The striking Niagara Falls is less than two hours away from Toronto so we decided to go for a short excursion, especially since my friend had not seen the Falls from the Canadian side (way better!).
To be complete tourists, we even took the Hornblower Niagara Boat Tour that takes you right up to the Falls so that you can experience it up close and personal. Growing up in Toronto, I have been to the Falls many times but I hadn’t been on this cruise since I was a little boy. I remember it being a lot of fun and just light mist in your face. This time, we got so close it was a downpour! Like a full on rainstorm! Good thing they give everyone rain ponchos, but my shoes and pant legs were totally soaked. The boat ride was only around 15-20 mins but it brings you right up to Horseshoe Falls where you can see waterfall on both sides of the boat. It was hard to take pictures in a rainstorm so you will just have to take my word for it. 🙂 Of course, until you get the opportunity to see it for yourself. 😉
After we got the Falls out of the way, we headed towards one of my favorite regions in Ontario – the Niagara wine region. Most tourists drive straight to the Falls from Toronto totally bypassing this. How can you bypass wine? It is well worth your time to check it out or even stay the night to fully experience it. For us, we wanted to make it a full weekend excursion, so we decided to stay the night at White Oaks Resort – it is a cute boutique hotel right off the main highway to and from Toronto/Niagara Falls.
The concierge helped us arrange a wine tour of surrounding winery and vineyards. We wanted to visit a few of the smaller local wineries instead of the larger popular ones, especially since I have been to those in the past. This time, we checked out The Hare Wine Co., which is one of Niagara on the Lake’s newest winery experiences, Hinterbrook Estate, and Konzelmann Estate. I may be bias, but I really love the wine from this region. Even though I live in NYC – I shipped some to my apartment in the city so that my New York friends can also try it out.
We took this opportunity to take pictures in the vineyards, and it was the perfect day for it.
We also quickly checked out the cute town of Niagara on the Lake. The town has stunning vistas and its Heritage District is perfect for some shopping. We then visited the Fort George National Historic Site, which gives you a glimpse into Canadian history as the location was faithfully restored after the War of 1812.
Back at White Oaks Resort, we went to the LIV Restaurant – they were featuring a Canada inspired menu to showcase some of the culinary wonders that Canada has to offer. The menu included items such as Ontario lamb, P.E.I. mussels, Wellington County beef, Prairie elk and many more delicious items.
LIV is a hidden culinary gem – the food was amazing! My friend commented that the Bison steak was so good that it beat out all the high-end restaurants he had tried in NYC! You can’t get any better than that!
The next day, we walked over to the Outlet Collection At Niagara – an open-air outlet shopping mall. It is right across the street from White Oaks so it was a perfect excuse to get some new outfits! 🙂
And with shopping bags in hand, a full stomach, and memories of a great weekend, we wrapped up our stay and headed back to the hustle and bustle of the city.