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Great Lakes Road Trip: Part 5 - Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario to Niagara Falls

Cutting across Ontario from Stratford we passed through wine country and landed in the charming Niagara-on-the-Lake. Dubbed "the prettiest town in Canada" I can say that it certainly was prettier than my Aunt Ethel’s backside. Seriously, it was seriously cute: clock tower, curved awnings, wrought-iron lampposts.
And seriously British.

We ducked through the stately Prince of Wales Hotel (established 1864) from the rear parking lot so that I could see it first-hand. Chestnut colored woodwork and fine leather furnishings made me feel underdressed and outclassed. Like when my sister and I as teens visited the restroom at the Pierre Hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side so we could see the chandeliers in the lobby.

The "Lake" is Lake Ontario, located several blocks from the main street. It’s a nice catch at sunset, calm and rose-colored. Summer nights were meant to be like this.

Behind the shoppes with their Scottish woolens and British teas was my favorite place of all. The Olde Angel Inn takes you back in time - established in 1789 and rebuilt in 1816 after the War of 1812 - it hosts an authentic British Pub with low ceilings and exposed wooden beams in the cellar. They claim a Captain’s ghost still roams the inn. Try the fish and chips and a pint.

We stayed at the Colonel Butler Inn, one of the few Best Westerns we’ve encountered with white columns and charm. If you have extra time the area boasts wineries, the historic Fort George, and cherry orchards where you can pick your own, or grab a basket full to go.

And then there’s the Big Guy. If Niagara-on-the-Lake was tranquil, Niagara Falls required a tranquilizer. The crowds, the lines, the heat. Viewing the Horseshoe Falls from the Canadian side was the way to go - it was magnificent. We opted for peanut butter sandwiches with the seagulls on the grass just beyond the hubbub.

Yellow isn’t usually my color, but those rain ponchos we donned at Journey Behind The Falls were a great touch. Up close as the spray doused our faces, we were delighted by the sight of birds nestled on a perch high above the water, basking in the spray, unperturbed by the roar of the falls or the roar of the crowds.

The Maid of the Mist looked like fun - if you like being wedged into a wet, open-air boat like a sardine after waiting fifty hours in line. Maybe next time.

After Stratford, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls, as we crossed into the U.S. we were sorry to leave Canada behind. Maybe part of it stayed with each of us.

This post first appeared on The Road Traveler, please read the originial post: here

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Great Lakes Road Trip: Part 5 - Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario to Niagara Falls


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