My Favourite Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake

….a small but mighty winery

Part 2

You know a winery is good when the local restaurants all have their wine on the menu. We were introduced to Marynissen years ago when we first started visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake. On our last trip we learned that Marynissen was the first winery in Ontario to plant the cabernet sauvignon grape and now 48 years later they are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their cabernet sauvignon wine.

While there we sampled this special wine and I have to say it was spectacular. The tasting room is very unpretentious but the staff are extremely friendly and helpful. We walked away with a case of wine. Hopefully we can hang on to some of it for the holidays.

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A Short Visit to Wine Country

after the shock of losing my Dad and having to deal with the immediate paperwork we decided we needed a break

We were surprised that some of our favourite places outside the city were booked in the middle of the week, even during COVID. Toronto and the Greater Toronto area has more restrictions in place because of higher positive test cases so I guess people were looking for places, like us, to get away to.

We finally found a great old mill that was converted into an inn in the outskirts of St. Catharines. It was very close to all the places we wanted to visit and it had a fantastic restaurant on the premises. The Stone Mill Inn was located in a once very industrial area and my husband immediately recognized it because one of his father’s favourite drinking establishments was just around the corner. That’s a story for another time.

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We had dinner at the Italian restaurant in the Inn that evening and were pleased and relieved that the place was not busy. All the safety protocols were in place and the servers all wore masks. The food was fantastic.

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We decided to forgo the outlet mall on our first full day of exploring. We headed straight for Niagara-on-the Lake and made our first stop at the Wayne Gretzky Winery. A lot of wineries are now expanding their inventory to include beer and spirits and interestingly enough it was the whiskey here that we preferred. I’m not much of a whisky drinker but I loved the salted caramel whiskey. I guess some people would argue that salted caramel is an abomination to that classic spirit but it was flying off the shelf.

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Our next stop was the old town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. We walked down the main street and browsed through some of the stores and of course we had to stop in the local bakery and pick up my husband’s favourite pastry, eccles cakes.

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Back to the Inn for another amazing meal and more adventures the next day……..

End of Part 1.

A Trip to St. Jacobs

….a great farmers’ market and lovely small town

Last Saturday the forecast wasn’t great for an outing but that didn’t stop hundreds of people from going to the Farmers’ Market in St. Jacob.

We were actually quite surprised how busy the parking lot was and then we were surprised by how many people didn’t wear masks. Coming from Toronto, we are used to wearing masks and seeing the older people in the crowd not wearing them was quite shocking to us.

On the positive side, people were socially distancing and there were barriers and directional signs to help customers move along safely through the market.8-FCA3-E87-B2-D6-49-C7-AB1-D-045-D53-A68187
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We met up with friends, who are also from Toronto and walked through the market together. There were a lot of great deals on bulk purchases so we split the cost on some items and shared the bounty.  Before leaving the market, Max shared some of the freshly made apple fritters with us. I can see why they were a must have item for him.
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Dining in here is still a no go in Ontario but it is about to change for some areas later in the week. After buying a variety of fruits and vegetables and meats we parted ways. Max and Monica returned to Toronto and Kevin and I decided to drive north to the town of St. Jacobs and explore a bit.

St. Jacobs is a popular location for tourists due to its quaint village appearance, retail focus and Mennonite heritage. Waterloo Region is still home to the largest population of Old Order Mennonites in Canada, particularly in the areas around St Jacobs and Elmira.

We did see some Mennonites at the market but not in town. The first place we stopped at was the local craft brewery called Block 3.

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I loved this wall of mugs where local customers had their own personal mug for drinking beer. We sampled a few beers but because it was raining and we couldn’t sit outside we purchased a dozen to drink at home.
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After loading up the car we started to venture out to the main street but I ended up going alone while Kevin waited in the car. (purely for health reasons). I could have spent a much longer time looking through the stores but I knew that my time was limited so I chose one store in particular to explore.A1-AB765-F-7054-4-E2-F-A26-F-47-CB66-DC13-DE
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Lens Artists Photo Challenge – Going Back

thanks to John Steiner for hosting this week’s Lens Artists Photo Challenge

I think we all appreciate photo challenges that don’t require going outside of our homes during this pandemic. We certainly aren’t travelling to exotic places but we can look back on trips we took in the past. Here are a few of my favourite trips over the last few years.

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Florence, Italy
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Assisi, Italy
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Rome, Italy
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Prince Edward County
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London, England
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Covid-19 Has Kept Us Busy

…as a result I haven’t been posting very much or replying to a lot of emails

As some of you may know my husband and I were planning a trip to the UK to see our new granddaughter. In fact we should be on-route as I write this post but clearly I’m not on a plane to anywhere right now.

Early last week we were just getting over the sad news of three deaths in our extended family (not related to the virus) when my husband’s doctor strongly advised him not to take this trip. His suppressed immune system put him in a very high risk category for catching the coronavirus. It was a difficult decision but the right one not to go.

Now I had to decide if I would go without him and spend the first five days with our daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law and then the next eight days alone but close to our son, daughter-in-law and the new baby. I had a lot of mixed messages from colleagues and friends. Some said I should go and enjoy the new baby and others were worried that I could return and infect my husband and 93 year old father.

By Wednesday evening the airline that we were flying on offered a rebooking option without a penalty fee but we had to take the trip before September 1st. That did not work for my daughter and her family because of the summer camp that they run. However, as you know, every hour things changed quickly in the world and by Thursday evening the airline came back, after a lot of backlash from the public and extended the rebooking offer to December 31st.

All of us rebooked for mid October. On Saturday my husband and I ventured out to the mall to finalize our travel cancellation and rebooked our trip at the same time. We were happy the we booked through the Flight Centre because they did all the grunt work for us. After taking our information they sent us home and within a couple of hours we were notified that all was taken care of. Our daughter on the other hand spent a lot of time just trying to get through to the airline because they had booked on-line. Once they finally got through they were on hold for almost an hour but in the end they also were able to cancel this flight and rebook for later.

When we were at the mall Saturday afternoon we were surprised how empty the mall was. People certainly weren’t stocking up here for anything.B3-C1113-D-8-AE5-46-F9-8-CA6-89-F62-C6-D5-DC3
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On Thursday our 13 1/2 year old dog, Frances, was clearly not well. She wasn’t eating, had difficulty walking and controlling her bladder. She slept most of the time and when she was awake she dragged her back legs and moved sideways. We had seen similar symptoms with our last dog and we knew that if she had the same thing she would recover but it would take a few days. On Friday we took her to the vet and she was also pretty sure that Frances has a vestibular disorder that affects her balance. She gave us some more medicine for her arthritis and some wet food that would stimulate her appetite. I’m happy to say that she’s already feeling somewhat better. She is eating and drinking more and even wanted to go out for a walk today. She still walks lopsided and you can see in the photo that her head is still tilted to the side.334-A405-E-ACE2-47-D4-99-F7-2337-FB697796

I hope I haven’t alarmed anyone with the heading at the top of this post. No one in our family, neighbourhood or amongst our friends has the virus but the global epidemic has affected our lives and will continue to do so for the coming weeks. Practise social distancing, wash your hands a lot and stay healthy and please don’t hoard things you don’t need. It makes it very difficult for people, especially seniors who need those things to get them.

Be positive and stay calm.

Carol (aka Mama Cormier)

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Tourism

….thanks to Snow from The Snow Melts Somewhere for this week’s Friendly Friday Photo Challenge

I know that tourism is good for the economy and that many communities around the world rely heavily on tourism. When possible we try to travel in the off season to avoid large crowds. There are times, however, when that is not possible. One time was the summer our son got married in Italy.

I loved Italy but we did avoid some areas because of the heavy foot traffic from tourists. Most of the places we visited were very popular and the crowds were unavoidable. Two of those places were Venice and Rome. Despite the large number of tourists, we thoroughly enjoyed both cities.

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Foto Friday #49 – Return

….thanks to Rag Tag Team for hosting Foto Friday

Of all the places I’ve visited the place I’d like to return to is Venice. I loved everything about it.fullsizeoutput-6f42
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Thursday Doors – Niagara Wineries

….thanks to Norm for hosting Thursday Doors

Lunch, five wineries, tastings and great company. Today my daughter and daughter-in-law joined my husband and me and together we took a drive down to St. David’s in the Niagara region. I knew ahead of time that I wanted to take part in Norm’s door challenge so I packed my camera bag in search of some great doors and wine of course.

We started out at Ravine where we had a wonderful lunch first and then began our wine tasting adventure. All in all we went to five smaller wineries, tasted some fantastic wine and met some wonderful people who were very passionate about their products.IMG-1754
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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Roads: Country, Freeways, Streets, Dirt, etc.

….thanks to Cee for hosting the Fun Foto Challenge

We had an outing today that took us to wine country in the Niagara Region. To get there we travelled on the highway and country roads and over pavement, gravel and dirt.

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