First Stop: Niagara-on-the-Lake

On the first leg of our recent trip to Canada we stayed in a town with hyphens. I find the name quite curious and also a bit cumbersome to say, sort of like saying the whole city and state, like Chicago, Illinois (6 syllables), Niagara-on-the-Lake ( 7 syllables). No matter it’s a nice town.

It is located in Ontario on Lake Ontario at the mouth of the Niagara River just over from New York State. The tourist action all takes place in what is referred to as Old Town which is like Door County in Wisconsin, or Bar Harbor in Maine. Lot’s of little shops and interesting restaurants and quaint lodging.

We started with breakfast at the Prince of Wales Hotel. Pretty fancy, probably what the Hook, a bellman who blogs over at “You’ve Been Hooked,” would call a full service hotel. I had the Continental ( fruit, croissant, muffin, preserves, juice and coffee), Curt had coddled eggs, toast, juice and coffee and it set us back $44.00. Of course we had real silverware and linens on the table plus a silver coffeepot. Very nice but that was bit much so I think you can guess why I booked our room at the Hilton Garden Inn and not here.

The rest of the day was spent –

Shopping: I bought a Tilley. Until this day I was the only one in our family without one of these great hats. It’s insured against loss, guaranteed for life, replaced free if it ever wears out. It floats, ties on, repels rain, blocks UV rays, won’t shrink and comes with a four page owner’s manual. It says all that right here on the inside label.

Label in the hat

Antiquing: Came up with nothing here. Even Curt, the junker in the family, came up empty.

Visited a Vineyard: The town is surrounded by vineyards and some of the estates have pretty impressive buildings. We ate lunch at one and bought a couple of bottles of wine.

Listened to live music: Sunday afternoon in the park. The Silk Road Chamber Orchestra. It was pretty warm so people were sitting or lying on the grass, or in their lawn chairs, mostly in the shade, enjoying the music.

Silk Road Orchestra

People in the Park

Took a walk: Through the neighborhoods off of the main drag. Some really nice houses, a wide variety of architecture and everyone seemed to have really beautiful gardens and landscaping.

Sweet front yard

Dinner and a Play:  In the evening we ate at the Epicurean Bistro and then attended a play at the Shaw Festival. The Shaw Festival is a repertory theater company that has been around for 50 years in this little town on the lake. From April through October they perform plays by George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries. I was amazed how long it had been here and if my sister-in-law hadn’t sent me a brochure I still would have been ignorant of its existence and that would have been a loss. We saw “Drama at Inish: A comedy”.  The Shaw has three theaters and this play was in the Court House Theater, an old court house redone as a theater. Its small, maybe 200-250 seats that surround the stage on three sides. The humor depended more on the delivery of the lines rather than the lines themselves and, the great characters the actors created. We really enjoyed it.

Drama at Inish: A Comedy

Next stop, Toronto.

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