Winter is seriously getting me down. I’m always freezing, I hate going outside, the fashion is so bulky, everything is covered in salt – ugh I can’t take it anymore! I needed to get out of this city like crazy…so I did. We decided to go down South…to the adorable town of Kingston (the closest to European vibes within a 2 hour driving distance). It wasn’t looking so good though, because weekend after weekend of unforseen weather circumstances had us stuck at home. The main attraction that had me planning this road trip in the first place is Lumina Borealis – an outdoor multimedia walking adventure. If you’ve had the chance to check out Upper Canada Village for Pumpkinferno during Halloween or Alight at Night for Christmas, it’s the Kingston (Fort Henry) equivalent. So, f.i.n.a.l.l.y. we got the clear to venture out, and we zipped along the highway on our first roadtrip of the winter.
WHERE TO STAY
Before we even checked into our accommodations, we were struck by how pretty the streets were, lined with houses upon houses dating way back to the 19th century. Erected in 1845, our bed & breakfast was a bank, then a private men’s club, and a century later became the lovely Frontenac Club Inn. Walking into our room, it was basically like The Fantasy Suite on The Bachelor (not this season though – ew Arie). Guys, I’ve probably complained about this before, but I have not stayed in a decent hotel in forever, so I didn’t need much to be happy, but I lucked out, because this certainly has a regal presence. We happened to be in the Stone Room, which isn’t simply beautiful decor, but there’s a story behind the aesthetic. The headboard was created from a refurbished door in rural Quebec, which compliments the exposed limestone walls and beautiful original stained glass windows. With a king-sized bed and leather chairs, you can sit back, relax and bask in the cabin oasis feels while you start up the gas fireplace. Plus, I’d like to extend a warm thank you for our surprise sparkling water! Sparkling anything is surely the way to my heart.
WHAT TO DO
“A long time ago anyone could see the beauty of winter. But as the greater world became distracted with greater stories, only children kept a warm heart for the cold season. Left out in the frost, the spirit of winter found shelter in Fort Henry. One night, as winter transformed into a wolf howling at the moon, the wind asked why it was crying. “My beauty is invisible to most humans” said winter. “What is your beauty?” the wind asked. “Only a warm heart can see it” the spirit responded. That night the spirit of winter found a new purpose. It decided never to leave Kingston and to take all its beauty to Fort Henry. Transformed into a deer, it whispered a spell at the wind, concealing behind a magic veil all the secret wonders of the cold season. “Only those who keep a warm heart will be able to lift this veil!” said the spirit as he waited for guests to arrive. Will you be able to break the spell and reveal the secrets of winter’s beauty? Find your path into another world, across a frozen landscape: once you unlock the magic of Lumina Borealis, winter will never be the same…”
That does pretty much sum up how I feel about Winter – my heart has turned cold. Maybe there is something magical to find through all the slush…
Lumina Borealis really is a Winter Wonderland, with dazzling light shows and glowing art installations to explore. It’s all about this magnificent 1-km trail that meanders through Fort Henry. Along the way, there are beautiful sights and sounds that showcase the immense beauty of winter. The path takes around 45 to 60 minutes to complete, and there are also casual dining and snack options available on site, including a hot chocolate hut once you first step inside the gates. Get one – you’ll thank me later. This magical world is only to be seen for the next two weekends, so check out the available dates and times here and start planning your weekend getaway!
WHERE TO EAT
I’m all about the eats whenever we get the chance to venture outside of the city, outside of our neighborhood, heck even outside of our house. So, it’s fair to say that along with activities and shopping and hotels, I’m planning out where to eat. However, this time around, I didn’t really decide to plan until we arrived. Little did I know how busy these spots would be – it’s more bustling than Ottawa on a Saturday night! After trying to get in here and calling there, we finally just decided to walk down our street and stop in at the resto’s until we found somewhere to sit down for a proper meal. I lucked out again guys, because there was just enough room, and just enough time, to actually have a chance to dine at a culinary hot spot – Dianne’s Fish Shack & Smokehouse. Here you have options; east coast BBQ chicken with seafood that’s served with a Baja Mexican twist. This downtown gem is, of course, the epitome of local – sustainable food choices, pork beef + chicken that’s smoked in-house, and the must-have Seafood Poutine with beer-battered jumbo shrimp fish and chips with 12-hour beef brisket xocolatl (cocoa-coffee bbq sauce).
It was a quick, but much-needed little getaway from everyday life – we enjoyed a fun event, had a lovely stay, and got to hit a foodie hot spot out of town. It had all the ingredients for a successful roadtrip. Kingston is so so underrated. I’m looking forward to going back in some warmer weather for more amazing Insta’s, more local bucket list food (including the Delightfully Different Tea Room for afternoon tea), and more neighborhood exploring (and of course, shopping). And the coolest thing is that it made me enjoy winter again…if only for 45-60 minutes. 😉
Lumina Borealis celebrates Family Day with Special Pricing
For just $49 (plus HST/online fee) families (4 people can celebrate Family Day weekend, February 16-19, at this magical winter event. Tickets are available online for specific dates and times. Advanced purchase is highly recommended as space is limited.
Special Lumina Borealis overnight packages are available through participating Kingston Hotel Accommodation Partners. Check it out here.