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Niagara-on-the-Lake | A Little Ice Wine With Everything

Dec. 18th, 2011 | Comments 3 | Make a Comment   
Photo Courtesy of Niagara-on-the-Lake Tourism
Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada (just over the border from New York State) is well-known for ice wines, and the village takes full advantage of this notoriety. The main drag, Queen Street, is graced with signs for "ice wine fudge," "ice wine coffee," "ice wine tea," and "ice wine chocolates." An Icewine Festival is even celebrated there every January. But the village is even more famous for the Shaw Festival every summer, showcasing plays by George Bernard Shaw, as well as other productions.

The Royal George Theatre, a short stroll on Queen Street, is where I took in a performance of Shaw's comedy, Candida, a play about the wife of a clergyman and the poet who is in love with her. There's something special about being in one of these old theaters that specializes in Shaw's work, sitting among other theater lovers in a time-honored tradition.

At one of the many wineries in the area, Peller Estates, I experienced a "Chicks 'n Chocolate" class. The wines and chocolates were carefully chosen because when we tried to switch them around, the combinations didn’t work nearly as well. In some cases, switching was downright awful. So, I learned what many wine aficionados already know: Pairings are very specific.

I had dinner at Zee's Patio & Grill inside the Shaw Club Hotel, one of the many local restaurants. The innovative menu included such house specialty drinks as the Razmatazz Cocktail with raspberry vodka and Niagara ice wine and main courses like Fettuccini carbonara with Muscovy duck.

The town's best known hotel is the Prince of Wales (above), which serves afternoon tea in one of its opulent, Victorian rooms. We had ham and cheddar sandwiches, as well as cucumber and goat cheese, salmon, and egg salad. Desserts included lemon meringue tart, chocolate mousse tarte, chai tea cr?me brulee, and cookies with a mandarin orange inside. I chose a delicious Himalayan Vintage Red Roses Tea.

The hotel was named Prince of Wales in 1901 after the prince's visit, and it contains 110 rooms. On one side of the building, there is a row of horse-drawn carriages, making the building very photogenic. After tea, I took a half-hour carriage ride through the village, which was a very relaxing way to spend the afternoon. My driver was a young woman who knew all about where films had been shot in town, and she had an amazing command over her horse, Curry, who was white with black speckles. When the ride Want a complete Travel Quote including airfare, special hotel rates and FREE upgrades? Contact our Travel Specialist today!was finished, she dropped me off at my hotel — the Oban Inn & Spa.

Oban is located slightly off the main drag in a quiet area just across the street from the oldest golf course in North America — Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the property has a spa and restaurant, as well as a variety of rooms. The French doors of my room opened onto a private patio that overlooked the pool, a garden, and a white gazebo. All rooms contain LCD plasma televisions, a BOSE sound system, robes, a safe, and an iron and ironing board (something I always appreciate.) Wi-Fi is free for guests, and room service is also available, as well as a concierge. I also appreciated the complimentary bottled spring water.

To arrive at Niagara-on-the-Lake, I flew into Buffalo, New York airport and was greeted by the Niagara Airbus, which took me across the border into Canada and directly to the Oban Inn. Niagara-on-the-Lake is also home to Fort George, a historical site where the British Army was headquartered shortly after the American Revolution. The town was a battlefield during the War of 1812, a subject that is illuminated further at the Niagara Historical Society Museum. Of course, the town is just a 15-minute drive from Niagara Falls.

For people in the northeastern U.S., Niagara-on-the-Lake is a great place to spend a weekend. For others who are interested in ice wines, War of 1812 history, or the plays of Shaw, it's definitely worth traveling a distance for the visit.

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3 Comments on this Article

LUXURY commented on October 8, 2012

it seems to be one of the best place to experience, i have not been there yet, but hope to go there shortly

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James James commented on July 8, 2012

I lived in Niagara on the Take for several years. It is even more boring than the rest of Canada. Frankly, once the summer season is over, the locals are almost without any source of income. The Wineries pay a pittance, so pity the smiling faces when you visit, the bead and breakfasts, stores, restaurants all prey for a decent tourist season as they are all, more or less, one season away from bankruptcy. It is a shaby place but puts up a good front. Lipstick on the bulldog type of place. The people that live their are very smug, but very few have two pennies to rub together. Am I bitter, yep, I moved there to find out later that it was all hype aimed at getting the tourist dollar. Useless place. The wineries produce absolutely awful wine, ice wine is a joke, but the hype keeps the tourists coming. But ask anyone who actually knows wine, and they will confirm it is awful stuff. Not much to recommend this place.

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Melanie Votaw commented on October 8, 2012

Well, as a tourist, that wasn't at all my experience. Some of the wines are decent. One of the expensive ice wines I had was fantastic, and a combination of a chardonnay with one of the chocolates was delectable. I enjoyed my visit; can't speak to living there.