Summertime in Ontario

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

Summer is in full swing now in Ontario which brings a whole new list of fun activities to do. We just finished a huge renovation on our deck in our backyard. The original plan was to keep the structure and redo the deckboards and railings, but upon pulling those things down we discovered we were fortunate the whole deck didn’t crumble down on its own before now. So after having to blow the budget a bit on that project we’re left with a beautiful deck that we can’t wait to make good use of it for the season. 

We’re big fans of smoking meat like pulled pork and ribs, and doing up some good old barbecue food, so one of our plans for the summer is to host some dinner’s for our friends and family in our backyard. 

Another exciting thing we go to do last week was go strawberry picking at a local farm. Baby T of course did lots of sampling and taste testing during the process. She was a very happy girl and we got a ton of strawberries. Needless to say our desserts for that weekend consisted of strawberry themed treats. I did make a delicious apple and strawberry crumble that I found on Pinterest, I will link it here for you as it’s definitely one I’ll be saving for future use. 

There is a small zoo about twenty minutes away from where we live so we went to visit last week as well and ended up getting a seasons pass. We already went back a second time this morning. Baby T loves seeing all the animals but her absolute favourite part is the ‘birdies’ which is a big collection of colourful budgies. She will stand there and stare at them for hours. 

Of course we’re doing things at home too like filling up the paddling pool on a regular basis and eating most of our lunches and dinners outside on the over-budget deck. Last year I also mentioned that we bought a trailer so we have already gone camping for a weekend and have booked places to go once a month from now until September. On our last trip my husband kept saying, “I know you didn’t always like camping but thank you so much for liking it now”. I really do though. It’s easy to pack up the trailer and it’s a very simple relaxing vacation which is what I always prefer. 

That’s all the updates I have for now. I hope your summers are off to a great start too! Kids are just finishing up school so I’m sure there’s lots of planning and activities to be done. They deserve a break after this long year, and so do their teachers! 

Travel Series: Niagara Fall and Niagara-On-The-Lake

Flat Rock Cellars

We are freshly back from out first little kid-free getaway in Niagara Falls and Niagara-On-The-Lake and I don’t think I have felt this well rested in a long time. Our recent trip to the cottage in Calabogie was relaxing, yes, but we definitely didn’t have a good catch up on sleep while we were there. This was our one and only night since being parents that we had no responsibility of waking up through the night and absolutely no alarm clock in the morning. It was fantastic. 

Niagara Falls is fairly close to where we live so we do get to go quite often. We normally go for our anniversary in November but between Baby T and Covid it’s been a while since we’ve been able to go. Of course it was very different this time around and seemed very empty compared to normal, which was sad considering the area is usually bursting with tourists, but we still made the best of our one night there. 

We stayed at the Embassy Suites right on the falls and got a great deal through Groupon that included some vouchers for nearby restaurants. The Keg is right inside the restaurant but since we took this trip so last minute we didn’t have reservations and they are allowed very limited seating so we decided to do a take-out order and enjoy it in our room. We weren’t too disappointed, as we had a feeling this would be the case. They did such a great job with the take-out, the food all tasted exactly the same and was so fresh. 

There of course wasn’t really anything we could do after dinner but we were well prepared with some wine to share, a Toronto Maple Leafs Game on the TV (a book for me) and some chocolate for dessert. We had a great sleep and an even better sleep in! 

After leaving the hotel we took a drive around the Falls, like I said we live fairly close and have seen them so many times growing up but they’re still amazing to see. If you’ve never been to see them I definitely recommend it, no amount of pictures can do it justice. From there we headed to Niagara-On-The-Lake to visit a couple of wineries. 

Our first stop was Wayne Gretzky Distillery and Winery. It was a very cool place, especially for hockey fans; it even had a spot for an outdoor skating rink in the winter. The drinks were good (especially the Salted Caramel Cream), however our experience in general there was kind of ruined by our bartender. The nice thing about tastings is learning about what you’re tasting and learning about their process, and I guess we looked a little too young to care because she didn’t bother talking to us about anything (she did explain everything to the other more mature couples in the room so I guess we did kind of get the information secondhand). 

Anyway, leaving her behind, and really needing to have a happier ending to our trip we made our way to Flat Rock Cellars. Our experience there was amazing. We each were allowed four choices, and when I asked Tate (our bartender/wine expert) for his recommendations, he said he could actually give us all eight of the wines on the menu and then we could each share them and taste all of them. He then continued to check in with us as we were making our way through the wines and took the time to answer questions we had and explain to us their process for the wines (including the fact that they are one of only thirteen sustainable wineries in all of Ontario). The wine’s were so delicious we tried to pick only two to buy afterwards but ended up picking three. This was the wine tasting experience we needed to really top off the end to a great time away. 

I will leave links to all of these places down below. This post is not sponsored by any of these businesses at all we paid for the whole trip ourselves. However, if any of them want to send me some free wine, as usual I would not complain. 

Link to Embassy Suites

Link to Wayne Gretzky Estates

Link to Flat Rock Cellars