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A woman in a floral dress and man in a blue shirt and slacks walk arm in arm out of the Festival Theatre doors.

How to turn 1 ½ days in Stratford into the ultimate couples (or friends!) getaway.

4 min read

 

Saturday

11:45 a.m. | Brunch at Cafe Bouffon

Depending on whether your morning had you rushing towards your vacation at breakneck speed, or if you were able to make a pit stop at the golden arches along the way, this will either be brunch or lunch proper. Whichever it is you seek, this is the spot to find it.

A classic French bistro with trendy salon décor, Cafe Bouffon feels as well suited to Paris as it does the Stratford Festival, in its harmonious melding of tradition with the contemporary. Keeping with that theme, hop back to the days of European dynasties and partake in a lavish Duck Confit Skillet (a favourite of King Henry IV of France) before stepping into the purview of England's last king from the House of York during a matinée of Richard III.

 

1:30 p.m. | 2 O'clock Matinée

Begin your Stratford experience with a play written by the ever-hovering spirit of the town, William Shakespeare. On our stages this season is Richard III - a deep dive into deceit and corruption fit for the ages; a tenacious tale of unrequited love unfurled in the form of All's Well That Ends Well and - Shakespeare's most famous play - Hamlet, the grand marshal of the Festival's momentous march back to the stage.

 

5:30 p.m. | Cocktails… One and Done!

Skip rushing back to the hotel to freshen up; instead, embrace the slower pace of Stratford and unwind like a local at the town's go-to watering hole, Bentley's. Nab a seat on the sidewalk patio for prime people watching. Keep your eyes peeled, you may just get an impromptu meet and greet with an actor you saw on stage mere minutes ago.

 

6:15 p.m. | Dinner at Lovage

Less than two minutes away from a signature Bentley's Bellini, Lovage is as convenient as it is delicious. The brainchild of Chef Jamie Crosby - a disciple of Toronto restauranteur Jen Agg's Grey Gardens where he was chef de partie by way of a stage at the three-Michelin-star restaurant Noma in Denmark - this Stratford gem's menu of seasonal small plates is a superbly creative meditation on local fresh ingredients. Book a table on Resy to avoid missing out on this popular culinary destination.

 

7:40 p.m. | 8 O'clock Performance

Go meta and take a peek into the romantic lives of others, while enjoying downtime as a couple. What will it be, a reimagined Broadway hit about love gone awry or a modern play stirring up love all around you? Take your pick between Chicago or Every Little Nookie.

 

11:00 p.m. | Music and A Night Cap

Even if you're not catching a show at the Tom Patterson Theatre, it's worth the short jaunt over from another one of our theatres to enjoy a glass of wine and some live jazz in the Café located in the lobby of this brilliant building.

 

Sunday

8:30 a.m. | Breakfast to Go

Make way for the breakfast of champions: butter tarts and coffee! Head over to Madelyn's Diner for the main attraction, then, on your way to the Avon River for a romantic morning picnic, pick up a couple of hot pour overs and some more pastries (think homemade scones!) at Revel Coffee to seal a perfect start to the day. 

 

10:00 a.m. | For Love of Architecture

If you picked Stratford as your getaway destination, chances are you and your significant other are arts enthusiasts. For you, we offer a rare look into the artistic elements illuminating your theatre experience in Stratford, discovered by way of one-of-a-kind tours. Should our guided 45-minute walk through our new Tom Patterson Theatre be sold out (they're in high demand), watch our video documenting this 2022 winner of the Governor General's Medal in Architecture, then arrive an hour before curtain to search out your favourite spots from the film.

 

12:00 p.m. | Terrace Lunch at The Bruce

You might know Jonathan Gushue's name from Langdon Hall or the internationally acclaimed Fogo Island Inn. However you first became acquainted with him, Gushue is not a name to be forgotten after tasting his much-lauded cuisine. His most recent endeavour sees him taking the reins at The Bruce Hotel, a Four Diamond property, complete with a pretty terrace to enjoy a luxurious weekend brunch of King Crab Cavatelli and Mimosas - go ahead, you're on vacation!

     

1:45 | 2 O'clock Matinée

Love will tickle you from head to toe when in the audience watching this season's Little Women. A true-to-life adaption of the larger-than-their-times March sisters, the play will leave you a parting gift of the warm fuzzies, ample enough to keep spirits high, even after your mini-break is over.

 

5:00 | Eats For the Ride Home… and Dessert!

Stop by Annie's Seafood Restaurant on the way out of town via Ontario St. Pop in to place your order, then pop out to fill your tank at the nearby gas station and be back in time to collect your food fresh out of the fryer. You can't go wrong with the haddock and chips here, but Diners, Drive-ins and Dives devotees will especially salivate over daily specials with east coast vibes like halibut fish cakes or donair burgers. Throw in a couple of ice cold Crush Birch Beers - a root beer meets cream soda combo rarely found outside Newfoundland and Labrador - and it's a kitchen party in your car.

Forks up; cheers to Stratford!