Dave and I love travel whether it’s as a family or on a romantic couples getaway.
Accommodations, meals, tours, tastings, and gift bags received.
That’s why we were excited to get the chance to go to the Niagara Wine Trail. We had been to Niagara Falls before but had never been to, or even heard of, the Niagara Wine Trail.. Once we learned about the trail and the area, we thought it would be a fantastic getaway for our 9th anniversary.
Niagara Falls itself is about 4 hours from Cleveland. The Niagara Wine Trail is just 30 minutes or so past the Falls. Not a bad drive at all. Our first evening we pulled into the Brookins Inn & Suites of Newfane to get settled in for our two night stay
The Inn is lovely with a large warm & welcoming porch. We loved sitting out in the rocking chairs in the evening watching a relaxing rainstorm or two pass through and the hanging baskets of flowers are gorgeous and add a nice touch of summer color.
We enjoyed the lobby area as well. It was a friendly space packed full with lots of area information, a great guest book overflowing with compliments, a Keriug coffee machine with a fine selection of coffees & teas, a basket of snacks, a refrigerator full of complimentary drinks, a microwave, as well as plates, napkins, and silverware.
A nice continental breakfast is also offered on Saturdays and Sundays. And the homemade cookies calling to us from the front window every day were delicious!
There’s a peaceful outdoor courtyard with a wonderful fountain, chairs to relax in, and even a full size grill to cook on.
The little amenities in the room really made it homey as well. There was a hair dryer and soft bathrobes, eco-friendly soaps and lotions, the two wine glasses and corkscrew were a nice touch, and the roses on the nightstand celebrating our anniversary were beautiful.
I had a nice talk with the owner of the inn, Dan, who told me that their French Country style inn was built in 1893 as an important stop along the Lockport-Olcott Trolley System that brought people from Buffalo, N.Y. to the Olcott Beach Hotel. He took the time to explain how each of the 5 rooms were named for famous historical area moments. Our room, the Patterson, was so named because in 1823, Arthur Patterson constructed the first hotel in Newfane. The Roosevelt Suite was aptly named after Teddy Roosevelt who gave a speech at the Pioneer Days Festival in Olcott which put the town on the map.
The history, meaning, attention to detail, and comfort the Brookins Inn & Suites offers, as well as the kind and accommodating owners, makes this a great recommendation and a must-stay for anyone visiting the area.
One of our first stops after a night’s rest at the inn was a visit to the Van Horn Mansion.
The mansion was built in 1823 by James Van Horn. It is currently maintained by the local historical society whose members do a fantastic job with tours, information, and year-round events centering around the mansion.
We enjoyed learning about the mansion’s history and about the families who lived in it. The tour of the mansion was amazing. Some of our favorite parts included looking at all of the historical antique pieces throughout the mansion that gave us a glimpse of what it was like to live at that time. We also found the stained glass ceiling incredible.
Prior to hitting the Niagara Wine Trail we stopped for lunch at the Wine Trail Cafe where we enjoyed sandwiches and wraps. The Wine Trail Cafe will also put together boxed lunches to bring along with you as you travel between the wineries. Such a great idea!
Our first stop on the wine trail was Arrowhead Spring Vineyard. The tasting room was lovely, the wine was delicious, and the tasting room associate was very friendly and extremely knowledgeable. We enjoyed talking with him and learning about what it is like to work in a vineyard as much as we enjoyed the views, the photography displays, and the wine.
Our next stop was the Freedom Run Winery right down the hill and next door. As soon as we walked in the door we couldn’t get over the beauty of the tasting room. It was large, airy, bright, and beautiful. We learned that all of the glasswork on the front of the bars and throughout the room were crafted by a family member. They are gorgeous pieces and truly add a distinct and divine touch to the room.
Our third and final stop was definitely our favorite. While we enjoyed our time at the two earlier wineries, our visit to the Chateau Niagara Winery was an incredible immersion experience in itself. The owners of the Chateau Niagara, Jim and Kathy Baker, were there to greet us and we were immediately enveloped in their enthusiasm and passion for their winery.
Jim took us on a wonderful tour of his vineyard. He talked about each variety of grape and what type of flavor it produced, he explained why his dry, sandy, & gravel-filled soil is different than other wineries, and he even gave us a sneak peek at some baby vines he’s experimenting with that will soon make him a unique, notable, and distinguished wine.
While we were enjoying the vineyard tour, Kathy, was inside setting up our wine tasting. We tasted a handpicked selection of wines and were blown away by the bold flavors in each one. We enjoyed learning about each wine and how it came to be as well as why each food pairing was right for that wine. We had chardonnay strawberry cheese, raspberry jalapeno chocolates, and even oyster crackers. Each food pairing established or changed the flavor of the wine it was paired with making it stand out even more.
We ended the tasting with their dessert wine, the A La Mode. It’s wine that tastes just like apple pie and there’s no apples in it! It was so delicious that we bought a bottle to bring home with us to share with family and friends – if it lasts that long!.
Later that evening we had a wonderful filling and flavorful dinner at Cafora’s. It’s a cozy family owned restaurant that offers a huge menu with equally large and enjoyable portions of pizza, pasta, subs, sandwiches, calzones, and more.
We had an incredible time our our Niagara Wine Trail romantic getaway and would recommend a visit to wine lovers, those looking for a bit of romance, and to anyone who is looking for a peaceful and relaxing getaway. There are 16 wineries on the wine trail and while we only made it to three of them, this just means another trip back soon is in our future and we can’t wait!