Recently Joel and I took a little weekend getaway to one of our favourite spots – Niagara on the Lake. This is a place we frequently visit at least once a year and have done so for the last four or five years. It’s only two hours away from where we live so it makes for the perfect little getaway. Niagara on the Lake, or better known as Wine Country Ontario, is easily one of the most prettiest little towns in the province. Its picturesque shops and boutique stores in the quaint downtown core give off some serious Stars Hallows vibes (any Gilmore Girl fans out there?!). Basically it’s the cutest little town you could ever visit. With endless amounts of wineries and wine samples, charming B and B’s and a large variety of high-rated restaurants, you will not be disappointed in staying here for a night or two! So here is a list of things to do during a weekend in Niagara on the Lake!
Stay at a Bed and Breakfast
If you spend a night in Niagara on the Lake, staying in a bed and breakfast is the only way to go. Over the years, we have stayed in different bed and breakfasts, usually closer to the heritage district. However, this time we wanted to stay in the country side in order to be closer to the wineries. We decided to stay at A Vineyard View, which is located directly on the wine route and we were not disappointed. The location was perfect, the hosts Denis and Barbara were lovely, and the accommodations were very comfortable and relaxing. Also the bed and breakfast is within walking distance to two wineries!
Seriously, how cute is this place?!
Go for a walk in Heritage District
Once settled into your bed and breakfast, you can take a stroll through the heritage district where you will be in awe of how gorgeous this quaint town is. The main street in the town is Queen St. and has plenty of adorable storefronts for you to check out.
Hit up a local bakery
While you’re walking around and exploring the town, make sure to stop in one of the many local bakeries to grab a tasty treat. One of the new bakeries that opened up is Budapest Bakeshop, specializing in chimney cakes. I’ve never had a chimney cake before but was pleasantly surprised! With both savoury and sweet options, there is a flavour for everyone. And what exactly is a chimney cake? It gets its name from the hollow opening of the pastry which resembles a chimney. Fun fact: Budapest Bakeshop was featured on an episode of Dragons’ Den!
Indulge in a culinary experience
There are many restaurants in Niagara on the Lake to choose from, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Many of the restaurants are highly rated and offer a wide variety of speciality and tasty meals. We decided to try out some sushi at Masaki Sushi. Authentic, fresh sushi is what you will indulge in here. Make sure to make reservations, especially for a Friday or Saturday night!
Cycle to the wineries
There are many ways to get around to the wineries in Niagara on the Lake… bus, car, limo, electric scooter… but my favourite by far is by bicycle! Niagara on the Lake is a great place to bike around, as all the country roads are flat with minimal traffic. There are plenty of places to rent bicycles for the day if you don’t have your own, which we have done before in the past. However, this year we decided to bring our own bikes! It’s real easy to plan your route as well – check out the wineries of Niagara on the Lake website to download a map here!
Sample some wine!
Did you even go to Niagara on the Lake if you didn’t sample wine?! With over 20 wineries in Niagara on the Lake, you will have many opportunities to try some samples. From white wine, to red wine, to ice wine and everything in between, there is no shortage of samples! This year we managed to make it to eight… yes eight… wineries on our cycling route. Needless to say, it was a long day and were tired by the end of it, but kept fuelled by stopping at each winery along the way. So here is a rundown of some of the wineries we went to!
Caroline Cellars is by far one of our favourite wineries. We make sure to visit each time we are in town. Their staff are friendly and knowledgeable and they also are one of the only wineries we know of that offer free samples!
Reif Estate Winery
Reif is another great winery that we always stop at. I highly recommend their wine tour. I’ve done it multiple times, and each time I go I learn something new! They also have a nice little area outside where you get stop and eat if you brought a picnic, or they also serve some light meals that can be paired with your samples.
Inniskillin is one of the larger wineries and is Canada’s original estate winery. They have a great patio to relax and enjoy a glass of wine and a bite to eat. Inniskillin has award-winning wines and is also know for their ice wine – so don’t forget to try it!
Riverview Cellars is another winery to visit along the route. It’s a family run estate winery business that is dedicated to producing small-batch wines. They offer tastings as well as traditional tours and private winemaker’s tours.
Frogpond is one of my favourite wineries! They are known for their organic wines and is Ontario’s first organic winery. It’s a quaint and charming winery surrounded by some adorable farm animals. Frogpond also makes for a nice break to have a packed lunch, enjoy the scenery and of course check out the animals.
And don’t forget to try ice wine at Pond View!
Ice wine is a real treat to have. It’s sweet, flavourful and can make for quite the experience. A small sample is all you really need due to its level of sweetness, so it should be treated as a dessert. It pairs well with dark chocolate and is even recommended to drizzle over ice cream. You can even make ice wine slushies! Most wineries in Niagara produce ice wine, however we were recommended to try the ice wine and chocolate shooters at Pond View by our bed and breakfast hosts. See the video clips below!
First pour the shot…
Sip off the excess on the top… and then shoot it back!
Attend a local event!
It seems that every year we go back to Niagara on the Lake, there is another event or festival to check out. Plan in advance and you could attend a rosé party, watch a movie in a vineyard or see a concert – so check out the wineries of Niagara on the Lake website to see what’s up and coming! However, on the long weekend in May, there is the Party in the Vineyard which, just as the name implies, is a party with food trucks, music, and entertainment that takes place at Peller Estates. It runs from Friday-Sunday of the Victoria Day weekend, with Saturday tickets typically selling out in advance – so get your tickets early!
Well there you have it! Some things to see and do if you have a weekend to spend in Niagara on the Lake. I hope this gives you some ideas and gets you excited to plan your weekend away in Wine Country! Tell me down below which winery is your favourite? I’d love to know!
And please feel free to watch my little video from our weekend away in Niagara on the Lake!