What does an escape mean to you? For some, it’s leaving home on a plane or a long drive and spending a night or three away in a quaint inn, charming bed & breakfast or relaxing spa. For others, it’s day trips to wineries or taking in the beautiful surroundings of the countryside. Many find their escape in the city, even in their neighbourhoods. An “escape” doesn’t have to be so literal. You can take time away from the monotony of everyday life in many ways. Here are some of the favourite “escapes” from our team.
I love playing tennis on our many outdoor courts throughout the city. There’s nothing like a summer evening hit in my favourite courts, Howard Park (West), Rosedale Park (Central) and Kew Gardens (East). One great thing to know is that these private clubs are open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, after 5 pm, so that everyone can enjoy themselves.
From the slow pace of Prince Edward County comes this phenomenally chic newly opened hotel behind the facade of the Royal Hotel in ‘downtown’ Picton. High style. Low key vibe. Best of all, within easy reach of the County’s wineries and superb restaurants.
In the enchanting village of Elora, beside the rushing waters of the Elora Gorge, is this world-class ultra-luxe inn. The rooms perched over the gorge, with floor-to-ceiling windows, are worth the splurge. While relaxing, be sure to book relaxation time in the adjoining spa.
Just outside of the historic and busy core of Niagara-on-the-Lake is Riverbend Inn. Located on the Niagara Parkway (read as ‘parks’) and backing onto vineyards, the setting is nothing less than spectacular. Dine outside on the large terrace. Make sure you bring your bikes to cycle (or rent them locally) along the incredible cycling paths. Be sure to have dinner one night at nearby Treadwells or Ravine – our favourite restaurants in NOTL.
Add some spa treatments to your stay at the brand new Q124 Spa. It just opened. Ah! Relaxation!
Purple Hill Lavender Farm is a small, family-run lavender farm located in the beautiful rolling hills of Creemore, Ontario, a hidden gem our family has called home for over 30 years. “Visitors can come to admire different varieties of lavender while being engulfed with their scent in the fields.
The farm also has a shop that sells lavender products such as perfumes, candles, soaps, essential oils and, of course, lavender bouquets so you can take a piece of the fields home with you.”
The hotel’s tagline, “Escape from the city, not from luxury,” couldn’t be closer to the truth. Set on picturesque grounds on the shores of Lake Massawippi in the heart of the Eastern Townships, Manoir Hovey, a 1900s mansion, is a piece of heaven. Did anyone say cheese? The culinary experience was just the “cherry on the cake.”
Tom Patterson Theatre in Stratford & The Bruce Hotel
I went to the Stratford Festival many years ago and haven’t been back to the quaint and charming town until recently. We were fortunate enough to have a sneak peek of the architectural masterpiece – the Tom Patterson Theatre, designed by renowned architect Siamak Hariri of Hariri Pontarini. The curvilinear design was four years in the making with glass to ceiling wrapped windows in a bronze veil. It overlooks the Avon River, a picturesque 2.5 km stroll. You can spend a night or two at The Bruce Hotel in one of their well-appointed, spacious suites. One of the best parts? They offer emergency cookie room service on speed dial.
The Toronto Music Garden is one of the city’s most enchanted locations. It’s a garden oasis at the Toronto waterfront with beautiful walks, hidden rest spots, fragrant flowers in a lush garden, a great variety of bird species for bird watchers, and live music.
Good Wine and Good Vibes! The June Hotel in Prince Edward County is a hip, 16-room boutique getaway motel in wine country. I love its casual atmosphere. It has a bohemian atmosphere. Great views of Picton Bay, and watch the sunset from your private balcony. This Inn does not have a restaurant, so you choose from fantastic country restaurants. Fresh, seasonal farm-to-table meals can be found everywhere. There are over 40 wineries in the area.
If anyone is looking for an incredibly dog-friendly place to go for the weekend, try Somewhere Inn Calabogie in the Ottawa Valley – a bit of a trek – it is just over 4 hours from Toronto, but it is worth the drive. It is a refurbished motel “nestled amongst the stunning lakes, forests and mountains of the Ottawa Valley.” They host a Locals Night every Tuesday during May and June, featuring “Craft brews, dynamic wines, good music, s’mores and great vibes.”
Known as the “The Lady of the Lake,” Windermere House – an iconic Victorian landmark – has proudly stood over Lake Rosseau since 1870, offering guests spectacular vistas and lasting memories as Muskoka’s premier hotel and resort; accommodations include 56 luxury rooms and suites and the private, four-bedroom Windermere Cottage with its historic charm.
Whether your getaway includes relaxing at the beach, indulging at AMBA Health & Beauty Spa, playing a round at Windermere Golf & Country Club, water sports, tennis, or simply stargazing by the campfire, Windermere House caters to those who seek comfort, style, and a quintessential Muskoka experience.
Gibraltar Point Beach, Toronto Islands
A short bike ride from the Centre Island or Hanlan’s ferries will bring you to one of the most southern tips of Toronto’s Islands. This quiet secluded beach has gorgeous views of Lake Ontario and nature trails to explore when you want to get out of the sun. The water is crystal clear, and the air is fresh and clean, so you will feel like you’re on the ocean in a remote location—what better place to start a new novel or fall asleep to your favourite music on your headphones. If you get bored of the serenity and want to do some people-watching, Hanlan’s Point beach is only a ten-minute walk away, or bike to the island’s many other beaches.