It’s probably obvious by now that we really cherish our weekend getaways. We love taking off, even for a day or two for some R&R and family time together. Lately we’ve been trying to stay a little closer to home as our trips are becoming shorter due to the kids growing commitments and sometimes even the effect on our budget. At first we thought that finding suitable destinations within a few hours of home would be difficult, however we have found out that we are completely wrong!
Growing up in the GTA, I hate to admit that until recently I had never actually stopped IN the town of Burlington. It was always the place we drove through on our way across the border on trips to the USA and I honestly never thought of it as a destination for a family getaway.
Let’s just say that my idea of Burlington was so far off and not only did we have a fantastic family weekend as tourists, we already have plans to return!
We were invited to come visit in mid-December, which ended up being a fantastic time of year to get away. We were so caught up in Christmas that we didn’t realize until our weekend was over how much we needed some family time.
First stop on our trip…
BRONTE CREEK PROVINCIAL PARK
We attended the Victorian Christmas Festival at Bronte Creek PP which was a unique opportunity to learn and interact hands-on about what Christmas would have been like many years ago. They especially loved learning about and playing the old games. My son was particularly intrigued by the game Crokinole and spent quite a bit of time playing not only against my husband and I but also a very patient staff member on site!
Afterwards, we took a wagon ride to the main area which not only had a great canteen for lunch with lots of selection, it was also the location of their huge outdoor skating rink! And don’t worry if you forgot your skates back at the car, they have them available for rental for a small fee.
The kids even had the opportunity to meet Victorian Santa and have their photos taken in costume.
HOLIDAY INN BURLINGTON
After a fun and educational day outdoors, we headed to our hotel to check in. We stayed at the lovely Holiday Inn Burlington Hotel & Conference Centre. In addition to comfortable, clean rooms, the hotel had a great pool & hot tub which we enjoyed before heading out to dinner and a great restaurant where we enjoyed a fantastic breakfast buffet the next morning. My son enjoyed having WiFi in the room.
THE PURPLE HEATHER PUB
For dinner, we were welcomed by The Purple Heather Pub. What I loved most about this restaurant was that it seemed to welcome anyone, whether you were just looking to have a couple beers with friends, a family meal or a date night out. The vast menu was full of food that all sounded absolutely delicious and as we watched it come out from the kitchen, we could tell right away the chefs at this restaurant took much pride in their work. The service was also fantastic and they were great with kids. We were also incredibly impressed that they were able to accommodate my son’s gluten allergy which we had told them about ahead of time. They gave him several choices including GF pasta, in the end he went with a burger. My husband and I have added The Purple Heather Pub to our list of favourite restaurants and we will absolutely be back!
APPLEBY ICE CENTRE
With very full, satisfied bellies, we were off to burn off some calories with a family skate at the huge Appleby Ice Centre. Four pads including one that is specifically for figure skating and recreational skating, it’s a beautiful place to take the family for a skate! We all had a blast and it was the perfect way to end our day.
After skating we headed back to the hotel and no one had any trouble falling asleep! After brunch the next morning, we checked out of the hotel and headed to the final destination on our trip.
There were animals, fun play structures and even a barn with mini tractors for the kids to ride on. The best part by far was the view from the hill along the side of the farm which let you see for miles all around. After playing outside, we went back in for a fantastic lunch. The kids each had a Sandbox Special which came prepared in an actual bucket to take home. They even managed to put together a fantastic Gluten-Free version for my son which impressed me! My husband and I enjoyed a traditional Ontario Ploughman’s Lunch which included summer sausage, farm cheese and the most delicious fruit bread I’ve ever had.
At the end of a fun day, it was time to head home. We were sad to leave. We found so much fun in Burlington and learned that we really don’t have to drive too far from home to have a perfect family getaway! We will be back and think you should definitely check out Burlington next time you’re looking to try something different.