After incredible days in NYC, Montreal and Ottawa as part of my winter road trip, I set off for Kingston, Ontario. The sky was red and bright as I finally made my way out of Ottawa’s rush hour traffic, onto the wide-open road, and toward the town where I would be spending the night and the following day.
I was a bit breathless walking into my incredible B&B because I was supposed to check in by 7 p.m. and arrived about 15 minutes late. Thankfully the gracious hostess of the Secret Garden B&B was understanding, efficiently checked me in and collected my payment, and instructed me where to find my room and when to arrive for breakfast. Whew!
I had looked up multiple places to stay in Kingston and didn’t originally have my heart set on a B&B; however, this one caught my eye and quickly became the place I HAD to stay because it had a turret room!
A. TURRET. ROOM!
Yes, it cost more to stay in that room. Yes, it was a gigantic room with multiple beds that could accommodate several people and was completely impractical for a solo traveler for one night. Yes, I most definitely paid more to stay there all by myself solely because it had a turret!
Before she turned in, I asked my hostess if it was safe for me to walk around town after dark. She looked at me like I was looney (why does everyone think this is such an odd question?!) and said yes, I could walk anywhere and be safe. So I bundled up and headed out!
While Princess Street was clear of snow and people, Springer Market Square in front of Kingston City Hall was alive with people of all ages enjoying the glistening ice skating rink! The area was decorated with greenery and Christmas trees, and the holiday spirit was in full force.
So was the wind! I walked around the areas for a while, taking pictures of the city name in lights, and finally popped into an Irish pub for a pint. After warming up and admiring the pictures I had been taking, I wandered back to the Secret Garden to call it a night.
The next morning I slept in and enjoyed my wonderful room, including the gas fireplace, before finally making myself presentable and wandering downstairs for coffee and a delicious breakfast prepared by my hostess.
A bit awkwardly for me, I was the only person staying there who elected to partake in breakfast. As such, I was seated in the beautifully decorated dining room all by myself with this poor woman waiting on me—bringing me each new course and clearing the former one. I ate as quickly as possible so we could wrap up the encounter and she could go on with her morning!
After I finished eating I took some time to admire the first floor of the house, which was completed decked for the holidays. I can’t imagine how much time she spent decorating, but it was beautiful! I especially loved the library, which was cozy regardless of the holiday décor.
I needed a walk after my big breakfast so I set off through the neighborhood toward the St. Lawrence River. Everything was illuminated with early morning sun, including several beautiful churches and homes I passed along the way. One home in particular looked like a castle!
There were a few people out walking their dogs but otherwise I had the neighborhood to myself—it was very quiet and peaceful and a lovely way to start the day.
After passing through City Park I was able to access a path along the water that took me toward downtown and the area I had visited the night before.
A few men were putting in a fishing boat, but otherwise it was just me and lots and lots of birds. There were all kinds of novelties along the water, including some Celtic-inspired statues, a memorial to a former sailor, a bath house, and more.
I quickly arrived at the ‘Kingston’ letters I had stumbled upon the night before and found they were next to a small train depot that has been converted into a visitor information stand.
There was an engine nearby (the Spirit of Sir John, Engine 1095) along with several plaques outlining the history of the Canadian Pacific railroad–originally the Kingston & Pembroke railway–that in 1871 began constructing a line between the cities of Kingston and Pembroke. When the K&P fell into financial ruin, the Canadian Pacific railway took over the line and operated it until the 1950s.
A few minutes walk away was Kingston City Hall where everyone had been ice skating the night before. Now I was able to view the building from the water and admire the structure in good light!
It took me multiple tries but I was also able to work out the remote control for my Canon and take a few pictures of myself to prove I was there!
I headed down Princess Street, admiring the displays in the shop windows and the older architecture as I circled back toward my B&B to pack up and move on with the final leg of my road trip.
Along the way I saw the amazing doll pictured at the beginning of this post and really wanted to buy it for my brother-in-law, Mark, because they bear a striking resemblance! Unfortunately it wasn’t for sale so I had to make do with sending Mark the picture once I was back in the U.S. with cell service.
There were so many shops and restaurants and things to see and do along the lake, as well as adventures out to the 1,000 Islands—I can’t believe it had taken me so long to visit Kingston! I imagine this waterside town gets incredibly busy in the summer, but based on my winter experience I would recommend heading there year-round—you will most certainly find any number of things to see and do!