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niagara falls area

Old Mar 26th, 2012, 12:42 PM
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niagara falls area

First weekend in August we'll be taking a trip up to Niaraga falls and the finger lakes. I've never been to Niagara Falls which is part of the reason we are going. I think it could be cool to stay right there with a fallsview room, but at the height of the season those rooms are pricey. Is it really worth it? Figure we don't spend that much time in the room.

I thought instead might be nice to stay in Niagara on the Lake as it looks quite nice and is not too far for the falls.

We don't mind spending money on a room but would rather conserve on the room and spend elsewhere. There are a ton of B&Bs in that area. But some look like the kids moved out and we'd be staying in Little Johnny's bedroom. I do like B&Bs and have stayed in many, but most I've stayed at have had separate inn keepers quarters.

If I am staying at a B&B I like the breakfast part to be great. Normally just have a bowl of cereal for breakfast so it is fun to have a really tasty breakfast.

Any recommendations? Would like to be within walking distance of the main part of the town. I have checked out a lot of places ans just saw Via Veneto. Place is small but looks nice and the breakfast looks fantastic.

Other things we'll do is Niagara falls, winery tours, maybe dinner or lunch at a winerie. We like to hike, easy hikes, so that or renting a bike could be fun too.

Any and all suggestions welcome.
Thank you in advance.
KathyH
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Old Mar 26th, 2012, 12:54 PM
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I posted some info about the Canadian side of the Falls in the US forum
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Old Mar 26th, 2012, 02:02 PM
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Thanks I'll go check that now. Figured I'd cover both forums.
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Old Mar 27th, 2012, 03:13 AM
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Niagara on the Lake has quite a different feel to it than Niagara Falls. Upscale restaurants, classy B&Bs, pricey boutiques, the Shaw festival. The parks area adjacent to the falls in Niagara is beautiful and some of the attractions are great, particularly Maid of the Mist and the wak under the falls, and the parks commission greenhouse. However, I would consider many of the attractions Truly Tacky. But each to their own, and you can do both in a short stay.

There are some special events around NOTL this summer to commemorate the war of 1812 but I don't know details.
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Old Mar 27th, 2012, 06:11 AM
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Thanks for your response. From all that I read I did figure that the immediate falls area does fall into the Truly Tacky catagory. As you said, to each his own and nothing against those who love the falls area.

I think we'd prefer to stay in NOTL and drive to the falls and attractions. NOTL sounds like a lovely little place and right up our alley.

I did see on the falls website that there are fireworks on Sunday. Are they worth seeing? Figure we'd might plan our viewing of the falls area to include seeing them lit up at night and would stay for fireworks if worth it. Not something I have to do.

Any suggestions on where to stay when in NOTL?

KahtyH
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Old Mar 27th, 2012, 06:14 AM
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Just found the info on the 1812 commemoration. It will be happening later in the month.
Bicentennial Fife & Drum Muster and Soldiers' Field Day!
August 18 & 19

Bicentennial Fife & Drum Muster and Soldiers' Field Day!

Come celebrate the War of 1812 Bicentennial at Fort George, Parks Canada. This weekend-long event is a pageant of military music by Fife and Drum Corps for the United States and Canada! There will also be a competition of 1812 Drill Teams from Fort George, Fort Malden, Fort York and Fort Erie - a collection of drill teams from premier sites in Ontario. During this 14th year of the annual Muster and Field Day event, the 41st Regiment Fife and Drum Corps will also be celebrating their 25th anniversary at Fort George. Come and experience the sights and sounds of the military garrison during the War of 1812 Bicentennial in Niagara-on-the-Lake!
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Old Mar 27th, 2012, 12:20 PM
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I booked my 3 night stay at Britaly in Niagara-on-the-lake. I checked out reviews on trip advisor and it was rated second. They only had one room left, I think because the bathroom is across the hall. That doesn't bother me that much plus the price was great. Guest quarters are on one part of the house, with a separate sitting area for guests and owners live on the other side. Plus breakfasts look great.

Weekends in the summer book on NOTL book up quick. Believe it or not I checked 30 places and only about a third had rooms for the three nights I wanted.

KathyH
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Old Mar 27th, 2012, 04:21 PM
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Glad to hear your plans are coming together; I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
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Old Mar 28th, 2012, 08:54 AM
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Hi Kathy,

Chiming in late here but it sounds like you're pretty well set. As far as Falls-view rooms are concerned, they're great to have if that's up on your priority list (which clearly it isn't as the room would be more of a means to an end).

Clifton Hill (which is the main drag most people think of when they think of the man-made aspect of Niagara Falls) has a long and well-earned reputation for trying to do anything to upstage the natural wonders that are the Falls themselves. But on a nice summer's evening, it makes for an interesting counterpoint and can be a worthwhile diversion. As far as the fireworks are concerned, I'd say they're definitely worth taking in especially on a sultry summer's evening. Maybe even combine it with a stroll through Clifton Hill.

However, if you're only going to visit the Falls once, do it during the day, ride the Maid of the Mist and really get a sense of the majesty of the Falls. At night, even lit up you don't get as much of a sense of their natural splendour partly because it's dark and partly because the flow over the Falls is reduced in order to refill the hydro reservoirs on either side of the river.

As for the wineries in the NOTL area, you have the better-known majors nearby like Jackson-Triggs and Peller. But the smaller operations like Between The Lines, Frogpond, Coyote's Run, etc. all have their specialties & expertise and definitely warrant a visit. For lunch or dinner at a winery, you might want to look into Ravine Vineyards.

HTH
u
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Old Mar 28th, 2012, 12:22 PM
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Definitely plan to visit the falls during the day. But we may come back in the evening to see them lit and watch the fireworks.

So many wineries, so little time. As for dining at them, I'll have to check out their menus as we get closer to the August to see if one appeals to me over another.

Someone on the US forums recommended a bike tour of the wineries. I think that would be fun.

Thanks and I am sure I'll be asking for more advice about restaurants and things as August nears.
KathyH
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Old Mar 29th, 2012, 02:13 PM
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Peller has a 5 or 7 course tasting menu with wine pairings. We went once and it was delicious and took about 4 hours. Some hotels will shuttle you back and forth.
Hilldebrand is also good.. Further afield there is Angel Gate winery. They serve lunches on the patio in the summer. I haven't eaten there but it is on my list to try this summer as the setting is absolutely stunning.
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Old Mar 29th, 2012, 03:58 PM
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As a "local" who loves visiting I have my list of favorites. Of course the experience varies by the service you receive and whether there are crowds are not. When I arrived in the area I printed of a list from Chowhound of the top ones to visit. I have eliminated a few for sure.

Some of my faves

13th Street Winery- amazing wine, lunch and also there is a bakery and they sell lovely vegetables and heirloom tomatoes and blackberries from their greenhouses.

Vineland Estates-one of the older wineries, Jane is a really great person to get at the tasting bar. Beautiful building. Have not dined there but it has nice reviews.

Megalomaniac-the wine is terrific, the view is spectacular and it is built in to the side of the escarpment like a bunker. Quite cool!

Ravine Winery- Although they have started charging for tastings, their wine is very good and the location and historic reconstructed "home" as a location make this a must stop. The restaurant continues to blossom and the food is delicious for lunch or dinner.

Creekside-the wine is very good and they also offer food on the weekends. Worth a visit.

Hillebrand does have a wonderful (pricey) restaurant.
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Old Apr 1st, 2012, 06:44 AM
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Your instinct about Niagara-on-the-Lake is sound. The main street of this old town is quaint in an upscale-tourist manner. At your time of year bus tours will be stopping for a photo in the centre and a crawl for souvenirs. But stroll the sidestreets and you will find plenty of stately old homes, calm and well groomed (and particularly well gardened.) It has been a summer refuge for the well-to-do dating back to the 19th Century. Many of those families were from across the border, worth keeping in mind in light of the obsession with the War of 1812 that is being celebrated (a loaded word in the circumstances) this summer. Fort George is a wooden stockade facing the sturdier stone ramparts of Fort Niagara across the river gorge, and it's a good bet that there will be lots of military displays and re-enactments this summer. The Shaw Festival's standards are high and the atmosphere very pleasant indeed.
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Old Apr 5th, 2012, 06:29 AM
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Thanks for all the recommendations. I will look at all the wineries, and their menus as we get closer to our trip. That will help me decide on a "plan of attack".

I use chowhound all the time for restaurant recommendations and advice and will also check there.

I am glad we picked NOTL, sounds like our kind of place. I like an area where we can park and walk. There seems to be more than enough to do for 3 days so we'll be busy.

We are leaving NJ Friday night and driving halfway. This will let us be in the Niagara area on the early side giving us more time.

I LOVE vacations and for me planning is part of the fun.

Thanks again,
KathyH
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Old Apr 6th, 2012, 11:38 AM
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Hi Kathy,

Just a heads-up for you that the first Monday in August is a statutory holiday on this side of the border so over the course of the weekend you may find things a tad busy.

u
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 12:31 PM
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I just wanted to update that today we came across this small craft winery which we were referred to and we were totally delighted with it. The personal service and attention to detail as well as fabulous, s wine make it a great addition to the above list

http://www.fiverows.com/

It is open on weekends but on weekdays by appointment so call ahead. We brought our own picnic lunch and felt like we had been transported to France in this peaceful serene location.
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 03:37 PM
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Just a couple of recs for your trip. Try the Whirlpool Jet rides -really fun and you can leave right from NOTL.

http://www.whirlpooljet.com/page/3_unique_locations

Another thing that I love to do is rent a bike and ride from NOTL towards the Falls - great ride, but try it on a weekday as the weekends get too crowded.

https://zoomleisure.com/

As for restaurants there are a lot of wineries that have dining rooms. irecommend above has given you some terrific advice regarding them. I second 13th Street - delicious wines.

One non-winery restaurant that I like is Stone Road Grille but book ahead - they are always busy.

http://www.stoneroadgrille.com/
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 10:04 AM
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Jamierin, thanks for the info. Stone Road Grille menu looks great, I love restaurants that use local ingredients. And Zoom Leisure bike tours sound like fun. I really like the idea of doing the pub and winery tour on the bike. It is something I think we'll do. Riding down to the falls also sounds like it could be fun.
KathyH
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Old Jul 5th, 2012, 01:07 PM
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When you are NOTL, you are also very close to the Welland Canal which allows shipping traffic to skirt Niagara Falls, bring goods from the Atlantic to the centre of the continent. There is a visitor centre at Lock 3, where you can see Lake freighters being locked up or down as they transit the canal Check out www.stcatharineslock3museum.ca. Worth an hour in my opinion!
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Old Jul 6th, 2012, 04:30 AM
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Well easygo, since Canada is a huge country, it's hot somewhere, it's cold somewhere, it's raining somewhere and it's sunny somewhere.
But seriously, your advertising blitz on multiple forums is impressive, but not really allowed.
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