John has family in Toronto, and so his family has made the trip to Toronto every summer for the last twenty years or so. John and his siblings have seen all the sights in Toronto repeatedly, and so this year, a change is in order. We opted for a week in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a tiny little Canadian town right where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario. The whole family, all ten of us, rented a house within walking distance of the quaint little downtown area.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is right in the center of a surprising wine region. The lake, the river, and the topography result in a microclimate that allows for wine production as well as rows upon rows upon rows of peach trees, unexpectedly. The group of us – all ten of us – visited nine vineyards, and we had an excellent time. Big Head was one of our absolute favorites – he gave us about three times the number of samples we enjoyed elsewhere, some of which hadn’t even been bottled yet! Our pattern was to make it to about two or so vineyards a day, but one day I think we visited three vineyards (Kew, Ravine, and Molevoire) as well as Dillon’s Distillery. We also visited a brewery one afternoon for a flight of beers.
John and I walked downtown a couple times to wander through all the shops. Most of them are rather touristy – we tasted olive oil and tried on a dozen ridiculous hats. We got to see a play at the Royal George Theatre! Peter and the Starcatcher was quite hilarious, and the whole experience was great fun. We also were treated to high tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel. I think none of us had any clue what to expect, and it did not disappoint. They served each of us a tiered tray of scones and treats and tiny cucumber sandwiches. We had fun chatting and laughing and passing around the different pots of tea to share and taste.
Despite rough weather our first day and excellent weather our final day, Niagara-on-the-Lake was quite a hit. It made for a pretty great family vacation!