Buffalo Winter Day Trips: Niagara on the Lake Ontario

Happy Tuesday and happy New Year!

I decided to hit the ground running this year with the blog. Winter can be a tough time in Buffalo, especially without any snow! Winter is just fine in my opinion when there is snow and plenty of snowy activities to do. I am learning to ski, so I am anxious to do that, but the weather has been very blah here. IMO winter and spring are tough here. The weather is hard for being outside, and I was worried about being uninspired about what to blog about. So, I started thinking about fun things to do in and around Buffalo, and where to do them.

Do you love wine? Beautiful little historic towns? Beautiful waterfront views? Then you will love Niagara on the Lake! I have been going to Niagara on the Lake for years, and know the little town very well. The photos in this post are from a little day trip Tony and I took this past weekend to one of the vineyard estates, and the town itself. It is a great day trip, and honestly so easy to get to from Western New York.

How to get there?
I definitely recommend taking the Queenstown/Lewiston Bridge. To do that from anywhere in Buffalo, drive like you are headed to Niagara Falls, but obviously keep going! Cross Grand Island, if you have an EZ pass, you are all set on that now! You will pass the Fashion Outlets, and keep going for the bridge to Canada. Once you are over the bridge, again your toll is all set if you have an EZ pass, you will only be on the highway for about a mile before exiting, then it is a quick drive to the wineries, or the town itself.

I traditionally have gone to Niagara on the Lake Labor Day weekend with my mom. We haven't done it in a few years, but it is so much fun, and I definitely recommend it for a romantic getaway, a weekend with friends, mother/daughter weekends, you name it!

Where to Stay
Want to spend a weekend or longer? There are a ton of options. My mom and I always did a package with the Vintage Hotel group. They own the larger hotels in the area. The great thing about Niagara on the Lake is that you can't go wrong with location. A lot of the options are within walking distance to the main street in town where the restaurants and shopping are. I have stayed at all of the large hotels, The Pillar and Post, The Prince of Wales, and Queen's Landing, and they are all great for different reasons.
1. The Pillar and Post: Probably my favorite. We always did the package including a spa treatment and a dinner in the their restaurant. The whole place has a luxurious spa like feel.

2. The Prince of Wales: Right in the heart of the town, very historic. Probably my favorite restaurant of all the ones in the hotels.

3. Queen's Landing: Closest to the water, absolutely stunning and historic inside.

All locations have great packages, and can get you to some of the wineries, which I recommend so that you don't have to drive!

What to do:
I've already mentioned the spa packages and restaurants with the larger hotels, but even just going for the day there is so much to do! Wineries, shopping, eating. It feels like getting away without going very far.

 Let's talk wineries. Tony and I stopped at probably my favorite in the area, Trius. Here's the thing about wine tasting in Niagara on the Lake; it is an experience! They have high quality wine, and the people who work at the wineries truly care about and are proud of and invested in their product. The properties are stunning, and worth exploring all on their own. I chose Trius, because I love their wine, and the property is beautiful. You can do just a tasting with their award winning wines and I can also vouch for the tour which is so cool and the only way to see the cellars, and the wine making ect. They also have a special new bubbly room on the tour that looks so cool. Tony absolutely loved the wine, and we were given tailored recommendations to our personal tastes which was lovely. It reminded me so much of Napa, just that high level of quality and experience.

I have also been to Reif, and some of the smaller vineyards. You could truly make a whole day out of tasting and visiting the different vineyards. The tour that my mom and I have done through Vintage Hotels was three wineries, including tastings and tours and you learn so much about wine making in the area. I haven't personally done it in a few years, but it is still offered.

Speaking about wine, I can't forget to mention ice wine, as the area is famous for it, and the Ice Wine festival starts this coming weekend! Ice Wine from Niagara on the Lake is different than buying it here in the states, because it is done differently. The grapes are picked at night, once the temperature reaches a certain point and the grapes are completely frozen. The reason it is so sweet (and expensive!) is that you only get one drop from each grape but the end product is spectacular. The first time my mom and I went to the area and tried Ice Wine, we loved it so much we planned on buying several bottles until we realized we were talking about a lot of money haha. It is definitely a dessert wine, but so unique and you have to try it if you haven't before.

I have been to the Ice Wine Festival in the historic Old Town, where you buy a glass and get samples from several wineries, and the wineries themselves also host several events.
Here's the website, I definitely recommend it as a unique experience in the winter.

Here are some photos from our day strolling the historic Old Town. It is still beautifully decorated for Christmas, but without the crowds. It is beautiful any time of the year, I imagine the fall is stunning!
 In the background of this shot is The Prince of Wales Hotel, beautifully decorated for the holidays.

 You can take a carriage ride around the historic old town. I think this would be so romantic to do after having a great dinner at the restaurant in the Prince of Wales. The carriages are parked right outside the hotel.

I hope this post was inspiring if you are from Western New York, and looking for a day trip, any time of the year. Don't let winter get you down, make the most of it! That is definitely one of my goals for the blog, and for this winter. Do you have any suggestions for day trips around the Buffalo area that you'd like to see a post about? Please let me know!

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention these pants. My coat and blouse are old, but I decided to do go black and white with my outfit, and my new faux leather pants from Target. I got a pair for New Years Eve, and I love them. I was not quite ready for the jump to the Spanx pair that everyone raves about, just because I wasn't sure how they would look on me, and if the trend was worth the investment. I love these, they are comfier than you'd think, and I love the look of them as opposed to jeans or regular black leggings.
Definitely worth it if you want to try out the trend.

Thanks for reading! None of this was sponsored at all, I just love Niagara on the Lake, and I don't think a lot of people from Buffalo know about it, so I love sharing! I hope everyone has a great week.