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Friday, August 20, 2010
Niagara is home to delicious Ontario wines, modern and picturesque wineries, expansive fruit orchards, five star dining, bike tours, helicopter rides and much more. Go for the day and experience the 19th century town of Niagara-on-on-the-lake, enjoy the natural setting and taste the best of the local region.
How to Get There
Approximately 130 km south west of Toronto, Niagara is the perfect destination for a day trip. Take the QEW east to the Niagara Stone Road exit (HWY #55) and follow the signs into Niagara-on-the-lake.
Via Rail makes the trip to Niagara region stress-free. Travel one way in about one hour and fifty minutes to the Via station in Niagara Falls. Hop off and hire a taxi to take you to Niagara-on-the-lake or one of the area’s many wineries.
Go Transit runs daily service between Niagara Falls and Toronto’s Union Station from May 21 to September 26. After September 26 you can take the regular Go Bus service.
What to Do
Learn about organic and biodynamic wine making practices at Southbrook Vineyards. The LEED Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building sits gently on the landscape and 51 sheep help tend the grapes. Enjoy artisanal pizza, wine and a view of the vineyard.
13th Street Winery is another must visit; specializing in estate grown and handcrafted wines. The sparkling variety is as good as anything that comes out of the Champagne region of France, with tiny, creamy bubbles. Stop by the back deck for a sip and nibble from their cheese and charcuterie menu.
Adventure junkies will love to explore the area by air with Niagara Helicopters Limited. It’s a very glamorous and exciting way to see the Falls, Niagara River and the parklands.
For those who want their feet firmly planted on the ground, Niagara Wine Tours International offers excellent bike tours. Ranging from three hours to daylong trips. This is a great way to get to know Niagara. Take a leisurely peddle past rows of grapes, Victorian houses and the Niagara Escarpment, and stop in for a tasting flight at a variety of local vineyards.
If you have a case of the shopping bug, a stroll in Niagara-on-the-lake is the perfect place. Boutiques, bakeries and antique shop litter the charming town.
Where to Eat
Stop for lunch or a cooking class at The Good Earth Wine and Food Co. The new winery and gorgeous outdoor patio make this an oasis for food lovers. This working farm provides many of the ingredients for the mostly local menu that is fuss free and fresh.
Peller Estates Winery Restaurant is a hot spot (so make your reservation in advance). It overlooks the sweeping vineyard and features seasonal menus that can be paired with wine produced from grape plants that line the horizon. You might recognize Chef Jason Parsons, he is often a guest on CityLine.
The Old Winery Restaurant serves Mediterranean inspired cuisine and pizzas formed in their wood-burning oven. Set in a restored winery building, they’ve created a community vibe, and offer family style dining for groups of four or more.
For a romantic meal or afternoon tea complete with crystal chandeliers and warm persimmon walls head to The Charles Inn. Located on Niaraga-on-the-Lake’s main street and offers a large ice wine selection.
For The Armchair Traveler
Experience the best wines that Ontario has to offer with the LCBO and the Wine Council of Ontario. GoLOCAL – It’s seriously cool is bringing 148 products from more than 50 Ontario wineries to all 614 LCBO stores from September 12 to October 9. Discover the wines that Ontario does best and learn about the province’s cool climate winemaking practices.