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Four Spots for Meditation in Niagara

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

image001Meditation has long been lauded as a way to achieve greater insight into one’s self, empathy into one’s neighbors, and inner peace about those aspects of life that can’t be controlled. If it’s something you regularly engage in, you also know it’s a vital part of how you achieve a balanced and meaningful life. Whether you practice Transcendental Meditation or just your own version of mindfulness training, going on vacation affords you the lucky opportunity to settle down into a new spot and learn to quiet your mind anew. If you’re planning a stay in the Niagara region this fall, here are four spots that are perfect for meditation — especially as the weather cools.

1. Queen Victoria Park

The main park in Niagara Falls, Queen Victoria Park has plenty of places where you can spread out a blanket or yoga mat, close your eyes and turn your attention inward. Especially in the morning, the park has few visitors, save for the birds and insects that will still be bustling about before winter hits. Choose the rock garden or hybrid tea rose garden, or simply settle down onto one of the beautifully maintained lawns. Even if all you do is sit quietly on one of the many park benches, Queen Victoria Park is a perfect place to experience tranquility.

2. The Botanical Gardens

image003A 40-hectare spot, the Niagara Parks’ Botanical Gardens is just a 10-minute drive along the Niagara Parkway to the north of Niagara Falls. The outdoor classroom for students of the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, it’s a beautiful and sensory space that’s big enough to allow you true privacy. Whether you want to be surrounded by herbs, vegetables, roses, or a host of perennials, the Botanical Gardens will afford you a wealth of choice when it comes to finding the best spot to meditate. Because of its size, any time of day will work since the crowds — especially in autumn — won’t be big enough to cramp your style in such a large place.

3. Dufferin Islands

At just 10 acres, this small, secluded park also includes several little islands that are all connected by small bridges and quaint footpaths. Ideal for a walking meditation, Dufferin Islands is just big enough to give your mind free rein but not so large as to create anxiety that you’ll lose your way. One of the locations of the Winter Festival of Lights, unless you want your walking meditation attended by others, you should avoid meditating there in the evening once November 21 — the opening day of the festival — rolls around.

4. Queen’s Royal Park

Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, just a couple blocks from its main shopping and business district, this beautiful park allows for quiet sitting and meditating along the banks of the Niagara River. Quaint and picturesque, you can actually see both Fort Niagara and Lake Ontario from the water’s edge. Especially if you’d like to spend the day shopping in NOTL or visiting one of its stellar wineries, starting your day in meditation at Queen’s Royal Park is ideal.

Niagara affords visitors so many opportunities to appreciate the natural world. If you enjoy meditation, combine the two at one of these four fabulous area green spaces.

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6 More Travel Hacks to Love

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

image001We received so many positive responses from our last post about travel hacks that we just had to share more! A vacation in Niagara Falls is easy, but traveling to and from any destination can be a pain (in the head, neck, back, and feet). Here are more tips to see you happily and healthily through your next trip to Niagara (or anywhere else).

1. Copy Your IDs

Niagara Falls is — surprisingly to most visitors — in both America and Canada, and you certainly do need a passport to travel to the Canadian side (which boasts the bigger, better waterfalls and most of the famous attractions). Unfortunately, important documents have a habit of going missing in the shuffle. Having a digital or hard copy of your passport, ID card, and itinerary may help you recover faster if your stuff gets lost or stolen.

2. Cover Your Dirty Stuff

If you don’t want sweat or grime to get all over your fresh clothing, you should enclose your dirty stuff in plastic shopping bags to trap in the dirt and smell. You might want to wrap up your shoes before you depart, since they probably already have some debris trapped on them. In a fix, you can also use shower caps to segregate the dirty from the clean.

3. Protect Your Luggage

When you fly, you can tag your luggage as “fragile,” and at no extra cost, your checked bags will receive premium treatment. Instead of getting thrown around like the rest of the passengers’ luggage, your bags will be carried carefully by a loader to the plane, where it will be placed on top of the rest, preventing crushing. Additionally, because of its position in the cargo hold, your bag will be among the first released into the baggage claim area. Not bad for a free sticker.

4. Wear Your Heavy Stuff

image003Heavy clothing — like boots and winter coats — is usually bulky as well, and when suitcase space is at a premium, you might be hesitant to pack them. However, as we enter the second half of the year, Niagara Falls’ temperate weather is turning cool fast, and soon you will need those thick socks and long scarves to enjoy the scenery. You can bring along your heavy, bulky stuff by wearing it onto the plane. As a bonus, thick coats often make excellent pillows, so you can get a good nap while bringing along crucial gear.

5. Avoid the Currency Counter

Exchanging currencies is a hassle no matter where you go — luckily, most places in Niagara Falls accept both American and Canadian dollars. Still, if you must exchange your currency, you should stay far away from with airport converters. They charge additional fees and usually aren’t fair with their rates. Instead, you can exchange cash at banks or ATMs for a more reliable trade.

6. Look Like a Local

For the most rewarding travel experience, you should avoid common tourist tropes, like:

  • Keeping your nose in the guidebook
  • Seeing the destination through a camera lens
  • Eating at familiar restaurants
  • Using your native language
  • Dressing for comfort rather than custom

By avoiding what you are used to and trying to look like a local, you will likely have amazing new experiences you won’t soon forget. When you are in Niagara Falls, you can pick up some Canadian slang, eat a few Canadian treats, and generally enjoy life north of the border.

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4 Free Things to Do in Niagara Parks

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

image001Niagara Falls is arguably the best vacation destination in the world — not just because it caters to all sorts of travelers, not just because it offers unparalleled natural beauty, and not just because it is nearby, but because it is entirely, 100 percent budget-friendly. If you don’t believe us, check out these four free activities you can do within our parks.

1. Sightsee

It is impossible to come to Niagara Falls and miss the natural feature that gives the city its name. Horseshoe Falls (and American and Bridal Veil Falls on the United States side) are some of the most magnificent waterfalls in the world, and they are the main reason this little nook of Ontario became such an important vacation destination. While a number of big structures have been constructed to provide better views of the Falls, we believe that the best glimpses of the Falls are caught from the various parks scattered around the city.

2. Learn

There are dozens of opportunities to learn about the history and ecology of Niagara Falls in and around Niagara parks. Niagara is an exceedingly fertile region, surrounded by nourishing rivers and lakes that lend nutrients and water to the soil. As a result, there are all sorts of fascinating plants and animals that call Niagara Falls home. You can learn about some of Niagara Falls’ natural ecosystem in the Niagara Falls History Museum, but you can discover even more for yourself (and for free!) by wandering around the parks yourself.

The Niagara Botanical Gardens offers a dazzling display of seasonal blooms as well as a chance to learn more about horticulture. Home to the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, the gardens are often teeming with students and teachers who are happy to explain the science of growing things to interested tourists.

3. Hike

image003Ontario, Canada boasts some of the most beautiful landscapes in a nation of beautiful landscapes, which makes the Niagara region an excellent place to explore nature on foot. There are hundreds of hiking trails around the area designed to cater to all sorts of hiking levels. Most of the trails in Niagara Falls proper are paved with concrete or asphalt to make it easier on novice hikers. For a longer, more intense hike, you can explore portions of Canada’s famous Bruce Trail or take the Niagara River Parkway Recreation Trail along the Niagara River.

The American side of the Falls also boasts some scenic trails. Beginners might want to explore the Great Gorge: Both the Great Gorge Scenic Overlook and the Upper Great Gorge hikes are gentle and easy one- to two-hour hikes. More advanced hikers looking for a challenge can check out the Whirlpool Rapids Adventure Hike, which takes three hours and requires quite a bit of scrambling and boulder-hopping to complete.

4. Rest

With so many things to do and see (and with so many of them absolutely free) you can easily get exhausted running from here to there. However, this trip to Niagara Falls should be a time to rest and relax — and the parks are the perfect place to do that. Find a shady spot to lie down in, close your eyes, and take a break. You can even spread out a blanket and enjoy a picnic meal. Then, you will be ready to conquer your next free adventure in Niagara Falls.

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6 Travel Hacks to Make Your Niagara Trip That Much Easier

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

image001Traveling is incredibly fun — but for some, the process of getting from one place to another (and back again!) is outrageously difficult. If you regularly find yourself enraged by the act of packing and flying, we have some smart solutions to make your travel experience dramatically less infuriating. Try out any of these hacks on your next trip to Niagara, and you’ll be sure to have a great time from your first unzipped suitcase to your last glimpse of the falls.

1. Roll, Don’t Fold

Veteran travelers are well-aware of how much space you can save by rolling up your clothing into tight cylinders instead of folding them like normal. Plus, rolling usually decreases other common travel issues, like wrinkles and static.

2. Pack Dryer Sheets

Most travelers don’t bother with laundry while they’re away, but throwing a few dryer sheets in your suitcase will prevent your clothes from developing a musty, stale smell. After your trip, dryer sheets can also stop dirty clothes from stinking up fresh ones. If you forget a dryer sheet, you can also use the complimentary bar soap from your Niagara Falls hotel.

3. Use Multi-taskers

One-use products aren’t great for traveling; they take up too much space and usually don’t provide enough benefit. Instead of filling your bags with uni-taskers, you should consider finding multi-taskers that do many jobs in one. For example:

  • Leggings. Simple black (or gray or colored) leggings are comfortable during transit, feel warm under dresses and skirts, and can even be worn during workouts.
  • Color sticks. Instead of packing lipstick, eyeshadow, brightener, blush, and your usual bevy of other makeup products, opt for a multi-use color stick that does all that work with one product.
  • Binder clips. These office tools are essential for travel; they can keep your razor heads covered and sharp, your wires and cords nicely wrapped, and more.

4. Bring a Drink

image003Most airlines are continuing to restrict the goodies you get in-flight, which means you might not even get enough water to slake your thirst in transit. You can bring an empty water bottle through security, fill it up in your terminal, and top it off every time a flight attendant comes around to ensure you are properly hydrated. As a bonus, you’ll have a water bottle available throughout your trip.

For a more rejuvenating drink, you can add honey and a lemon wedge to a thermos and ask the flight attendants to add hot water. Alternatively, you can bring your own tea bag.

5. Splurge for Wi-Fi

Even if you feel confident in your ability to entertain yourself offline, having access to the Internet while you travel is a worthwhile luxury. While you are trapped on the plane, you can get a last bit of work done, and when you are enjoying your trip, you can discover nearby attractions and events you otherwise might have missed.

6. Buy Snacks

Often, a bad mood can be drastically improved by a small bite to eat. Instead of wasting time at a restaurant, you can pick up small snacks, like fresh fruit and water, at a grocery or convenience store near your hotel. Then, you can keep going all day, seeing all that Niagara Falls has to offer.

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What to Expect at the Niagara Food and Wine Festivals

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

image001Food and wine are two things the Niagara region knows better than almost anything else (except waterfalls, of course). The land is outrageously fertile and local farms and vineyards can produce some of the most delicious crops imaginable. That means that two upcoming events, the Niagara Food Festival and the Niagara Wine Festival, are destined to be smashing successes. If this will be your first experience at the Niagara Food and Wine Festivals, here’s all you need to know to have the best time possible.

Niagara Wine Festival

St. Catharines, a charming town just a short drive north from Sheraton on the Falls, is nestled comfortably between the serene blue waters of Lake Ontario and the lush, green grapevines of Niagara wine country. The natural beauty of the landscape makes St. Catharines a pristine place to host one of the country’s most beloved wine festivals.

The Niagara Wine Festival boasts more than 100 distinct wine-related events for adults and family alike. During the weekends, wine-lovers are granted access to the cellars of the region’s most prestigious winemakers, where they can sample award-winning wines paired with gourmet culinary experiences. Additionally, the festival will take over St. Catharines’s Montebello Park, where prestigious winemakers as well as local food vendors will provide samples and sales of their wares.

The 64th annual Niagara Wine Festival takes place September 12 through 27, which means there is plenty of time to enjoy the various events organized by the region’s best winemakers. The cost of admission varies dependent on which attractions you are interested in attending. A Discovery Pass, which grants access to eight wineries plus a number of other festival events, costs $40, and adding additional events, like the Grape Growers of Ontario Celebrity Luncheon or entrance to the Harvest Lounge, will require additional payment.

Niagara Food Festival

image003For a rowdier affair, you should set your sights on the Niagara Food Festival, where professional foodies loudly and proudly enjoy the culinary creations of the Niagara region. Just a brief drive away in the city of Welland, the festival promises a rollicking good time with fantastic food and live entertainment.

A number of world-renowned chefs call Niagara Falls home, including Massimo Capra and Jaime Kennedy. However, in town just for the festival are a number of big names, such as:

  • Erin Smith, winner of “Chopped Canada”
  • The Mandevilles, beloved local rock band
  • Kim Mitchell, acclaimed Canadian guitarist

Perhaps the most thrilling feature of the Niagara Food Festival is the Mobile Culinary Theatre, which boasts a full, demonstration kitchen for famous chefs to show off their skill. For no additional cost, festival visitors can watch their favorite culinary geniuses produce works of edible art; aided by modern technology, including video cameras, screens, and an extensive PA system, chefs can reveal exactly how their famous creations are made.

The 22nd annual Niagara Food Festival spans September 11 through 13. Perhaps the most thrilling aspect of this amazing festival is that it is absolutely free! With an empty stomach and some enthusiasm, you’re ready to enjoy the Niagara Food Festival.

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Highlights at 2015’s Niagara Wine Festival

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

image001While most people love any reason to celebrate, in Niagara, another year’s grape harvest is a reason that sits right at the top of the list. The Niagara Wine Festival takes place across two weekends every September throughout the Niagara Peninsula, and for wineries, winemakers, and wine lovers, it’s a celebration of the grape that’s easily one of the most anticipated events of the year. This year’s event starts the weekend of September 18, 19, and 20, and continues until the end of the following weekend, September 25, 26, and 27.

Almost every winery in the region participates, as new vintages are paired with new culinary creations for an experience that’s unlike any other. While the wine always takes center stage, here are some of the other highlights of this year’s festival that are guaranteed to make the event an unforgettable one.

“Educate Your Senses” Seminar Series

On two separate Saturdays, the 19 and the 26, at Montebello Park in downtown St. Catharines, the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), Dairy Farmers of Canada, and Brock University are offering wine and cheese seminars to educate and enlighten attendees about what to consider when pairing wines and cheeses. Led by experts in both industries, seminars take place both Saturdays at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4 p.m.

The Harvest Lounge

Located in Montebello Parks’ pavilion, the Harvest Lounge is an ideal place to take in some of the festival’s best wine and food away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds. Top-tier VQA wines are available and paired with charcuterie, cheeses, specialty relishes, pickled vegetables, and homemade mustards. Open in the evenings across both festival weekends, a VIP pass to the Lounge is just $10. In addition to having access to the wine and food, the Lounge includes private seating beneath the sheltered pavilion, private restrooms, TV screens showcasing the Main Stage, and a commemorative glass.

The Mayors’ Invitational Grape Stomp

image003Watch the annual Grape Stomp on Saturday, September 19 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Walter Ostenak Pavilion Stage. Presented every year by the St. Catharines Jaycees, the Grape Stomp pits local and regional “dignitaries” and grape growers against one another in a lighthearted competition to see who can stomp the most grapes the fastest.

Kitchen Kids

If you’re coming to the Niagara Falls region with your family in tow, be sure to sign your kids up for this festival event. Held on Saturday, September 20 at 12:30 p.m. in Montebello Park, this fun and interactive child-centered cooking experience will demonstrate the joy of cooking for the younger set. Admission is free, but, due to its popularity, space will probably be limited, so plan to come early.


The live music that takes place each festival weekend is always stellar, and this year is shaping up to be no exception. Bands play Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of both weekends, and some of the acts include:

  • Theatre Crisp
  • Laura Second Drumline and Choir
  • Harlan Pepper
  • Small Town Pistols
  • Brad James
  • And more!

If you love wine, plan your next Niagara vacation so that it coincides with the region’s grape harvest, and celebrate like a local at the Niagara Wine Festival.

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5 Must-See Attractions at The Welland Fair

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

kaboompics.com_Feeding the pigeons-minEstablished 150 years ago to encourage understanding between rural and urban communities, the Niagara Regional Agricultural Exhibition — home of the Welland Fair — is one of the best celebrations of local life in all its variety in and around Niagara. Held each September on the second weekend after Labour Day, the Welland Fair offers the best in family fun and entertainment with horse shows, livestock shows, live music, a baby contest, agricultural displays, a carnival, and more. If you’re looking to take a family vacation to Niagara, make sure it falls on the weekend of September 17 — 20, so you can see these five must-see fair attractions and countless others.

1. The Fun-est Baby Contest

Held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, the baby contest is a perennial crowd favorite. Babies are separated into age groups and genders — they can be anywhere from newly born to 24 months in age — and from there the categories run the gamut. However, the emphasis is always on fun, which is why the judges look for the following characteristics:

  • Chubbiest cheeks
  • Curliest hair
  • Best dancer
  • Longest toes
  • And plenty more!

2. Demolition Derby

If you love watching cars and trucks run into each other in real life in a controlled environment where precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of the participants, then the Welland Fair’s Demolition Derby is for you. One of the most popular events held each year at the fair, this year’s Derby will take place on Saturday, September 19 at 7:30 p.m. Vehicles will race and smash until 11 p.m.

3. Racing Pigs

If you’ve never seen pigs race one another on their quest for a tasty treat, it’s both adorable and hilarious. Celebrity Pig Races puts on animal races all weekend long that include not just pigs, but ducks, goats, and geese, too. Place friendly bets with your family members, and if you want, you can even sponsor a pig or other racing animal by contacting the fair office.

4. The Ken Jen Petting Zoo

Whether or not you have little ones with you, the Ken Jen petting zoo is worth a visit. Deer, pigs, llamas, camels, a donkey—a whole menagerie is on display and available for petting and feeding. All the animals are hand-raised from birth so they’re completely comfortable with people. They all have names and well-known personalities. For a chance to get up close and personal with an animal who will enjoy being petted as much as you enjoy petting it, the Ken Jen petting zoo offers unparalleled fun throughout the entire weekend of the fair.

5. Magic Shows

Another highlight of every Welland Fair is the agriculturally themed magic shows put on by Daniel Steep, an illusionist who holds a Guinness World Record. Adults and kids will all be entertained and educated about the importance of farming and farmers in Canada through Steep’s funny and interactive magic show.

For farm- and community-centered fun that’s feels like it’s from another time, head to the Welland Fair. It’s just one more reason the Niagara region makes such a fantastic place to visit.

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What to Do — Besides Eat — at the Niagara Food Festival

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

image001Held every September, the Niagara Food Festival highlights the very best in Canadian food, farms, restaurants, and celebrity chefs. This year’s festival marks the 22nd year for the event, and it will take place September 11 through the 13 in Welland. Delicious food abounds, but eating is just one of the reasons to attend. Here is a look at some of the other opportunities for fun and education available at this year’s Niagara Food Festival.

The Mobile Culinary Theatre

Part of the educational and entertainment components of the Niagara Food Festival, the Mobile Culinary Theatre is one of the most popular attractions each year, because it allows for a complete cooking demonstration with a live audience. It’s also available for rent for anyone hoping to attract a crowd to an event. A fully functional and mobile demonstration kitchen, the MCT is 15 feet deep and 28 feet long, which allows plenty of space for chefs to put on culinary shows. The MCT will be the set for a number of culinary adventures throughout the festival.

Live Music

Another feature of the Niagara Food Festival is the lineup of excellent local and regional bands that provide entertainment all weekend long, starting at 6pm on Friday. From rock and roll to folk music, the bands are high-energy and family friendly. Kim Mitchell, former member of Max Webster and Canadian singing and guitar-slinging legend is slated to perform, and other acts include:

  • The Mandevilles
  • Orangeman
  • Street Pharmacy
  • Brad Battle
  • River Junction Band
  • Wednesday’s Engine
  • And more!

The Contest

image003Every year the festival holds a “So You Think You Can Cook?” contest for Niagara residents, and the finale — which will take place on September 12 of this year’s festival — is one of the highlights of each year’s event. The first round of the contest is open from June 1 through August 7, and it requires entrants to develop an original recipe for consideration that uses at least one locally grown or sourced food or product. Three finalists are selected to compete for the prize of being the best recipe-maker and cook in the Niagara region, and they must prepare their dish live and in front of an audience where it will then be sampled by the festival judges. Recipes and dishes are judged via the following criteria:

  • Taste appeal
  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Use of Niagara product(s)

Celebrity Chefs

Each year’s festival brings a slew of celebrity Canadian chefs out of the woodwork, and this year’s event will be no exception. While who will all be in attendance is still being decided upon, one sure crowd favorite who has already been booked is Erin Smith, a young Port Colborne native who won Chopped Canada with her innovative use of frog legs, green tea powder, and cheesecake.

If you love eating and cooking, book your Niagara vacation so that it coincides with the Niagara Food Festival. There will be plenty of excellent food to eat, and the entertainment and learning opportunities will keep you happily engaged all weekend long.

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3 of the Best “Pick Your Own” Farms in the Niagara Peninsula

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

image001The Niagara region has long been one of the most important providers of fruit and produce in all of Canada thanks to the temperate climate, rich and well-draining soil, abundance of water, and numerous farms and orchards in the area. It’s the primary reason why the farm-to-table movement is so common in area restaurants: The region’s fertility and variety make using locally sourced food a relatively easy choice.

If you’re planning on visiting Niagara and you’re looking for an experience of the place that’s out of the ordinary, head toward the countryside. Many of the region’s excellent farms or orchards include a “pick your own” option that makes for a fun and delicious afternoon. From pumpkins to blackberries, here is a closer look at three of the best “pick your own” farms and orchards on the Niagara Peninsula.

1. Parkway Orchards

Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Parkway Orchards has a wide variety of fruit for anyone intent on eating from Niagara’s bounty. Cherries, peaches, nectarines, apples, grapes, and more can all be picked by visitors to the orchard — it just depends on when you visit and what’s ripe. Cherry picking and peach picking usually happens around the start of the summer, while plums and nectarines are often picked in August and, sometimes, September. Apples are usually ready throughout September, and grapes can be harvested in October. Located right on the Niagara Parkway, the orchards are beautiful year-round, and whatever fruit is in season is always mouth-wateringly good. They also have a gift shop, and ice cream available for purchase.

2. Bry-Anne Farms

image003While Bry-Anne Farms grows a large variety of produce and fruit — including tomatoes, strawberries, and raspberries — it’s their pumpkins that form the most exciting “pick your own” crop each year. Every October, Bry-Anne Farms turns into the Great Pumpkin Patch. Not only can you select your own pumpkin for jack-o-lantern carving, but they also have hayrides, a straw maze, a hay play place for kids, and a barn for exploring. Regardless of what time during the growing season you visit Niagara, however, Bry-Anne Farms is always a great place to visit.

3. Ridge Berry Farms

While much of Ridge Berry Farms’ 27 acres is planted in corn each year, the owners still maintain a decent amount of fruit production, and the variety they offer is what makes it such a lovely pick your own farm to visit. Small patches of blackberries and purple raspberries are available for visitors to pick, and they also boast fruit like Arctic Kiwis, Saskatoon berries, mulberries, and Concord grapes. They also have a few apples varieties for picking during the autumn months. Visitors can also walk through the farm’s old Carolinian Forest, which includes everything from Black Walnut and Shagbark Hickory trees to wild, edible mushrooms and wild leeks. Be sure to contact the farm ahead of time to let them know you’re coming; because they’re further off the beaten path, reservations are required.

Enjoy Niagara in a whole new way by visiting one of these three excellent “pick your own” farms.

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The Second Annual Celtic Festival at Fort George

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

image001The Niagara region long ago established itself as a well-known and entertaining destination for travelers from anywhere and everywhere of all types and persuasions. Whether you love wine, craft beer, film, geology, or shopping, the region can satisfy your whim and desire with aplomb.

No way is this reality more true than in the wide variety and number of festivals that take place throughout the year. From the Ice Wine Festival held each January to the Shaw Festival that takes place from May through September, a festival in Niagara always lives up to its name, but it has a feel and rhythm unique to the region.

At the Fort George Historic Site on July 24 and 25, that same whim-satisfying experience coupled with that unique Niagara feel and rhythm will be on full display at the second annual Celtic Festival, where lovers of Celtic culture and keepers of Celtic roots come together to celebrate a remarkable tradition and heritage.

Fort George Historic Site

At first glance, it may not seem like the Fort George Historic Site would make a good setting for a festival of any kind, let alone a Celtic one, but upon closer examination, it’s actually a perfect fit. The location of the headquarters of the British Army’s Central Division during the War of 1812, it’s a perfect spot to celebrate a culture that has survived into modern times as a part of the United Kingdom. Today, the fort has been restored to its former grandeur, and the beautiful green spaces surrounding its many buildings make for an idyllic place to hold a festival.

The Festival

image003Celtic culture is well-known and celebrated for its music, and the Celtic Festival at Fort George will feature sounds and songs in a big way. Celtic music is the traditional folk music of Ireland, Wales, Brittany, Scotland, and Galicia, and while the term is a loose one that can be applied relatively broadly, it’s marked by the use of drums, numerous types of pipes and fifes, and it’s often accompanied by Celtic dancing. At this year’s festival, hundreds of amateur and professional musicians will be in attendance, as well as the Niagara Regional Police Pipe and Drum Band, in order to create the many sounds that are needed for everyone to properly experience Celtic culture. In addition to the music and dancing, there will be a cheers tent, an event zone that’s just for kids, food vendors, Celtic wares, cabers, kilts, tartans, performances by individual pipe bands, and, of course, the mass band made up of all the musicians in attendance.

The festival starts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 24, with a performance by Tartan Terrors, a premier Celtic music and dancing group that puts on an electrifying live show. Tickets to the festival are $19.

Whether you’ve always loved Celtic culture or you just need one more reason to come visit Niagara at the end of July, book a stay and spend the last weekend in July at Fort George Historic Site surrounded by bag pipes, drums, dancing, and fun.

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