Ontario’s Port Hope Is a Must Visit and Here’s Why
Canada is 150 this year. Crazy. What an amazing milestone for my country- a nation that spells beauty and happiness. And what contributes to such beauty and charm are quaint towns and unique experiences sprinkled all over our boundaries that are the second largest in all the world.
Part 3 of our series brings to you our lovely readers, the “sprinkled” experience of dining at Carlyle Inn in the charming town of Port Hope, Ontario.
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First, a little about Port Hope
Port Hope is a quaint little historic town sitting on the shores of Lake Ontario. Little town bliss mixing heritage with urban charm, Port Hope is considered a perfect getaway with superb dining, historical landmarks, and beautifully lush park lands.
Marvel at historic monuments, cute pubs, interesting shops, and heritage buildings that together shape this haven into a town worth including on any Ontario road trip. Visitors will enjoy a myriad of harbour trails, scenery, a sandy beach, unmatched gastronomy and the beautiful Ganaraska River as it flows through the centre of town.
Plus, did you know that the new Stephen King movie “It” was filmed here in Port Hope? Well, it was and a creepy clown roamed the streets for a few months 🙂 Pretty cool fact. So while you’re there, check out the props placed throughout town- movie posters at the cinema depicting 1980’s movies from the film’s original era as well as placed fictitious products in window displays. (I had to look twice at seeing a movie poster for “Lethal Weapon” as I walked to the theatre…)
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Last summer, we had the privilege of taking a day trip to Port Hope to explore and see my talented cousin perform in Gershwin’s classic “Crazy for You.” As it was playing for a limited engagement at the renowned Capitol Theatre, the family trooped to this beautiful little town to see her perform. However, just before the first curtain we enjoyed as a family, an incredible meal at a wonderful local culinary gem- The Carlyle Inn.
Upon entry, I felt as if I had done a time warp. (You know, like how Tim Curry boasts in the Rocky Horror Picture Show? You got it. A time warp.) The ambiance took visitors back to Casablanca, Morocco, with Middle Eastern/North African decor, coupled with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman official movie posters. You could seriously hear me humming “As Time Goes By” as we were escorted to our table.
I loved this atmosphere. It truly gave you that homey feeling as you entered the inn.
So What About this Amazing Grub?
Since I have been travelling I have become such a foodie. I crave new dishes, unique fusions of flavours, and cultural meals that push my palate’s envelope. This being said, I also love returning to the basics, especially when they are done perfectly.
The Carlyle Inn was spot-on in its gastronomic excellence. As a party of 10, they managed to serve us all meals of utter perfection. We enjoyed everything from Cobb salad and crab cakes, to grilled salmon and chicken Parmesan. All done beautifully and with delicious fusions of flavour.
Room for Dessert? I hope so…
After an incredible meal, I hope you have room for dessert. The Carlyle Inn prides itself in the making of all their desserts from scratch. We ordered the carrot cake as it sounded so good on the menu…I have to tell you that it was one of the best carrot cakes I have ever tasted.
Now, you must understand that my Nana makes the ultimate BEST carrot cake in the world and it was my dessert of choice for many a birthday. The moist sponge combined with chunks of pineapple, plump raisins, and finished with a cream cheese frosting just made turning a year older go from a drag to sublime. The cake served here at Carlyle Inn was a close second in deliciousness. I don’t think anyone could dethrone Nana, but this carrot cake won “place” in the carrot cake horse race.
The Capitol Theatre
After dinner we headed to the Capitol Theatre. One of the only atmospheric theatres left in Canada, this quaint theatre brings this quaint town some incredible shows. The Theatre runs shows all year round, so do check their website for show schedules.
Enjoy your experience in the comfy auditorium seating 380, as you marvel at the vintage decor and theatrical ambiance. In fact, this theatre is so nostalgic that you can get a box of popcorn popped fresh in an original red cart during intermission while sipping a fresh bottled Coke. How nifty is that!?
So there you have it. A beautiful quaint town in Southern Ontario full of charm, beauty, entertainment, and delicious food, not to mention, a retro film location!
If you are keen on staying at the Carlyle Inn, they do offer getaway packages that I’m sure would satisfy any style of vacation. Should you get there, do try the carrot cake. Trust me. You will be happy you did. Even my Nana thinks it is superb!