In this new series, we take you on the open road. Get ready to put your hands on the wheel as we give you the insider’s edge when taking your road trip. We’re going to satisfy your wanderlust and let you in on the best things to eat, see and do. First, let’s make our way up into Toronto.
My husband and I have compared taking a road trip to eating at a buffet – you get a little bit of everything in a short amount of time. When you have a destination in mind, I recommend mapping out adventures along the way. If you’re coming from the East Coast like I did, drive through the historic Hudson Valley and take in the mountainous views.
Whether it’s the vibrant foliage of the fall, or the snow-covered trees in the winter, make a pit stop in Poughkeepsie at the Walkway Over the Hudson. Open from dusk until dawn, the former Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge was restored in 2009 after years of neglect and turned into a 1.28-mile deck for pedestrians, hikers and cyclists.
Three hours north, have lunch at the famous Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse. The restaurant itself is all about comfort, with their delicious, slow-cooked barbecue and dimly-lit, faded brick walls. Start with the Dinosaur poutine with pulled pork, and then choose from an array of multi-meat combos (or be daring and get the frog legs like I did – tastes like chicken).
Once you crossover to our friendly neighbors to the north, you have to pull over and see the majesty of Niagara Falls. Special thanks to the ice melting 10,000 years ago, giving us this breathtaking natural wonder. And yes, the view really is better from the Canadian border!
From Niagara Falls there’s only an hour and a half until you hit Toronto, Canada’s largest city. I have been to a lot of major cities, and what I love about Toronto is that every street has art galleries, uniquely themed restaurants and clothing stores. Usually in large cities you’ll find one or two main streets, but Toronto seems like it has something at every corner.
If you’re a comic book nerd like my husband and me, you have to visit Casa Loma where the first “X-Men” film was shot. This Gothic, Revival style castle is set atop a hill in the middle of the city!, which is really cool to see so close to high-rise buildings. It was originally a residence for financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt. , who eventually had to auction off his 98-room mansion after falling into financial turmoil.
Ossington Avenue is quickly becoming Toronto’s coolest neighborhood. If you have to pick one place on the strip to visit, grab a beer at the newly opened Bellwoods Brewery. You can enjoy a refreshing light ale or dark stout out on the street-side patio (they have heat lamps in the winter), or stay inside and enjoy the décor with large kettles to the back and chalk-written menus on the walls. The food is some of the best I have ever had and it’s so inexpensive! I recommend getting the fries with toscano cheese, thyme, rosemary, served with siracha mayo. If you have a lot of moxie, try the ducks hearts with spicy oil.
If you’re going to visit Toronto, you do have to do one super touristy thing: visit the Royal Ontario Museum. Not only is it one of the largest museums in North America, but the architecture alone is stunning. In addition to its collection of complete dinosaurs skeletons, it’s also cool seeing the history of Canada told through the eyes of Canadians. Also, Canada’s history with the United States told through someone else’s viewpoint was something to chew on.
After seeing the United States from coast to coast in less than two weeks, Jenine loves exploring every inch of this beautiful country. Jenine can never stay in one place for too long. She enjoys good food that is influenced by different regions, a good brewery and the breeze blowing through her hair. The car is her home.
If you have any road trip questions for Vacation Expert Jenine, you can submit a comment below. You may also contact her directly via email or call our store in Wayne, NJ at 973-628-8650.