This post was inspired by cousin Mel’s visit to Toronto from March 19th through April 5th, 2013. She just left yesterday to go back home to Manila and we already miss her tremendously. She has this infectious positive attitude and humour that has helped lift our spirits. She is exactly what the doctor ordered for the family.
This was not her first time to visit Toronto but her first to visit in the colder months. It was amusing to see her experience winter – she gushed at the beauty of a snowfall (we had a few snow squalls when she arrived) and could not comprehend how cold it felt (we had windchill factors in the minus double digits). It was her first time to wear parka and winter boots. After a few days when the sun was shining, she would try to be brave enough to go outside without a jacket but always got too cold. She always mentioned how she longed to see her feet in sandals. Let’s just say, I don’t think cousin Mel will be visiting us again during this time of the year. But, we are going to put aside the boots I lent her just in case she changes her mind.
For our first quick weekend getaway, we drove south to the Niagara Region. It’s less than a 2 hour drive from Toronto. Our first stop was the wine region of Niagara-on-the-Lake. It is a lovely town dating back to the 18th century and unfortunately for cousin Mel, we missed showing her the town itself! Tsk! Tsk! But to redeem ourselves, we did do one of the activities on her list which this town is known for – wine tasting! Travel after all is about experiences. Besides, we have to leave something she can look forward to on her next visit, right?
There are many wineries in this region but for this post, I will mention two. The first is Colaneri Estate Wineries. It is a small winery; their wines are not carried at the LCBO so it was a special treat for us to visit and be able to purchase some of their wines. We ended up buying three bottles – a Pinot Grigio, their Red Blend (which exploded with flavours in my mouth) and ice wine (with flavours of mango and apricot). The staff were terrific and knowledgeable. We’ll definitely be going back.
Here is cousin Mel standing in front of the winery. She thought it was warm enough to walk outside without a jacket. She ended up borrowing hubby’s jacket instead.
The next stop was Peller Estates Winery which is a larger winery and their wines are sold at the LCBO but not all. There are some wines that you can only pick up at the winery. When we got there, we had just missed the tour so we ended up walking around the winery, took a few pictures, browsed the gift shop and then decided that if time permitted, we would return the following day on our way back to Toronto.
Since we didn’t get to the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake itself, which by the way is nicknamed “the loveliest town in Canada”, the following are some photos I pilfered from the Wikipedia site.
As mentioned, Niagara-on-the-Lake dates back to the 18th century and played a significant role in the War of 1812. There are many historic sites in this town. Another reason to visit Niagara-on-the-Lake is to go to the Shaw Festival, a series of theatre productions, that run from April through November. I think we’ll be returning there a few times this summer.
Stay tuned to the next portion of this weekend getaway. Next stop – Niagara Falls.