Discover a world away just across the border in Kingston

Downtown Ontario Street. Photo courtesy Tourism Kingston

‘Limestone City’ offers culture, cuisine and charm

Located where the St. Lawrence River and the Rideau Canal meet Lake Ontario, you’ll find Kingston, a city boasting a heritage that blends the beauty of the past with the many modern amenities of a larger, metropolitan area.

From its urban core, Canada’s first capital sparkles with relaxed boutiques and bistros while its waterfront teems with a mix of historic neighborhoods and pristine parkland. All of this in a city less than an hour or two from most points in Northern New York. Indeed, this cross-border city delights with 19th century limestone architecture and attractions of a major hub, but retains an affable small-town charm.

The Limestone City, as it is known, offers a wide range of activities sure to appeal to an even wider range of interests, including world-class entertainment, culture and delectable dining. While you won’t feel like you are a world away across the lake or river from the north country, don’t forget that entry into Canada requires a valid U.S. Passport or an enhanced New York State driver’s license. Visit www.dhs.gov to learn more.

2 P.M. FRIDAY, STRETCH YOUR LEGS AND TAKE A WALKING TOUR

Upon arriving in Kingston, a short walking tour is a great way to get a taste of the breadth of the city’s cultural and historic attractions. Earl Street, one of the oldest streets in Kingston, is ideal for a short walk, with its range of old homes, some originally built for the wealthy and some built to house factory workers. King Street, which boasts a number of sprawling stone mansions adorned with intricate turrets, gables and chimneys, is another great street to stroll down.

If you’re looking for a more cultural walk, check out Ontario Street.

Starting at the Visitor Information Center, you can walk to City Hall, a magnificent building constructed in 1842 with an imposing façade that was built to face the waterfront because most visitors to the city arrived by boat at the time. Free, guided tours of the building, which was fully restored in the 1970s, are available in the summer. Also on Ontario Street is the impressive stone building that was once the K&P Railroad station (now the Tourist Information Office), the Grand Trunk (or “inner”) railway station and various impressive hotels built in the 19th Century, including the Prince George Hotel, which is actually three different buildings concealed by one façade. William Street, on the west edge of commercial Kingston, also makes an interesting walk for those interested in architecture —you can see how apartment building designs evolved and also check out the architecture of early Queen’s University buildings.

Visitor Information Center, 209 Ontario St., www.kingstoncanada.com.

5 P.M. FRIDAY, ENJOY YOUR ACCOMMODATIONS
Kingston has a plethora of hotels and lodging, much of which is waterfront. The Residence Inn Marriott at 7 Earl Street provides downtown, waterfront accommodations, as does the Confederation Place Hotel at 237 Ontario Street. Four Points by Sheraton at 285 King Street East offers excellent downtown accommodations and has a pool. For those seeking a more affordable, alternative option, both Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College rent single and double accommodations all summer long. Rates at Queen’s College begin at $49.99. If you’re looking for a more quaint option, Kingston also boasts a number of charming bed and breakfasts, including the Bon Accord Bed & Breakfast at 275 Albert Street and Barndens by The Bay Bed & Breakfast at 56 Grant Lane, Verona.

For more on bed and breakfasts in the city, visit www.bbcanada.com.

8 P.M. FRIDAY, A TASTE OF LOCAL FOODS TO PLEASE THE PALATE
For a uniquely Kingston experience, “The Pig,” located inside a restored limestone stable, prides itself on its innovative menu composed of “fun food” made the sustainable way with as many local ingredients as possible. The varied menu features burgers and other traditional food, all with a flair, as well as an extensive wine list.

If you’re looking for something more ethnic, try Atomica Gourmet Pizza and Wine Bar, where authentic Italian food is made entirely from scratch using local producers. Their mouth-watering, fresh pizza also won’t break the lock off your wallet — no dish is over $20.

Chez Piggy Restaurant & Bar, 68R Princess St., (613) 549-7673, www.chezpiggy.com.

10 A.M. SATURDAY, COFFEE AND THE WATERFRONT
Grab coffee and a pastry at Pan Chancho Bakery and Café, an eclectic café serving breads and desserts all made exclusively in house. In addition to European-style artisan breads, the café serves ethnic and international food, so don’t hesitate to pick up some snacks or materials to make a picnic on the waterfront later on. Take your coffee and stroll along the waterfront to take in the ships. If you’re feeling particularly brave, consider going scuba diving—as many as 200 shipwrecks are said to rest offshore in Lake Ontario, making Kingston a popular destination for divers. You can also rent a canoe or kayak and explore the Canadian Shield. Ahoy Rentals, Kingston’s only “on the water” equipment rental provider, located at 23 Ontario St., can outfit you for sailing, sea kayaking, canoeing and cycling excursions. Northern Tech Diver, 4052 Bath Road, offers scuba diving tours, training and adventures throughout the 1000 Islands region.

Pan Chancho Bakery and Café, 44 Princess St., (613) 544-7790, www.panchancho.com. Ahoy Rentals, (613) 549-4277, www.ahoyrentals.com. Northern Tech Diver, (613) 634-8464, www.northerntechdiver.com.

Tell us where to go! 36 Hours appears in every issue of NNY Living. If you have a regional destination that you’d like to learn more about, email us at nnyliving@wdt.net.

[Editor’s note: This is a truncated version of this story. For the full version, please see NNY Living in print or subscribe.]