Fall is officially here! We love this time of year to plan cute road trips in South Eastern Ontario. We recently headed out on a getaway to the 1000 Islands and quickly discovered how this area really is a slice of paradise.  

Here are some of the experiences we just cannot get over from our recent visit!  

Where To Stay

Comfort Inn

Gananoque (or simply Gan), is the heart of the 1000 Islands and an adorable small town (a population of 5,000). It’s a super walkable town located right along the St. Lawrence River. We stayed at the Comfort Inn and Suites, a two-story hotel located on the main street making it within walking distance to some of the top sights in Gananoque. 

Our room was spacious and clean, and the staff was helpful. Our stay included an enjoyable breakfast featuring waffles and English muffin sandwiches as well as access to their indoor heated pool – the perfect place to warm up after a chilly Fall day.

Don’t forget! The Ontario Staycation Tax Credit will provide up to $400 per family tax savings on vacation accommodations used in 2022 for Ontario Residents.

What To Do

1000 Islands Kayaking Tour

No trip to South Eastern Ontario is complete without visiting the 1000 Islands. These tiny tree-covered islets and mansion-covered islands are like jewels dotted between Kingston and Brockville.

I’ve had the pleasure of exploring the 1000 Islands by foot, by air, on a cruise boat, and from a tower, but I haven’t had the chance to explore in a kayak!

1000 Islands Kayaking is a great way to explore the waters since they offer half-day and full-day kayaking tours. We met with our guide Kathy for a three-hour morning tour, which included learning the basics of paddling before heading out on the water.

Not only did Kathy take us to some of the area’s hidden spots, but she also helped keep our group safe when crossing the ‘boating highways’. She watched for our groups to turn to cross and we all went together. Cathy raved about kayaking in September because it’s as if we have the water to ourselves.

During our tour, we went around several islands, viewed the remains of a sunken ship that was a speakeasy during Prohibition, checked out Half Moon Bay – a known spot for people to paddle in for Sunday church services, saw a bald eagle, and other wildlife too.

This was our first time taking a guided kayaking tour and it was the BEST experience we’ve ever had! The leaves were only starting to change when we did our tour, so if you can, get out there for all of the Autumn colours. 

For a totally unique way to view the 1000 Islands Fall colours, check out the 1000 Islands Tower, 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours, or go on a cruise. You can also head to Landon Bay for an easy hike that leads to a lookout point over the St. Lawrence River.

Thousand Islands Playhouse

Gananoque is home to The Thousand Islands Playhouse which features two theatre stages – one in an old Firehall and police station, and the other in a former canoe club located on the waterfront. 

The Playhouse is the biggest art organization in the region and is well known for a wide selection of programming from musicals, intimate cabarets, comedies, and even the best of Broadway. This year is its 40th season with eight productions. We were lucky enough to get tickets to Kims’ Convenience.

The play is about a family-run and Korean-owned convenience store located in Toronto‘s Regent Park neighbourhood. Oftentimes, the play presented itself as a comedy but behind it, there was a much deeper theme relating to family dynamics. The story was heartwarming because it not only touched on the struggles of growing up as a child of immigrant parents but also the good and sometimes ugly side of families. I laughed as much as I cried and was happy to have my mask on to shield some of my tears. The set was realistic, the whole cast was electric, and surely deserved the standing ovation that it received. 

Kims Convenience was originally produced as part of the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival (selling out its run), awarded ‘Patrons Pick’ and was selected for the ‘Best of Fringe Festival.’ Since then, it has been a smash hit with a launch of a television show in 2016 making it CBC Canada’s first TV show to feature an Asian cast of lead actors. To date, the series has received 52 Canadian Screen Award nominations and 16 wins.

If you’re looking to attend a show at The Thousand Islands Playhouse, they’re closing the season with the global smash hit, Jersey Boys from September 27th – October 23rd.

Berry Homestead Farm

Annick and Jean Sebastien, the owners of Berry Homestead Farm, invite you to their off-the-grid farm to spend time with their resident donkeys. Once we first arrived, we were given a quick introduction to the donkeys and then taken on a tour of Lyndhurst, where we got to spend some quality time walking with the donkeys. 

The donkeys we met during our tour were gentle and loved to be cuddled. Once we got back from our tour, the owners showed us around their farm where they raise chickens, geese, and turkeys and, harvest honey. Along the way, we learned more about their sustainable farming. We could have listened to Annick and Jean for hours describing their sustainable farming practices. The tour ended with a trip to their gift shop, where we purchased soap made from the milk of a donkey. You can also purchase elderberry products, jams, preserves, and caramel sauce.

Hidden Meadow Alpacas

Down the road from adorable donkeys are some adorable alpacas! At Hidden Meadow Alpacas you can meet a friendly herd and even get the chance to feed them. If this is your first time visiting, you should know that Alpacas are typically timid but are approachable once they know you have food on you (kinda like people). 

Where To Nosh/Sip

Stonewater Pub

If you’re looking for a pub bar experience that includes live music and trivia nights, Stonewater Pub is the place to be. It’s a local hang-out spot for many. There’s usually a line and you can expect to wait 10-20 minutes before you’re seated – it’s totally worth it though! 

The restaurant is located in a century-old building that features cozy dining spots and an outdoor patio. The menu is online only, so make sure you have your phone on you. We got some iconic pub grub like the macho burger (which came with an onion ring), and fish and chips, both came in huge portions and were delicious! 

For quick grab-and-go meals, consider Laverne’s Eatery for breakfast. They have cozy beverages, chocolate croissants, and breakfast tarts – perfect when you’re on the go. For lunch, Lighthouse Provisions has a selection of Italian sandwiches and snacks. 

ARBRU Solar Brewery And BUSL Cider

You may have heard of BUSL Cider located in Mallorytown but did you know that this family-owned business also has a brewery down the road? ARBRU Solar Brewery is Canada’s 1st Destination Solar Powered Brewery. They’re 100% off-grid with 32 solar panels situated behind their brew house and beer store. 

Inside you can pull up a seat and order a flight to taste their current beer offerings. We really enjoyed the Amber Lager and the NEIPA which were juicy and citrusy. We had to get the soft pretzel with grainy mustard sauce to enjoy with our flight – it’s just the perfect combo. They also have a list of fresh wood-fired pizzas, we ordered the Margherita. The pizza was just pure cheesy goodness!

If you want to skip the drive and stay in town, another option is visiting Gan Brewing Co.

On October 1st, ARBRU is hosting an Ocktoberfest bash featuring new beers, live music, and food. They have also partnered with 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours to offer a ‘Hops and Helicopter’package. How cool would it be to take a tour of the 1000 Islands and then land at the brewery for a tasting tour? We’re so proud to know that our region offers such a unique game-changing brewery!

We highly recommend that you stop by BUSL Cider. They produce premium apple ciders and in the Fall they release a special pumpkin cider. The 280-acre property is home to a 10-acre apple orchard and various other crops to expand their flavour offerings. Enjoy a flight in a Muskoka chair as you overlook their orchard – it’s also the perfect backdrop for the Fall colours. We weren’t able to visit this time around since they were hosting a wedding but we will be back to view the Fall colours!


The best part of the Fall season is that its the start of comfort food season! Over at Riva, chef-owner Stev George has created a menu inspired by his travels and uses the freshest and most flavorful ingredients. It’s all about simplicity done right!

Housed in a century-plus-old building, Riva is warm and welcoming with a mood-setting dining room, grand fireplace, and a cozy bar area. Outside, there are two beautiful garden patios that can be enjoyed during the Fall season.  

The menu features modern Italian cuisine which was such a treat for us since we rarely cook Italian food at home. Italian cuisine is truly a labour of love and I don’t think anyone would argue with the fact that fresh pasta is certainly best.

For an appetizer, we got the fried calamari with capers and lemon aioli, it was so crisp ad tender. Not only was the calamari excellent, but the lemony aioli sauce and a squeeze of fresh lemon made this appetizer so divine! We skipped on dessert and ordered an extra appetizer which was Polpette, Italian meatballs with ricotta cream, and pecorino. These were incredibly flavourful, tender, and juicy. 

For our mains, my husband got the Bucatini Amatriciana. This dish has only a handful of ingredients, yet it’s still incredibly delicious. Bucatini, pancetta, tomato, chilies, and parmigano all shine here. As with all good Italian cuisine, the beauty of this dish lies in its simplicity and quality ingredients.

I got the Fettuccine al Ragu with Truffles – braised brisket sauce, tartufata, and Parmigiano. The thick meaty texture with the combination of flavours created a rich and savoury sauce. If we needed an excuse to go back to Gananoque, this would be it!

If you’re looking for a Fall getaway, 1000 Islands Gananoque is an excellent choice! There’s a mix of history, culture, adventure, and culinary delights. We hope you enjoyed this blog and use it to plan your own itinerary.