There are some traditions I look forward to every year, and none more so than my family’s annual Christmastime trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake. This year was extra special because it was the last year that just the four of us went. Next year, we will be happily bringing along my husband-to-be (!!) and my brother’s fiancée-to-be 🙂
We stayed in the Prince of Wales again, and noticed it was MUCH busier this year than in years past. It could have been because there was a wedding, or because the weather was much milder. This was the first time that we didn’t see any snow at all!
We arrived on the Friday before Christmas (no migraine to spoil the trip this time, fortunately) in two separate cars. My dad and I arrived first, and settled in with a cozy pub lunch at the Irish Harp. We sat right by the fireplace, which was idyllic, and enjoyed fish and chips and beer.
After our lunch we took a walk along the main streets, stopping in shops and scoping out Christmas gifts. My brother and mom arrived shortly afterwards, and we checked in. I was more than happy to lounge around in my hotel robe and read for the rest of the night, so I skipped dinner.
The next morning, my mom and I went for a walk along the main street to buy Christmas gifts and souvenirs. That’s when I noticed THE HAT. A sparkly, over the top, obnoxiously bejeweled toque was calling to me from the window of one of the boutiques along the main street. With my “no-spending-unless-it’s-for-the-wedding” mantra playing in my head, I ignored it.
And then thought about it, and thought about it, and thought about it some more, so my mom and I went into the shop just to look. I admired it up close, but decided that I didn’t need another hat. So we left.
We returned to the Prince of Wales to enjoy our favourite pastime – afternoon tea! This year we wore our fascinators, which my mom’s friend kindly gave to me. I love fascinators and wish we could wear them everyday. Getting dressed up is such a treat.
After tea, we did a quick change and drove over to the Pillar and Post to enjoy my dad’s favourite pastime – lounging in the hot spring! It really is a great experience in the winter. The steam rolling off the water is gorgeous, and it’s so cool to be outside surrounded by frost, but relaxed and floating in hot water.
I went for a swim in the pool afterwards to work off the scones and petit fours I’d had earlier, and then we left to go see the lights in Niagara Falls. On the way though, I wanted to stop into the boutique and buy THE HAT. Unfortunately, when we got there, the shop associate told me that it was on hold for another customer and I couldn’t have it. I was sooooo upset! Do you notice how you always want something more when you can’t have it?
In the car on the way to the Falls, I googled “black bejeweled fur pom pom toque”, but couldn’t find anything as pretty as THE HAT. So sad.
After seeing the lights, we began heading back to NOTL for dinner. Normally we try to find a restaurant in the Falls area, but this year we went back to the Prince of Wales to have dinner at Noble in the hotel, and I’m so glad we did! It was delicious and the service was superb.
We had cocktails at the Churchill Lounge, and found a real winner: the “Maple Fire & Ice Martini”. How good does this sound:
½ oz Icewine, ½ oz Sortilege Maple Whiskey, ½ oz Absolut Elix Vodka, ½ of Crème de Cacao & 2 drops of Tabasco. Shaken & Served Up with a Bitter Chocolate Straw.
Yum!! At dinner we indulged in oysters, veal, pork chops, crème brûlée and more. It was such a nice holiday dinner, and I’d recommend Noble to anyone!
That night, we all squeezed onto the bed in my parents’ room to watch A Christmas Carol – the classic version, of course! I don’t know about you, but my December was SO busy, I didn’t get a chance to watch any of my favourite Christmas movies. I usually like to watch The Holiday or The Family Stone. At least we got A Christmas Carol in, and I watched Home Alone with my cousins on Christmas day 🙂
The next day was sadly our last. We had breakfast at Noble, and hit the road. The next day was Christmas Eve, and I enjoyed a very nice break from work from then until the New Year. I saw lots of loved ones, ate delicious food, and relaxed. And, oh, about THE HAT – it was wrapped up for me underneath the Christmas tree 🙂 Thank you, Santa!