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Stratford Ontario Getaway

From the Stratford Festival to foodie nirvana, Stratford's got it all

Boss making much ado about nothing? Been more than a twelfth night since you and your lover enjoyed a midsummer night's dream? Relax Cymbeline, grab your Romeo (or Juliet) and find your happy-ending love story in Stratford, Ontario.

In case you don't know, Stratford is Shakespeare Mecca Lover's Holidayin North America. It's a short 2 hours from Toronto, 3 from Buffalo and Detroit and a smidge longer road trip from Chicago - 8 hours. From eclectic dining choices to sublime inns to lush gardens sculpted for picnic blankets, there's a million reasons to fall in love with Stratford.

We guarantee it won't be a love's labor lost.

Where to sleep in Stratford

Mercer Hall InnStrolling distance from our dining choices and the theatre, the Mercer Hall Inn is a smart, central choice. Housed in a classic brick façade, the interior rooms of the Mercer Hall Inn blend the old with new - tall ceilings and modern color pallets. Our weekend hideaway featured a Jacuzzi tub for two, a gas fireplace, flat-screen TV and a sexy mix of CD's.

Guest rooms sit above their newly opened restaurant (more on that later) with a separate front and rear entrance. Our room faced the rear of the building - which I highly recommend. It's a small town but the main street can be noisy.  

While there's no room service at the Mercer Inn, great food is just a flight of stairs down or a stroll across the street. Of course, you'll have to get dressed first...

Where to eat in Stratford

Mercer Hall Inn's marble barStratford is quickly becoming a culinary crossroads with big dining experiences that over-deliver on delectable. The newly opened Mercer Hall Inn Restaurant sets a chic table with dark woods and modern lines. Just opened after renovations, their food selection (all locally sourced) teased and tempted for hours - from the cheese selection through steak tartar and onwards to desserts. Request a seat near the front window and ask Jesse to help with your wine or beer selections - you won't be disappointed.

But the local dining scene is varied, creative and exciting. Plan your meals accordingly:

Boomers Fries, StratfordBoomer's Gourmet Fries- The burgers are good but the reason you come is for the poutine. If you're a poutine virgin, prepare yourself for nirvana. Seriously. And if you're a vegetarian, life doesn't get much better. I deep dived with the Black Bean Chili Fries will Mr. GoGirlfriend opted for the Hickory Sticks Poutine.

 

Pazzo - While Pazzo is casual, smart and ideal for after-theatre dining, we ordered our meal and pirated it back to the privacy of our room - with a beautiful bottle of shiraz. The pizzas here respect their Italian heritage (thin crusts, traditional and contemporary toppings). Next time we plan to enjoy the ambiance of the restaurant and work our way through more of the menu.

Raja Indian CuisineRaja Indian Cuisine - A friend told us about this white-tablecloth Indian restaurant - and made us promise we wouldn't leave Stratford without sampling the Tandoori dishes but the saag paneer (spinach with Indian cheese) and aloo gobhi (potato, cauliflower, and spices) are also excellent. We visited in the afternoon and sat outside on the patio - bliss.

Where to play in Stratford

Startford Shakespearian FestivalVisiting Stratford without catching a show would be like going to Broadway and camping out in your room the entire time - a comedy of errors. This year, the Stratford Festival kicks off their 60th season - so you know the lineup of plays and musicals will be stellar. While Shakespearian plays dominate the playbill, variety is the spice of life. From the Pirates of Penance to You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, there's something for everyone - literally.

We caught 42nd Street and couldn't stop tapping our toes to the music. 42nd Street revolves around the story of a dazzling chorus girl who replaces an injured leading lady of a Broadway musical. No description will do it justice though. Go see it.

downtown StratfordOf course, there's more to do here than theatre. Stretch your imagination and take in an art, costume or garden tour, antiquing in the surrounding communities and jazz festivals. The City of Stratford has made is easy for you to choose your activities before you travel by creating an online activity selector using fictional tour guides . Whether you come for the shopping, the food or the theatre, it's a clever way to help narrow your focus.

And who can pass through Stratford without picking up a souvenir map detailing the haunts of home-town native celebrity Justin Bieber ... the teen Tempest to make the girls hearts a flutter!

Ready to begin your own star-crossed weekend in Stratford? As you like it, let us know where you eat, sleep and play and let's compare notes! Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook and let's start talking! All's well that ends well ...

To comply with the long list of regulating bodies and in the interest of transparency, our Mercer Inn Hall experience was provided at a pre-arranged media rate. Commentary and perspectives are those of GoGirlfriend.

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