Welcome to the KINGSTON TRAVEL FORUM.
Just so you are aware... your Question "could be" deemed a Relocation Question vs a Travel Question... so it might be deemed OFF TOPIC by "the Owls" (TA Moderators) as Relocation Questions are not allowed... so if your Question gets CLOSED / REMOVED / DELETED... you might want to clearly rephrase it as a "visiting" Question.
In the meantime...
Q = << The Kingston vibe: Hip? >>
A = You bet ya... Tragically Hip !
The Band calls Kingston Home!
Sorry, couldn't resist... it was too easy :-) *smile*
Considering that Kingston is home to two of Canada's most prestigeous Universities - Queens & the Canadian Royal Military College... it is a pretty "hip" town... and other than CFB Kingston, pretty much the town's primary focus September thru April (Tourism would be the main focus May thru September).
I'd say the city is one of my favourites... a good mix of people and ages... and quality services (the University - KRock Centre - Sports Facilities - Hospital etc).
It is small enough to be friendly and not imposing, but large enough to have some of the perks of a small city (pop 117 K)... and of course being half-way between Montreal and Toronto (Canada's Two Largest Cities) is a BIG BONUS... 3 Hours to each by Bus or Train. And also just 2 Hours to Ottawa - Canada's Capital City... and just across the River from the USA.... and oh ya those 1000 Islands strung along in the middle are pretty neat.
Kingston has a great Bluesfest in the Summer... and a fun Busker Festival as well. Infact a great many students stay on during the summer to work (don't know if that would be an option for you coming from the US) because the city is so busy and tourism provides a lot of jobs.
Anyways, I'd do some GOOGLING to find out more... there probably is some on-line stuff about Living in Kingston, or info put out by the University about what it is like to be a Student and Live here...
Hopefully my colleague KTOWNTRAVLLR (who lives in Kingston) will come by this topic and also give ya some input.
Websites you might find helpful...
Wikipedia - Kingston, ON = en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingston,_Ontario
The Whig-Standard Newspaper (oldest Newspaper in Canada)... sometimes a good place to get a feel for a city is in its print = www.thewhig.com
Kingston Tourism = www.tourism.kingstoncanada.com/en/
Hope this is helpful,
PS... Not sure how much cache having a Queens Degree has in the USA... BUT here in Canada it is a BIG DEAL... like going to an Ivy League School.
Edited: 7:54 am, May 24, 2010