Every summer or so, we take the kids on a short road trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake for the day. This time, we turned it into a weekend and stayed in the quaint town of Virgil just a few minutes away.

We like to have a lunch picnic by the Niagara River along the Wine Route (Niagara Parkway).  We pack our mini-barbecue and spark it up with some burgers and sausage. The boys like to play soccer while I get to attempt to relax for a few minutes.

Niagara River

Then we’ll  make our way to the downtown area, stopping by to see the boats and the Navy Hall.

Niagara River 2

Niagara River 3

Niagara River 4

Niagara River 5

The original Navy Hall served as the home of Upper Canada’s Parliament from 1972-1796.

The history here is incredible. The Fort George National Historic Site was the scene of several battles during the War of 1812.

Navy Hall

go into the downtown area. We love to walk around – the houses are beautiful, dating back to the 1800s.

niagara on the lake

niagara-on-the-lake street


This spot is my favourite for photo opps – The Prince of Wales Hotel established in 1864. You can enjoy a 15-minute horse drawn carriage ride for $55 but I must admit though, I do feel bad for the horses having to work so much.

prince of wales hotel niagara

horse and carriage ride

After the kids frolicked in the outdoor fountain in the park, we ate dinner at the Olde Angel Inn. The Inn was established in 1789 and rebuilt in 1815 after the War of 1812.

The Olde Angel Inn is reportedly haunted (and shows up in accounts dating to the 1820’s) of an Captain Colin Swayze who was killed at the Inn during the American invasion of May, 1813. The story is quite incredible – read it here. And the Angel beer? Delicious!

olde angel inn niagara

angel inn niagara

olde angel inn beer

Gelato at Carlotta’s is a must – the hazelnut gelato was by far the best Italian ice cream I’ve ever tasted (and I haven’t been to Italy). My husband has and says it’s the real deal.

gelato niagara on the lake

italian ice cream niagara

best italian gelato


The shops are great but really for me, it’s more about window shopping and browsing – some of the shops are a little overpriced.

Just Christmas is always a stop though; I love shopping Christmas ornaments in July!

just christmas niagara

I haven’t even touched upon the wineries! There are so many amazing wineries in the area, you really do have to have a romantic weekend away with your honey and do wine tours.

niagara on the lake winery

The last stop before heading home? A fruit stand to buy fresh picked peaches.

peaches niagara

I could see myself living in this beautiful town… although it’s not so quaint because of all the tourists! That would be the only issue but I’m sure I would love the more quiet season of winter there. Hmmmm open up a bed and breakfast? Tempting!



Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of amotherworld.com, a leading lifestyle blog for women.

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