One big accomplishment for me this year was moving out of my parents’ home. I don’t discuss it too much on the blog, but it was a reaaallly big step for me. I am super-tight with my parents, and depend on them a lot. I still depend on them a lot 🙂 My brother moved out with me, since he started at UofT this past September, and it’s been so nice to spend time with him since he’s been in Hamilton for the past four years.
Our parents really miss us though (even though we try to go back home once a week!), so for Christmas this year they thought it would be a nice treat to spend a few days together in Niagara on the Lake. We went for three days and two nights, and had the loveliest time!
We stayed at the Prince of Wales hotel, which is located just at the end of Queen Street, steps away from all the best shops and restaurants. The hotel itself is gorgeous, and was totally decked out with festive décor. It put me in the Christmas spirit right away! I loved our rooms, which came equipped with modern essentials (Keurig machine, blowdryer) but also had vintage touches such as Tiffany lamps and bed canopies. Every evening we received a rose with turn down service, and every morning there was a newspaper waiting outside our door.
The best part of our stay at the Prince of Wales was our afternoon tea service in the Drawing Room. As you know, my mom and I adore afternoon tea. It was our first visit to the Drawing Room, and I would have to say that it’s now my new favourite place to go for tea! The décor was perfect – there was a roaring fireplace, and we felt so cozy in our matching wingback armchairs. The tea was delicious, and the portions were generous – I have a newfound obsession with Sloane tea! I need to get my hands on their “Heavenly Cream” blend. The petit fours, scones (with amazing clotted cream and whipped butter), and sandwiches were perfect as well. We had more than enough to eat, and even packaged up some of the treats to bring to my brother.
Another highlight of our trip would have to be the hot springs at the Pillar and Post. We walked over from the Prince of Wales, and were able to use the spa facilities easily because they are sister hotels. My dad did have to buy us all disposable bathing suits (we came unprepared!), and I have to say – I didn’t really mind wearing mine! It felt sort of like those disposable picnic tablecloths that you can buy from the dollar store, but didn’t actually look that awful. No pictures of that though! I think my mom would have killed me 🙂
The hot springs (really more like a luxurious outdoor hot tub with a waterfall) were delightful, and totally relaxing. It was so nice to spend time there all together as a family – something we haven’t done since before my brother and I started university! It was a well-deserved break for everyone.
We also drove into Niagara Falls (about a 20-30 minute drive from NOTL) to see all the beautiful Christmas lights, and of course to see the Falls all lit up! It was magical, and very, very cold. I wanted to go on the giant ferris wheel, but walking outside for more than 5 minutes made my face numb!
We didn’t visit any wineries this time around (I really prefer to do that in the summer, with bicycles!), but we did shop on the main street in NOTL. There is a hat shop that my mom and I love, called Beau Chapeau. It’s a lot of fun trying on all the different styles they have – everything from vintage cloches to safari wide-brimmed hats. We walked out with a new wool felt hat for me (soon to be blogged), fur earmuffs (also for me), and gorgeous black shearling mittens for my mom. I could have spent all day in that shop! We also visited the Christmas store to buy ornaments for friends and family, and enjoyed coffee and tea from all the small shops.
We had two really great meals during our stay. The first was at Shaw Café, where we enjoyed spiked apple cider with our lunch, and had a waiter who did magic tricks and asked us a tough riddle:
“A man leaves home on foot one evening, makes three left turns and arrives back home to find two masked men waiting there. Who are they and what happened?”
Obviously my brother figured it out (he is the genius), and our waiter said dessert was on him 🙂 not many people get it without googling!
We also had a super cozy pub meal at the Olde Angel Inn. We sat beside the fireplace and enjoyed delicious meat pies, fish n chips, and bacon-wrapped scallops. Yum!!
We had such a wonderful time that I hope we can turn it into a family tradition. It was the perfect getaway from work and the city, and I felt absolutely ready for the holidays after we returned. I’d love to bring Azim when the weather gets warmer, to visit the wineries, try more restaurants, and have a romantic spa day!
Thanks for reading! xox