Thursday, November 8, 2012

Niagara Falls Part 2 - Niagara-on-the-Lake Wine Trail

A few minutes later we are on our way to the Niagara-on-the-Lake wine trail. Several miles away from the tacky tourist shops and wax museums that are Clifton Hill, the countryside and fall leaves take over the view out my window.

We visit several wineries today including Inniskillin, Peller, Jackson Triggs, Stratus, Trius at Hillebrand, Between the Lines, and Pondview. At Inniskillin we meet a nice woman from Poland who serves us our tastings and recommends we visit Pondview and Between the Lines. At Jackson Triggs we converse with the server from England before she takes her lunch break. And at Trius at Hillebrand we chat with the young Frenchman who moved to Canada to be with his girlfriend. Again I marvel at how easy it is to find people from around the world while doing "touristy" things so close to home, and yet how these small interactions increase the feeling of "getting away" no matter how short or superficial. 

View off the back patio at Jackson Triggs Winery

In addition to wine tastings, we get a special treat as we pass by a brewery and decide to stop. We walk in, unknowingly, to the first day of tastings at the Oast House Brewery. It is a red barn-looking building, with an empty interior except for the tasting bar and a small table with t-shirts available for purchase. We try a flight of their four available brews - I enjoy a pink grapefruit infused brew which was created in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness month in October.

After our wine and beer tastings, it is close to 3:00pm and we head to Chocolate F/X where we have a voucher for a tour (the last tour is at 3:00pm and we decide to skip it). We enter a busy sales room with heaps of treats lining the walls such as dark and milk chocolate covered blueberries, cherries, and ginger, gummy candies, and even licorice. There is a sample bar which we visit several times before picking up a few things for purchase. While standing in a line that barely moved for several minutes the buzz of our wine tastings wears off and we decide that we can do without these overpriced, though delicious treats.

Now we're ready for our final destination - the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, NY. After a short wait at customs we arrive back in the US of A and enter the casino. Having never spent much time there before, neither of us had ever "registered", so not only do we each get the $25 of free game play that we expected from our Travelzoo voucher, we each get an additional $10 free! With $35 on each of our cards our confidence in the free money leads us around the slot machines until a couple special ones call us in opposite directions. I quickly lose $5 and then win about $2 and go to find the hubby, who has just cashed out $27! Not too shabby. I sit down at a machine around the corner...a Playboy machine, really? I ignore the big-breasted cartoon women alongside Hugh Hefner that bedazzle the machine and insert my card.  A stroke of luck is mine and I win $20 on one spin!  A few minutes later we reconvene to cash in all of our winnings for a total of $88.01! Success!

And with that, we're on our way home...reinvigorated and rejuvenated from less than 24 hours "away"!

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