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Trip Report: NOTL getaway weekend

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Waterloo, Canada
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256 posts
42 reviews
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Trip Report: NOTL getaway weekend

Thanks to everyone who offered advice on here, I've just returned from a really wonderful getaway weekend in NOTL. Now that I know what a manageable weekend drive it is, we will definitely be doing more weekends there--maybe making it an annual thing, if not more frequently!

To keep things clear, I thought I'd post my notes on our weekend in a new thread instead of cluttering up the one where I originally asked for advice. I will also post reviews for the hotel, restaurants, etc. in the appropriate spots shortly.

First, hotel--we considered some of the pricier inns in town, as they all sound lovely, but then we realized we could stay at a B&B for a fraction of the price, have a lovely big breakfast each morning, personal service, and other nice touches. Why not save that extra money to bring back a few more bottles of wine! So after reading the reviews in the B&B section, I noticed there were several great options. Silken Dreams sounded like a good fit for us, & still had a room open (we were planning at short notice, so got lucky there!), so we booked with them. I'm very glad we did. I'll post more details in my hotel review, but Don & Melody were lovely hosts, and the breakfasts were amazing (and HUGE!). The room was also lovely, a nice spacious room with a king sized bed and a huge bathroom. It was a great deal.

Wine tasting: we debated about several options for tours, etc., but in the end booked a package with Niagara Classic Cabs. The package includes a private driver, tastings at 4 wineries, and lunch at the Old Angel Pub. Our driver, Richard, was wonderful--very knowledgeable about the area and the wineries. I had picked 4 wineries out from advice on here, but he asked us if we would be open to his suggestions, and once he got a sense of our tastes, he took us to a few of his choosing as well as ones I had picked (some happened to overlap, so I think I did get some great advice here, too!). In the end, we had time to fit 5 wineries in, which is definitely the most I would recommend anyone do in a day. We stopped at Reif, Riverview, Marynissen, Coyote's Run, and Ravine. Of those, the only 1 we didn't love was Reif. Nothing wrong with it, & the sensory garden was neat, but we preferred the smaller places and found we liked the wines we tasted better elsewhere (we were also offered fewer pours at Reif, & it was the only place we didn't get to pick what we wanted to taste, so that may have contributed).

For serious red wine drinkers, Coyote's Run has some fabulous wines, and tasting the difference in terroir between the Red Paw & Black Paw was neat. Ravine does as well, but they are at a higher price point--not outrageous, and we scooped up several bottles. At Marynissen we were able to do a small "vertical tasting" & compare some different vintages of the same varietal. Amazing to taste the weather conditions so clearly that way! Also, Marynissen has vineyards on 2 different types of soil just like Coyote's Run, so we taste 2 Cab Sauv's (I think--my notes aren't here with me!) from different vineyards, and the contrast there was striking as well. Despite being moderately well-educated wine drinkers, we still learned some new things and had a great day. Plus, our cellar is once again full. :-)

Food--again, I'll post more details in a review for each restaurant. The included lunch was at the Old Angel. Perfectly fine pub food, nothing exciting but good to fortify between wine stops. Dinner Friday at Stone Road was excellent, and dinner Saturday at the Old Winery was very good. Lunch today at Vineland Estates on the way back was quite good (parts were exquisite, others just good).

Spa--we had a couples massage at OSpa at the Oban Inn. Overall, a great experience. We went early because we had read that we could use the pool, hot tub, & steam room before/after our massage. It had rained heavily overnight (fortunately it was about over by the time we got to the Oban), so it wasn't really pool weather (the pool & hot tub are outdoors). The pool hadn't been cleaned post-storm (again, it had JUST stopped raining, so I can't really fault them). The hot tub didn't feel terribly hot (probably due to rain water), so we opted out of that as well. That left the steam room, which was great, but we had more time to kill than you can safely spend in a steam room! Luckily, they have a lovely "relaxation area" outside the treatment rooms where we could just lounge and drink tea. The massage itself was very good. My husband's therapist, Irmi, was exceptional. Mine (Brian) was good, but didn't quite compare to the massage therapist I have at home. Still, a nice relaxing treat for a weekend getaway.

I think that's everything! If anyone has questions about any part of our trip, please let me know. I feel like I've said a lot, but also have a nagging feeling that I may have left something out--do let me know if I have!

Waterloo, Canada
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256 posts
42 reviews
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1. Re: Trip Report: NOTL getaway weekend

I knew I had forgotten a few details--nothing crucial, but just a few more points about the OSpa.

First, access to their pool/hot tub area is a bit awkward--you have to go out the main entrance and around through the parking lot to get there. Not a huge deal, but we were in our spa robes already by the time we learned that, so it felt a bit weird to be tramping through the parking lot!

There is a lovely garden beside the pool, and it appeared that a few of the hotel rooms had private decks that backed on to the garden area. It seemed to me that would be a lovely place to spend some time relaxing--and additionally, those rooms would have easy pool access if that mattered to anyone!

Secondly, the changerooms in the spa were very nice overall. In the ladies, there was a great shower with fabulous water pressure, & I was thinking if this was typical of what's in the hotel bathrooms, it might be worthwhile to stay here. However, my husband reported that the shower in the men's changeroom was pretty awful. It sounded like it was the same shower head (the rain kind), but the majority of the holes were blocked and the water was only coming out of a few, causing it to feel like pin pricks. He tried both showers and said both were the same. This seems like a relatively simple thing for the hotel to fix, so we do plan on letting them know so they can make that improvement.

Ottawa, Canada
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13,856 posts
48 reviews
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2. Re: Trip Report: NOTL getaway weekend

Hi Lligett,

Welcome to the NOTL TRAVEL FORUM.

Sounds like you guys had an amazing time… and it is good to hear that you’ve discovered a place where as a couple you plan to getaway more often… we love NOTL, and definitely find it a great place to “recharge” our batteries.

The B&B Silken Dreams sounds marvellous… I read your Review, and Mr Wine & I have stayed at a variety of accommodations in the area, but not a B&B… might just check it out for our next stay (always prefer staying in NOTL when we can over NF).. and based on what I read on their website, quite reasonably priced as well.

We usually wine tour with another couple, the Gent isn’t much of a wine drinker… so he plays chauffeur for the day… unfortunately they may not be with us this year for our annual visit… so we’ve been talking about using Niagara Classic Cabs… they get lots of great press here on TA… and it is fabulous that they let one set up their own touring program.. exactly what we experienced wine lovers are looking for. So also good to hear you had a good experience with them… and sounds like you had an enjoyable visit to many of my favourite NOTL wineries… and lol, like you for the most part we too prefer the smaller places vs the Biggies…. Love Marynissen… BTW if you plan a return visit, let me know, and I’ll give you some more great spots to add to your explorations.

Food & Spa… what can one possibly say… NOTL has some of the best in the whole country !!

Glad you had a great time…. again thanks for sharing the TripReport.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

PS... Showerhead at OSpa... lol, sounds like something a little CLR might clear up quickly. Too funny!

Danbury, Connecticut
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5,596 posts
81 reviews
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3. Re: Trip Report: NOTL getaway weekend

Thank you for a very helpful trip report!!!

Voy

4. Re: Trip Report: NOTL getaway weekend

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