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A Trip to Kingston's Rosemount Inn & Spa

Feature story and photographs by Mike Franklin

I recently discovered the Rosemount Inn & Spa in Kingston and the architectural style immediately grabbed my attention. I visited proprietor Holly Doughty's website and I was intrigued with her 1850 Tuscan style villa, which she runs as a Bed & Breakfast and Spa.

From the photographs on her website, it appeared to be magnificent. I had to see it in person. I contacted Holly and decided to make the excursion from Cape Vincent in the US to Kingston in Ontario – and a visit to the Rosemount Inn & Spa.

The following photographs and commentary document my trip. I hope this will prove helpful, as too often we hesitate to cross the border from one country to the other. I want people to see how easy and entertaining it can be to visit Kingston, Ontario and the special places such as the Rosemount Inn & Spa.

Rosemount Inn Garden Rosemount Inn Rosemount Inn & Spa

I pondered which route to take to get there. I could take the US and Canadian span of the Thousand Islands International Bridge, via route 81 and continue another 25 minutes west to Kingston, but I decided to take the Cape Vincent to Wolfe Island Ferry.  The cost of the ferry is $13 (US). plus $2 per each additional passenger. This ferry holds approximately 6 to 8 cars, depending how they squeeze them on! It is about a ten-minute, beautiful ride across the St. Lawrence River, at the mouth of Lake Ontario.

 Hornes FerryCape Vincent Ferry holds 6-8 cars Heading towards Wolfe Island

Once we arrived on Wolfe Island and I drove my car off the boat I was greeted by two Canadian Customs agents. I showed them my new passport card (obtained at my local US Post Office . See Department of State website) and I was on my way without delay. I drove the pleasant drive across Wolfe Island in about 10-15 minutes and reached the ferry that would take me from Wolfe Island to Kingston. This ferry is free and it is a sizable ship (200+ feet) carrying about 55 cars. Click here for Wolfe Island to Kingston ferry schedule.

Kingston skyline from the FerryCar ferry to KingstonKingston impressive waterfront

I estimate the ferry ride to Kingston to be around 20 minutes. You do not have to remain in your car, but instead, climb the stairs and sit on the benches to get a better view of Kingston’s skyline, complete with limestone buildings and the classical City Hall, or old Fort Henry on the right. Once you arrive in Kingston, you are instructed to leave the Ferry and in a matter of minutes you will find yourself right in the heart of city with all kinds of wonderful places to visit. .

I planned my trip to allow ample time to explore, so I drove around the city admiring the architecture. I made my way to Fort Henry and gave myself the grand tour. What an amazing place of history. The Fort was built from 1832 to 1837 and is situated on top Point Henry. The view from the many lookouts reinforces the decision to build in this location as the Fort was meant to protect the naval dockyards at the entrance of the Rideau Canal and the small town of Kingston. Fort Henry has long been a tourist destination in Eastern Ontario and is currently being restored with Federal and Provincial governments providing financial support.

They must have 100 historical cannon there of every imaginable type.  I took several photographs to try to capture the reason it is such a popular destination.

Fort Henry Cannon Balls at the ready View from the top

Impressive stone work Parade Grounds Fort Henry view

Kids and adults alike will be mesmerized by this place. My hat is off to those responsible for making this available to the public. For more of my Fort Henry photos click here.

I finished my tour of the Fort and in no time I'd driven to the Rosemount Inn which stands approximately 5 blocks off the water-front in a neighborhood known today as the Syndenham Ward. Margaret Angus, a Kingston historian, captures the spirit of the Ward in her book, Old Stones of Kingston: Its Buildings before 1867, Ms. Angus explains how the Rosemount and surrounding homes were built. “As Kingston grew, the first subdivisions were built up slowly with churches, schools and the solid, substantial homes of the merchant and professionally classes.”

Sydenham Ward House House 2 House 3

When I arrived at the Rosemount, I was greeted by Holly and given the grand tour of the property and I was not disappointed. There are many period antiques and the accommodations are just grand. The home was designed by William Coverdale and built in 1849-50 for Edward H. Hardy, a dry goods merchant. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Today's Rosemount Inn & Spa Stately Apartment House House 6

Rosemount Inn & Spa grounds Front Entrance The old Rosemount

Holly is a gracious host. Her personality is fitting with the ambiance of the Villa and she knows Kingston well. She takes pride in welcoming her guests and encourages them to take advantage of the best that Kingston has to offer.

Fireplace Dining Victoria splendor Bedroom

I left Kingston amazed by the quantity and quality of its historical properties. My impression is that people don't realize how simple it is to get to Kingston. It seems too far away and the customs issues seem formidable. But that just has not been my experience. I have found customs to be a breeze and the ferry systems to be convenient and scenic.

If you are from the US I recommend making the whole circle. Take the ferries from Cape Vincent to Kingston and drive to Gananoque along the Provincial road and take the Thousand Islands Parkway to Ivy Lea and cross over the scenic US and Canadian bridges. (Tolls are $2.50 US or Canadian) But don't just make a day of it. Stay the night. Stop by and see Holly at the Rosemount Inn & Spa and really experience the area. It is worth the trip. See her comprehensive website:

by Mike Franklin.

Posted in: Places
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