Port Hope is a small yet idyllic city about 1.5 hours away from Toronto. It is located at the mouth of the Ganaraska River on the north shore of Lake Ontario, in the west end of Northumberland County. My first time in Port Hope was back in 2012, where we made a quick pit stop at Trattoria Gusto for lunch.
Photo Credit: https://visitporthope.ca/gallery/downtown-port-hope
Earlier this summer, we had the pleasure of exploring the city more extensively and got to really know what Port Hope is all about.
After treetop trekking, we drove about 26 minutes to downtown Port Hope for lunch. Lunch reservation was made at Olympus Burger, so our table was ready once we arrived. Additionally, the burger joint was featured on an episode of The Food Network’s television show ‘You Gotta Eat Here’, and topped Canadian Living magazine's list of best burgers in Canada.
It's a very casual atmosphere, where customers would order the items and pay upfront at the counter. However, they provided table-service to us and our fellow bloggers that afternoon. The menu was a two-pager featuring a good selection of burgers. Given the branding, all the menu items are themed around Greek mythology. Psst ... they also have a secret menu, which is available for viewing online. I highly recommend that you try Olympus Burger if you're ever in Port Hope.
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Address: 55 Mill St S, Port Hope, ON, L1A 2S7
Ares Burger ($9.95)
Local No. 90 Bar + Kitchen:
Prior to making our way to Capitol Theater, we had dinner at Local No. 90 Bar + Kitchen. It's a new local joint on Mill Street and Ontario Street. We were greeted by Dana (the owner of Local No. 90) who serves a very hands-on role in her restaurant. She was helpful, and personable. The level of service reminded me of the hospitality that we received at Olympus Burgers.
Their menu changes daily, and all ingredients are all locally sourced. We started off with a few oysters from P.E.I, and steamed mussels. The appetizers were good, and I really liked the Steam Mussels. The mussels' natural juice came together with the help of white wine and garlic.
For my main course, I got the Pan Seared Duck Breast ($24). Comprised of current, red wine jus, sautéed with medley of potatoes, heirloom tomato, beans and kale. The duck was enjoyable, as the meat was tender and its skin crispy. Local No. 90 Bar + Kitchen would be a great place for casual dinner, dates and group dinners.
P.E.I. Oysters ($3.25 each)
Pan Seared Duck Breast ($24)
Seasonal Meatballs ($15)
Steamed Mussels ($13)
The LocalNo90 Bar + Kitchen is open Sunday – Thursday from 4 pm – 11 pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 4 pm – 11 pm.
Nookie's Soul Kitchen & Bar:
On our second visit to Port Hope, we visited Nookie's Soul Kitchen & Bar for dinner. The restaurant is a cocktail bar offering a variety of dishes including bar food and Asian-fusion dishes. What stood out to me about the restaurant was the generous portion given its competitive pricing. I got the Rib & Wing Combo ($23), which was more than enough food for two people.
Seafood Linguine ($20)
Calamari Fritti ($11)
White Wine and Garlic Mussels ($12)
Rib & Wing Combo ($23)
The dinner didn't go extremely smoothly, as there were several kinks throughout the entire meal. Mine was a minor mistake compared to what some of the other bloggers personally experienced - as I received sweet potato fries instead of regular French fries. We are a larger group, so the waitress appeared a little flustered throughout the meal. Nookie's Soul Kitchen & Bar seems like a popular local joint, so I do recommend making a reservation during the busy dinner rush.
On the main floor of The Waddle Hotel is Trattoria Gusto, where they offer Italian cuisine in a beautiful historic setting. In the morning, they do offer breakfast for hotel guests (complimentary with some rooms). We actually dined at Trattoria Gusto back in 2012, but this was the first time we stayed overnight. They don't serve breakfast to the public, but it's open for brunch, lunch and dinner.
We didn't get a chance to dine in this time around, but we have enjoyed a delicious lunch a couple of years back. The lunch menu selection was fairly minimal, but it did offer the usual fare of Italian pasta. I wanted something filling so I ordered the penne rosé ($16.00). It is a dish of penne pasta with tomato sauce and mussels. Although the pasta was a simple dish, it was wonderfully made. They did not skimp on the mussels and it was fresh. I asked for some cheese and was given a full bowl of non-grated Parmesan cheese, which surprisingly blended very well with the pasta.
Annual Salmon Migration:
The Annual Salmon Migration occurs every year, along the Ganaraska river from the Lake Ontario. In the spring, between late March and early May, you can witness the annual rainbow trout (steelhead) migration. Up to 8,000 rainbow trout fish make their way up the Ganaraska River to spawn. In the fall, between late August and early October, you can watch the chinook and the silvery coho salmon migration.
Primitive Designs is a popular tourist attraction in Port Hope. They import exotic & unusual antiques & crafts from around the world. There are also tons of giant metal rots on the property, which are great photo opportunities.
Barn Quilt Barn
The Barn Quilt Barn is a scenic trail of 23 heritage barns throughout urban and rural Port Hope.
Laveanne Lavender Fields
If you're planning on visiting Port Hope in July, then you must make a visit to the Laveanne Lavender Fields. July is when the lavender fields are in bloom. Here you can stroll through four acres of landscaped fields, and there is also an on-site boutique selling lavender inspired home accents and gourmet bakery items.
Haute Goat Farm
The Haute Goat Farm is a breathtaking 200 acre farm where you can discover the magic of their Nigerian Dwarf goats, Icelandic horses, alpacas, chickens and Livestock Guardian Dogs and take a stroll through the shiitake forest! This place is a great family activity.
Treetop Trekking Ganaraska:
While in Port Hope, why not spend a couple of hours enjoying tree top trekking at the Treetop Trekking Ganaraska? We started our morning partaking in the zip line and aerial game treks ($59.99 per person), which is one of their most popular activities. Guests have up to three hours to complete the treks. Treetop Trekking consist of fun games like suspended bridges, Tarzan swings, swinging logs, cable traverses, and zip lines. Don't fret if you're new to this - as the park has a variety of courses ranging from beginners to advanced.
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Address: 10585 Cold Springs Camp Rd, Campbellcroft, ON, L0A 1B0
The Capitol Theatre:
The Capitol Theatre was constructed in 1930, and is one of the last fully restored atmospheric movie theatres still in operation in Canada. It was designated as a National Historic Site in 2016, and still used for performances. Seating for approximately 380. We were invited to watch the production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid (ran from August 14 to September 9, 2018). I was really looking forward to this production, as The Little Mermaid is my second favorite Disney film (after Cinderella), and it did not disappoint.
What's coming soon? The production of King Arthur The Panto will be playing at The Capitol Theatre from November 15 to December 23.
Trickle Creek Farms:
On our second visit to Port Hope, we visited Trickle Creek Farms where we enjoyed a scenic trail ride adjacent to the beautiful Ganaraska Forest. I was a little hesitant at first, as my past experience with horses haven't been that great. My horse got scared by a loud sound and ran wild, while I was riding one in Cuba. Each riding group was kept small with about 6-10 people for a more personal experience. We were given a quick lesson on how to control our horse, and then went on our way to the trail.
My horse was really hungry, so it stopped a few times to munch on leaves. Overall, it was a lot of fun! It's an ideal family outing at a leisurely pace for everyone’s safety and comfort. One hour is $40 per person.
Float Your Fanny Down the Ganny:
The Float Your Fanny Down the Ganny is a 10 km race along the Ganaraska River to commemorate the 1980 flood that crippled Port Hopes downtown area. It happens around April. Visit www.floatyourfanny.ca for more details and exact date each year.
Port Hope Farmers' Market (May to October):
The Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday from the beginning of May till the end of October, from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, and is located at 56 Queen Street, directly behind Town Hall. Here you will find an array of farm-fresh produce and meats, home-made preserves and baking, as well as hand-made crafts and artwork.
The Port Hope Conservation Area is a popular fishing location. You can also fish (catch and release) in the shallow waters of the Ganaraska River.
We stayed overnight at The Waddell in downtown Port Hope, ON. The hotel sits on the banks of the Ganaraska River in heritage-designated downtown area of the city. The Waddle is conveniently located a couple of minutes walk away from the Capitol Theatre, and overlook the Ganaraska River. The bedroom features a Queen sized bed, air conditioning, private bathrooms, complimentary high-speed internet, and in-room Keurig coffee.
We checked into the hotel around 8:30 pm, which was quick and pleasant. Luckily, we checked into the hotel on time. Since it's a smaller hotel with no 24-hour reception desk, they do lock the doors at around 9:45 pm. I am not sure if guests are allowed to leave/enter past that time though. Anyway, we took the elevator to the second floor, and was greeted with a cozy hotel room. The hotel was beautifully restored, and each room features custom-built cherry or mahogany furnishings, and period features such as high ceilings and large windows.
Read the FULL blog post here.
Address: 1 Walton St, Port Hope, ON, L1A 1M8
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Other accommodations available around towns are Haute Goat Farm B&B, Moonlight and Pines Bed & Breakfast, Hotel Carlyle, and Summerhill Manor B&B.
We thoroughly enjoyed our trips to Port Hope. It's such a charming heritage town with a lot to offer. Until next time!
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Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with the Municipality of Port Hope. Thank you for sponsoring the visit to Port Hope. All of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.