The leaves are changing, the summer heat is cooling off and we’re pulling out our coziest sweaters. That’s right--it’s officially autumn.
Autumn is a lot of people’s fav’ season, and we understand why. Not only is there pumpkin spice everything, but it’s also the season where wearing comfortable and soft clothes is acceptable every day.
Even though the hot weather may be gone, that doesn’t mean the outdoor fun has to stop. For those interested in having just as much fun during the Fall as you can in the summer, we’ve got a list of activities for you and your bubble! First up is none-other than Stratford’s own Chocolate Trail.
1. Indulge in your love for chocolate on the Chocolate Trail
If you’re a chocolate lover, you need to make sure the Chocolate Trail is on your agenda while you’re in Stratford. As a self-guided tour, you can explore the city, exercise your legs while walking from stop-to-stop, and taste a variety of unique chocolate creations.
For just $30, you can purchase a chocolate trail pass, which gives you access to try chocolatey treats from your choice of six local shops and restaurants from a list of 20 stops! The best part about this tour is that it runs year-round!
2. Head over to Mccully’s Hill Farm for a pumpkin picking frenzy
Visit Mccully’s Hill Farm during the months of September and October and pickup a sand mountain of pumpkins to bring home!
It’s the ultimate way to celebrate everything about autumn on a quaint country property. Don’t forget to visit the farm store where you can pick-up homemade maple syrup, a great selection of frozen meats, meals to go, preserves, fresh produce, pumpkins and fall décor.
3. Explore some great culture and local art at Gallery Stratford
Whether you have visited Gallery Stratford before or not, taking time to visit is a great idea as they’re always updating their collection. There are three locations in Stratford where art lovers can appreciate a variety of exhibits. The best part? There’s always free admission.
Visitors can enjoy beautiful indigenous pieces, seasonal exhibits and more at these locations. If you’re bound to expect a rainy or chilly day during your Stratford trip, just head to the Gallery to stay warm indoors and expand your artistic knowledge!
4. Journey through beautiful forest trails that extend beyond Stratford
If you are a self-proclaimed forager and nature lover, you should add visiting Stratford to your bucket list ASAP. Stratford’s nature is a part of the Avon Trail, which is a 121 km hiking trail from St. Marys to Conestogo. The Avon Trail links the Thames Valley and Grand Valley Trails, and hikers can adventure through scenic farmland, small rivers and streams, country back roads and small towns. Every scene is equally stunning!
Every Tuesday morning, you can join the Avon Trail Tuesday Morning Rambles session, as long as there’s no rain. For this event, meet at the Allman Arena north parking lot (just off Lakeside Drive) for 9 a.m. Walk the Avon Trail for 1.5 hours with a hiking leader or small group. These sessions are great for someone new to the area who wants to be led by a familiar hiker.
5. Stock up on local fresh produce at the weekend markets
One wonderful part of Stratford is their weekly markets. Every Saturday, you can head over to the Rotary Complex for the Stratford Farmer’s Market between 7 a.m. and 12 p.m. This market includes vendors that offer meat, vegetables, fruits, baking, coffee, juices, pizza, honey, maple syrup, popcorn, ready made meals and so much more!
And if you miss the Saturday market, don’t fret because there’s also one every Sunday! The Stratford Sunday Market is located at the York Street Parking lot, featuring Perth County's local produce, meats, breads, cheese, coffee, pastries, preserves, prepared foods, handmade artisanal products, gluten free and vegan options.
No matter what day you attend, there are many options for you to purchase fresh goods to take home or back to your hotel.
6. Taste the flavours of Stratford from local restaurants
In Stratford, we put passion into our food. Cooking is an art after all! We’ve got restaurants offering a variety of cultures and tastes, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Even though the weather has cooled off, you can still try delicious meals by taking food back home and to your hotel, or bundle up for some Al Fresco dining around the city.
If you haven’t heard of Al Fresco before, it was an initiative by the City of Stratford to create safe dining spaces at various spots in the city. These areas feature a variety of spaced picnic tables that are all equipped with sanitizer, garbage cans and recycling bins. You can stay outdoors if you prefer to dine with nature because these areas are open during the fall. Don’t forget your sweater!
7. Take a day-trip adventure to nearby historical towns
Did you know there are a variety of small, historical towns all closely located to Stratford? Every town offers stunning views, beautiful architecture, unique shopping and restaurants. Here’s a list of beautiful towns that that are close by (10 minutes to one hour from Stratford):
- St. Marys
- St. Jacobs
You can easily make a day trip to one or two of these towns during your stay in Stratford. St. Jacobs has a great weekend farmer’s market if you want to bring home fresh produce. St. Marys has a stunning view of waterfalls and castle-like buildings and churches. Bayfield has a beautiful beach with a variety of boutiques and local shops.
Each town has something unique to show visitors, and then you can head back to Stratford for the evening once you’re finished your nearby adventures.
8. Catch a movie under the stars by Queen of the Square
If there’s one activity that’s known for being cozy, it’s Movies Under the Stars by Queen of the Square. Catch a film almost every Friday or Saturday over the next month at the Grand Trunk Shops parking lot! Drive in with your car or grab a lawn seat to enjoy a variety of family-friendly, action, drama and other movie genres every weekend.
This event was a summer hit, which is why it’s been extended until November 1, so you’ve got the entire fall season to attend. Admission is only $15 for adults, $5 for children or $15 for two adults for a lawn seat. Pack all your warmest blankets and snuggle up to your bae or bestie to enjoy these evening films--only in Stratford!