If you follow me over on Instagram, you know I LOVE taking little trips to Niagara on the Lake. We go at least a few times a year, even if it’s just for the day. It’s beautiful, quaint and the perfect drive from Toronto (only about 1.5 hours!). If you’re looking for a weekend guide to Niagara on the Lake, I’m talking all about where to stay, the top wineries and what to do when you need a wine-tasting break!
Where to Stay in Niagara on the Lake: The Woodbourne Inn
The Woodbourne Inn has hands down become our favourite place to stay when we visit Niagara on the Lake. It’s a charming bed and breakfast-style inn with 8 rooms that’s nothing short of magical. Upon check-in, they take your coffee order for the next morning and ask what time you’d like to come down for breakfast. An hour before breakfast in the main dining room, they bring up a tray with a homemade muffin, freshly squeezed orange juice and your coffee of choice (I usually get an almond milk latte).
Each room is uniquely and elegantly designed, and every one has a warm, inviting vibe. We’ve stayed at Woodbourne three times now, and each time we stayed in a different room. Last time we went we stayed in one of the two attic rooms and it was a dream- definitely our favourite! The warm wood paneling and fireplace make for the perfect space to unwind and relax, plus the beds are literally like clouds, we always get the best sleep ever!
There are a few common areas in the inn as well. There’s a grande living room with lots of seating, a study with book-lined shelves and a fireplace that’s reminiscent of your grandfather’s study, and a small kitchen where you can store any goodies you bought that day. And of course the dining area for breakfast! Breakfast is always unbelievable, starting out with a bowl of fresh fruit and croissants, followed by a huge breakfast, usually consisting of some sort of eggs (last time we had a quiche!), bacon and a sweet pastry. Needless to say, you definitely won’t leave feeling hungry!
The Woodbourne Inn is also only about a 5 minute walk from Ravine Vineyard, our favourite winery/restaurant in NOTL! We always book dinner at Ravine the night we stay at Woodbourne, so we can enjoy a glass (or bottle) of wine without worrying about one of us having to drive!
5 Best Wineries in Niagara (And Surrounding Areas)
I mentioned Ravine above, but it’s truly one of the best wineries we’ve been to! Not only is the wine great, they have a lovely restaurant serving a delicious menu of farm-fresh food, including the best charcuterie board around, which we get every single time we go! The restaurant is covered in floor-to-ceiling windows so you can look out onto the gorgeous vineyards while you enjoy your meal and a glass of wine.
In the summer they also have a wood-fire oven and bar outside where you can order wood-fire pizzas, and they have a market attached to their wine-tasting house that sells fresh breads, jams and pastries. If you’re visiting Niagara on the Lake, Ravine is a must!
In all my years going to Niagara on the Lake, I had never been to Kew. It’s actually technically in Beamsville, which is a bit West of NOTL and we had never explored that area before. So when me and Stefan visited a few weeks ago, we made sure to go. I got the recommendation for Kew from my friend Emily and I’m sooo happy we went! It’s an adorable estate with great wines! They specialize in sparkling wines, which you don’t find in too many places. Highly recommended!
Big Head Wines is unlike any of the other wineries I’ve been to. The tasting room is actually designed around the working winery so you feel like you’re part of the wine-making process! They have tasting stations scattered around, where you can enjoy a seated tasting if you choose, or you can taste flights of wine at the communal bar. Big Head Wines is family run and everyone who works there is always extremely welcoming, knowledgeable and friendly!
Surprisingly, we had never been to Inniskillin before this summer! As soon as we saw it, we new it would become one of our new faves! It’s great any time of the year (the wine tasting room is warm and welcoming!), but it’s magical in the summer. I would definitely suggest making your way here in the warmer months as they have an entire outdoor eating area with an open air BBQ.
We also got let in on a little secret (well not so much as secret as just a thing most people aren’t aware of). They’ve placed picnic tables inside the vineyards where you can sit and eat your food and enjoy your wine! How amazing is that! We had such a lovely lunch that day and I think everyone needs to experience it!
Westcott winery is seriously a dream. Situated in Jordan, also a touch West of Niagara on the Lake, it’s a charming, vintage-style winery with an absolutely gorgeous tasting room. Filled with harvest tables and a fireplace, It’s the perfect place to cozy up and get warm in the colder months.
If you visit in the summer (which we did), you’re in for an extra-special treat. They’re seasonal patio is open, with a farmhouse open-air kitchen where the chef whips up locally sourced foods. The patio looks out over their jaw-dropping vineyards, and it truly feels like you’re in another world. It’s breathtaking, to say the least!!
What to Do in Niagara on the Lake
1. Check Out Bloom & Co. Flower Boutique
I’ve been following Bloom & Co. on Instagram for quite some time, and it wasn’t until recently that I realized where the shop is…RIGHT between the Woodbourne Inn and Ravine Vineyard! If you’re looking to pop into a gorgeous floral/home boutique that sells locally-made goods (think candles, throw pillows, kitchenware, plants and more!), check out Bloom & Co., you’re sure to love it!
2. Explore the Main Street
If you’re looking for something to do other than winery-hop in NOTL, head to the main street, a quaint lane filled with boutiques, ice cream shops, cafes and restaurants, and more! Pop into Kurtz to try some dips and spreads that they always have out on display. Head to Greaves to take home some of the most delicious jams. And peruse the charming boutiques for extra special items you likely won’t find anywhere else!
3. Visit The Lake
If you’re visiting Niagara on the Lake, you’ll probably want to see the lake! After you walk to main street, head north to enjoy the lake views! There’s lots of space to sit and relax, so we’ll often grab an ice cream or gelato first and make our way over.
4. Rent Bikes for Wine Tours
If you plan on making your way around to different wineries, renting a bike is a good way to go about it! There are different spots to rent bikes all around NOTL – they make it really easy for visitors! When we went this past summer with both our parents’, we took a two-hour bike ride, stopped at a few wineries and then went for lunch! It made for such a fun (and active) afternoon!
5. Take a Scenic Drive
Niagara on the Lake has to have some of the most gorgeous, charming homes I’ve ever seen. My sister and I were in the area this past weekend and decided to take a drive around the streets near NOTL main street, and we couldn’t get enough! Fall is also one of the most magical times to explore pretty streets! All the homes are older and have SO much character.
I hope you enjoyed my weekend guide to Niagara on the Lake! There’s truly so much to do and take in, and of course wonderful places to visit and stay! Have you ever been to NOTL!
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