The summertime Stratford, Ont., Festival theater season is just getting into full swing and folks from the Grosse Pointes who are planning to see a show or two there in the next few weeks would be wise to pay attention to a major detour on Ontario Rt. 7, the main road into that bustling Canadian city.
I know. You've been there and done that and hey, stuff happens when you're having fun. But we've been going to Stratford for many years and this one snuck up on us just last weekend.
The early part of the trip was simple, as usual. Up I-94 to Port Huron, cross the bridge over the St. Clair River into Sarnia and head out the 402 to Strathroy. Hang a left onto Rt. 81, go a couple of miles and take a right on Rt. 19 to Ailsa Craig. Turn right there onto Rt. 7 and floor it for Statford.
Problem is, you can't get to Stratford directly from there these days. And you really have to be alert.
Detour signs in Ontario are not large and readable like they are in Michigan. They're just a tad bigger than the dust jacket on a hard-cover book. And as for useful information, forget it. They read "D-1" or "D-2" - in small print, of course.
My advice: Keep your eyes peeled coming out of Ailsa Craig and when you see something that looks like a detour-ahead warning, slow down and pay attention.
When you see a postage-stamp sized "D-1" poster kind of stuck on a stick along side the road, follow the arrows. I'd figured it to be eight or 10 miles out of the way. But like a dummy, I got "detoured" an awful lot further by believing, of course, that I knew better. The road construction barricades convinced me that I didn't.
How were the shows? Not bad. We caught "Pirates of Penzance" at the Avon Theater Friday night, had pre-show dinner at The Church restaurant, stayed overnight at a really cozy and comfortable (no, in this case that is not an oxymoron) Best Western in midtown Startford and caught the matinee musical "42nd Street" next day at the Festival Theater.
The Saturday evening route back to Sarnia and the bridge? I learned my lesson, thank you. I dutifully followed the little "D-2" signs and cut a half hour off our return trip.