A Kingsville STAYcation
Original blog by: Natalie Hillis, @AnitaSnack519 | July 29, 2020
With many of the travel restrictions still in place, I was on the hunt for a way to feel like I was “getting away” while still staying in the area. When I plan a vacation, I’m looking for great drinks and dining options, beautiful scenery, and unique accommodations. I was able to find all of these things right here in Kingsville, Ontario.
If you’re looking for the perfect overnight getaway – look no farther than The Grove Hotel. This building is proud of it’s history and it shows – it was built in 1854 and has had several names and owners since that time. This hotel has lived through the prohibition era, numerous fires and constant renovations. The hotel is now beautifully updated with 18 rooms, with a different décor and theme for each room.
My room had a lovely beachy theme with a soft, relaxing color pallet and the most beautiful driftwood chandelier I’ve ever seen. The view from our window was also very unique – the window looks directly into the craft beer brewery right next door – The Grove Brewing Company. You get a bird’s eye view of where they make their beer – great for any craft brew enthusiast. To top it all off – the mini bar was stocked with delicious local craft beer and Pelee Island wine. Every single sign, note, and instruction in the entire hotel is full of wit and creativity – their bright personality is injected into every small detail of this hotel, and their mantra – ‘STAY WEIRD’ is definitely showcased. I look forward to returning and getting to see all of the other interesting décor selections they’ve made for different rooms.
Jack’s Gastropub is known for their burgers – and for GOOD reason. If you are in pursuit of incredibly fresh and flavorful Ontario beef, paired with decadent and sometimes surprising toppings, Jack’s definitely needs to be on your list. In addition to their home-made beef patties, they also offer lamb, chorizo, chickpea, and chicken burger options.
When you visit Jack’s you can expect to find unique and flavourful toppings like caramelized onion & date jam, crispy banana peppers, fried wontons and so much more! Their Artichokes Parmesan is also an appetizer that I’d highly recommend; with its crispy artichokes in dill cream sauce topped with Parmesan flakes it’s creamy, cheesey, and crunchy in all the right ways. Jack’s has a beautiful patio on their lawn with lots of room for shaded dining and lots of great craft beer options to enjoy on a hot summer’s day.
El Diablo is a taco and small plates restaurant that goes above and beyond your average Mexican food. Their menu features a variety of interesting tacos and Mexican food classics such as chips and queso – but they add their creative spin to every menu item to make it truly their own. They also take inspiration from other cultures to create a culinary fusion of small plates so that you can take advantage of trying something new and getting to experience unusual flavors that are perfectly balanced. A personal favorite is their chips and queso which features fresh fried chips and queso that is spicy but has a pleasantly sweet surprise with the addition of pineapple.
The Beach House Grill has also expanded their patio into their large yard creating a shady comfortable spot to eat and enjoy. I visited for breakfast and loved that there were so many options on their large menu and they offer large portions for hearty breakfasts. Their “Big Bad BLT” comes with a ½ pound of bacon and you definitely won’t be leaving hungry!
King’s Bake Shop is a tasty sweet shop located right on Main street, just a minute’s walk from the Grove hotel. They offer delicious iced coffees to get your day started in addition to a beautiful variety of cookies, cookie sandwiches, cupcakes, cakes, and cheesecakes. They frequently change up their feature flavors so you will never get bored and there is always something new and amazing to try – dunkaroo, café mocha, Mexican hot chocolate, raspberry swirl – the list goes on and on. Are you drooling yet? The owner is incredibly friendly and passionate about her work and that attention to detail really shows in the flawless presentation of the goodies and the beautiful store itself. King’s Bake Shop has become one of those places that I just HAVE to stop at anytime I’m in the area.
Dutch Boys Chocolate is also located on Main Street and features some of the most elaborate and decadent chocolate creations you can find anywhere. They feature 3D chocolate sculptures and actually hand carve their own molds and hand pour them with premium chocolate leaving you with beautifully sculpted edible items such as birds, airplanes, and other animals. They also feature more than 26 flavours of truffles and each and every one is made by hand, one at a time.
The attention to detail is phenomenal and each piece demonstrates the care and pride that the chocolatiers put into their craft. The staff are eager to share the stories of their origins and their chocolate making processes and after visiting their shop you will realize that each piece is truly a piece of art. (Sweet, delicious art.)
If you’re looking to enjoy a craft beer, wine, or a delicious cocktail, Kingsville has quite a few great places to stop in and grab a drink. Wineology features sommelier selected wine flights, charcuterie, wood fired pizzas and fondue – each menu item comes with a suggestion for the best wine pairing so even someone who isn’t a wine expert can enjoy a professional flavour pairing.
The Grove Brew House is directly adjacent to the Grove Hotel and they’re known for brewing delicious and fun craft beer flavours like Farmettes Peach Sour and Coffee Blonde. They also have a unique menu of Beer Cocktails like the Watermelon Waltz and Sex on the Peach – a must try if you’re looking for something unique.
Kingsville Brewing Co. is another local treasure with some great beers like their Hefeweizen, IPA, and Barrel Aged Stout. They recently changed up their food menu and are now featuring a variety of incredibly delicious smoked meats such as the slow smoked beef brisket, pulled pork sandwich, and cherrywood smoked chicken wings.
The building itself is also steeped in local history and the owners are happy to tell you all about it – the building is over 100 years old and was once a bank. They have embraced the history by showcasing the original flooring and even turning the massive bank vault into their walk in fridge! If you’re looking to quench your thirst this summer – any (or all!) of these spots are a great place to start.
Kingsville is also home to lots of unique shopping experiences such as NOMAD for Home, Towne Emporium, and the Urban Art Market. Towne Emporium carries a variety of high-quality garments for both men and women and the staff are happy to help you find just the right outfit.
The Urban Art Market showcases artwork made by a variety of local artisans. They carry everything from beautiful jewelry to hand-drawn cards to Windsor themed clothing and apparel. These boutique style retailers give you the feeling of a large city shopping experience right in the heart of this small town.
Lakeside Park has beautiful waterfront views and lots of room to sit and have a picnic or walk around and explore.
Kingsville also hosts an Open Streets event every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for the summer where a portion of Main St. is blocked off to vehicular traffic so that people can walk around freely and restaurants, bars, and retailers have an opportunity to expand onto the street for even more socially distanced dining & shopping.
Between the waterfront views, friendly staff & locals, and the incredible selection of restaurants and retail – a Kingsville staycation is the perfect combination of a big city experience and small-town charm.