Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls - Fallsview http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:33:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 How to Celebrate Canada Day Like a Canadianhttp://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/06/how-to-celebrate-canada-day-like-a-canadian/ http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/06/how-to-celebrate-canada-day-like-a-canadian/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 10:00:45 +0000 http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/?p=1425 image001Also known as “Dominion Day,” Canada Day is one of the most important holidays on the Canadian national calendar, and if you’re planning a trip to Niagara Falls on or around July 1st, you’ll want to know what the hubbub is about, so you can properly appreciate it and participate. From fireworks to food, here is a closer look at how Canadians celebrate their independence.

First: Some History

It was on July 1, 1867 that the Constitution Act, 1867—then known as the British North America Act—freed Canada from British rule and established the country’s independence. The very next year, the Governor General requested that all Canadians join together to celebrate that independence on July 1st, but it wasn’t until 1879 that a federal law was enacted to make the day a legally recognized holiday. For years, Canada Day languished as a national holiday due to the fact that most Canadians still saw themselves as British. As a result, any July 1st celebrating took place mostly in and around Parliament Hill. Over the years, however, national pride began to grow, and Canadians all over the country started to participate. Today, Canada Day is a holiday almost everyone joins in celebrating.

Outdoor Family Fun

Because Canada Day is celebrated during the warmest time of year, many Canadians take the opportunity to head outside to enjoy family and friends. Cookouts in the backyard are incredibly common, but many Canadians also like to head to the park, beach, or pool to relax for the day. The Canadian Air Force puts on air shows as a part of the day’s celebration, and if you ever find yourself near one, you should definitely attend. If you get invited to a Canada Day event at someone’s house, bring something to throw on the grill, and expect to eat some distinctly Canadian food like beaver tails or poutine.

Parades

Parades are a highlight of many towns’ and cities’ Canada Day celebrations, including Niagara Falls. Many Canada Day parades express national pride in unique ways that can include everything from marching bands and Mounties to Canada-themed floats. If there are bands, expect “O Canada” to be played at least once, and if you don’t already know them, try to learn the lyrics ahead of time, so you won’t stick out among the locals crowded around you. Keep in mind that, should you ever find yourself in a French-speaking part of the country, you’ll need to know it in French.

Fireworks

image003As with many national celebrations held around the world, the climactic event that caps off a day of revelry is a patriotic fireworks display. Almost every decent-sized town will have some sort of fireworks show, and some Canadians will shoot off their own throughout the day and evening, but the larger cities—and Niagara Falls, of course—boast the best displays. Wherever you are, grab a blanket, and stake out a good viewing spot ahead of time.

Canada Day is a unique way to experience Canadian culture, whether you’re a Canuck through and through or you’re just visiting. However you join in celebrating, be sure to dress in red and white—the colors of the Canadian flag.

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Get Behind the Scenes at Peller Estates Kitchen Table Dinnerhttp://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/06/get-behind-the-scenes-at-peller-estates-kitchen-table-dinner/ http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/06/get-behind-the-scenes-at-peller-estates-kitchen-table-dinner/#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 10:30:12 +0000 http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/?p=1416 image003The Niagara Peninsula’s penchant for creating excellent wines and the growing popularity of those wines throughout the world has encouraged many of the area’s wineries to invest in excellent restaurants on-site that can serve both as a complement to their wines and as a way for guests to experience even more thoroughly the fecundity and richness of the region’s bounty, and Peller Estates’ award-winning restaurant, the Peller Estates Winery Restaurant, is one of the finest on-site dining experiences in all of Canada thanks to the remarkable work of Chef Jason Parsons and his inestimable team.

This summer the winery and restaurant are hosting a unique event that will get fans up close and personal with the kitchen and the wine pairing expertise that make dining at Peller Estates so exeptional. If you’re looking for a unique winery experience that will leave your palette as satisfied as your eyes, nose, and mind, plan a trip to Niagara that coincides with the Peller Estates Kitchen Table Dinner.

About Peller Estates Wine

Peller Estates Winery is one of the oldest wineries in the Niagara region. A family winery with roots that reach all the way back to 1927, Peller Estates Winery started with Andrew Peller, a Canadian immigrant from Hungary who longed to bring the love of premium wine he had grown accustomed to in Europe to his new home in Canada. After much winemaking effort without much reward in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, Andrew and his son, Joe, were finally able to buy a winemaking license and winery in Ontario in 1969. Today, Peller Estates Winery is run by Andrew’s grandson, John. From icewine and Riesling to excellent Chardonnays, Peller Estates has won international acclaim, including being named Best Canadian Winery of the Year at the London International Wine and Spirit Competition.

Chef Jason Parsons

While it’s true that the wine gets top billing at Peller Estates Winery, the restaurant is just as highly regarded due to the expertise of Jason Parsons. A regular guest on the popular television show, Cityline, Chef Jason Parsons has over 20 years of culinary experience at some of the finest restaurants in the world. Since coming to Peller Estates Winery Restaurant he has worked closely with Winemaker Katie Dickieson to create an ever-changing menu that draws its inspiration from Peller Estates wines for a dining experience that always pairs magically with the winery’s many excellent wines. The restaurant has won numerous accolades under Chef parsons’ guidance, including 3 starts in Toronto Life, the CAA 4-diamond rating, Le Clefs d’Or Golden Plate Award, and Zagat‘s highest rating of “Extraordinary.”

The Pellar Estates Kitchen Table Dinnerimage001

So what is the Pellar Estates Kitchen Table Dinner? Geared toward the “culinary voyeur,” this backstage pass gives the oenophile and foodie a front row, VIP seat to watch Chef Parson and his culinary team in action. Kitchen Table Dinner participants will begin their evening in the restaurant’s kitchen with canapés and a glass of Peller Estates’ award-winning sparkling wine, while a knowledgeable host from the culinary team unravels the mysteries of pairing excellent food with excellent wine. From there, the evening moves to a seven course, sit-down dinner made up of seasonal, locally sourced food that has been exquisitely paired with Peller Estates wines. The series will embark on June 6th and run through August 1st for a wine and food experience as intimate as any being offered in Niagara.

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Tailgate Like a Canadian at the 2015 TD Tailgate Partyhttp://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/06/tailgate-like-a-canadian-at-the-2015-td-tailgate-party/ http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/06/tailgate-like-a-canadian-at-the-2015-td-tailgate-party/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 10:00:28 +0000 http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/?p=1413 image001Canadians, like most people, love any excuse to throw a party, and in the Niagara region, that reason more often than not centers around wine. Because the Niagara region is home to so many vineyards and wineries—almost 14,000 acres are planted in grapes—it probably comes as no surprise that one of the biggest parties of the season takes place in celebration of the new season’s vintages. For anyone looking to visit the Niagara region, celebrate solstice, and experience the pleasure of a new batch of wine paired with excellent food, the TD Tailgate Party should not be missed.

Held each year at a Niagara wine country vineyard, the 2015 TD Tailgate Party will bring together over 40 wineries, 10 local chefs making local food, live music, and oenophiles from all over for a festive gathering that, for many in the region, marks the highlight of the year. Held on June 20th from 6pm to 10pm at a Niagara-on-the-Lake vineyard, the Tailgate Party ticket gets you an all-inclusive pass to the event, the wine, the music, the food, and the shuttle service to and from the vineyard on (the day before) the longest day of the year. Here is just a sampling of what you’ll find in food and wine that night.

The Wine

It’s nearly impossible to name the 40+ wineries involved with this year’s Tailgate Party, let alone the vintages and wines they’ll be making available to guests. That being said, you can look forward to enjoying the best the region offers, including wine from the following wineries:

  • Flat Rock Cellars. This winery specializes in low yield, progressive viticulture that utilizes handpicked and hand-sorted grapes, as well as gravity-flow winemaking.
  • Stoney Ridge Estate Winery. This Niagara Escarpment winery boasts exceptional icewines and award-winning Chardonnays.
  • Rockway Vineyards. This family winery and vineyard makes premium craft wines in the Twenty Mile Bench and is the only Ontario winery that also boasts a championship golf course.
  • Vineland Estates Winery. For three decades, this award-winning winery has been producing some of the region’s finest Riesling and Cabernet Franc wines.

The Food

Not to be outdone by the exceptional wine being offered, the 10 chefs participating in the TD Tailgate Party are cooking up a feast for the eyes, nose, mouth, and stomach. Niagara is home to some of the finest cuisine in all of Canada, and much of it will be on display at the Tailgate Party. Here are some of the chefs whose food you can look forward to:

  • Nathan Young, In the Smoke Cookery and Catering. Chef Nathan Young’s passion for barbecue and smoked meats will be on full display at the Tailgate Party, where he will showcase local markets, growers, farmers, and meat, as well as a more rustic approach to food preparation.
  • Beth McIntee, Sweetie Pie’s Kitchens. Chef McIntee grew up in the Niagara region and has been at the helm of her Sweetie Pie’s Bakery since she opened it in 2010. She uses local fruit to create unique baked goods and preserves.
  • Justin Downes, The Restaurant at Vineland Estates Winery. Through the use of local purveyors and farmers, Chef Downes creates adventurous dishes that showcase the best in Niagara cuisine.

Come to Niagara for the party of the year, and experience the best in wine, food, and entertainment at the 2015 TD Tailgate Party.

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“Dine Her”: A Niagara Falls Theater Experience Unlike Any Otherhttp://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/06/dine-her-a-niagara-falls-theater-experience-unlike-any-other/ http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/06/dine-her-a-niagara-falls-theater-experience-unlike-any-other/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 10:00:32 +0000 http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/?p=1410 Niagara Falls is known for many things around North America and the world, including the massive and awe-inspiring waterfalls that have bewitched millions over the years, the award-winning and widely respected wineries that serve up everything from ice wine and Riesling to Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, that massive indoor water park, a bevy of high-quality museums, and now: zombie comedy diner theatre?

image001No, that’s not a typo. Not to be confused with dinner theater, the diner theatre dreamt up by fringe theater aficianados RealSpace Theatre pushes the boundaries of a more traditional theatre experience through environmental integration that breaks down the separation that normally exists between audience, performers, and performance in a way that brings story, actors, and audience into an intimacy rarely experienced. It’s part and parcel of what the people behind RealSpace have been doing for over five years, and Niagara Falls is just now getting its first taste.

RealSpace Theatre’s first theatre and environment integration experiment took place at the 2010 Toronto Fringe Festival with a play called The Getaway that involved an honest-to-goodness real-life speeding van as the location of the play. Since that memorable debut, RealSpace Theatre has presented a handful of customized and unique theatre experiences that make use of non-traditional venues, and their current show Dine Her, has to take place in a local diner—not a theatre venue dressed and lit to look and feel like a diner, but an honest-to-goodness, real-life diner.

Dine Her is a zombie comedy that’s already played to well-fed, sold-out audiences at diners in both Toronto and Kitchener/Waterloo. At the end of May 2015, it started up its next run on Niagara Falls’ own Bridge Street at Dad’s Diner, a beloved Niagara Falls institution that has long been serving up breakfast and lunch without high prices or fanfare. Since RealSpace Theatre chose Dad’s Diner as the location for its run of Niagara Fall’s experience of Dine Her, however, that lack of fanfare has shifted considerably.

For four weeks, from May 27th through June 27th, Dad’s Diner is being transformed into a one-of-a-kind theatre venue that will astonish, terrify, and feed its nightly audience while they seek to discover whether or not true love can actually conquer all. The audience will sit in the midst of the story, not just observing the terror and humor, but, at times, being literally surrounded by it. It’s an immersive theatre experience that’s as cutting edge as it is entertaining, and it includes a zombie-themed meal to boot.

For theatre that’s definitely not like anything you’ve ever encountered before, head to Niagara Falls anytime between now and June 27, and take in the zombie comedy, Dine Her, at Dad’s Diner. The show runs every day until closing night, including Sundays, and seating is at 7pm. Tickets are just $60, and they include dinner and the show. Due to the subject matter, the show is only suitable for adults. You can purchase tickets here.

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Best Niagara Falls Apps For Both Sides of the Borderhttp://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/05/best-niagara-falls-apps-for-both-sides-of-the-border/ http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/05/best-niagara-falls-apps-for-both-sides-of-the-border/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 10:00:20 +0000 http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/?p=1401 image001More and more of us turn to our smartphones and tablets before we conduct any sort of business or pleasure in the real world. Whether we’re checking the weather, chatting with loved ones far away, or staying abreast of current events, if there’s a specific need for information or communication, chances are relatively good that someone has developed an app for it.

The world in and around Niagara Falls, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York is no different. As a major tourist destination, the area has spawned its share of apps over the years. While not all of them merit mention, there are a handful that just might make your time in the Honeymoon Capital of the World even better. Enhance your vacation to Niagara Falls with these great Niagara Falls apps.

Niagara Falls by MobileFringe

This free app will assist you in planning your vacation long before you set foot in Niagara Falls. Area attractions, restaurants, accommodations, landmarks, and shopping outlets are just a finger swipe away, and the listings are detailed enough — hours of operation, photos, and more are included — to help you make itinerary decisions.

Use the built-in restroom- and ATM-search tool when you’re in the area, and the interactive map of Niagara Falls itself will help ensure you never find yourself turned around. You can even connect with your Facebook and Twitter profiles via this app, so everyone in your network will know exactly what you’re up to — if you want to tell them, of course. The only downside to this app is that it only works on Apple products running iOS 5.0 and later.

Niagara Parks Golf Courses

If anyone in your party likes to hit the links, this app will streamline all golfing efforts. Its most fundamental capabilities are to act simply as a scorecard and GPS, but it also has detailed and comprehensive information about golf courses in the Niagara area. You can book tee times, look up tournament leaderboards, and also, use the app to take virtual tours of all the golf courses, which will help you decide which ones you want to play.

Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino

image003This app functions like your own personal concierge when you’re at the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino. Find your way from the blackjack tables to the slot machines without any trouble with the app’s casino maps and directories.

Browse restaurant menus before you decide where you want to eat. Look through the types of shops available just in case your favorite souvenir is nestled close by. Stay on top of the shows and performances happening at the resort as well. This free app is especially ideal for first-timers to Seneca, because it can help guide you through the place in a time-efficient manner.

Fashion Outlets Niagara Falls

The Fashion Outlet Mall in Niagara Falls, NY is one of the largest shopping centers in the region. Food, clothing, shoes, accessories, and more make this mall a shopaholic’s delight. With the app, you’ll be able to search the directory from your smartphone to find exactly the types of stores you want, and you can also tag your parking spot to save yourself time roaming the lot when you’re loaded down with bags. Sales are updated in real time, too, so you can also save money with your finger on this app.

From golf to gambling, find what you need and do what you want in Niagara Falls with straightforward ease with these handy, helpful apps.

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Celebrate National Chardonnay Day in Niagarahttp://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/05/celebrate-national-chardonnay-day-in-niagara/ http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/05/celebrate-national-chardonnay-day-in-niagara/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 10:00:19 +0000 http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/?p=1397 image001National Chardonnay Day is an annual send-up of the world’s most popular and most planted grape varietal. Marked every May on the 21st, National Chardonnay Day is the perfect excuse to book a vacation to Niagara, where you can find award-winning chardonnays from many of our area wineries.

While it originated in Burgundy, France, chardonnay is now grown and produced all over the world. A neutral-tasting grape, chardonnay is heavily influenced by the properties of the oak in which it is commonly barreled and the terroir in which it is grown.

Niagara Peninsula chardonnays have a flavor unique to the region that has made for some truly outstanding wines over the years. Here is a list of some of the best chardonnays in the area that you should imbibe during your National Chardonnay Day celebration.

The Empress by Reif Estate Winery, 2012

An unoaked chardonnay marked by bright citrus, this wine will give you a good sense of what a chardonnay grape grown in Niagara tastes like when it hasn’t spent any time trussed up by oak.

Unoaked chardonnays have been steadily growing in popularity, and while this wine won’t have any of the elements associated with stereotypical, big, oaky chardonnays, there’s something revealing about the microclimate and soil of Niagara in this wine.

Be sure to stop by Reif Estate between May 21 and May 24 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. for a complimentary tasting of their sparkling chardonnay — their way of toasting National Chardonnay Day.

Cuvee Catharine by Henry of Pelham, 2009

This sparkling, dry chardonnay is Blanc de Blanc, a bottling distinction reserved for only the finest juices. Hand-picked and entirely estate grown on the Short Hills Bench, it is whole cluster pressed and made according to the traditions of Champagne, which yields a remarkably complex and delicate sparkling wine.

Named after Henry’s wife, Catharine, this chardonnay is one of the least common experiences you can have with the grape. It boasts notes of citrus, sweet spices, baked bread and just a bit of acidity.

The Rusty Shed Chardonnay by Flat Rock Cellars, 2012

image003This Flat Rock Cellars’ chardonnay won a gold medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2014. Oaked and tank fermented, this complex wine comes from old vineyards along the Twenty Mile Bench, and the result is a big, creamy wine with notes of tropical fruit, hearty nuts, and toast, and it’s acidity is wonderfully balanced.

Enjoy it at the winery, and buy a case to take home. The winemaker’s notes indicate the wine will be improved with cellaring, which is remarkable considering how good it already is.

Village Chardonnay Reserve by Le Clos Jordanne, 2006

A winery that exclusively grows cool weather, ultra-premium pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, Le Clos Jordanne is a joint effort undertaken by the visionary leaders at Inniskillin and Jaffelin. Specialty rootstock was imported from France and planted in vineyards chosen for their terroir. The result is exceptional wine that includes this 2006 chardonnay. Notes of tart apple, earthy nuts, and fragrant peach mark this wine. Its finish is exquisite.

Celebrate the world’s favorite grape May 21 in Niagara at any number of the area’s fantastic wineries. Whether you choose the wines listed above or seek out your own, Niagara chardonnay is definitely worth toasting.

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The Month of May Means Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Sip & Sizzle Is Herehttp://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/05/the-month-of-may-means-niagara-on-the-lakes-sip-sizzle-is-here/ http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/05/the-month-of-may-means-niagara-on-the-lakes-sip-sizzle-is-here/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 10:00:40 +0000 http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/?p=1392 image001Held every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday throughout the month of May, Sip & Sizzle is a great way for visitors to the Niagara region to familiarize themselves with the many excellent wineries in and around Niagara-on-the-Lake.

25 wineries participate in this unique tour that finds each one hosting what amounts to an afternoon spring tasting party. With chef-inspired, grilled food and a fabulous VQA wine pairing, each winery takes to wooing any and all comers who have purchased the $43 passport, which buys you food and a wine tasting at all 25 wineries throughout the month.

So, whether you come at the beginning of the month, the end, or both, you’ll be able to make your way through the list to enjoy some truly fine wines and food amidst some of the most beautiful countryside in North America. Here is a closer look at some of the wineries that will be participating in this year’s Sip & Sizzle, as well as the food and wine they’ll be serving.

PondView Estate Winery

One of the newer wineries in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region, PondView was started by Giuseppe Puglisi, who emigrated to Canada from Sicily, Italy back in 1974. Steeped in the old world growing and winemaking traditions, PondView Estate is now run by Luciano and Adriana Puglisi who continue to promote excellent wines enjoyed alongside excellent food.

This May, you can use your Sip & Sizzle passport to enjoy their 2012 PondView unoaked chardonnay and a chilled beef brisket endive salad with radishes, cucumbers, and carrots that’s been dressed with a creamy chardonnay dressing.

Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery

Since 2001, Jackson-Triggs has produced some of the finest grapes and VQA wines in the region utilizing the latest in winemaking technology. By using gravity-flow assisted technology, Jackson-Triggs removes any pumping or mechanization in the winemaking process that could potentially damage young wine.

At this year’s Sip & Sizzle, they’ll be serving their 2013 reserve meritage with miso-grilled local beef ribs and a scallion-ginger salsa.

Konzelmann Estate Winery

image003Started by a fourth generation winemaker from Stuttgart, Germany back in 1984, who chose Niagara-on-the-Lake due to its unique mesoclimate, Konzelman wines benefit greatly from their vineyard’s terroir.

Made from hand-picked grapes that come off the oldest vineyards that are then sorted three times to ensure their quality is truly exceptional, Konzelman wines have won countless awards on the national and international level. They’ll be serving their 2012 barrel-aged merlot with baby back ribs and Niagara maple baked beans. The ribs will be topped with an icewine and Forty Creek whiskey-infused barbecue sauce.

Niagara College Teaching Winery

One of the primary places where Niagara’s viticultural knowledge is kept and passed on to future generations of winemakers, the Niagara College Teaching Winery also boasts some of the region’s finest wines.

The Canadian Food and Wine Institute is also on-site, as is Benchmark restaurant, one of the finest farm-to-table restaurants in the region, so you know the food will be exceptional. The Teaching Winery will be serving their 2010 Dean’s List pinot noir with a smoked salmon rillette over grilled zucchini.

Take advantage of this year’s Sip & Sizzle. Come to Niagara any weekend in May and experience the best in food and wine at 25 exceptional Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries.

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The F’ing Winery Tourhttp://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/05/the-fing-winery-tour/ http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/05/the-fing-winery-tour/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 10:00:09 +0000 http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/?p=1388 image001For the past eight years, residents of the Niagara Peninsula and visitors from around the world have celebrated the arrival of spring with a tasting tour of three of the area’s favorite wineries: Flat Rock Cellars, Fielding Estate Winery, and Featherstone Estate Winery. This year is no exception as the Ninth Annual F’ing Winery Tour is once again being offered the beginning of May.

Oenophiles wanting to experience this unique event have two weekends to enjoy the tour and tastings, which run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 1, 2, and 3 or May 8, 9, and 10.

To attend, all you have to do is purchase a $12 “passport” from any one of the three participating wineries, and then, enjoy two wine tastings per winery, an artisanal cheese pairing with each tasting, and experimental and one-of-a-kind offerings unavailable the rest of the year.

If you’re planning on visiting Niagara during the first two weekends of May, the F’ing Winery Tour is a great way to familiarize yourself with Niagara’s excellent and beautiful wine country. To help you anticipate the fun, here is a closer look at the three wineries behind the tour.

Flat Rock Cellars

Founded in 1999, Flat Rock Cellars is located on the Niagara Escarpment and boasts one of the most impressive tasting rooms and winery buildings in the region: a glass-enclosed hexagon that allows visitors to enjoy a spectacular view of the Niagara Peninsula and Lake Ontario. A winery with both ancient and progressive practices, Flat Rock practices low-yield viticulture where every grape is hand-picked and hand-sorted.

They use gravity flow in their winemaking, too — a process that uses no pumps or mechanisms to move the wine through its many phases, allowing the color, flavors, and tannins to develop in a gentler manner.

Fielding Estate Winery

image003Fielding Estate Winery sits on Niagara’s Beamsville Bench and enjoys the distinction of being regularly chosen as one of Canada’s top 10 wineries.

A low-yield winery, Fielding Estate practices sustainable farming, and Curtis Fielding was awarded the honor of being Grape Grower of the Year, or the “Grape King” as it’s locally known, for the 2012-2013 growing season, an honor bestowed upon an area grower whose winemaking and farming practices exemplify the best among Ontario’s grape growers.

They have produced countless award-winning wines over the years, and tastings in their Wine Lodge or on their lake-view deck are unforgettable.

Featherstone Estate Winery

Located on the Twenty Mile Bench section of the Niagara Escarpment, Featherstone Estate Winery boasts 23 acres of some of the finest land in the region. Their fertile clay soil and higher elevations produce distinct wines that taste very much of their terroir.

Their small batch wine has won numerous awards over the years, and their farming practices are environmentally sound and sustainable. One fascinating farming practice of this vineyard is their use of sheep to control leaf growth on their vines. Instead of removing leaves by hand, Featherstone’s sheep laborers eat the leaves, allowing the grapes more access to sunlight.

Get a true taste of three of Niagara’s best wineries by participating in the F’ing Wine Tour the first two weekends of May.

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Get Your Golf On: 3 Courses to Play in the Niagara Regionhttp://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/04/get-your-golf-on-3-courses-to-play-in-the-niagara-region/ http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/04/get-your-golf-on-3-courses-to-play-in-the-niagara-region/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 10:00:12 +0000 http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/?p=1371 image001Not everyone who goes on vacation is doing so in hopes of lazing about, sleeping in, hitting the spa, and in general, exhibiting only horizontal behavior. For some people, taking a vacation is actually a grand excuse to play as hard as they do at home — just in a different location. If you’re a vacationer of the latter variety, and you happen to love the game of golf, the Niagara Falls area is a veritable paradise for hitting the links. Here are three of the best places to experience 18 holes, the next time you book your stay in Niagara.

1. John Daly’s Thundering Waters Golf Club

Winner of the “Niagara’s Best Golf Course” award three years in a row, John Daly’s first Canadian signature course sits just 1500 yards from the roaring Falls for an experience that can truly only be had in Niagara. Suited for players of all skill levels, this stunning course boasts far-reaching fairways, luscious greens, well-shaped bunkers, and towering dunes. Green fees at the height of the season will set you back $80 to $100 depending on what day of the week you’re playing, although early and late tee times are cheaper. From April through May, however, you’ll only pay $65 to $70 for the prime spots. No matter when you play, however, the dress code is always in effect, which is one more reason to enjoy this unique and beautiful course.

2. Whirlpool Golf Course

image003Set against a stunning view of the Niagara River’s whirlpool and gorge, this Stanley Thompson-designed, par-72 championship golf course has been granted Golf Digest’s 4-Star rating, and it also enjoys a ranking of 47th best golf course in the country according to Score Magazine. With a few long straightaway holes and massive fairways, golfers of varying skills can work at improving their game. There are only a few water hazards to speak of, but they can be significant — like the second hole, which is one of Whirlpool’s signature holes and is completely surrounded by a pond. The green fees here can be as inexpensive as $25 if you’re willing to walk and don’t mind teeing off after 5:30, but in general, prices range from $50 to $95, depending on whether or not you use a cart.

3. The Links of Niagara at Willodell

This Niagara Falls golf course has won a Best Greens award, a Niagara Top 10 award, and a “Hidden Gem” award from Teeing it Up, and while it isn’t as popular as some of the better known golf courses in the area, it’s one of the most enjoyable courses to play and not just because they have all-you-can-eat fish and chips in the clubhouse — which they do.

Designed by Nicol Thompson, this affordable course was awarded 3.5 out of 4 stars by Golf Digest, and each hole will satisfy both novice and expert players thanks to its lovely fairways, tricky bunkers, and well-placed water hazards. Green fees are low for a course of this quality, too. On weekdays, 18 holes are just $39, and on weekends and holidays, the price only goes up $10.

Come to Niagara with your clubs and your sense of adventure, and see how you measure up at these three excellent golf courses.

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Bird Watching in Niagarahttp://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/04/bird-watching-in-niagara/ http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/blog/2015/04/bird-watching-in-niagara/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:00:25 +0000 http://www.niagarafallscrowneplazahotel.com/?p=1363 image003People from all over head to the Niagara region for a host of excellent reasons: the sight and sound of all that rushing water, the picturesque vineyards and the award-winning wines they produce, as well as the world-class performers and shows available throughout the year — to name a few, and while these reasons account for why most people visit, for the bird lover, bird watching is another reason to plan a trip to Niagara Falls. Here are a handful of bird-heavy places for the birder who finds himself in the Honeymoon Capital of the World.

The Niagara River

The Niagara River is arguably the best place in North America to watch gulls, and the view from the Canadian side is decidedly better than it is from the American side, which is more industrial and built up. Over the years, 19 different species of gull have been spotted on the Niagara River — the largest number of species ever recorded in one area in all of North America — and most years find anywhere from 12 to 14 frequenting the place during migration. Gulls you can expect to see include:

  • Bonaparte’s Gull
  • Ring-Billed Gull
  • Lesser Black-Backed Gull
  • Greater Black-Backed Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • California Gull

Of course, the Niagara River isn’t just a place to see gulls; ducks, geese, and swans also abound and make for an exciting day of birding.

image001Beamer Memorial Conservation Area

While they can be spied any time of year, the spring migration is a great time to see your fair share of raptors — hawks and bald eagles — from the viewing platforms set up at Beamer Memorial Conservation Area, which is located on the Niagara Escarpment. The view itself is stunning here, but it’s the experience of the birds that’s most memorable. Instead of just sightings, however, you’ll get to experience these impressive predators at work, soaring, and diving through the sky as they keep a keen eye out for food below.

Mud Lake Conservation Area

Located next to the Old Welland Canal in Port Colborne, this conservation area includes over 160 acres of woodlands, field, and wetlands, and because it’s situated on a migratory path, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to see a wide range of birds. Rare bird sightings have been recorded here — and not just by expert birders, either. If you make the trek out to Mud Lake, you may see the following:

  • Great Horned Owl
  • Northern Cardinal
  • American Wood Duck
  • American Black Duck
  • Black Crowned Night Heron

The Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area

A former limestone and clay quarry, this conservation area is a wealth of natural diversity, and it boasts over 50 species of bird, as well as plenty of fish, turtles, snakes, and plants. Birds that are readily sighted include yellow warblers, terns, sandpipers, egrets, gulls, and great blue herons. You can also see fossils of the flora and fauna that lived in the sea that covered the area 350 million years ago in the rocks walls and tables exposed by the quarry.

If you’re due for a bird-watching retreat, come to Niagara, where gulls, raptors, and warblers can be seen throughout the year.

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