Despite all the amazing things our lovely city has to offer, sometimes a New Yorker just wants to get out of town for a little R&R. But where should one go for a quick trip that’s off the beaten path but still conducive to rest and relaxation? My advice – go north of the border to a little town called Niagara on the Lake.
How to Get There
If time is of the essence book a flight from NYC to Buffalo, NY, and grab a shuttle or rent a car to get to Niagara on the Lake, a mere 50 minutes away. But if you have the time, make it a road trip. The journey is around 7 hours and is quite scenic, taking you through all kinds of lovely little New York and Pennsylvania towns along the way. Great for antique shopping and roadside finds!
What to Do
Let’s be honest – we New Yorkers like to drink. So what better way to relax on vacation than wine tasting? Known to many as Canada’s little Napa, Niagara on the Lake boasts a plethora of wineries, most of which specialize in Canada’s famous and delicious Ice Wine.
So which is the best one to visit? Without a doubt, Trius Winery is top of the list. This gorgeous winery offers a variety of wine tours and tastings, along with wine pairing menus at the winery’s stellar restaurant. And if you’re on a budget – no worries! For just $15 a person Trius offers a sparkling wine tour with tastings – a wonderful way to spend an hour with friends and family and an even better way to discover some of Canada’s best wine. A definite steal by Manhattan standards, and a perfect way to spend your day in Canada’s wine country.
Taste of the Town Food Tours
What better way to get to know a quaint historic town than a food tour? Niagara on the Lake is known to many as the prettiest town in Canada and there is no better way to discover why than with Taste of the Town Food Tours. The two and a half hour walking food tour takes visitors and locals alike around the small town to historic homes and famous eateries. You not only get a taste of the town but a taste of the local history as well. The tour guides are fun and informed, and by the time the tour is over you’ve learned so much about this little town by the lake that you’ll have a surprising list of things you still want to see and do during your stay.
What to See
Niagara on the Lake is home to the Shaw Festival, the second largest repertory company in North America, which features the works of playwright George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries from April to November. The Festival is housed in several theatre spaces throughout the tiny town and there is no shortage of wonderful performances to enjoy.
Want more of a history lesson on your trip? Go to Fort George, the scene of several battles during the War of 1812 and famously captured by U.S. forces in May 1813 at the Battle of Fort George. Spending the day exploring Fort George is a wonderful way to really get to know our neighbors of the North and appreciate the deeper history of this little town.
Where to Stay
Niagara on the Lake is home to a plethora of bed and breakfast options as well as larger, but still charming, hotels. If you’re in the mood to treat yourself – and who isn’t – stay at the Somerset Bed and Breakfast located on the shores of Lake Ontario and the Niagara River. Somerset is as ideal as a vacation bed and breakfast gets, and this tranquil spot is surprisingly just a five-minute walk from the best restaurants and shops on Queen Street. A perfect location for the rest and relaxation we New Yorkers yearn for.
So what are you waiting for – get packing!
By: Adrienne Mansard