Back to Business

Well, hello blog. Nice to see you.

Just about every article I have read about “How to have an awesome blog” says you should never mention your absence, that people don’t really care if you haven’t written for awhile. I guess that’s true – I mean, you’ve all been out enjoying this amazing Niagara summer, right? I don’t think you’ve been sitting at home worrying about when the next Niagarafied post will be up. Though that would be nice, mind you.

In my opinion, most blogs tell you a story. When a blog I enjoy has had no content for awhile, I am always curious to know why the blogger hasn’t been blogging. Are they off on some exotic adventure? Are they not blogging at all anymore? Are they trapped under something heavy, desperately wanting to blog, but just can’t reach the computer?

You see how my mind works.

But none of those dramatic reasons for me – it’s just been a whirlwind of a summer. Between the awesome busy-ness of the B&B, and that nasty-cold-flu-bug-thingy I had, the days just raced by. Hence, not much blogging.

So now we will resume our regular posting schedule.

Because of the busy-ness, most of my recent activities involved things I could quickly get out to for a couple of hours. Those lovely road trips haven’t had much of a role lately, but I plan to get back to them soon. There are so many ways to have a great day out in Niagara. But when life gets busy sometimes you can only get out for a little while. So here are a few things I enjoyed this summer, even when the crazy schedule was in full swing.

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The Ice House Winery

I am not the biggest Icewine fan, and to admit this is almost sacrilegious down here. Sweet stuff just doesn’t make my palate sing – I’m more of a savoury girl.

But earlier this year, I decided to open my mind to the world of Icewine, and immersed myself in the tastings and events for the annual Icewine Festival. I discovered that Icewine is actually quite brilliant in cocktails, and also pairs well with hot and spicy food. Yes, now we’re talking.

So one gorgeously hot day, we ventured over to the Ice House Winery. We had a bit of time between guests, so with  a quick drive down the Niagara Parkway we were there. The Ice House is known for for two things: One, they exclusively produce Icewine, and two, they make fabulous Icewine slushies. My kind of summer treat!

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The thing that particularly intrigued me was that they make a Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine. While chatting with my host, he suggested we do the Icewine and snack pairings so I could sample them all.

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The Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine was paired with a dark chocolate, and I quite enjoyed it, even on its own. Not so sweet, having a “fine port quality”, as it says on their website.

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Another pairing that I really enjoyed was the Vidal Icewine with wasabi peas.

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Heat and sweet can’t be beat. In my book, anyway.

If you are curious about Icewine, the Ice House Winery is a great place to get started. It’s their specialty, so they really know their stuff. Ask them about their cocktail recipes too, they have lots.

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The Niagara Craft Beer Festival

Well, another confession. I’m not really a beer fan either – wine has my heart, and my taste buds too. That being said, I think I can still appreciate what makes a good beer. But after a sip or two I’m done. Not the same with wine, I’m afraid.

So a couple of weeks back, the Niagara Craft Beer Festival was held. It sounded like the perfect opportunity to continue my education in the world of beer. Featuring 20+ of Ontario’s best small batch craft brewers, food trucks, and live music. Even for a die-hard wine gal, this sounded like a great way to spend a summer afternoon.

And when you are greeted by Jimi, it’s a great start.

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Jimi volunteers at a lot of events here, and he is a fabulous ambassador for Niagara. Make sure you say hi next time you see him!

The place was already bustling when we arrived.

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I had no clue where to start, not knowing much about beer. So I just jumped in and started sampling. It was such a hot day, so I knew I wouldn’t want anything too heavy. A lot of the breweries seemed to be pouring fruit enhanced beer. (I am honestly not sure if that is the correct technical term, so please forgive me beer aficionados!) I was skeptical.

You see, in my youth, there was a fruit flavoured beer I used to drink that was really quite horrendous. I think they were called Durangoes, but I can find no evidence on the internet that these things actually existed. Was it fruit? Was it beer? I don’t know, but it certainly wasn’t very good.

So surprisingly, my favourite beer that afternoon was the Waterloo Grapefruit Radler. Yum! Such a lively grapefruit taste, really refreshing.

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Not only was there plenty of beer to sample, but there were several food trucks

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Great live music

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And I found some yummy hot sauce

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It was a fun event! Hopefully it will be an annual thing.

I’ve got one more event to tell you about, at one of my favourite places.

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The Garden Party at the NOTL Public Library

I am at my happiest when I am surrounded by books.  Reading has always been one of my favourite things to do ever, and I am a huge believer in the importance of libraries.

The library here in NOTL is really wonderful. Not only is it a great building on the inside, but outside they have a truly lovely garden. Pretty to look at, but also has a practical use, as the demonstration garden for the chefs from Vintage Hotels.

We spent one lovely August evening at a Garden Party in support of the library. The Chefs from Vintage Hotels were cooking up some delicious food, and wine from Reif Estate Winery was served.

Just look at this beautiful view!

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We started by getting some food and wine, enjoying the music.

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An enjoyable evening, in support of one of my favourite places.

The NOTL Public Library has lots of events going on. Check their events page for all the details. I plan on getting to both Beer and Books and Wine and Words. Guess I’d better get cracking on that reading list!

As much as I hate to see the summer end, I know that Niagara is stunning in the Fall. I’m looking forward to getting out and about again! If you know of any events going on, mention them in the comments or send me a message. Always on the lookout for more fun things to do in Niagara.

  • Just Me, Elaine ♈

    Next summer I shall have to plan a trip down to tag along on one of your adventures. We would make a great tag team.