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Off to Niagara on the Lake

By smithdm3 - Posted on 06 July 2009

I'm super behind on blogging, so I'm going to try to catch up on what I've been up to the last three months (that's almost how long it has been since my last post!).
At the beginning of May Meg and I journeyed down to Niagara on the Lake with a bunch of her highschool friends. It was a trip in celebration of the 30th birthdays that many of these friends are celebrating this year.

To make things even crazier, I had to take an overnight trip to Boston for work, arriving back on the Thursday night. We had planned to drive to my parent's place in Belleville our favourite place to stay on the way to the Toronto region, but this trip portended to throw a monkey wrench into the works and we'd have to drive straight from Ottawa to Niagara on Friday morning. As luck would have it I was able to get an earlier flight and we were able to leave on the Thursday with our friend Kim catching a ride.

After a nice overnight at my parents we were up early and on the road eager to get to wine country in the early afternoon. We made great time on the highway and were in St. Catherines around noon to pick up the required groceries to feed us all. Meg booked a house that some of our other friend's stayed in last year for our friend Al's bachelorette party (unfortunately she wasn't able to attend that weekend as she was away). We grabbed a bunch of chicken breasts, and stuff for breakfast the next day and off we went to the house.
The house was huge, well outfitted (though it had some of the oldest appliances I've ever seen in operation) and ideally located right next to Lake Ontario (literally right aross the street) only a short stroll from the main street. Some of our friends were already there when we arrived and others arrived throughout the day.

We came to celebrate birthdays and enjoy the company of friends, but really, we here to try wines, so off we went to sample a couple of wineries, with me as the designated driver. We had lunch in downtown Niagara on the Lake and then managed to hit five wineries during the afternoon (Strewn, Sunnybrook Farms - fruit wines, not my thing, 20Bees, FrogPond and Stratus). That evening we grilled up some great chicken breasts and veggies and had an enjoyable meal with some of the wine we'd sampled that day.
The next day we had a great breakfast and relaxed a bit before we split into two groups, one group headed off to the Spa for the afternoon while the rest of us clamored into a van and enjoyed a Crush wine tour. We saw four wineries during our trip, ranging from the large Chateau des Charmes to the fledgling Ravine Estates (we also visited Coyote Run which was nice and were less impressed by Caroline Cellars).

Our group enjoyed a nice meal at Epicurious, though we were forced to wait a long time even with our reservations due to a group of people who just didn't seem to want to leave. I feel for wait staff when that sort of thing happens. We were unhappy and of course there wasn't much they could do. In the end it was good food, good company and they comped us some champagne.

Sunday morning saw another great breakfast and packing up. Meg and I hit the road and visited one final winery, Lailey, on the way out of town. In fact, we took the long winding way out of town that followed the Niagara River, a nice scenic drive.

All in all it was a great weekend.

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