Niagara On The Lake- Canada
Niagara On The lake Excursion
Sun. Sept. 13, 2015- Amherst, N.Y.
We were up by 7 A.M. It was still raining outside. Yesterday, a stalled low front had dumped over two inches of rain on W.N.Y and Southern Ontario. It was gray and drizzly out with a promise of more gloom all day.
We read the Buffalo News, then packed our bags and loaded the car. We were headed up to Niagara On The Lake, Ontario, Canada. We would spend a few days playing golf and misbehaving with other kids, who were friends of ours from that big sandbox in Florida that we call the Spring Run Golf Complex.
At 9:30 A.M, the Queenstown Bridge crossing into Canada was empty. We sailed through customs, puzzled as always at the twelve questions about carrying firearms. Maybe all of the television westerns and cop shows, airing on U.S. television, had Canadians thinking that we all carry guns, even on vacation.
We drove up the Niagara Parkway, across York Rd. and there found the St. David’s Golf Course at 22 Paxton Lane. It is a small nine-hole course that we hoped to play on Tues. morning. A stone’s throw down nearby Concession Rd. # 2 is another nine-hole course called Queenstown G.C. Unfortunately, they had leagues scheduled all Tuesday morning.
The rain continued to fall as we drove into NOTL. There were a good number of tourists walking about town, despite the drizzle. We found the comfortable “Stage Coach” diner in the middle of town and settled in for some decent omelets, hash browns and toast. The place was mobbed with late morning diners.
11 A.M. found us settled into the nearby Starbucks. Over some of their delicious brew, we read the New York Times. The place was awash with people seeking shelter from the rain.
It was nearing one O’clock as we pulled into the courtyard of the attractive Queen’s Landing Hotel. We had made reservations here for the next two nights at a bargain $200 per night. This is inexpensive for this neck of the heavily touristed woods. To our surprise, they had a room ready for us. We checked in and hauled our gear up to room # 275. The room was clean and comfortable. We turned on the Bills-Colts game and watched the first quarter. The entire hotel is warm, comfortable and very service oriented .We were to much enjoy staying here for the next few days.
Two O’clock, found us in the lobby greeting old friends from Florida, John and Norma Lowry and Rick and Linda Monzon. The Lowry’s live in Brampton, just west of Hamilton. The Monson’s live in Alliston, just southwest of Barre, Ont.
We chatted for a bit before boarding the venerable wooden trolley. It would take us on our wine tour of the area. It had come gratis with our hotel stay. The guide was both knowledgeable and justifiably proud of his small town. The expensive mansions and beautiful settings, in and around NOTL, were the envy of the Province. In the 1800’s, the Town had been the H.Q. for soldiers manning nearby Ft. George, before that, during the 1700’s, Ft. Niagara across the river. It had a rich and storied history as one of the first capitals of the then territory of British Canada. The rain fell as we motored around the heavily grape laden vineyards that now surround the town. Starting with five wineries, some twenty years ago, the area now sprouted over thirty winemaking establishments.
Our first stop was the Trius Winery. It is a large facility that produces many thousands of cases of white, red and ice wine yearly. We enjoyed a 30-minute tour of the facilities, given by a very knowledgeable guide who hoped some day to become a Vintner. As many times as we have visited and toured wineries, on three continents, we are always impressed with the chemistry and art of vintners in creating these delicious concoctions. We sampled a medium dry white, a very tasty Trius Red and a very sweet Ice wine that is a local specialty. The huge winery gift store, at the front of the complex, did a land office business. We all bought some Trius Reds and then got back aboard the trolley.
Our next stop was the smaller Pondview Winery. We had a brief and informative tour, before sampling three wines, white, red and ice. They tasted wonderfully as well. The Canadian wine making industry has matured and is now turning out some really decent vintages.
It was still raining as the Trolley hauled its now slightly happier tourists back to the hotel. It wasn’t hard to get a buzz on if you stopped at a few too many of the local wineries, who were always glad to see you. We had also been informed that the Buffalo Bills had pounded the Indianapolis Colts into the home turf in Buffalo. (27-17) Go Bills ! It was almost five O’clock, so naps were out. We all cleaned up and changed for dinner, which we were having at the elegant “Tiara Room” here at the Queen’s Landing.
The dark and inviting embrace of the comfortable bar welcomed us at 6:30 P.M. We chatted for a bit, catching up on our collective lives since we had last left the sandbox in the spring. At 7:00 P. M., we were seated in the very comfortable environs of the Tiara Room. It is a semi-circular environ, with two tiers of seating. The huge glass window faces out onto a marina and the Niagara River. Our waiter, Michael, soon settled us in with some decent local cabernet, as we perused the menu and enjoyed the conversation of our collective company.
A succulent shrimp appetizer was followed by beef tenderloin (Salmon for me) and then various ice cream concoctions that were wonderful. We were all stuffed like porcine quadrupeds in a wallow. The service had been excellent and the subtle humor of the waiter much enhanced the meal. It was both delicious and fun at the same time. Three hours of slow and enjoyable dining had made the aging company ready for recumbency. We talked amiably, as we headed for the elevator, and soon after that, the arms of Morpheus. It had been a delightful, even if drizzly day, with friends in Niagara On The Lake, Ontario Canada.
Joseph Xavier Martin
(to be continued)