The Niagara Region is such a magical place. It is home to wine country, walking trails along the escarpment, lilac and sunflower fields, antiquing, farmers markets and the geological showstopper, Niagara Falls. The area is a perfect getaway for a group of friends, family vacation or a romantic escape, this region really does have it all. BUT, the true magic lies in all the nooks and crannies.
In February I left the hustle and bustle of Toronto for a more relaxed vibe here in wine country. Admittedly, it was a difficult adjustment at the beginning because I was used to being over stimulated that learning to go at a slower pace felt very strange. Fast forward seven months and I am so proud to call the Niagara Region my home.
Here are some places you need to check out next time you come to the Niagara Region:
This makes for a fun day of adventure for those who love to explore. The Niagara Escarpment is home to some pretty impressive trails, Decew being one of them. Along the way down to the falls you can be sure to encounter some steep and slippery terrain so make sure to wear some decent footwear, especially if you want to take a dip in the gorge and get up close and personal with the falls.
There are two ways down to the falls. The first is the short way, but I HIGHLY advise against it, since it involves propelling down the cliffside with a rope that some random has set up.
The long way, really isn’t THAT long and is 1000 times safer. Plus, in my opinion, the adventure is half the fun!
Going the long way - Follow the Bruce Trail from the mill. You will be walking for about 15 minutes (depending on your pace) before you will hit a fork in the path. Stay left. It starts to get steep immediately after turning left, this is how you know you are on the right track. It’s pretty rocky, steep and can get slippery if it has recently rained. We didn’t have much difficulty with this, since we are pretty adventurous and do this type of stuff fairly frequently but if you are a beginner, just take your time and stay low to the ground. The tree roots and trunks can be helpful if you need something to grasp. We saw people taking small children and it looked like a major struggle. I’d maybe save this hike for a child that is in good physical shape and at least 8+. After that fun you will reach a swimming hole. There were signs that said “Private Property” so it’s probably best not to trespass. It’s very beautiful and admittedly I couldn’t help taking a wee dip since it was 30+ on the day we came. If you still want to continue over to the falls, it’s another 10 - 15 minute walk along the muddy, rocky terrain. If you have water shoes, it might even be easier to just stick to the water. There is a path, although not very weathered. Keep following this until you see it. The falls are so refreshing and picturesque.
416 Coffee Co
Situated on the main (Locke Street) street of picturesuqe Port Dalhousie, this little coffee shop is serving up the best beans in the region.
If you are heading to Niagara on The Lake, which I highly suggest doing. You need to go here. I visit Konzelmanns regularly, Like, I'm talking once a week. They have a delicious peach wine and a vineyard that overlooks the lake. You can take a wine tour and grab a bottle of something on your way out of just go for a photo op, either way, its worth the stop.
Located in St.Catharines, this lil pizzeria is a perfect spot to fill your belly full of delicious, home made food. Mostly take out, there are a few seats and an Insta shot waiting to happen with it's neon 'Pizza Solves Everything' sign. Fresh pasta, sauces and dough made daily. Stop by for a signature pizza which is on the unique side or build your own. Ton's of vegan, vegetarian and meat options, with a few gluten free options, making sure to appease everyone.
Quiet Acres Farm
Quiet Acres is a beautiful farm that has fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers all available at the stand situated at the front of the family operation. The quality is undoubtedly one of the best in the region and the staff is super knowledgable and friendly.
Niagara Whirlpool Trails
This is one of the most exquisite trails in the region. I take my dog here at least once a month for a hike and I've never been disappointed. Be prepared to go up and down lots of stairs because it can be quite the workout! The trail usually isn't too busy, which I love. You can hear the sounds of nature and I've seen a mama deer with her baby up close.
Revalee Brunch Cafe
Located in the quaint village of Vineland, this little brunch cafe is everything you could want for the first meal of the day. The feels are modern french with a unique menu including lots of vegan and omni dishes, something for everyone! Pictured below is the Niagara Peach French Toast and Vegan Huevos Rancheros.
Craft Arts Market
Located downtown on St.Paul, Craft Arts Market houses a selection of local handmade artistic products. They also serve espresso and lattes, which are super yummy. If you are looking for a unique gift for someone special or want to grab a lavendar latte, this is your place!
Market West Goods
Another St.Catharines gem. As I am writing this blog post, I am sitting here at Market West Goods with a Sangria and some 80's throwbacks blasting. It's pretty much everything I love wrapped up in a cute little bow. Vintage clothes, vintage furniture, caffeinated beverages, alcohol and food. Plus the owner is so friendly and authentic. I love supporting small businesses that have a unique vision and concept and make it work. This place is a gem and if you are into vintage, coffee or sangria, I suggest you make a stop.
13th Street Winery
Not located in the typical wine path of Niagara on The Lake but equally as beautiful. A great selection of wine, my fav being the sparkling Rose. They also have a cute little bakery and the best Skor Butter-tarts!
I'd love to know what you consider the best hidden gems of the Niagara Region, please comment below!