Niagara Falls a delightful last-minute getaway

Frank Ferragine

By Frank Ferragine

Chef Massimo Capra, left, and Jason Parsons, executive chef at Peller Estates, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. (DAVE JOHNSON/QMI AGENCY files)

Chef Massimo Capra, left, and Jason Parsons, executive chef at Peller Estates, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. (DAVE JOHNSON/QMI AGENCY files)


There are days when you just need to get away.

A quick escape from your everyday life to bring back the flavours of your love for life, food, fun and above all else — your spouse. This is exactly what my wife and I needed, and, with little time and hardly any planning my travel senses took us to Niagara-On-The Lake just down the highway a bit.

Spring in Niagara is a colourful adventure with spring flowering fruit trees almost on every corner. From a food perspective Niagara-On-The Lake has lots to offer and is close to everything including the U.S. border. Take our recent weekend: Friday night found us enjoying the food of Chef Therese DeGrace’s menu of “comfort with a twist” from the Cannery Restaurant located inside the Pillar and Post (For more information, visit

With a focus on locally-sourced foods, I absolutely adored my Canadian pickerel while my wife dived into a bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin with a side of fresh Ontario asparagus! For wine we where guided to an excellent 2008 VQA (Ontario) Cabernet Sauvignon called Bravado from a cool hillside winery in Vineland Estates with the wacky name Megalomaniac Wine.

Hangover-free and with pep in our step Saturday found us cross-border shopping in Niagara Falls, N.Y., (honestly not the best deals) but we found a fabulous gem of a small Italian Restaurant at 3011 Pine Ave., Niagara Falls, N.Y., called Michael’s Italian Restaurant where a bowl of gnocchi, ziti and broccoli, chef’s salad and an 8-slice pizza with wine cost under $50.

For our final day of the getaway we started the morning with café latte from Nina Gelateria while enjoying the small shops, beautiful plantings and amazing historical building of Niagara-On-The Lake.

To close our weekend get-away it was off to brunch at Peller Estates with my CityLine friend and Peller Executive Chef Jason Parsons. Jason prepares his menu’s always in the “now” meaning using fresh locally grown produce from the Niagara region. His tasting menu included pasta with braised rabbit, black garlic to tuna with micro greens and of course a selection of Ontario cheeses served with an ice wine jelly.

Niagara-On-The Lake and surrounding areas represent true jewels in our southern Ontario countryside. No matter what season — a little weekend getaway is always a good idea!

Frank Ferragine is the weather and gardening specialist for Breakfast Television Toronto on Citytv, and appears regularly on CityLine. His first book, Frankie Flowers Get Growing (HarperCollins) is now available. Follow Frank on twitter @frankferragine or email

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