Drive Along River Road

fallSir Winston Churchill really knew what he was talking about when he said that River Road was “the prettiest Sunday drive in the world.” Taking an afternoon drive along River Road, the Niagara Parkway, on a fall afternoon is a scenic drive with the colors of fall all around you. It is a quiet drive with trees lining the road and small glimpses of the Niagara River between the trees. You can look up the long driveways to each of the wineries to see amazing estates and see the well maintained farm land that the Niagara farmers take so much pride in.

Although many people often don’t just go out to drive anymore, this drive is one that should definitely be taken. Whether you are driving to the Laura Secord homestead, Fort George or one of the many wonderful wineries that Niagara has, take in the beauty of Niagara on your journey there.

Balls Falls Thanksgiving Festival

Set within the Twenty Valley watershed, Balls Falls is a spectacular place to go with family or friends, especially because of its scenic beauty. Since Hayley and I love the outdoors, we thought that we would check it out.

Upon entering, you pay a small fee to help preserve this beautiful site. As we started to walk throughout the grounds, we were able to feast our eyes on one of the many Niagara Falls waterfalls. It was beautiful! We decided to take a closer look and climb down to see it. (If you are going to take a closer look at this waterfall, make sure that you are wearing appropriate shoes and that you are not alone)

But this was not all that you can take in. Balls Falls is celebrating their 37th Annual Balls Falls Thanksgiving Festival, on October 7th, which is complete with live entertainment, children’s attractions, heritage activities and tours. Balls Falls is an attraction you must check out, you will not be disappointed!

Grape and Wine 2011

This year’s Grape and Wine Festival was nothing short of spectacular; with vineyards from all over the Niagara Region featuring their best red and white collections. Dozens of travellers and locals gathered together to test many different types of wines (from Ice Wine to Merlot to Chardonnay).But that’s not all, the live entertainment and the beautiful weather sure made this festival run smoothly.

But this Festival is not just for wine drinkers, this festival was able to provide a warm and safe place for children to play with its child friendly activities. Not to mention many venues featured jewellery, clothes, and toys.

Having spent the last 5 years going to Brock and living in the Niagara Region, it still amazes me how many people participate in this festival. So if you have never been to the festival or you are returning, enjoy it to its fullest because it only comes around once a year!

Mini-Putt at The Super Putt

A date night turned intense mini-putt competition. My boyfriend and I decided it would be fun to play a round of mini-putt and the loser would buy the other a drink. He is an avid golfer and I am.. well.. not. I tried to warn him that I was surprisingly good at mini-putt but I don’t think he believed me until we started our game.

The Super Putt offers 18 holes of different green layouts and is conveniently located down Lundy’s Lane from The BEST WESTERN PLUS Cairn Croft.  Adults play for $7 and Children 12 and under play for $6. The holes all have funny little names. My favourite, Lover’s Leap, involves you shooting your ball over a small stream running through the course. It’s a simple, fun activity that I think many people have forgotten about. I would highly recommend going to The Super Putt on a date or taking the whole family. Spice it up; bet who’s going to win, take blind shots or whatever other creative things you can think of.

So now you’re wondering what the outcome of my intense competition was.  I was beating my boyfriend most of the way; I’m clutch at the close up shots (he was rather impressed). Sadly, on the second last whole, I lost my momentum and he beat me by 3 strokes. Needless to say, that night, I bought the drinks.

Niagara Golf in the Fall

Niagara is known for its world class golfing and beautiful golf courses. When the summer sun is just too hot for you to hit the links… planning a tee time for the fall is the perfect solution!
The courses are less crowded, foliage has started to turn, there is a nice autumn breeze and the sun is still shining. I’m new to golfing so I must admit you won’t see me on the greens anytime soon, I stick to the driving range. But I know that Niagara’s golf courses, from Legends to Whirlpool, are beautiful in the summer or fall.
There are also some really great golf packages available in Niagara Falls- that have your accommodations and tee times all taken care of. The BEST WESTERN PLUS Cairn Croft Hotel is the official partner of Niagara Parks Golf and are specialists in making sure your golf weekend is exactly what you were looking for.

Laura Secord Homestead Tour

If Niagara history is what you’re into, then a visit to the Laura Secord Homestead is right up your alley. Amber and I had the pleasure of getting a tour by an old high school friend of mine and he was awesome! All the staff is so knowledgeable about the house and the artifacts within it. We were very impressed.

We learned that women use to die from cooking because of their large skirts catching fire, that Laura Secord wasn’t recognized for her efforts until the age of 83 and that she nursed her husband, James, back to health after the war without a doctor, along with many other fun facts!

I think that this was one of the better run historical locations that we have visited and felt like I really learned a lot in the 20 minute tour for only $9.50. Visit the home yourself to learn about the first heroin of Canada and the war of 1812!

Morningstar Mill (One of Niagara’s Best kept Secrets)

If you’re looking for a new and interesting place to venture within the Niagara area, Morningstar Mill is the place to check out. This Niagara area attraction has both historical value and scenic/natural beauty. It is a perfect place to take photos, learn about history, practice your hiking skills or even discover 3 beautiful waterfalls; not to mention swim in them.

 The very first reason Hayley and I decided to check out this site was for the beautiful waterfalls that we had heard about. Hayley was a bit nervous, but once she hiked down the gorge she was amazed by the view. I was more excited to be able to swim beneath one of the waterfalls. The water was so warm, and the best part was that not many people know about it, so you can swim as long as you like without getting in anybody’s way!

As we hiked back up the Morningstar gorge, we decided that we would take a tour of the blacksmith shop. It was really cool. We were able to learn about the true history of this attraction and it was really fun. But like all good things, they must come to an end. We will definately come back again!!

Please be advised that the gorge at Morningstar is “Enter at your Own Risk.” So please be careful if you decide to go on this venture. Also **Remember to bring water, wear appropriate shoes, and maybe wear your bathing suit underneath because once you see the waterfalls that lay here, you will definitely want to get your feet wet**

 

A Family Day in Niagara Falls- Queenston Heights

If you’re looking for the perfect place to spend the day; picnicking, biking, playing tennis and hanging out with the family in Niagara, then Google no more. Amber and I have found it, Queenston Heights! Although the main attraction to Queenston Heights is often the historical significance in Niagara, we felt that this was really just an added bonus to everything else there is to enjoy.

Amber and I started our day taking a walk around the parks paths and making a stop at the Brock Monument. You can freely enter the monument to read up on how Sir Isaac Brock helped Canada gain control of the Niagara River, or pay $3 and climb the tower all the way to the top (it’s a long way up: 185ft). All along the paths there are different plaques describing various parts of the battle.

When you go… pack a lunch, a tennis racket and a Frisbee! There is a children’s splash pad, swings and a playground, currently being renovated, that the kids can play on (Amber and I really enjoyed the swings while we were there). We also saw an adorable family all on bikes getting ready to ride the paths! If only we had brought our bikes.

Don’t be thrown by the historical aspect of Queenston Heights, enjoying a day outside with friends and family is what it’s all about!

Floral Clock

For those of you who don’t know what the Floral Clock is… it’s exactly what it sounds like; a large fully functioning clock made out of flowers.

Let me start by saying that Amber and I were a day too early to see the clock in full bloom. But because of this, we got to see the students from the School of Horticulture planting all of the flowers. We got a sneak peak of what the design would be this year as well. We learned that each year there is a different design and this year it’s celebrating The School of Horticulture’s 75th year. If the back door is open, take a look at pictures of all the designs back to 1950 and the workings of the clock.

This attraction is free to the public, free parking and offers some beautiful picture taking opportunities. Check the floral clock out on your drive down the Niagara Parkway!

Niagara Botanical Gardens

A stroll through the Niagara Parks’ Botanical Gardens is ideal for someone looking for ideas for their home garden or someone who will appreciate the beauty of a variety of flower species. The 40 acres of gardens are maintained by the students of the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, acting as an outdoor classroom for them.

Amber and I went earlier in the summer, so some of the gardens had not been filled. There were beautiful red, pink and orange roses in bloom when Amber and I stopped by for a walk through. The students were out and about working on the gardens and I know they are going to look beautiful when finished. We had a peaceful walk through the gardens and took a little break to take in the beauty and just watch people pass by. This is not the place for a family adventure but a great place for a couples getaway, to take in the gardens and enjoy one another’s company.

The Botanical Gardens are located along the Niagara Parkway and if you want to take an adventure through the Butterfly Conservatory, it’s located right in the gardens! Another stop along the Niagara Parkway is right down the way at the Floral Clock.