Travel Guide: Niagara-On-The-Lake

This week has felt like the shortest and longest week ever. Even though it’s already Thursday, I still feel like the week is so long and I’m just ready for the weekend. Like I mentioned in my last post, I went to Niagara on the Lake over the weekend with Noah for a weekend getaway. We decided to go there mainly because we didn’t feel like going too far away from Toronto but also wanted something aesthetically pleasing for my sake (what a great boyfriend). Continuing on, Niagara on the Lake is one of the cutest small towns that I think is worth visiting (much better than the typical Clifton Hills/Niagara Falls which is very touristy). So for today’s post, I thought I’d compile a mini travel guide of what we did and what I recommend!

BICYCLE WINERY TOUR (WITH GRAPE ESCAPE WINE TOURS)

To start off the day, we decided to go for a bicycle winery tour. It was so much fun but also very tiring. We did the “Ultimate Wine, Beer & Foodie” bicycle tour with Grape Escape Wine Tours and it was definitely a different experience I had in comparison to another wine tour I went on a couple of years ago. We went to a few different wineries including Inniskillin, Reif Estates and Pond Views and one brewery, Oast House. I’ve never been into red wine because most of them taste bitter to me and going on this wine tour made me realize that I’ll probably stick to whites and ice wine for the rest of my life haha. I loved learning about the the different food pairings and how it enhances the flavour of the wine. There was an ice wine at Pond View that we paired with blue cheese and that was probably my favourite food pairing I tried throughout the entire day. I will warn you though, the chocolate mentioned in the description of the tour has one milk chocolate (which tastes more like dark to be honest) and then two dark chocolates in case you hate dark chocolate like I do. I already suspected that it would be dark chocolate but I wanted to try the food pairing with the wine to see if it was change my mind!

THE CHARLES HOTEL

Upon pulling up in the parking lot at The Charles Hotel, I was already in awe of the historic atmosphere. The Charles Hotel is part of Niagara’s Finest Hotels and it’s definitely not your typical hotel. We booked our hotel a bit late and by that point, all the hotels (even in Niagara) were around the same price so we figured, why not. The Charles Hotel has two restaurants, about 7 rooms (a few of them that have access to the balcony), a golf course walking distance and garden area in the back. We stayed in The Newark Room and before entering, there is a gorgeous couch just outside of it. I made it a point to find a newspaper like the New York Times to take the photo below.

The room had a lot of historic elements to it because of the decor and a very modern bathroom with striped walls and a walk in glass-enclosed shower. My favourite part was that in the room (I’m assuming they do this in each room), there’s an old journal where guests can write in. I thought this was such an adorable touch to the room and it was fun sitting on the bed and reading the entries.

For breakfast, they have the HOBNOB restaurant where if you stay there, you can add it for only $14 each (it comes with a meal and French pressed coffee). The staff is very accommodating and sweet so you’ll have no issues if you have any questions or concerns. I definitely think  it’s worth the visit (even if you go just to the restaurant) and no doubt in my mind I want to stay there again and have journal entries in every room. There’s a certain charm you get from this hotel that you don’t get at major hotels.

SHOPPING

SHOPPING TIME! Walking distance from our hotel is the strip of all the local shops and restaurants in Niagara on the Lake. This is only my second time going to Niagara on the Lake but I always enjoyed the small and old town atmosphere that’s there. The stores do close relevantly early (around 6-7pm) and a few restaurants that stay open late. My personal favourite for shopping is “Brims and Things” and “Just Christmas”. Brims & Things has a huge collection of hats for both men and women and a variety of styles; whether you’re into something more modern or classy, you’ll probably find something you like. I found that Brims and Things was pretty affordable in comparison to other hat shops that are there that can go upwards of $100. Just Christmas, by the title is obviously a boutique that sells Christmas decorations. Christmas is one of my favourite holidays and they have one section in the shop with gorgeous silver and gold ornaments that I know I’ll be buying once I have my own place.

FOOD

As for food, we decided to eat at the Shaw Cafe and Wine Bar. It’s a gorgeous restaurant that has an outdoor patio surrounded by flowers. I’ve always loved how this restaurant looked because of the floral decor on the upper level. It makes it a perfect location for a date night! Other favourites when it comes to food and dessert is Maple Leaf Fudge. Pretty much all of the flavours I’ve tried are really good but it’s without a doubt that my favourite is their Penuche aka Brown Sugar Maple! It’s one of those treats that I’ll want as a souvenir if someone goes and it makes for the perfect treat if you have a sweet tooth. When I say sweet, I mean really sweet so be aware! After our dinner, Noah and I went to one of my ultimate favourite ice cream shops, Cow’s Creamery! It was the perfect way to end off the day (even though my feet were killing by this point). We did make another trip the next morning so I could take a photo for you guys haha. They use more cream in it which is why I like it so much more! Birthday cake and Gooey Mooey are my favourites so far.

Anyways, have you visited Niagara on the Lake? Would you go after reading this? Let me know in the comments below!

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