Must See: 3 Days in Niagara-On-The-Lake
Updated: Aug 10, 2019
I know most people call it a babymoon, but usually there's a baby on the way when that's taken, so I'm calling this our IVF-Moon. We were supposed to start our IVF process a few weeks ago, but with a slight delay, we figured we may as well put last Christmas' gift from my parents to use. Every year we get a gift certificate for the Vintage Hotels in Niagara-on-the-lake, which makes for a nice getaway, and they stretch a lot further when we find a great promo! (Always check before you book!)
We opted for a mid-week getaway for a lower cost. Times are tight these days, so it was the best thing to maximize our gift cards. We booked two nights at Queens Landing, right down by the water. It was our first time in the summer, and I think I will repeat it next time!
If you've never been, I highly recommend it, skip over Niagara Falls if you've ever been, and head to Niagara-on-the-lake. We started the first day with a much needed trip to Target (Totally worth the extra 30 minute drive, and the 30 minute wait at the border!) Although we didn't buy much, I always love walking around and exploring. We also like to stock up on a few goodies we can't get here in Ontario, like cereal, cheap beer, and cookies :).
Our hotel was fairly close, right down by the water, and had stunning Georgian-style architecture. With columns to accent the main entrance, and gardens I can only dream about, we were excited to settle in and go for a nice walk. Along the way, we found the sole brewery in the downtown Niagara-on-the-lake area, Exchange Brewery. We enjoyed a few pints, and wound up meeting some lovely women from Cologne, Germany. I played it pretty safe, with an Amber Ale that was fantastic, Dave on the other hand sampled his way through 2 - 3 items. I can't keep up with what he tries! By the time we were ready to leave I was torn between wanting to move to NOTL or move to Germany, because I loved the company, the stories and the sociable women we had met. Next thing we knew, it was 9:00, the brewery was closing, and we needed to find another spot to perch. With the temperatures still in the mid-twenties, we opted to sit on the patio at the Prince of Wales hotel for dinner. We had been told they have the best fish and chips! They did not disappoint. The service on the other hand... (I'd leave it at that).
I had been in such a great routine, waking up before my alarm around 6 am every day, even waking up before Frank and Beans started scratching away at our door every morning. This was all out the window with a few days away. I couldn't wait to sleep in, with no interruptions! We had absolutely nothing planned for the day, so we started out for a bit of a drive, I wanted to check out Wayne Gretzky Estates. I originally planned to sample the wine, but the weather changed my plans. It was so. damn. hot. We grabbed a pint of our buddy (not really) Wayne's new Lager and sat on the patio and enjoyed the sights, until we were dripping in sweat. The Great One's people built one hell of an experience. With a Whiskey Bar, a Beer Bar, a fire pit, outdoor pool table, lawn games and in the winter, an ice rink, there's no shortage of things to do.
If you love breweries like we do, there are a number of other stops that you can make. We hit up both Silversmith, which is a bit of a darker, moodier style in an old church. The space is incredibly well designed with natural wood tones, existing windows and exposed brick. Perfect for a sucker like me who loves design as much as I love beer.
Next on the list, was an old barn, completely restored into what's now known as Oast House. It was my third or fourth visit to the spot and certainly wont be my last. Although the Watermelon and Sea Salt gose wasn't a favourite of mine, I do enjoy their more traditional styled beer, the Barnraiser.
The important part about being in wine country, is doing your duty to consume at least a couple big glasses of wine. I wasn't going to disappoint anyone. It was time. I dropped off the car, and ditched my duties as the designated driver, and we leveraged our hotel shuttle, all the way to Two Sisters winery. I'm 100% okay with sitting in sweltering heat and drinking a few glasses of wine, and that's just what we did.Dave tried their rotating Niagara College Brewery, I enjoyed two glasses of the Sauvignon Blanc before being tempted by a walk through the vineyard.
Like every basic bitch who's had a few glasses of wine, I needed (not wanted, needed) Dave to humour me and take the photo of me jumping in the air. I tried to get him to do the same, instead, he decided to be a "The Price Is Right" model, and showcase the luscious vines. Hey, at least we had fun right?!
The cool thing about this area, Two Sisters has a wicked Pond behind the vines, you can wander down and check it out. It also serves as a shortcut to get back and forth between there and Peller Estates, which just happened to be our next stop. I had some wine tour passes, which we decided quickly to forego in lieu of extra samples. We went for a flight inclusive of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Rosé and a Gewurtztraminer.
I'm pretty basic with my wine consumption for me, I'm a pretty classic Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio drinker, Dave on the other hand likes his a bit sweeter. His favourite, the Rosé. Our server, a lovely craft beer lover as well, was a great host, and she and Dave talked local beers. Once he hit the Rosé the server cheered "Rosé all Day!" and Dave's response was "Rosé all Dave!"
We worked up an appetite with all this drinking, so we made our way over to the Cannery Restaurant at Pillar and Post, another of the Vintage Hotels. Being a hotel guest, they give you an option of a 3 course meal, for $65 which is a steal! I opted for Tomato Bisque, Scallop Risotto, and a deconstructed Apple Cheesecake. Dave's choices included a romaine salad, Lamb Shank, and banana fritters. We had a friend join us, which was so great. The one thing that sucks so much about growing up, is when friends move further away, and it makes it harder to see each other.
There really is no shortage of things to do in Niagara-on-the-lake, I cant wait to go back next year for our annual trip, and I absolutely recommend you all go and do the same! Hopefully next year we'll have some company with us in the form of a tiny human.