Friday, July 16, 2010
A Day in Stratford
The summertime is an ideal time to take day trips and explore the local villages and towns in the surrounding area. Ontario is full of picturesque well-groomed farms, villages and towns. Most of them are low-key, unpretentious and charming.
Recently I visited Stratford with my husband and our daughter. Stratford is the home of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. The Festival has a world class production company and brings Shakespearean plays alive on stage every summer. Christopher Plummer who is now over 80 has regularly starred in many of their productions and is appearing there again this summer in “The Tempest”. The Stratford Shakespeare Festival also puts on other plays and musicals. Our choice was the musical “Evita” which turned out to be an excellent production.
Only two hours from Toronto, Stratford is a Victorian town with a charming old square, and lots of quaint shops and restaurants. The parkland on the Avon River banks within the town are dotted with benches and picnic tables which make you want to stay awhile and enjoy the swans, ducks and small boats.
Although there are plenty of restaurants and cafés in town, the Avon River looked like the ideal place for a picnic the day we were there. I like picnics but I hate eating at a bare rough picnic table. For that reason, the movers’ quilt or industrial quilt is an ideal tablecloth. It is thick and easy to wash. For all of you who might be interested, our lunch consisted of thinly sliced leftover pot roast on whole wheat hamburger buns, cherry tomatoes on the vine, small elegant cookies from a Toronto bakery, carbonated not-too-sweet pink lemonade from France, and apricots that I am sure were grown in Georgia.
If you go, there is free parking almost everywhere, and nothing is too far away. Be sure to visit the antique shops in town and in the nearby hamlet of Shakespeare. The Scottish shop on the main shopping street is also worth a visit.