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What You’ll Find at This Year’s Willowbank Jazz Festival

June 8th, 2015

image001Willowbank is a school of “Restoration Arts” located in Niagara-on-the-Lake that specializes in the field of cultural heritage. Focused on a more sustainable and ecologically sound approach to conservation, the school trains its students in the work of restoring buildings, artifacts, and landscapes according to a holistic approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of historical objects with the rituals, cultures, and people who produced them.

An independent and nonprofit school, Willowbank is highly dependent on donations and fundraisers to keep the lights on, and every year, one of their most popular fundraisers is their jazz festival. Now in its 12th year, the Willowbank Annual Jazz Festival will take place at the Riverbend Inn and Vineyard on June 14 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

An afternoon of the best from Canada’s jazz scene is just $45, and you can watch, dance, and listen, and every last penny goes to support the work of the school. The afternoon will also feature both a live and a silent auction, local wine, and food, but the real highlight of the day will be the performers. This year’s roster includes:

  • Bourbon Street Buskers. A Dixieland/swing band from Toronto that’s been performing since 1991, the Buskers play a style of music that’s perfect for dancing, and they have a good enough repertoire to take requests.
  • Guido Basso and Friends. A legendary Canadian trumpet player originally from Montreal, Guido Basso has been playing music for over 60 years. Named a member of the Order of Canada in 1994, he plays trumpet, harmonica, and flugel horn.
  • Climax Jazz Band. Another Toronto-based Dixieland band, Climax Jazz Band plays traditional favorites and a few obscure numbers, and occasionally, they feature a vocalist or two.
  • Tyler Yarema & His Rhythm. Self-taught pianist Tyler Yarema leads this high-energy band in a unique blend of jazz, blues, boogie-woogie, jump blues, and swing music.
  • Terry Clarke. One of the best-known drummers in jazz, Terry Clarke has performed all over the world, on hundreds of records, on countless television and movie scores, and is one of the founding members of Rob McConnell’s “The Boss Brass.”
  • image003John Sherwood. A St. Catharines native, John Sherwood is a highly respected jazz pianist who regularly performs with his trio and other groups in the greater Niagara area.
  • Steve Wallace. Upright jazz bassist Steve Wallace is considered by many to be Canada’s finest upright bass player. Another member of “The Boss Brass,” Wallace has played with everyone from Rosemary Clooney to Oscar Peterson.
  • Reg Schwager. A jazz guitarist and composer, Reg Schwager has been playing and touring the world for roughly 40 years. He has also been named “Jazz Guitar Player of the Year” four times at the National Jazz Awards.

If you love jazz, plan a weekend stay during June 13 and 14. Listen to a full afternoon of some of the best in Canadian jazz, while raising money for Willowbank School of Restoration Arts.

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Niagara’s 2015 New Vintage Festival

May 29th, 2015

image001Every new year in the Niagara Peninsula brings plenty of new reasons to celebrate the area’s exceptional wine offerings. How could it be otherwise with almost 15,000 acres of lush and fecund vineyards producing some of the finest wine in the world? One of the highlights of the spring to summer season is the Niagara New Vintage Festival that’s held every year in June.

One part solstice celebration, one part decadent dive into the season’s best wine offerings, the New Vintage Festival brings together over 40 of the region’s best wineries, 10 of the area’s best local chefs, live entertainment, and countless lovers of wine. If you’re looking for a reason to head on up to Niagara during the month of June, look no further than the New Vintage Festival. Here is just a sampling of what you can do and taste and how you can go about it at this fabulous event.

The New Vintage Discovery Pass

Whether you choose to experience the festival over the weekend of June 13 and 14 or June 20 and 21, make sure you get a New Vintage Discovery Pass, so you won’t miss out on anything. For $40, the Discovery Pass gives you access to eight different Niagara wineries where you’ll be served VQA wine paired with exquisitely prepared food. Some of the wineries accessible with this year’s pass include:

  • Fielding Estate Winery
  • Inniskillin Wines
  • Chateau des Charmes
  • Trius Winery at Hillebrand
  • Peller Estates Winery

Driver’s Discovery Pass

Because it’s difficult to get around to all the wineries participating in this year’s New Vintage Festival without someone driving who won’t be drinking all that amazing wine, there’s a Driver’s Discovery Pass for the kind souls who chauffeur friends and family during the two weekends. For $30, you’ll have access to eight of the participating vineyards just like the wine drinkers with the traditional Discovery Pass, and you’ll be given an excellent non-alcoholic experience at each one.

The Tailgate Party

image003One of the most popular events of the festival is the Tailgate Party that will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., June 20 in the middle of a Niagara-on-the-Lake vineyard. An all-inclusive party, over 40 wineries will provide wine from the season’s bounty. Area winemakers will tell tales. 10 local chefs will cook up amazing food sourced from local farms and orchards.

Live entertainment will be provided by New Country band, Evermile, and of course, delicious wine will be thoroughly enjoyed as the longest day of the year fades into darkness. A favorite way to ring in the start of summer, the Tailgate Party is just $80 if you buy your ticket before June 1. The ticket also includes shuttle service as there won’t be any parking at the party’s location in order to ensure the protection of the vineyard.

Celebrate the start of summer and your love of Niagara’s finest wines and food by participating in this year’s Niagara New Vintage Festival. From the Tailgate Party to the Discovery Passes, it’s the perfect way to enjoy the best in this season’s offerings.

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Romantic Picnic Spots in Niagara

May 20th, 2015

image001Niagara Falls isn’t known as the Honeymoon Capital of the World for nothing. Thousands of couples each year descend on the region to celebrate their recent nuptials in one of the most spectacular and romantic settings in North America. From the thundering waters and picturesque vineyards to the exceptional hotels and restaurants in the area, Niagara Falls really is a great place to enjoy true love.

Of course, every couple needs something to do with their time in addition to ogling the waterfalls and one another, and since eating also should come into play during any type of vacation, going for a romantic picnic is an idyllic way to while away the hours with your beloved. If you and your partner are looking to experience romance by staying in the Niagara region for a spell, here are some of the best places to go for a picnic.

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens

Since 1936, this 99-acre park has been drawing crowds from around the world, and these days find almost a million visitors enjoying the gardens every year. Beautifully and meticulously maintained by students of the Niagara Parks’ horticultural school, the Botanical Gardens includes many flowering trees, shrubs, and plants, as well as a special rose garden and herb garden. Entrance to the gardens is free, which means you can splurge on some local icewine, berries, and cheeses for your meal. Be sure to bring along a blanket, too. There are benches here and there, but you’ll probably want to find an out-of-the-way spot for a little privacy.

Oakes Garden Theatre

The gateway park that leads into Queen Victoria Park, Oakes Garden Theatre was built in 1937 upon the site of a hotel that was destroyed by fire five years prior. Hotel ruins can be seen throughout the garden theatre, which is shaped like an amphitheater whose stage has the Falls as its backdrop.

Iron gates, Queenston limestone, manicured beds, rock gardens, a long and curved pergola and much more make this picturesque space both charming and formal. Enjoy a picnic here with your beloved among the flowering trees and plants before wandering on through Queen Victoria Park.

Montebello Park

image003Located in the downtown area of St. Catherines, this two and a half hectare park is the site of numerous festivals and other local events, but its central location also makes it perfect for a picnic on the fly for the couple who has already been out and about in the city of St. Catherines.

Designed at the end of the 19th century by Frederick Law Olmstead, one of the preeminent founders of landscape architecture in the United States, this park features plenty of shaded clearings perfect for spreading out a blanket, as well as a rose garden and fountain. Grab a sandwich or pastry and a bottle of wine from one of the downtown shops, and you’re just minutes away from a romantic and memorable time in one of the Niagara Peninsula’s finest city parks.

Romance abounds in the Niagara region, and it isn’t just because of Niagara Falls. Pack up a blanket, your true love, and some victuals, and enjoy a picnic in one of these three tranquil spots.

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3 Fun Things to Do in Niagara Only the Locals Know About

May 13th, 2015

image001It’s easy for visitors to Niagara Falls to assume they know all they need to know about the area. Stunning, massive waterfalls that are just as worth a gander at night as they are during the day? Check. Amazing local viticulture with world-class and award-winning wines and wineries? Check. Fascinating history museums and year-round family entertainment, including a Ripley’s Believe It or Not!? Check. Honestly, what else could there be?

It’s true that, on the surface, Niagara Falls seems like a place with just a handful of excellent offerings, and while the attractions for which it is most known are truly stellar, there are plenty of other happenings that anyone looking to experience more of the local flavor should consider. From five-pin bowling to ice skating on the hottest day of the summer, here is a look at some of the fun you can have the next time you stay in Niagara that only the locals seem to know about.

1. Ice Skating Any Time of Year

The city of Niagara Falls has two arenas that have five professional-quality ice surfaces between them, and while Chippawa Willoughby Memorial is only open during the fall and winter, the Gale Center is open year-round and has four ice areas.

While many groups and organizations use the two arenas to rent out ice for private functions, there are various open skating times offered at the Gale Center all year. From skating times specifically set aside for toddlers and their parents to pay-as-you-play hockey, if you love to be out on the ice, you can almost always find it in Niagara Falls.

2. Five-Pin Bowling

Similar enough to ten-pin bowling that anyone who has ever bowled before can easily catch on, five-pin bowling is a variation of the game that can only be found in Canada. The lane is the same as in ten-pin, but at the end of it, five smaller pins are placed in a V. The smaller ball is thrown three times with the same goal as more traditional bowling: to knock down as many pins as possible. The kicker in five-pin, however, is that each pin is worth a different number of points, which shifts a player’s strategy when all the balls aren’t knocked down on the first try. Places you can five-pin bowl in the Niagara region include:

  • Pla-More Bowling Lanes in St. Catharines
  • Fairview Lanes in St. Catherines
  • Hillside Lanes in Welland
  • Bowl-O-Rama Lanes in Welland

3. Curling

image003A team sport of precision and skill, curling is one of Canada’s favorite sports. While it seems like it’s just pushing a rock across ice in a winterized version of shuffleboard, the game requires many variations of technical skill that make it much more complicated, and, to the lover of the game, much more enjoyable.

If you have a hankering to try your hand at it, there are instructors available to teach you with the Niagara Falls Curling Club. For a larger family outing, learning to curl can make for a highly memorable and fun afternoon.

So, head to Niagara and take part in some under-the-radar fun that everybody who lives in the area routinely enjoys.

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Heading to Niagara? Gain Insider’s Knowledge With These 2 Podcasts

May 6th, 2015

image001The podcast is one of the modern age’s best and most enduring mediums, not only because they cover subject matter as diverse as the people podcasting and the countries they’re podcasting from, but also because the very nature of podcasting — it’s easy and inexpensive — lends itself to more colourful and colloquial kinds of storytelling and information sharing.

Whether want to learn more about history, the culinary arts, puppetry, or oncology, there are plenty of podcasts to choose from. So it is with the Niagara region, as area enthusiasts and others in the know share their insider’s knowledge for anyone with a smartphone or an Internet connection. Here is a look at a podcast wholly dedicated to Niagara Falls and another Niagara-centered episode that will more than whet your appetite for this beautiful area, so you can properly prepare to have the time of your life from the time you check into your Niagara hotel to the time you head home.

• “Niagara Falls Show”

image003Hosted by Steve Kostyk and Wayne Malton, two seasoned entertainers from the Niagara region, the Niagara Falls Show is a weekly podcast that reveals the best in Niagara Falls area attractions, events, entertainment, dining and more on both the Canadian and American sides of the Niagara River. Especially for visitors who want to experience the local music scene, this podcast delves into what’s really happening at the local level in Niagara Falls, both on the Canadian and American sides. The episodes are colorful, entertaining, and offer insight that can’t be gleaned from books or the Internet, and while the information about Niagara is truly helpful, the rapport between Kostyk and Malton is its own reason to listen in.

• “Radiolab: Taking the Plunge”

Another popular podcast, Radiolab is a “show about curiosity” that explores the overlapping areas of science, philosophy, and individual, human experience. In the episode “Taking the Plunge,” the hosts of Radiolab, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, discuss what we think we know about falling. After talking about how fast felines fall and good ol’ gravity, the episode ends with a tale about the first person who ever went over the Falls in a barrel and how that did, and didn’t, change her life.

For an experience of Niagara before you get to town, be sure to check out these two podcasts.

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Jumpstart Your Way Back Into Fitness by Getting Outdoors in Niagara

April 29th, 2015

image001Spring is here, which means summer is fast approaching, and, aside from the millions of New Year’s resolutions earnestly made and sadly forgotten, now is the most popular time people try and get back into shape. Whether it’s driven by the vanity that can so routinely accompany swimsuit season, or you just want to make sure you’re fit enough to partake in any rough and tumble activity the warm weather may thrust in your direction, the warming month of May is the perfect time to get started.

While it may not be a common route many take to fitness, consider taking advantage of longer days and that feeling of optimism that follows a long winter by booking a vacation to Niagara Falls to jumpstart your commitment to getting back into shape.

Why Head to Niagara for Fitness?

Now, of course, it isn’t essential that you go anywhere — let alone Niagara — to start an exercise regimen, because you can get into shape anywhere. After all, it only requires time, resolve, and space to move your body in ways that challenge you enough to increase your fitness level.

However, A trip to Niagara can not only offer those requirements, it can also offer the novelty of different surroundings that can themselves be occasions for exercise and scores of events and attractions that you can use as rewards to motivate yourself. If you’re still not sure that a trip to Niagara is the perfect way to get busy getting fit, consider all the area has to offer.

Get outdoors almost anywhere on the Niagara Peninsula, and you’ll find yourself in some of the most eye-catching land in North America. From the Falls themselves to the vineyards that fill the countryside, Niagara is an inspiring place. Why not use all that beauty as a reason to get outdoors and get some exercise? Here are some outdoor routes and trails that are so lovely, you’ll forget you’re burning calories to enjoy them:

White Water Walk

If you’re brand-new to exercise, the White Water Walk is a great way to jump in. At just a quarter-mile long, this walk sits along the mighty Niagara River’s lower rapids. Get a taste of the water’s power without getting wet, and enjoy some physical activity at the same time.

image003Bicycle

What better way to explore the Niagara Peninsula’s stunning farmland and vineyards than by bike? Join official short or multiple day trips in the region, or pick your own path. You can bring your own bicycle or rent one from one of the shops in the area.

Trail Running

The Niagara region boasts some of the best trail running in the area, so if you’ve ever laced up a pair of running shoes to enjoy the great outdoors, you’ll love what the area has to offer. The Bruce Trail, which covers 500 miles, has multiple arteries and offshoots where you can fully experience Niagara’s unique flora and fauna.

Get moving with a trip to Niagara. From impressive walks to bike tours and trails, there’s something for everyone who wants to jumpstart their fitness — just get outside in Niagara!

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Why You May Want to Visit Niagara in May

April 22nd, 2015

image001The days are creeping ever closer to high-tourist season in Niagara Falls, which means our event calendars are rapidly filling up with some of the absolute best performances, conventions, festivals, and more. The month of May promises some of the year’s most exciting happenings yet, with celebrity chefs, renowned musicians, and all-around thrilling cultural attractions.

If you have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to visit Niagara Falls, now’s the time; the weather is warm, the entertainment is hot, and the Falls are absolutely stunning during these fabulous May events.

Niagara Food and Wine Expo

Niagara wastes no time getting started with the month’s events. Starting on Friday, May 1 and lasting the weekend, the Niagara Food and Wine Expo promises to deliver fine tastes of wine, beer, spirits, and food from all over the world — including right here in Niagara Falls.

The Niagara region offers some of the richest soils in North America, making the land ripe for growing all sorts of delicious fruits and vegetables. Niagara’s wine country is one of the fastest growing in the world as winemakers and critics alike recognize the value of planting vineyards in this fertile landscape. The Niagara Food and Wine Expo promises only the freshest and most delectable ingredients carefully and creatively prepared by master food and beverage makers.

You can take classes from esteemed experts, peruse selections of the world’s best foods and drinks, and hear legendary chefs discuss their own tips and tricks in the kitchen and the culinary business. Plus, various musical and dance performances will occur throughout the expo’s three-day run. When there is so much to do, see, and taste at this one Niagara event, you will barely have time to rest.

Niagara Folk Arts Festival

Less than a week later on May 8, Niagara Falls begins celebrating its cultural heritage with the three-week-long Niagara Folk Arts Festival, which includes everything from a formal ball to a street race. The people of Niagara Falls — as well as greater Canada — are exuberant and accepting, and it is important to revel in such attitudes with a yearly festival of life, love, and culture.

Niagara Falls has been exceedingly multicultural even before European settlers began colonizing the region. The waterfalls are powerfully awe-inspiring to all groups of people, and locals have a history of being welcome and non-discriminatory to any race, religion, and background. In fact, Niagara Falls was once one of the end points for the Underground Railroad, and many escaped slaves from the southern U.S. fled to the region for its promise of freedom.

The Niagara Folk Arts Festival, hosted by the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre, is intended to highlight and commend the diverse community that now thrives in Niagara Falls. Every week offers a new and fascinating event open to any- and everyone. There will be a culinary crawl that encourages natives and visitors alike to explore the range of tastes available in the region, and there will be an afternoon outdoors devoted to crafts and workshops that engage all ages. The festival is long and varied, which means there is plenty of time to explore other Niagara attractions while participating in multicultural fun.

Shaw Festival 2015 Season

image003The Niagara region has a well-known reputation for offering superb stage productions — the “Oh Canada, Eh?” dinner theatre has won countless awards for its perfect blend of humor, music, and Canadian patriotism — but that status is largely earned by the annual Shaw Festival, opening in May in nearby Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Every year, a theatre company devoted to the works of Bernard Shaw and Shavian artists performs amazing plays with the intention of captivating audiences’ body and soul through the magic of the stage. The festival has been around since 1962, and in 1973, the festival was opened by none other than Queen Elizabeth II, an avid patron of the performing arts. Today, four separate theatres participate in the festival — the Festival Theatre, the Court House, the Royal George, and the Studio Theatre — offering a bevy of stage productions until the festival’s season close in September. Throughout the month of May, players will perform recognizable and unfamiliar titles alike:

  • “Sweet Charity”
  • “Peter and the Starcatcher”
  • “Pygmalion”
  • “You Never Can Tell”
  • “The Lady From the Sea”
  • “Top Girls”

While you are in Niagara-on-the-Lake, you can explore the town’s quaint architecture and boutiques that harken back to a sweeter, simpler time. The beautiful May weather makes exploring the town’s streets and parks an absolute joy. Of course, the 2015 season does extend throughout the summer and into the fall, so if you can’t make it to a May show, you may still be able to catch a phenomenal theatre experience of other outstanding Shavian plays.

These three exceedingly important events make May one of the most exciting months to visit Niagara Falls — but the upcoming season promises even more activities and attractions that make a vacation here worthwhile. So, while you may be considering a trip to Niagara Falls in May, you may also want to make vacation plans for June, July, and August while you’re at it.

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How to Organize a Field Trip to Niagara Falls

April 16th, 2015

image001Whether your kids are homeschooled or your public school needs a break from the classroom, an extended field trip allows children to develop connections between what they learn in school and how they experience the real world. Plus, kids love new experiences, and field trips usually are as entertaining and exciting as they are educational.

Because Niagara Falls is such a dazzling natural phenomenon, it makes perfect sense to plan a field trip exploring the fascinating science and rich history of the place. Here’s all you need to know to plan your extended field trip in Niagara Falls.

Research Your Potential Itinerary

Niagara Falls is so surfeit with exciting and educational activities and attractions that if you don’t plan well you might leave without experiencing some of the best. What you choose to show your students will depend on their grade level and the areas of knowledge you hope to expand.

For example, for a trip devoted to exploring the historical events of Niagara Falls, you should certainly plan stops at:

  • Laura Secord Homestead
  • Old Fort Niagara
  • Niagara Daredevils Exhibit
  • McFarland House
  • Lundy’s Lane Battlefield

If you want your students to learn more about the complex geologic processes that formed the waterfalls, you can’t miss:

  • Niagara Falls Natural History Museum
  • White Water Walk
  • Niagara’s Fury
  • Hydroelectric Power Station
  • Journey Behind the Falls

The abundant fecundity of the Niagara region makes the city and surrounds flourish; here are the places you and your students can investigate biology and ecology:

  • Butterfly Conservatory
  • Safari Niagara
  • Bird Kingdom

Of course, a well-rounded education is always superior to one that emphasizes one subject alone. It is wise to mix and match different areas of study to provide your kids as much real-world experience as possible. However, before you fill your days to bursting with purely educational activities, you should be sure to allow your kids time to enjoy some just-for-fun attractions, including:

  • Greg Frewin Theatre
  • Adventure City Arcade
  • Hornblower Niagara Cruises boat tour

Organize Transport, Lodging, and Meals

image003A road trip to Niagara Falls couldn’t be easier — when you don’t have 20 kids to look after morning, noon, and night. While planning future activities can be thrilling, thinking about the logistics of any trip is usually more work than play. However, because Niagara Falls is such a popular vacation destination, it is well-equipped with all the services you need to make lodging and meals incredibly easy.

More likely than not, your school board will provide bus transportation and drivers to convey your class from here to there. However, if you don’t have access to buses — whether due to budget cuts or homeschooling — you may be relieved to know that Niagara Falls is equipped with one of the most advanced tourism transit systems in the world, WEGO. Instead of worrying about cabs or rental cars, you can corral all the students onto one WEGO bus and reach basically any Niagara Falls attraction you might want to see.

In order to make exploring Niagara Falls as safe and easy as possible, you should find accommodation in a comfortable hotel in the city’s tourist district. Sheraton on the Falls is just steps from dozens of top attractions, and it has been serving visitors to the Falls for decades, so you can be sure it provides excellent quality for low expense.

Finally, Niagara Falls is one of the most family-friendly destinations in the world, which means the city offers hundreds of restaurant options for young, picky eaters. While it may be cost-effective to bring along snacks to keep little ones full and focused, you should know that plenty of eateries around the tourist district offer filling and nutritious meals that kids love. Some of the most popular family-friendly restaurants include:

  • Perkins Restaurant and Bakery
  • Rainforest Café
  • Fallsview Buffet
  • Hard Rock Cafe

Complete the Necessary Paperwork

Homeschool and traditional classes alike require a bit of bureaucracy to function regularly, so when you want to break the regular schedule in favor of an educational opportunity you can’t miss (i.e. a field trip) you can expect a small mountain of paperwork to complete before the excursion can happen. You may need to contact the school board, principal, intended destinations, and more to provide information, such as:

  • Why you want a field trip
  • How many children will attend
  • Who the chaperones are
  • Where you will be staying
  • What activities and attractions you are planning

You will need permission from all participants — including kids’ parents — before you can leave for your class’s most memorable field trip.

Even though logically Niagara Falls is a geologic phenomenon that formed over hundreds of thousands of years of shifting rock and melting ice, it can be easy to believe that Niagara Falls was created just for kids. You can allow your class to learn and discover the mysteries of Niagara Falls while they let loose in this entertaining destination when you plan your field trip to this natural wonder.

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The Best 9-Hole Golf Courses in the Niagara Region

April 8th, 2015

image001Golf is a game with a lengthy history that goes back at least as far as the 15th century where the first written reference to the sport, in 1457 in Scotland, occurred when James II banned the game, because it was creating too much of a distraction from the practice of archery. By the time James V rolled around, the distraction had been whole-heartedly embraced, and today, all over the world, that distraction continues.

In the United States alone, more than 24 million people play the game, and in Canada, the numbers sit somewhere between 3 and 6 million. Canada’s golfing season is shorter than much of North America’s, but the Niagara region still boasts an impressive number of courses. Especially for the golfer who’s most intrigued by the sport’s precision and finesse, Niagara’s many excellent 9-hole courses are a must. If you fancy yourself a golfer, and you’re looking to relax in Niagara during the spring, summer, or fall, here are some of the best 9-hole courses in the area.

1. Peach Trees Golf

Located in the Old Town section of Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Peach Trees Golf course is a 9-hole, Par 27 course that covers 1,375 yards. A course designed to appeal to novices and old hats alike, the green fees are affordable with discounts for seniors, students, and children available. Lovely greens and tree-lined fairways meet challenging water hazards and bunkers. If you’re traveling in a group with players of widely differing skill, this course is ideal.

2. Royal Niagara Golf Club

image003Also located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Royal Niagara Golf Club boasts three unique courses that cover over 7,000 yards. Every hole provides a satisfying challenge, whether you’re teeing off at The Escarpment Course, playing The Iron Bridge Course, or enjoying the beautiful scenery along The Old Canal Course. The green fees here are noticeably higher than at Peach Trees Golf, but then again, the atmosphere is a bit more exclusive. Be sure to follow the dress code: Men must wear shirts with sleeves and collars, paired with Bermuda shorts or slacks, and women must wear Bermuda or walking shorts.

3. St. David’s Golf Club

The only 9-hole course in St. David, this course is situated near the site of the Battle of Queenston Heights, the first major battle of the War of 1812. With enough bunkers, dog legs, and water hazards to challenge just about any golfer, this 9-hole course also has rental pull and power carts available.

4. Rio Vista Golf Course

This Fort Erie course is a Par 36, full-sized 9-hole course that covers 3,370 yards and includes a number of Par 4’s and Par 3’s, as well as two holes that are Par 5. Considered one of the more difficult courses to play in the area, Rio Vista offers elevation changes, bunkers, trees, water hazards, and ravines that all threaten to derail the game of even the most seasoned golfer. For a golfing experience where you can truly test your mettle and skill, head to Fort Erie, and play the Rio Vista Golf Course.

Be sure to bring along your golf clubs the next time you find yourself in Niagara. These 9-hole courses will not only place you in the midst of the lush Niagara landscape, but they’ll also further you along on your quest to become a better golfer.

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Traveling Alone? Why Niagara Falls Is a Great Destination

March 19th, 2015

image001When most people think about going on vacation, they envision time spent with family, as a couple, or among friends in fun-filled, exotic locations, and while people jet setting in pairs or groups is certainly the most common vacation experience most people have, the trend toward solo travel is steadily gaining steam for a number of reasons.

Imagine going to sleep and awaking whenever you wanted to, eating at the restaurant you desired every meal, and sightseeing according to your own interests — traveling alone offers the individual willing to try it a chance to experience a new place at her own pace and according to her own desires. Many people claim solo travel is the epitome of rest and relaxation. Others love the feeling of not being hampered by others’ whims and tastes. Whatever the reason, if you’re considering embarking on a solo trip in the upcoming future, make sure staying in Niagara Falls is at the top of your list. From Canadian amiability and hospitality to sights and events that are great regardless of whether or not you’re alone, Niagara Falls is a great destination for the solo traveler.

The Benefits of Soloing in Niagara

image003The primary benefit to traveling alone — especially in Niagara Falls — is that you’ll have to interact with strangers. Most people traveling on business or vacation interact with strangers routinely, because the people who staff the hotel in which they’re staying, the bakery they frequent in the mornings, the vineyards they tour, and the restaurants in which they dine are people they don’t know.

When you’re traveling alone, however, all your interaction will be with strangers, and while that may be off-putting to the more introverted among us, engaging a stranger actually has remarkable benefits — as every seasoned solo traveler knows. Because human beings are social creatures, we all need plenty of interaction with our own kind in order to feel safe, connected, and satisfied on a day-to-day basis, and, according to researchers at the University of British Columbia, when we engage a stranger in kindness, our mood is lifted and our feelings of benevolence toward our loved ones and others is increased. Niagara Falls makes interacting with strangers a breeze, because it routinely hosts so many out-of-towners looking to make friends with those around them, and because its inhabitants understand the role that tourists play in the health of the region’s economy. The city of Niagara Falls really is one of the easiest places to be alone, because you’ll be surrounded by people who are genuinely glad to make your acquaintance throughout your visit.

Niagara Falls is also great for solo travelers, because there is so much for a person to do alone. The stunning majesty of the Falls ensures that any expedition undertaken in and around the water will more than occupy you, and the wineries’ tasting rooms are filled with oenophiles just dying to talk about the grapes, the vintage, the mouth feel. The place has more than enough to fill your senses, your time, and your imagination. Who needs a group of friends when you’ve got Nature’s power and a storehouse of entertainment all around you? Great solo options include:

What are you waiting for? Book the vacation of your dreams, and travel by yourself to Niagara Falls, where lovers and individuals have the time of their lives.

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