14 Aug How To Experience Niagara Canada Beyond Wineries
When you think of Ontario Canada’s Niagara region, chances are wineries and of course the iconic Niagara falls first come to mind. But that is just the start of what makes this region so incredible.
We started our trip off with Niagara Helicopters to see aerial sites of Niagara Falls. Seeing the falls from the ground is spectacular enough but catching an aerial view completely elevated the experience. Along the way, we saw coveted views of all three falls: American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe, which has the most dramatic drop at 173 feet. The tour can be big spend for some at $140 a person for a 12 minute ride but flying over the falls really puts the size and power in perspective.
Back on the ground, we peddled for more views on the Niagara Parkway trail system. Along the way, stop in at different wineries, or, just enjoy an uninterrupted ride on the miles of waterfront trails winding past farmland and vineyards. If you are feeling extra ambitious, ride all the way to Niagara Falls.
To refuel, we stopped at Reif Vineyards, where fresh salads, sandwiches and baked goods are brought in from Pie Plate, a local bakery and café. Picnics are best enjoyed from the wine sensory garden. Here, herbs and colourful flowers in full bloom are planted to represent the wines that thrive most in the Niagara region, including Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Icewine. (Pricing: $35.00 per person. Includes sandwich, salad, pie tart and glass of wine).
Tip: Lunches must be booked 24 hours in advance. And are offered May through September.
For a quick rest, we head to a mainstreet hotel, Shaw Club, at Niagara-on-the -Lake. The modern and stylish design of the hotel gives this spot an edgy vibe. It’s also right across the street from the Shaw Festival Theatre, which runs April to October, and is dedicated to the work of George Bernard Shaw. If you stay here, make sure to carve out some time to explore the mainstreet the hotel is located on, which is filled with 19th century architecture shops and boutiques. (Room Rates: Prime season (Jun-Sept) $279 & $179 in low season).
Come dusk, it’s time to head back to the falls, this time with Hornblower Niagara Cruises, for up-close viewing of all three falls. Stand at the bow of the ship for a refreshing mist as water splashes inside as it inches towards the most powerful waterfall in North America, Horseshoe Falls. Cruises depart every 15 minutes and includes access to the Lower Landing and Falls viewing area.
We wind down the evening at Twenty Valley, on the charming mainstreet of Jordan, a nearby town, where local and organic produce is the name of the game. Top selling menu items include the Wellington County boneless rib-eye steak and the wild Huron Trout, which are enjoyed from the dining room that offers a refreshing French Italian country feel, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the garden.
Niagara Helicopters: $140 per person
Hornblower Niagara Cruises: $19.95 per person
Dinner at Twenty Valley: $9.95 to $18.95 average entrée price. (Excludes wine)
For a video of our Canadian experience of Niagara beyond wineries, click here: