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Reply to "WHERE Niagara (advice please!)"

For anyone going to the Niagara region, we followed Board-o's advice almost to the letter and had a fantastic experience. Thanks B-O!

We stayed in a suite at the Inn on the Twenty in Jordan. Very nice room, with a fireplace, jacuzzi, four-poster bed. Costs around US$200, but it also includes breakfast and a free private cellar tour of Cave Springs. Highly recommended.

Dined at Hillebrand for lunch one day, and enjoyed a very tasty meal of duck prosciutto salad and Barrelmaker's stew, with spaetzle and cinammon-glazed onions.

Dined at "On the Twenty" for dinner. Very nice setting. The food sometimes pushed the envelope a bit. When it worked, it was great. My appetizer of Chilled yellowfin tuna with julienne vegetables, olives and a maple ginger dressing was a bit "challenging". There was alot of extreme contrasts in textures and saltiness/sweetness. However, the dry rub rack of lamb with a berry compote was a home run. My wife's appetizer of venison ravioli was outstanding, but her grilled salmon entree was a bit soggy.

Had lunch at Vineland Estates. What a fantastic setting! And the food was great, too. I started out with a spelt kernel/pancetta soup with fresh thyme and parsley seasoning that was outstanding. My entree was homemade pork sausage, with roasted winter vegetables on a soft polenta. Quite tasty. Probably our favorite restaurant of the three.

Service was excellent at all three places.

We virtually had the entire wine route to ourselves, which was much to our liking. It would have been nice to have a fresh blanket of snow, but the mild temps made for a couple nice walks through the small village of Jordan. A wintertime trip to Niagara was a relaxing and calming getaway for us in the middle of the holiday madness.

I'll write up the wineries we visited in the TN section eventually. We went to Inniskillin, Jackson-Triggs, Pillatteri, Hillebrand, Cave Springs, Stoney Ridge, Crown Bench, and Vineland.