The place has a view of the Niagara River and sits across from the town yacht club. Niagara-on-the-Lake has a reputation for being pricey to some, but we have always found that you don’t have to live high in this popular tourist town. It’s an hour west of Toronto where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario and it has an incredible history. American forces burnt the town to the ground in 1813. British and “Upper Canada” (as Ontario was called back then) forces retaliated and did the same on the US side. In 2012, this town will be the place to be for history buffs as the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 is celebrated.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is in the heart of wine country. Twenty-one wineries are all within 10 minutes of town and each other. You can easily get to them by car but many travelers tour them by bicycle as we saw today at Chateau des Charmes. Several of the wineries are found on back roads with little traffic, or along the Niagara Trail, a 56 km paved cycling route that hugs the Niagara Parkway. I think it was Winston Churchill who once called it “the prettiest Sunday drive”. The Shaw Festival Theatre, which is devoted to George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries is also in Niagara-on-the-Lake and so are some wonderful inns where you can dine or overnight.
But back at the Anchorage our fish & chips have just arrived. They’re the reason why we chose the Anchorage for lunch and as expected, they don’t disappoint. If wine paired with great food is more your style tho’, many of the wineries in this area have their own award-winning restaurants and celebrated chefs. There are also plenty of historic inns. We stopped at one, the Riverbend Inn on the Niagara Parkway. Lots of people were out on its patio enjoying a glass of vino while gazing out over the vineyard. This establishment takes advantage of the Niagara microclimate and harvests its own signature wine from its own vineyards. I also got a chance to check out Chef’s “Secret Garden” here, an impressive affair that front desk staff told me is their main source of produce during the summer months.