Canadian cuisine at its best: a bed of hot french fries swimming in savory brown gravy with melting but squeaky cheese curd. It’s such a popular side dish that fast food chains BK, KFC and Micky D’s added it to their menus years ago.
The fattening treat was cause enough for us to bike from Western New York on the mouth of the St. Lawrence River straight to Kingston, Ontario. Of course, the journey was made easier with the help of two ferry rides, the first from Cape Vincent to Wolfe Island and again from Wolfe Island to Kingston.
Technically, Wolfe Island is the largest of the Thousand Islands. It’s Canadian soil and you’ll need to show your passport when you arrive.
Miles of wind farms flank the rural flatland with corn mazes, strawberry patches and cow pastures dotting the horizon. There are very few cars (only ferry traffic) and an occasional tractor to content with. And, thanks to his spanking-new road bike, George can pedal faster than the blades of a turbine.
He slowed only once to wipe the bugs from his teeth.
There’s plenty to see and do on Wolfe Island – hike, bike, golf, fish, swim, even duck hunt. In the town of Marysville, options exist for buying sweets – the Red River Bread at Wolfe Island bakery is delicious or spending the night – the Wolfe Island Manor Bed and Breakfast gets high marks on TripAdvisor.
“Where History and Innovation Thrive”
With rain spitting from above, the weather didn’t deter George and I from venturing further.
We boarded the next ferry for the Limestone City and found ourselves drawn to Fort Henry, a military encampment perched high on the hill overlooking Kingston. Built by the British to ward off attacks during the War of 1812 with the United States, the World Heritage site never saw military action but reenactments and ghost tours bring history alive.
In fact, Ghost Hunters filmed an episode here in 2009. Paranormal activity abounds during the month of October during the haunted walking tours.
After our history lesson, George and I pushed our bikes past the landmarks on the waterfront. The Market Square in front of the City Hall was lined with farmers selling fresh maple syrup and corn-on-the-cob. Charming boutique-lined shopping districts with art galleries, jewelery shops and book nooks made me regret that I didn’t bring a bigger backpack.
Bright red trolleys and biked-friendly buses are alternatives for visiting Queen’s University, the Penitentiary Museum or the Bellevue house, home of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister.
Finally, it was time to quench our thirst. With almost 250 restaurants in Kingston, odds are good you’ll find a pub to suit you.
Because we forgot our bike lock, we prowled for alfresco dining where we could watch the bikes, not that we needed to worry about safety in Kingston.
Through a small stone passage way hidden behind a 2-story limestone building we found “The Toucan.” With 22 draughts on tap and an outdoor tv monitor blasting soccer tournaments, it had the right vibe plus a wait staff that helped hide our bikes. We plunked down for a hearty dish of poutine dripping in gravy sauce and 2 tall pints of Canada’s finest craft.