05 October 2013

Cross Canada and Back, Part 55


Niagara-on-the-Lake  Ontario's Wine Country

1st to 4th of September 2011. Days 109 to 112


We left the Point Pelee campground on the 1st of September. One of our neighbours there, he was born on the Azores, Portugal, wished us a good onward journey.

We drove along the Lake Erie shore on Hwy. #3 to just before St.Thomas. A very relaxing pretty drive through small farming towns and beautiful fields. In St Thomas we took Hwy 401 toward Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Niagara-on-the-lake is a very pretty city.
Niagara-on-the-lake is a very pretty city.
We had reserved at Shalamar Lake Campground  The campground and our site was not nice. I see that the park is under new management (Oct 2013). It is now called: Vine Ridge RV Resort and Campground , owned by Ventura Resorts. I hope that it is better run, because it is in a pretty and convenient location.

In 2011 when we arrived at this RV park we felt like we arrived to be trailer trash. To park our 5th wheel, Anders had to maneuver a 180 degree turn because the site was on a no through road.

The loudmouth backdoor neighbours set up their lawn chairs and gave rude comments as we set up.
The neighbours and their dogs beside us were awful. Their Doberman barked for hours.

There were a ton of seasonal units in the park and they did not look good. Too bad, it could be a very nice spot. We now read park reviews before booking. Live and learn.

Just such a quaint little town with flowers everywhere.
Just such a quaint little town with flowers everywhere.
But we were not in Niagara-on-the-Lake to gripe, we were here to enjoy the area and some of our friends and family would visit us.

Natalie, Anders' niece and her boy friend Andy were visiting us. Natalie is an actress and dancer working on stage and on TV. Her website is www.NatalieKrill.com, check it out.

Natalie texting Andy.
Natalie texting Andy.

Andy and Natalie. Andy showing us the family green house business. It's huge.
Andy and Natalie. Andy showing us around the family green house business. It's huge!
Andy Vanderkaay is a professional commercial photographer, and a native of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Andy's family runs a huge flower growing business in the area. Andy showed us around. I learned a lot. For example, that Christmas Poinsettias are started in August and carefully timed for the festive season.

These greenhouses goes on forever.
These greenhouses goes on forever.

Liz amazed at all acres and acres of green houses.
Liz amazed at the acres and acres of greenhouses.
We also spend a enjoyable afternoon at Andy's Dutch parents Mr and Mrs Elizabeth and Tony Vanderkaay.

Natalie and Andy. They look so good.
Natalie and Andy. They look so good.
Friends from Victoria, now living in Toronto, Mimi Cho and Frank Smith with their son Nathan came to visit us at the RV park. It was so nice to catch up with the latest in their lives. We had a BBQ and some Ontario wine and celebrated into the night.

We did drive to the Niagara Falls, but besides the enormous falls, we did not like the atmosphere there. It has become such a commercial tourist trap.

Niagara-on-the-Lake on the other hand is a pretty town with a village atmosphere and lots of quaint little shops. We went for coffee, shopped a little, and admired the flowers all along the main shopping avenue. Boutiques had wonderful clothes and art they sold, but bring money, it is not cheap!

No end to flowers in town.
No end to flowers in town.

Liz in search of some stores.
Liz in search of some stores.
The Niagra-on-the-Lake area is rural, but with an organised sophistication. The modern wine region on southern Ontario was started here. The wine region is bordered by the Niagara Escarpment, Lake Ontario and the Niagara River.

The climate is moderate, but different wineries in the area have different terrors, the soil, the elevation and even the temperatures are different. So it was important that we visited as many as possible of the different wineries.

Anders and I are very fond of BC wines, but we did find a few Ontario wines we just loved.

Andy and Natalie took us to a friend's boutique winery " Five Rows Craft Wine". Their friend Wes (Winemaker and proprietor) and his family were there sitting at a large table talking and tasting wine with wine lovers.

Liz and Anders at Five Rows Winery
Liz and Anders at Five Rows Winery

Grapes at Five Row Winery.
Grapes at Five Row Winery.

The owner Wes, is the winemaker and proprietor. Don't miss this winery.
The owner Wes (on left), is the winemaker and proprietor. Don't miss this winery.
We brought some of their wines back to BC. We still have two bottles of the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, bottle 257 and 265. What a treat!  If you only have time to visit one winery when you are there, this is the one.

For more pictures from this beautiful area, check out our web album.

Here are some shortcuts to all the blogs from our Cross Canada Trip. Just hover over the number to see where it will take you

 1,    2,    3,     4,    5,    6,    7,    8,    9,   10

11,   12,  13,  14,  15,  16,  17,  18,  19,  20

21,   22,  23,  24,  25,  26,  27,  28,  29,  29b

30,   31,  32,  33,  34,  35,  36,  37,  38,  39,

40,   41,  42,  43,  44,  45,  46,  47,  48,  49,

50,   51,  52,  53,  54,  55,  56,  57,  58,  59,

60,   61,  62,  63,  64,  65.

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