By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator

There’s definitely a stereotype that when travelling to small towns, there won’t be any veg-friendly restaurants on offer and that when taking a day trip or overnight weekend getaway, it’s best to pack your own food.

We must have reached some sort of turning point, because I’ve had the pleasure of going on an overnight jaunt or day trip the last three weekends in a row, and all three times, have found vegan-friendly offerings just like I would in downtown Toronto.

Crunchy Thai salad at the Annex Room in Stratford

Crunchy thai salad at the Annex Room in Stratford

Here are some tips on where to grab a tasty bite or an elaborate dinner if you’re headed to one of these nearby destinations this summer.

Week 1: Stratford. http://www.annexroom.com/menus.html

Much thanks is owed to my mom for discovering The Annex Room in downtown Stratford, which happily states at the bottom of the menu “Ask us about our vegan options.” In fact, it wasn’t even necessary to ask because they’ve got a wide selection of clear vegan options right on their menu. There were three different stir fries/noodle dishes to choose from, a delicious tempura avocado stack or a crunchy thai salad for an appetizer, and even a pizza titled “The Vegan.”

Week 2: Port Hope. http://porthope-cravingz.ca/Menus.aspx

In a town this small we really didn’t expect to find a lot of vegetarian options, so I literally gasped and squealed with excitement when I saw the menu at Cravingz, on the main street of Port Hope. There were so many options to choose from it took me 10 minutes to decide what to order. There’s a vegetarian pho soup, two different kinds of veggie burgers, or a vegetarian channa to choose from. Plus, all their entrees are served with a side of kale slaw and their daily soup, which they state on their menu is always dairy free.

Malaysian noodles at Vidya's Veggie Gourmet

Malaysian noodles at Vidya’s Veggie Gourmet

Week 3: Barrie. http://rawlicious.ca/canada/locations/barrie/

If travelling in the Barrie area, you actually get to choose from THREE fully vegetarian restaurants. Rawlicious, which any Torontonian surely has heard of by now, has a location right downtown overlooking the Bay. Boon Burger, an all vegan burger joint whose Winnipeg location has been featured on the Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here is set to open up any day now. And just a short drive southwest of Barrie is Vidya’s Veggie Gourmet, an all vegetarian, 90% vegan restaurant in a quaint old home.

Of course, if you’re not travelling to a town with restaurants offering such explicitly vegetarian offerings, there’s still no need to go hungry. Stay tuned for part two about daytripping around Toronto for tips on finding veg options at chain restaurants off the highway.