shakes, this year, we got the “blasts” at Jenn and Larry’s Brittle and Shakes [49 York Street]. Blasts are like DQ Blizzards, only made with truly superior soft-serve and store-made candies or mix-ins of various kinds. The peanut butter chocolate blast was OUT OF THIS WORLD. And the kids loved the cookie dough.
Next, we see an afternoon play!
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe proved a light and easy way to begin our theatre-binge vacay! The lion puppet made of books was exquisite! And, seriously, who wouldn’t love a faux fur coat lined with C.S. Lewis quotes?
Mint Smoothies, All The Mint Smoothies!
After the show at the Avon, we got our mint chocolate fix, naturally, from Rhéo Thompson Candies [55 Albert Street]! This time, we also tried some pretty amazing chocolate-covered cashews. [I’m thinking Christmas orders for everyone on my “nice” list. Heck, why not the “naugthies,” too?]
Next, we check into our favourite little room at the The Forest Motel [2941 Forest Rd., R. R. #4, Stratford] where we barbecue our own dinner, make s’mores over a campfire, listen to the frogs in the pond, and gaze at the stars from the dock or a canoe. [And, if you’re an early riser like me, taking a tray of their provided breakfast items out to the pond and reading your new favourite book is absolute perfection, next morning.]
The next two days, our routine doesn’t change that much: a leisurely breakfast at the motel, a little shopping, lunch in town, an afternoon @stratfest play, design your own Pizza at Pazzo for dinner, an evening @stratfest play, and stargazing at the Motel.
Our first full-day’s lunch was at Bentley’s [99 Ontario Street], where we had cocktails, suicide wings and chicken fingers. Then, on to the most excellent Breath of Kings: Rebellion. The kids loved their Falstaff, naturally! [And, should I stop and talk about my love for Michelle Giroux?] After a trip to Fanfare Books [92 Ontario Street], we headed for our first night at Pazzo Pizzeria [70 Ontario Street, Lower Level]. There, we had an antipasto platter, kid-designed pizzas, and some spiffing Tiramisu for Bea. Once more into the breach! We tackled the Henrys of Breath of Kings: Redemption. And, inspired by another amazing production, we went back to the motel and looked for our own new kingdoms in the night sky.
Our second full-day’s lunch was Boomers again for the kids and papa, and, for me, a new addition: a lovely take-away lunch of Bahn Mi Sandwich, Chili Chips, Muskoka Pale Ginger Ale, and and amazing Lemon Brownie [amazing combo! who knew?] from Linley’s [51 York Street]. Then, we went back to our favourite shops, Family and Company
[6 Ontario Street] and Fundamentals Books and Toys [52 Ontario Street]. And, on to the utterly delightful @stratfest Shakespeare in Love.
We all loved it! This was easily the kids’ favourite play of the weekend!
P.S. There’s a dog!
P.P.S. We all want to go back to see it again!
Then, off to Pazzo for three completely different pizzas, and an amazing bourbon cocktail for the trip’s organizer. Finally, a wild romp @stratfest As You Like It, set in 1980s Newfoundland. Audience participation and props got the kids right back into an old favourite. [And, believe me, if you haven’t heard a Newfie say, “So, this is the forest or R-den,” you’re missing out.]
One last brilliant morning by the water…
Then, brunch at Madelyn’s and a box of butter tarts for the trip home!
No trip to Statford would be complete without all-day breakfast at Madelyn’s Diner [377 Huron Street]. It was pancakes for all this time. And, of course, we couldn’t leave without taking a ridiculous amount of Butter Tarts for the road. You wouldn’t either, if you knew what was good for you! [But if you can’t make it out just yet, we have a recipe …]
How’s that for a way to kick off our last, best Summer of Funner?
Will we do it again next summer? Absolutely! Heck, we might even go back again in August for more!
P.P.P.S. This Wednesday, we’ll post our cool new kid-friendly way of reviewing or responding to all of the plays we saw @stratfest. So, stay tuned!
P.P.P.P.S. Will someone please renovate and re-open the old Chinese place in Stratford already? Just look at her, poor thing!