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Girlfriend Getaway in Niagara's Wine Region

Girlfriend getaways should always involve wine

Please welcome Nicola Gordon, a freelance writer who covers luxury and exotic travel, gardening and wine.

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Bottoms up girls – it’s time to drink!

'Chicks and Chocolate' tour - Peller EstatesPerhaps this is a celebration – a birthday that represents a coming-of-age or a ringing in of the next decade. Perhaps the day has finally come to kick a bad year or a bad boyfriend out the door. Or, if you’re lucky, you and your girlfriends have figured out the value of regular downtime coupled with a fun getaway.

Whether you’re sharing a happy milestone or celebrating a new and autonomous you, a decadent day in Niagara’s wine region has all the necessary elements – sumptuous feasts, decadent desserts and so-sweet, sparkling icewine. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy all this luxury on a 10 am tour, it will rank as one of your most memorable girlfriend getaways.

Plan your trip your way

Niagara's Wine on the vine!Enjoy a spontaneous event with the help of your GPS and a designated driver, have the scheduling taken care of for you on one of the many San Francisco style trolley tours or rent a touring bike and hit the open road. Chocolate, ice-cream, and icewine will give you that energy boost you need to get to the next stop. Or, throwing excuses to the wind, you and your girlfriends will agree that you’re just out for a rare day of guilt-free indulgence as you peddle from winery to winery.

Spontaneous, scheduled, or sporty - you and your girlfriends are now poised for a day of fun in Niagara. Here are a few wonderful wineries and tours that are just made for you and a few best friends to share.

Peller Estates Winery ~ chicks & chocolate

Peller Estates WineryPeller Estates has their own unique version of “Wine country math”: Chocolate + Wine = Quite possibly the world's perfect pairing. Who can argue that?

Descend to the barrel cellar and tasting room where lights are dimmed and the air is cool. Here, row-on-row of vines is mirrored by row-on-row of stacked barrels. This is where the real magic happens. You'll savor four delectable glasses paired with equally delish chocolates. While your guide shares what makes the pairings work so well, you’ll simply enjoy tasting it all. Try the pink and bubbly Ice Cuvée Rosé paired with a rich creamy chocolate and that “Wine country math” will make perfect sense to you too.

Visit Peller Estates Winery online or connect with them on Facebook, Twitter or TripAdvisor.

Chateau des Charmes ~ add a little ice, baby

'Add a Little Ice' - Icewine and homemade ice-cream - Chateau des CharmesA truly heavenly experience awaits you at the grand French style Chateau des Charmes. White wrought-iron tables and chairs-for-two dot flagstone, a backdrop of vines stretches to lush forest, and lovingly tended roses meander in bright colors. The softest breeze perfumes fresh vineyard air with rose and hints of lavender.

The “Add a Little Ice” experience at Chateau des Charmes is a simple dessert – a goblet of local fresh-churned vanilla ice-cream and a glass of honey-smooth Vidal ice-wine. Your instructions are to the point – pour the icewine over your ice-cream and enjoy. This simplest of desserts is sure to become a regular at future girlfriend gatherings.

Be warned though, this dessert is so delectable that “Wine country math” may require a revision to include ice-cream in the equation. Visit Chateau des Charmes on-line or connect with them on Facebook or Twitter.

Ice House Winery ~ icewine slushies

Icewine Slushie at The Ice House WineryKaren King of The Ice House Winery demonstrates the making of Icewine Slushies on Steven Sabados’ and Chris Heindemans CBC daytime program Steven and Chris. This pairing of delectable icewine with plain old ice is a stroke of genius.

If you’ve been progressing through my list of recommendations, by now you’ll be enjoying dessert number three. You’ll probably appreciate a lighter option that offers both sweet and thirst-quenching in one delicious taste.

Plan your visit to The Ice House or catch up with them on Yelp, Facebook or Twitter.

Shaw Café & Wine Bar ~ time-out for din-din

You’ll notice dessert comes before lunch on today’s wine country tour, which is no accident on a girlfriend getaway.

The Shaw Cafe & Wine Bar, Niagara-on-the-LakeFamous for its esthetics – the Shaw’s patio is literally overflowing with flowers – it’s a great spot for lunch and an afternoon of girl-talk and people-watching. The menu is inspired by Niagara's abundant produce but also includes my favorites for sharing – cheese plate with poached pear compote and sweet onion marmalade and Charcuterie with locally cured prosciutto and baguette.

Shaw Cafe's manager, Jill Harper, has compiled a wine menu that includes a selection of 23 Niagara wines by the glass, 4 wine flights and the Cafe's famous Niagara Sangria. Known as the Niagara Sommelier, Jill promises “our local knowledge and fun atmosphere come with every glass we serve.”

Visit The Shaw Cafe and Wine Bar on-line or connect with them on Facebook.

'Add a Little Ice' - Icewine and homemade ice-cream - Chateau des CharmesReady for a little off-beat fun for the afternoon? Book a helicopter and touch down in style. As David at Peller Estates told me, this is also the way to arrive if you just happen to own three helicopters of your own. This is exactly what 2012 Forbes 68th richest man in the world, Roman Abramovich did for lunch at Peller Estates.

Now that the lineup is set and a day in Niagara-on-the-Lake looks oh so enticing, let’s agree that celebration or milestone or just plain fun, this level of decadence doesn’t require an excuse. Just text a few of your best girlfriends and look forward to a unique experience and a day of delicious indulgence.

Extend your decadent day to an overnighter and extend the fun.

The Riverbend Inn & Vineyard

Riverbend Inn dining roomThe historic Riverbend Inn is situated just five minutes down the road from from Niagara-on-the-Lake. You and the girls will stay in elegant luxury – picture a grand Georgian mansion nestled amongst the vineyards. Package rates begin at $305 per night for a premium room. Visit the Riverbend Inn online or catch up with them on Facebook or Twitter.  

The Olde Angel Inn

Established in 1789, The Olde Angel Inn is Ontario's oldest operating inn. Enjoy a nightcap in the on-site English-style pub. But watch out for the ghost of Captain Colin Swayze who wanders the halls mourning unrequited love. Nightly rates begin at $229 per night from May to October. Visit the Angel Inn online or catch up with them on TripAdvisor.

The Hilton Garden Inn

Enjoy the comfort of a modern hotel conveniently located just off the QEW, equal distance from Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls. Enjoy wineries by day and hit the town for the great nightlife of Niagara Falls by night. Nightly rates begin at $139 per night mid-week. Visit the Hilton Garden Inn online.

Got a favorite girlfriend getaway? Tell us in the comments! Find us on Twitter or Facebook and let's start talking!


About Nicola Gordon

Nicola Gordon - @ZoomTravelsNicola Gordon is an Ontario-based travel writer and photographer. Her writing interests include luxury and exotic travel, gardening and wine. Nicola's international photographic destinations include Iceland, Cuba, and the beautiful gardens of Pennsylvania. But with an all-out passion for bug photography and all things macro you may also find her as close to home as her own backyard. Connect with Nicola Gordon - Twitter or her personal travel blog: Zoom-Travels.

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