Where can you pair excellent live theater with first-class wine tasting, just a short drive from a spectacular waterfall?
Niagara-on-the-Lake, which fronts Lake Ontario, about a 90-minute drive south of Toronto and less than a half hour from the magnificent Niagara Falls, makes a perfect weekend escape if you love theater, wine, and food.
One of North America’s best theater festivals is here: the annual Shaw Festival, which produces plays by George Bernard Shaw and more contemporary playwrights from April through October.
Niagara-on-the-Lake has no shortage of B&Bs either, most in historic homes that date to the early 19th century. One of the town’s best B&B choices is the stately Brockamour Manor.
In an 1809 manor house, Brockamour’s six guest rooms are all spacious and airy, with large windows. They’re comfortably furnished with antiques and period pieces, wide-board floors, and puffy duvets.
Though the feel is quite traditional, it’s not stuffy or fussy. Modern conveniences include gas fireplaces, complimentary Wi-Fi, TVs, DVD players, and well-appointed en-suite baths.
Rooms rates range from CAD$169-199 during the November-to-April low season, and from CAD$199-269 between May and October. In high season, rates are slightly lower mid-week than on weekends.
While the rooms are lovely and well-kept, I especially enjoyed the lavish breakfast, served family-style around the dining room table, where guests shared their opinions about the plays that they had seen and the wineries and restaurants they had visited, and the just-arrived asked for tips from those who’d been in town longer.
Breakfasts are four-course affairs, with fresh fruit, homemade baked goods, a hot dish, and a dessert (mmm, dessert at breakfast — what a great idea!).
If you need to work off that breakfast, you can head for the billiards rooms. Or you can sleep it off, out on the spacious front porch.
But even at a gracious B&B like Brockamour Manor, you won’t want to sleep too long — in Niagara-on-the-Lake, there are lots of shows to see and plenty of wine to sample.
Check prices online at Priceline.
Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, author of the new travel guide, Moon Handbooks: Ontario. Photos courtesy of Brockamour Manor. Brockamour Manor hosted my stay for review purposes.