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Girlfriend Getaway in Stratford, Ontario

Color your gal-pal vacation with a touch of dramatic!

Looking for a quick weekend getaway for you and your girlfriends that over-delivers on experience without the crush of big city traffic? Satisfy your cravings in Stratford, Ontario, your soon to be new favorite girlfriend getaway.

Photo courtesy VisitStratford.caPhoto courtesy VisitStratford.caStratford is one of GoGirlfriend's favorite one-tank-trips. Although it's a quick drive from Toronto (2 hours) or Buffalo and Detroit (3 hours), we recommend a minimum two-night stay for you and your gal pals. You'll need one night for an early meal so you can get to theater on time - and enjoy unpacking the performance with each other at the an after-theater bar. Plan to spend your second night lingering over a 3-hour dinner and a walk along the Avon River back to your lodging.

Learn where to eat, sleep and play during your next visit to Stratford.

Eat at Rundles Restaurant

Rundles RestaurantRundles RestaurantRichard Maloney, wine director at Rundles, invited us to experience the restaurant during a recent visit to Stratford. Since 1977, Rundles has set the stage in Stratford as a premier dining destination during theater season (and a chef school during the winter months since 1984).

Perched alongside the Avon River between an apartment building and Morris House, a luxury loft (owned and operated by Rundles) subtlety is a well-honed art here. Restaurant décor is contemporary, mixing the starkness of concrete and glass with the warmth of honey-colored wood and sophisticated floating lily centerpieces. This is a place to linger.

The prix-fixe menu is punctuated with amuse bouche appetizers that accentuate Chef Neil Baxter's full-bodied approach to cuisine - amuse our mouths indeed. While tweeting with the restaurant prior to our visit, Rundles assured me they're vegan, vegetarian, glutton, husband and boyfriend friendly - haute cuisine without the haute attitude.

delightful dessert at Rundlesdelightful dessert at RundlesDuring our visit, we ordered our apps, mains and desert at all once - something I normally never do - and was pleased that the chef allowed us ample digesting time between courses. Our dinner spanned more than 3 delish hours. For my main, I enjoyed a vegetarian gnocchi with roast cauliflower and curry-flavored potato, garnished with almonds, coriander, and sourdough croutons. I finished my meal with a sampling of local, unpasteurized cheeses paired with a Bordeaux red. I was very thankful for the walk back to our lodging.

If you go, visit Rundles online or read their reviews on TripAdvisor - and chat with them on Twitter or Facebook.

Play at the Stratford Festival

Pete Townsend's TommyPete Townsend's TommyGoGirlfriend loves live performances, whether it's at the Crazy Horse in Vegas or the Stratford Festival. From Evita, to Jesus Christ Superstar (which traveled to Broadway afterward) to the more traditional Hamlet or Romeo & Juliette (which are never traditional) we love a night out in Stratford.

I was particularly excited to see Tommy on the playbill this year, though it was hard to say no to the other shows. Even if you're not a fan of Pete Townsend and The Who, Pinball Wizard, See Me, Feel Me and We're Not Gonna Take It will have you singing along in your head for days afterward.  

Stratford Festival's TommyStratford Festival's TommyLike Jesus Christ Superstar, Tommy is a rock opera so come prepared to have your senses body-slammed. From the opening notes to pyrotechnics to Warhol-inspired videos, the show is a non-stop celebration of the discovery of life through the eyes and ears of a deaf-dumb pinball wizard whose meteoric rise to fame is as fast moving as his fall from grace. Unlike the movie's tragic ending, you'll leave inspired to "see the glory." 

On your way back to your hotel or B&B, stroll down main street and hang out at one of the chic restaurants or bars for a drink. We love the restaurant at Mercer Hall for their ultra-chic, urban style and artisanal after-theater bar offering. If you want to hang out with the actors, check out Down the Street.

If you go, visit the Stratford Festival online or read reviews on TripAdvisor - and chat with them on Twitter or Facebook.

Sleep in Stratford

Stratford's bed and breakfast market thrives during theater season. To secure a room during June, July or August, book in April or May. Most hotels and bed & breakfasts require minimum two night's stay during the summer. To help find a B&B that suits your needs and style, visit BedandBreakfast.com or BBStratford.ca.

Alban Abbey B&BAlban Abbey B&BDuring our recent visit, we reserved the tower suite of Alban Abbeys - a 5 minute walk from the downtown restaurants. Our suite spanned the entire third floor of the house and included a private patio, kitchenette with microwave, fridge and coffee maker. Breakfast was served with no shortage of flair, exactly what you'd expect in theater town. If you go, the Avon theater (where Tommy is playing) is a healthy 20 minute walk through well-lit and charming main streets. If you visit one of the other theaters, you'll need a taxi or take your own vehicle.

Mercer HallMercer HallLast year, our weekend hideaway at Mercer Hall included a Jacuzzi tub for two and gas fireplace directly above the restaurant. Bliss. Mercer Hall is on the main strip (Ontario St), within walking distance of the two main theaters and surrounded by quaint shops and a variety of eclectic restaurants and bakeries.

 

 

Have you ever been to the Stratford Festival? Got a favorite Stratford hangout? Leave a comment below or reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter - we want to hear your stories!

To comply with the long list of regulating bodies, possibly even Geneva Conventions, and in the interest of transparency, our Stratford getaway was sponsored in part by Rundles and the Stratford Festival. Commentary and perspectives are those of GoGirlfriend.

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Comments

I agree that Stratford is a fantastic place to visit and I would love to show you around on a guided culinary walking tour. Let me know you heard about this at Go Girlfriend and I will add an extra to the tour

That's very generous of you, Kim. Thanks so much for stopping by to read my post and add such a great perk for GoGirlfriend readers!

I have never been to Stratford before and heard that its beautiful! I am working so much in my own business, and raising a 4 year old daughter, so I don't get much time away, and really never get time with my girlfriends! Good luck to all the ladies that enter :)

Thanks for visiting GoGirlfriend, Paula - glad you liked our Stratford post. If you ever get a chance, we HIGHLY recommend it - a weekend well spent, for sure!

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