A Weekend Getaway to the Stratford Festival

Life is about creating unforgettable moments. Dave and I are lucky to be able to travel the world creating memories through our adventures, and when we come home, we feel that the adventure should continue. Just because you aren’t exploring a foreign land, doesn’t mean you can’t create memorable experiences in your own backyard.

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Discovering our own backyard at the Stratford Festival

In fact, creating memories in a place where you feel at home can have more meaning than doing something in a faraway land. Just think, every time you pass a town or attraction in the future, you’ll be reminded of the fond memories you created in the past.

American Express understands the need to create memories and that is why they have created American Express Invites exclusive to Cardmembers where they can easily unlock their  own memorable moments.

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The Festival Theatre in Stratford

When Amex asked us what moment we would like to recreate in our own backyard, the Stratford Festival was definitely high on our list. We both grew up near Stratford, Ontario, home to one of the most prominent theatre festivals in the world. It had been years since we attended a production.

Located on the Avon River, Stratford was named after Stratford-upon-Avon in England. It certainly has an English feel. When we shared our photo of the Avon River and City Hall on Instagram, many people thought it was a shot taken straight out of England. It took the eyes of others for us to truly appreciate the beauty of one of our local villages.

The beautiful Bruce Hotel in Stratford, ON

The beautiful Bruce Hotel in Stratford, ON

Stratford is famous for its Shakespearean productions, but it also showcases musicals each season. As a Music Theatre major at Sheridan College, I have a soft spot for musicals, so the Sound of Music was a natural fit for our production of choice.

Booking tickets through AmexInvites.ca is super easy. All you have to do is choose a category and location and see what’s available. Our Sound of Music package made everything very convenient. 

Our Stratford Festival tickets were ready and waiting when we arrived

Our Stratford Festival tickets were ready and waiting when we arrived

We just showed up to the Festival Theatre, picked up our tickets: complete with parking voucher and food and drink tickets and were good to go. If there is one thing Dave and I love, it’s convenience. We arrived a couple of hours early to explore the town and when I asked the box office attendant what time I should be back, she replied, “Since you have a parking pass, you can show up within 15 minutes of curtain call.” Nice!

Getting ready for curtain call on our own backyard experience

Getting ready for curtain call on our own backyard experience

We now had time to kill, so we checked into our hotel room at The Bruce Stratford. Dave and I grew up in the area and I have never seen such a luxurious hotel in my little corner of Western Ontario, but the Bruce was the perfect choice for a luxurious romantic theatre getaway.

It’s walking distance to the theatre and Dave and I had to think long and hard whether we wanted to use our parking pass or just stroll through the park. Rain was threatening to come down though, so we took advantage of our parking pass and drove the very short distance. I’m glad we did because the storm eventually came through. 

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Dave was pretty excited about the Bruce Hotel.

Dave was pretty excited about the Bruce Hotel.

The Sound of Music has been going strong with rave reviews all summer long. We loved Mother Superior’s powerful and moving rendition of Climb Every Mountain.

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We love the Theatre!

I just love the theatre. It’s been too long since we’ve attended a production. Having our food and drink vouchers allowed us to quickly enjoy refreshments and snacks at intermission and our tickets, provided by American Express Delights, gave us an excellent view of the stage from the orchestra level. I don’t think I’ve ever had such great seats. I was a starving artist the last time we attended a theatre production. Watching theatre in style is now the only way to go!

We loved creating a getaway in our own backyard.

We loved creating a getaway in our own backyard.

Creating a weekend getaway in our own backyard was the icing on the cake. Normally after a production, we make the long drive home, but this particular day, we only had to drive around the corner to take advantage of the amenities at The Bruce.

I cannot tell you the last time we actually enjoyed the pool at a hotel. Our theatre tickets were for the matinee performance, so we had plenty of time before dinner to sit in the hot tub and try out the resistance pool. Nobody was around, as they were getting ready for evening performances. We had the entire pool to ourselves.

Relaxation time at The Bruce Hotel in Stratford

Relaxation time at The Bruce Hotel in Stratford.

Feeling perfectly relaxed, we then got ready for our 3-course dinner included in our Bruce package. Having recently gone vegetarian, I was thrilled with my delicious mushroom and wild rice dish with a flavourful ginger broth. Dave naturally couldn’t go wrong with aged beef ribeye.

Dinner at the Bruce Hotel was simply delicious.

Dinner at the Bruce Hotel was simply delicious.

We both spent the evening in awe that we could actually find such a special day and luxurious experience just 45 minutes from our hometown of Woodstock. We always thought we had to go to Toronto for a proper weekend getaway but with the professional talent on the Stratford stage: Christopher Plummer and William Shatner have graced these theatres, and with the four diamond luxury resort of The Bruce, we can guarantee that we’ll be back.

Catching up on some history of the area.

Catching up on some history of the area.

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