Have you ever been somewhere, and really felt the presence of the season? As in, more than just seeing pumpkins and corn husks lining peoples lawn; I mean, somewhere where the whole place brings up a seasonal feeling within you, and you feel like you’re walking on a movie set. That is Niagara-on-the-Lake during Autumn for me.
As we slowly drove into the quaint downtown of Niagara-on-The-Lake, we passed by perfectly decorated homes whose architecture reminds me of a colonial past that we no longer cherish. Everything in this town is maintained meticulously, to preserve the historic (and slightly haunting) ambiance.
If you enter the downtown area of Niagara-on-the-lake by Mississauga Street, you will consistently see homes that are maintained to reflect their heritage. That is, until you meet the corner of Mississauga Street and Centre Street. There, you will find a literal haunted house. A house that could have been beautiful, but instead it’s boarded up, fenced off, and dilapidated. Usually, a house like this would be a sad stain on a perfect community; but instead, the sight of this house seems to fit the Autumnal tone with a nod to the town’s spooky past and the upcoming celebration of Hallowe’en.
As you turn the corner onto Queen Street, a bustling, historic downtown is a feast for your eyes (and nose). The blooms and flower baskets on the storefronts are huge, and the wafting sweet smell of fudge from the classic Maple Leaf Fudge store fills the air. Stores are packed with fanciful (and sometimes homemade) products like jams and teas, and there are specialized art and clothing stores for those looking to indulge.
As Ontario’s wine capital, Niagara-on-The-Lake boasts many different restaurants that focus on the local wine selection, and wine tours in which you can travel to the many local wineries by bike or car. One of my favourite places to try the wine selection is Shaw Cafe & Wine Bar. Here, they offer 4 different flights of local wine that you can enjoy while sitting on the flower adorned patio, or in the rustically decorated interior.
If you’re looking for pub-like fare the Angel Inn is a must! The haunted past, English style food, and good service always make the Angel Inn a memorable dining experience. This is the epitome of historic Niagara-on-The-Lake, and a must go if you are a tourist in the town.
If you are looking for fancier dining, The Prince of Wales is my go-to selection. With horse and buggies lining the front of this colonial inn, you feel like you are taking a step back in time to a place where formality was pleasurable. I have enjoyed high tea at The Prince of Wales a few times, and my parents have mentioned their Christmas Feast is wonderful.
Between the Ghost Walks, Winery Tours and the Shaw Festival Theatre, you can always find something to entertain you in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Specifically, the theatre hosts some of the best stage performances I have ever seen. Talent at it’s finest!
I feel so weird talking about Niagara-on-the-Lake in this way, because it is a destination that is less than an hour from my home, and a few of my friends live there; but, sometimes we have to treasure what is right in our backyard. My recent trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake pulled me right into the Fall season and filled me with the joyous reminder that I live so close to so much beauty.
If you have been to Niagara-on-the-Lake before, what is your favourite spot? Let me know in the comments down below.