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Ontario Wine Route

22 Oct

Copper Leaves From Maples Gently Slide…

Fall is my favorite time of the year.

I love the smell and crunch of fallen leaves under my feet.  I love to stand on the balcony and admire the rich ochres, bright lemon yellows, and dark reds in trees on the Beltline Trail.  I love crisp and sunny days when I get to pull out my boots, jackets and scarves.  I have my “best fashion moments” in fall!  I even love rainy days – they are perfect to stay in, eat soup, drink tea and curl up with a good book.

Eating a rich Thanksgiving meal, dressing up for Halloween and celebrating our birthdays makes me love this season even more!

I felt I was buried in the studio from mid-September until the Thanksgiving weekend.  Getting ready for the Canada Salsa Congress  (or any congress, for that matter) consumes a lot of time.    I was sooo missing out on this lovely time of the year!

It rained cats and dogs on Saturday.  Sunday morning greeted us with lots of sunshine and warm temperature.  We packed some proscuito-apple-arugula sandwiches for the road and headed for a scenic drive along Ontario Wine Route.

The drive to Niagara-on-the-Lake from Toronto took us less than 90 minutes.  After a small confusion over directions in the Google Maps we started our tour by stopping at Southbrook Vineyards.

We saw a large flock of birds flying in the distance.  We also heard lots of loud noises every couple minutes or so, as if we were at a fireworks show without any lights.  We met two ladies there and they explained that the growers are using propane-fired cannons (acoustical repellents) to scare birds away.  Bird damage to grapes is a serious problem for many vineyard owners.  Unchecked, birds can completely destroy an entire crop.

This property is so beautiful, I can totally see why people are celebrating their special occasions here.

Our next stop was Diamond Estates Wines.

I was tempted to buy a bottle of their 20Bees Gewürztraminer but it wasn’t on the tasting menu that day so I passed.

The third winery we went in was Trius at Hillebrand.

We ended up buying some wine here;  I got  2011 Vintage Riesling Dry and Oscar’s got 2011 Chardonnay.  We also got a complementary tasting certificate for 2 at Peller’s!

I was insisting a family member should get married here!

 We went to Joseph’s Estate Wines after.  I got another bottle; this time it was a 2008 Late Harvest Vidal, a sweeter table wine.  It smells like ripe peaches, honey and apricots!

The road was lined with several farm stands selling local edibles.

The prices were somewhat high.  Because of the harsh weather this year farmers  saw only 10% to 15% of the their crops 😦 Farming business is not for the faint of heart.

Take Me Home!

I bought a basket of Royal Gala apples.  They are sitting on the kitchen counter and my whole apartment smells like apples!

We visited more wineries – Pilliteri, Jackson-Triggs and Peller.  Each winery in Niagara has a unique atmosphere, we got an opportunity to taste some of the rare and fine wines but it was  getting overwhelming.  Next time we are limiting our visit to no more than 5 wineries.

The drive home was along the bank of the Niagara River.  The road is winding its way through enchanting cliffs, fruit orchards and large riverside houses.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers” –  L.M. Montgomery.

And so am I.

Milton Farm Spring Craft Show

9 May

My former student and a fellow Salsa dancer Thomas C. designs and manufactures unique jewelry pieces.  His company is Darnel & Co.  We ran into him at a friend’s pre-wedding bash a week before and he invited us to visit his booth at the Milton Farm Spring Craft Show.  It was Thomas’ first time as a vendor and we wanted to come out and cheer him on.

He even built his own cabinets and displays!

The Show was held inside and outside at County Heritage Park.

Puslinch Township Hall built in 1867.

There was a lot of original work for sale by the local artisans.  I haven’t expected to see so much cat-inspired art: cat-shaped throw pillows made of antique sugar sacks cloth, funky cat dishes, a whole rack of t-shirts dedicated to some hard-core cat lovers.  Too bad we didn’t find anything suitable for Dina there.  My boyfriend caved in and bought a magnetic bracelet which has numerous health benefits. My pick at the Show is the Alphabet Photography Booth.  Unfortunately, it was not possible (for obvious reasons) to take any pictures of their work.  The artist would photograph various objects that resemble letters and then collage them to create any  words or names.  How cool is that? It would make a unique gift for someone special (wink, wink).

County Heritage Park has a cool collection of antique farm equipment and vintage tractors.

Stationary steam engine built in 1900. It supplied power at the National Table Co. of Owen Sound, ON.

Stationary Diesel Engine built in 1939. This model was a power source for the Hutton’s Feed Mill in Wellburn, ON until 1979.

We had some Hawaiian Kona Coffee at the Show but… an outing for me is not an outing unless I eat.  The food at the Show was a typical fast food fare: burgers, hot dogs and fries so we decided to look for other options in Milton.

My <3!

We ended up having an excellent meal at Casa Americo on Main Street.  Our food (muscles in a spicy garlic tomato sauce and a Chicken Parmigiana Panini) was washed down with some off-dry White Zinfandel.  Yummy!

Main Street, Milton

Us in a full Eastern-European glory. Well, maybe only half-glory…no high heels 😛

Perfect ending to a perfect day!

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