We’re at T minus pretty-soon before things are going to get hectic with coursework, research, TA responsibilities, lab duties, clinical work, grant writing, … *deep breath*. The time for a vacation has past, but that doesn’t mean the time for enjoyment outside of academia has to become a distant memory. This month here at Gradifying we’ve been speaking directly to graduate students who are new to Queen’s and Kingston, but also to those who have been here for a while and are ready to try a few of those things that you haven’t got around to doing yet. Amanda has listed a bunch of great little Kingston survival guide, and Jeremy has summoned your inner athlete with a list of active pursuits that you can’t refuse (Brando, 1972). But maybe we’re looking for something more laid back that gets you out of Kingston, and sometimes you want to create a bit more space between yourself and your work. It won’t be long before the leaves are changing, and nothing beats a nice drive on the highway with friends, your family, or just yourself to a destination close by. So take a few minutes to learn about a number of great day trips that are just a hop away from Kingston.
For those with a car, you’re pretty much ready to go. For those with only two feet and a heartbeat, you’re going to need a bit of horse power for some of these. Best option: rope in a friend. But even if you can’t find someone with a car, luckily it doesn’t cost very much to rent a car for the day. I’ve rented from a lot of different companies in Kingston I’ve always gotten the best price and service from Budget (613-546-3231; 1412 Princess St), with Discount (613-384-8224; 1288 Bath Rd.) a close second. Prices vary according to the day of the week, but it’s common to get a car for $40/day.
Now, places. Beside the title you can see modes of transport that’ll work.
Wolfe Island: Bicycle, Car
Wolfe Island is just a free 20-minute ferry ride away from downtown. If you only have an hour or two, this is your easy hit. There are roads around the island that take you through some beautiful farmland and some beautiful points that look onto the water. You’re only a stone-throw from Kingston, but while you’re on the island you get the experience of a nice escape. For this one you don’t even need a car – if you’ve got a bicycle, just tack on a couple more hours to your day and enjoy. Check out the link for the ferry schedule, things to do, and annual events they organize.
1000 Islands Tour: Feet (Kingston departure), Car (Gananoque departure)
Even if you’re brand new to Kingston you’ve probably already heard of the 1000 Islands. You can catch a boat from downtown to cruise the 1000 Islands and some other attractions along the water. The most basic tour runs for around $40 ($20 for children), but there are plenty of different options that increase from there (e.g.: sunset wine tasting cruise. Delicious). Check here for some of the local cruises.
If you’re up for a 30-minute drive, hop on a cruise in Gananoque to explore some of the beautiful landscapes and gorgeous homes, not to mention the Boldt Castle. The basic tour (1 hour) runs $24 (children = $13; under 6 y.o. = free!). I’ve done this cruise a couple of times and I’ve always enjoyed the scenery and fresh breeze. You can find some more information here.
Prince Edward County: Car
I’ve saved my favourite for last. The County. This is a getaway that has the ability to recharge your very soul. There are endless fields to drive past and let your mind drift to another place and time. This region of Ontario is known for its art, wineries, and eateries. Once you arrive there are countless places to explore, so here are a few that come on high recommendation:
* The others all come 2nd place to me, but explore the Art Trails site to find ones that suite your taste.
Bergeron – Incredible stone-oven pizza and delicious wine
Portobello – D-licious sandwiches. Great spot for lunch
Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co. – Cheese that is to die for
* Explore the Taste Trails website for a full list of the best of the best.
There are as many preferences and styles as there are people who visit the County, but there’s a lot there for everyone. I hope that you can find something in here to suit your fantasy! If you have any spots that are warm memories for you, please share in the comment below!