This long weekend, we soaked up the sunshine and sweetness of the Niagara-on-the-Lake region. There are infinite reasons to love this locale, but here are an easy ten:
ONE: The wineries
En route to Niagara, we stopped at Suann Staff Estate Winery, for a tasting in their state of the art kitchen, and then popped by Westcott Winery for their celebration of redheads… Gingerfest. The duck confit poutine and lobster grilled cheese were amazing! We finished with a very tasty board of sweets.
It’s a place where you can relax with a glass of wine … and your kids can run around in a field. With glorious views … it feels exactly like a weekend should feel.
We cannot say enough good things about Oast House brewery. It’s just awesome. Their vibe is unpretentious… more than it should be for such EXCELLENT beer. They have live music, great snacks and a slammin’ new patio. I wish this was just a skip away from our house. The view of the vinyard is so enchanting! Oh, and their beer – so, so good.
If beer ‘touring’ is your thing, consider also checking out The Exchange, right downtown on the main strip. It’s a two-storey brewhouse with a classy interior and lovely sampling options (see above). Also on our list, Silversmith is hopping, day and night, with music, friendly servers and some truly outstanding food (sticky pickle wings and shrimp po-boys… and oysters, check out the pics below). The venue is a re-purposed church with glorious high ceilings. You can even leave a note for a friend, letting them know that you’ve bought a pint for them to enjoy later!
TWO: Bicycle touring
THREE: The food
FOUR: The architecture and flora
So many flowers. Everywhere you turn there is a cuter vignette, a quainter cottage, a more lovely yard. Below, …Just a few of the blooms on my parents’ property.
With walking trails, bicycles, horse-drawn carriages, verandas covered in blooms, wide streets and folks who say ‘good morning’ as you pass, NOTL has all the charm of a small town. It even has the regular breakfast joint where an egg special costs less than four bucks. EIGHT: The history
From historic battles and forts, to the Silversmith Brewery (in an old church), to antique markets, and the first home in the region owned by freed African Americans (formerly slaves)… there is history at every turn.TEN: The Scene
We love the city. But. Our favourite place to unwind is in Niagara, surrounded by friends and family. There is always a local festival, a pop up market, a tasting, a concert. And it’s always delicious, regardless of the season. We love that our servers remember us from last time; we get waves ‘hello,’ and friendly smiles; we know where to go for what… and exploring is as fresh and exciting now as it was when my family first moved here. If you haven’t been yet, do.
Things to check out: The chocolate festival. The icewine festival. The Blues and the Jazz festivals. Get the picture? From the chilly nights warmed by icewine cocktails and live music, to the sunshiny afternoons of handmade markets, garden tours and the Shaw Festival versus Stratford Festival cricket match. This is a town that knows how to take a weekend and make it memorable.