Not a long road trip, mind you. Glance out a window in Toronto today, and a lengthy drive seems about as appealing as watching all four Highlander sequels. If we’re going to continue our theme of frugal, fun and stress-free March Breaks, I suggest hitting the highway for no longer than 2.5 hours. (This, by the way, is exactly how long it takes to play “I Spy” a dozen times, debate the relative merits of seven different superpowers — invisibility all the way, right? — and solve 14 riddles, including my new fave: “One night, a king and a queen went into a castle. There was nobody in the castle, and no one else went in or out. But in the morning, three people came out of the castle. Who were they?” NB: The correct answer has nothing to do with childbirth or an unusually short gestation period.)
Two-and-a-half hours also happens to be the exact duration of the drive between the Hilton Garden Inn Toronto Airport West Mississauga and our second March Break stop: The Residence Inn by Marriott Kingston Water's Edge.
If the brood wanted a change of scenery, they got it. While the Hilton Garden Inn is conveniently close to Pearson International Airport — and is therefore bereft of any geographical charm — our seventh-floor corner suite at the K-Town Marriott scenically overlooked Battery Park (pictured above), Kingston Harbour, the Royal Military College of Canada, the Fort Henry National Historic Site and, in the distance, the strikingly surreal turbines of the Wolfe Island Wind Farm.
As I reported in the Globe and Mail, Fort Henry is now home to the enchanting “Lumina Borealis” sound and light show (see video below), which has been deservedly extended by nearly a month to March 18. Indeed, the only thing preventing a second visit to the fort was the ridiculous subzero weather. Thankfully, as in Mississauga, that’s where the hotel’s saltwater pool, hot tub and saunas came in. Then, when we started to resemble raisins, my folks rolled into town to provide a kid-free night out: Some refreshing shopping along Princess Street, a leisurely dinner at Chez Piggy, and cocktails and tunes at Tango Nuevo.
Now that’s what I call a family getaway...