Niagara/NOTL Romantic getaway suggestions
I was going to highjack a thread about Niagara wineries but thought why not start anew. I am planning to take my wife to NOTL area for a romantic overnight get-a-way (possibly spa package) with wine tasting tours.
This will be a first so I'm lost, oh and on a budget!!
Need to find:
1. A romantic place for the night
2. List of the must visit wineries
3. Dinner recommendations.
Did I mention on a budget lol
In past threads, I've recommended On the Twenty in Jordan, Ontario (between Beamsville and St. Catharines). Personally, I much prefer the Beamsville, Vineland and Jordan area to NOTL, which can be _very_ touristy and price-inflated. I've stayed at Inn on the Twenty and used their spa services too. Excellent. Across the street, you'll find On the Twenty's restaurant (fantastic!); adjoined to that is Cave Spring Cellars, for tasting, wine shop and touring the cellars (their vineyard is off premises). Five minutes away is Vineland Estates winery, which I've heard also has an excellent restaurant. You might also look into bicycle winery tours, there are many in NOTL, but some in the Jordan/Vineland area too. And if you're trying to keep costs down, there are many wonderful B&Bs in Jordan/Vineland too. Good luck! Hope this helps some.
As for my preferred wineries (other than Cave Spring - great riesling and late harvest reisling, gamay noir, pinot noir), I like Malivoire, Jackson Triggs, Henry of Pelham, and Lailey (has an awesome vidal!). Inniskillen is good if you're really into icewine. I'm sure the others can help you out too!
Shaw Club Hotel is also a good option for the night and is close to everything and has a good restaurantr, Zee's. But others seem to direct alot of people toawrds Treadwell in Port Dalhousie. There's also Tony DeLuca at Oban Inn which seems to be a good place for dinner. As for wineries, I'M a fan of Hillebrand, also like Vineland and Clos Jordanne as well as Coyote's Run and Cave Springs.
We stayed at the Shaw Club last time we were in town, we're not huge into B&Bs and found the rates pretty decent. Breakfast was a little spotty, but the rooms were great (my hubby loved the TV built into the bathroom mirror).
My fav. wineries for wine: Lailey (vidal is mighty tasty!)
for building: Stratus
Pilliteri (the family table in the cellar room is amazing)
Outside of NOTL hands down my favourites are Flat Rock and Malivoire.
Our best meal was at Stone Road Grill. We thought Zee's was just ok.
I'll second Inn on the 20. It's secluded but not in the middle of nowhere.
As Connoisseur mentioned, they are owned by Cave Spring so you have the winery (and a very rice resto) right outside your door.
There are a lot of wineries (Vineland, Mallvoire, Creekside etc) within a very short drive and, being about 30 mins outside of NOTL, it's slightly off the beaten path.
"Must visit" wineries is very subjective. I've stopped at the above + Chateau Des Charmes (worth a visit just to see the main building, I guess), Jackson Triggs (ditto), Legends Estate... My main advice would be to mix up a couple of the big wineries (Inniskillin, Chateau, JT) with a couple of smaller ones (Legends, Creekside etc.)
In NOTL proper I have stayed at the Princess of Wales which was very nice, but not cheap. They have a nice restaurant there too. I haven't stayed there but the Pillar & Post has a great reputation as well - but also pricey.
Hopefully that helps somewhat,
Accomodation: If you want to spend less than the Vintage Inn rates, consider Lakewinds B&B on the main drag, across from the golf course. The suites are bigger than anything you'd find in the big hotels, and you have free use of the grounds, which includes the covered veranda overlooking the main street, the pool, the billiard room, etc. All private baths, many of which are luxurious.
As for wine, there've been some good suggestions, to which I'd add Marynissen, which produces some of the best reds.
Romantic dinners would be at Stone Road or Epicurean, both of which are walking distance from Lakewinds. Enjoy!
Vineland Estates has a lovely romantic restaurant, though the quality has slipped since the departure of Mark Picone. They also have a B&B on site plus a list of places to go if theirs is unavailable. Haven't stayed at the B&B, but it does look nice. The landscape where the winery is located is breathtaking.