I have a bit of a knack for going on trips and coming back feeling like I will never be able to vacation anywhere else because I just “LOVE THIS PLACE SO MUCH”. I usually end up convincing myself to try somewhere new but this little vacation was no exception; I think I’ll be tempted to visit Niagara-on-the-Lake and Toronto every summer for… ever.
We made the 6 or so hour drive from Ottawa to Niagara Falls on Tuesday just in time for dinner and to see the Falls all lit up. We ate at Antica Pizzeria and it squashed the pizza craving that had been growing in me all week (tell me I’m not the only one who experiences those crescendo cravings?). This was the start of a stream of delicious and indulgent meals. Ohhh baby.
I hadn’t seen the falls since I was a little girl and they were as impressive and powerful as mini Jacklyn remembered them.
Everything in Niagara Falls is big, bright, tacky and proud of it. There are casinos, Haunted Houses and Arcades everywhere and I turned into a straight-up five year old at the Great Canadian Midway.
In the morning we headed to Niagara-on-the-Lake and the short drive had me on Cloud Nine again as we passed vineyards, orchards and the lake.
I had baked and packed slices of loaf to bring to coffee shops for fast and cheap breakfasts. We went to Balzac’s and while I wasn’t particularly blown away by my cappuccino, the charm totally made up for it. Peaches were from a farmer we passed on the way – so good!
We wandered around the town a bit and I felt like I was on the set of The Notebook. Pretty little shops, galleries and restaurants are everywhere you look. And the FLOWERS… oh the flowers.
After exploring downtown for a little bit and declaring it an acceptable time to start drinking (ha), we headed to Peller Estates Winery where we had a really informative tour and tasting.
Niagara is known for its ice wine, which is a really sweet and concentrated wine made from grapes harvested when frozen. It’s pretty pricey but so unique and luscious. We tasted some in an ice chamber in parkas and we were just a bit too excited about it.
We followed someone’s recommendation to have lunch at Caroline Cellars Winery and it didn’t disappoint. Added bonus that it was super affordable.
For dinner we went to Oliv Tapas Bar. The menu highlights their huge selection of balsamics and oils and we liked all five small plates that we shared.
I had never been to a Bed and Breakfast before but our stay at Stretton B&B was a great one. Lovely owners and such attention to detail. Do you feel like diving into this breakfast spread or do you feel like diving into this breakfast spread?
We hit the road to downtown Toronto in time to see an afternoon Blue Jays game. I don’t think I’ve ever sat through a whole baseball game on TV but I would never ever turn down the in-person experience. That stadium buzz! It’s always neat to go from a rural setting to a metropolis or vice versa. There’s so much I love about each end of the spectrum.
We stayed in Kensington Market, which has so much character. Early Bird Espresso Bar wowed me, my first lobster roll experience at Rock Lobster rocked.my.socks.off and Tequila Bookworm was a great little spot to wrap up the night with one final drink.
On Friday morning we had time for a quick rainy jaunt in Chinatown and some coffee at Sense Appeal (WHOA… good stuff) before commencing the return trip.
I’m feeling so refreshed and ready for a couple more weeks of work before starting school. Thanks for the memories, T.O., you’re pretty great.
Did you take any getaways this summer?
Have you ever been to a winery?