After retiring I worked for Niagara Wine Tours, a company who was trying to expand into the Lake Erie North Shore region. They were already tapped into the Toronto market and thought the wine industry in Essex County was ripe for the picking. Unfortunately the company couldn’t garner enough interest to keep them afloat. The main complaint from out-of-town tourists was our lack of places to stay.
Fast-forward about ten years and we have fifteen wineries and almost as many breweries or brew-pubs. Existing estates expanded to accommodate tour buses and gatherings such as wedding receptions. Bars and restaurants got in on the action by offering local vintages and brews.
And finally, towns like Amherstburg, Leamington and Kingsville are adding hotel and B & B rooms to keep tourists around overnight or for the weekend. With food and drink and a place to spend the night, small towns in Essex County and even the City of Windsor are becoming a travel destination.
Business owners in the Town of Kingsville have transformed the once sleepy main drag into a strip of bustling restaurants, bars and brew-pubs. Our recent visit on a Saturday night found businesses overflowing and groups of locals and tourists walking the streets.
The owners of Jack’s Gastropub offer local fare with a few rooms over the restaurant. They also operate The Grove which has guest rooms above, and more recently they opened the Banded Goose Brew Pub and Coffee House. Their main lobby houses Kingsville Indulgence, where they offer rooms all over town.
Next door to BGB is Wineology and across the street is Vern’s. The Main still operates down the block, near the brand spanking new Elite which offers two floors of fine dining and a rooftop patio. O’Sarracino is nearby as well as other sandwich or sub shops. It’s now impossible to sample all Kingsville has to offer in one visit.
It’s no secret what’s going on in Kingsville, Cathryn and I have been doing our town crawl for four years running, parking the car and spending the night so we can sip and sample all we can in one night.