My 2015 Niagara Summer Bucket List

I know it’s still spring. But it feels like summer.

Time has been speeding up for me. The B&B is busy, and there are lots of events for this little blogger to get out to. I really don’t want the summer to rush on by in a haze of busy-ness. It’s one of my favourite seasons. This is my second summer here, and I want to enjoy it.

To start with, I plan to get to the events I listed in Five Events You Can’t Miss This Summer.  I also plan to keep making my rounds of the wineries, and have a few dinners out. But there are lots of other things I want to do too.  To make sure I get out and do them, I have written up a Niagara Bucket List for this summer.

Wanna know what’s on it? Here we go.

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1. Take a helicopter tour over Niagara Falls

I have always loved the Falls – I could just stand and watch that water tumbling over the crest for hours. It is so meditative. I think to see them from the air would be an incredible experience. The photos would be stunning too.

Niagara Helicopters offers a variety of tours and aside from their Classic Tour, my dream would be to do one of their Wine Tours. Just imagine combining the Classic Tour, then flying over beautiful vineyards and fantastic scenery, topped off with a landing at a winery for a gourmet meal or wine tasting.

Wow. Right out of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

But that is probably way out of my budget for this year – so I’ll start with the Classic Tour.

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2. Go on the Whirlpool Jet Boats.

Now, I will preface this by saying I HATE getting drenched. I was one of those kids that hated the water rides at Canada’s Wonderland. I don’t like being submerged in forceful water as I get a little bit panicky. Alright, I’ll be honest, I get a lot panicky. Perhaps it’s a bad past life memory or something.

A couple of friends last year went on the Whirlpool Jet Boats, and assured me that I would have a great time. “It’s so amazing, getting soaked is part of the fun, don’t be such a wimp Joanne,” they said.

They have no water issues, however.

Anyway, they have a covered boat – called the Jet Dome. My water issues aside, I would enjoy this – the thrill of the rapids without going into “oh-my-God-I’m-going-to-drown-right-this-very-second” panic mode. I have read the reviews and those like me who hate getting wet said it was great.

So I will do this.

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3. Take a Hornblower Niagara Cruise

I’ve been coming to Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls since I was a kid. But I have NEVER done a cruise up to the Falls. Crazy, huh? I don’t really know why we never did one.

So this is The Year. The only problem is I don’t know which Hornblower Cruise to take – they all sound great. The Voyage to the Falls Tour takes you up really close, which would be so amazing. I also love the idea of the nighttime Illumination cruise, seeing the Falls all lit up, and sometimes even with fireworks. However, night is still a bit challenging for my photography skills, and I need good pictures to share with you, of course. Blogger problems.

Decisions, decisions. Maybe I should just take both?

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4. See Rocky Horror Live Niagara

As a former dancer and music theatre performer, one of the things I love about Niagara-on-the-Lake is that it is a theatre town – oh my heart. But I didn’t realize the extent of the vibrant arts community down here.

I recently met the lovely Dina Mavridis, one of the brilliantly creative people behind Something-Something Productions.  SSP is currently in its fourth season, and they produce cabarets, plays, musicals and more.

For the last few years, on Friday and Saturday nights in the summer, they have been performing Rocky Horror Live. It looks like a fabulous production, and has become a hit with locals and visitors alike.

I can’t wait to do the Time Warp  – again!

Performances are held upstairs at Corks Wine Bar, at the Corks Playhouse Theatre, right in the heart of town. They begin on Friday August 7th.


5. See lots at the Shaw Festival

The Shaw Festival is part of the reason why I am now here in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Two years ago, we came down for the day to see the Shaw‘s production of Guys and Dolls, which was terrific. While here, having seen a great production, had a great meal, and strolled this gorgeous town, our decision to move fell into place. So you could say it’s because of the Shaw that I now live here – if I hadn’t come down for a show that day….well, who knows? Fate, kismet, destiny, whatever.

This year, I must see Sweet Charity. It’s a musical that is dear to me, as I spent many days when I was a music theatre student singing “If They Could See Me Now”. Well, I still sing it actually. And “Big Spender”.


I’m also planning on Pygmalion, and I have already heard great things from some of our guests about Peter and the Starcatcher.


6. Yoga and Wine

I find vineyards very calming. Something about their symmetry, I think. The vineyard at Konzelmann has got to be one of my favourites because it flows right down to Lake Ontario. Vineyards and water – how could it get any more peaceful?

Well, how about combining a yoga class with a winetasting? When I take a regular yoga class, I always leave feeling totally relaxed. So I can imagine that if I combine yoga with winetasting I will be a big puddle of blissfully chilled-out goo.

I really want to try this.

I read out about it in a magazine called Today Magazine Outdoors, and can’t seem to find more information online. According to the article, this class is held monthly in the summer at Ravine Vineyard – a beautiful location, and beautiful wine.

Each sixty minute class is broken down into two parts: a 45 minute Hatha or Vinyasa practice followed by a 15 minute winetasting. The wines are incorporated into the final poses. Take a pose. Have a sip. Repeat.

Doesn’t this keep sounding better and better?

I couldn’t find dates or anything online yet, but I will persevere.


7. Have a Spa Day

Ok, the picture above is not of a spa, but it’s me being all calm and zen-like. Close enough, right?

So, I have a big birthday this summer. Turning forty-five, folks. Uh huh.

Forty didn’t phase me at all, but somehow, forty-five does. I am now “in my mid-forties”, firmly entrenched in “middle age”. Five more years till I turn fifty.

Holy guacamole. I could have sworn I was twenty-five yesterday.

Ken is older than me, and just rolls his eyes when I launch into the dramatic soliloquy of “turning forty-five”. Perhaps he should get me a spa day, and the largest bottle of wine he can possibly find.

Isn’t that a grand idea?

Spa days – and spa weekends – have been some of the most intensely relaxing experiences I have ever had. So bring on forty-five, and get me to a spa. We have several to choose from here in Niagara-on-the-Lake, but the one at the Oban Inn is looking like the top contender.

Cause you know, after the spa treatment I can go and eat Chef Jason Dobbie’s terrific food.

Forty-five might not be so bad after all.



There is so much to do here, and it’s going to be a busy summer. I hope you’ll follow along as I head out and about and do all these things.

But now, you’ve gotta tell me….what’s on your Niagara Summer Bucket List??

  • Our bucket lists are very similar! I want to go to on the boat to get up close to the falls as well as see some of the Shaw Festival. I have yet to do a wine tour which I think is a shame since I’ve been living here since October. There’s still time! So ready for summer 🙂

    • Since October? So your first winter here was pretty brutal weather-wise 🙂 We’re all so ready for summer! I’m working on a post right now about a great wine tour, so will have a recommendation for you soon. Keep me posted on your bucket list! Maybe on your blog too?? 🙂