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Where You Can Perform Karaoke in Niagara Falls

April 25, 2016 3:42 pm

FARblog5An evolving form of entertainment that got its start in the 1960s and 1970s in both the United States and Japan, karaoke (a Japanese word that literally means, “empty orchestra”) is that rare form of entertainment that is wholly interactive, as audience members take turns being singing and stage performers.

At a karaoke bar, regular people sign up and take the stage to sing along to a backing track of a favorite song that has had the vocals removed. Lyrics are displayed on a video screen off to the side, so the singer can stay on target throughout the song. Something more holistic than a singing contest, the best karaoke performers are those who give their whole selves over to the performance. It makes for a remarkably exhilarating and fun way to spend an evening.

Whether you’re an old hat or a fresh newcomer, karaoke is almost always a blast, and Niagara has a handful of places where you can step onto the stage, grab the mic, and sing your heart out in front of a roomful of strangers. Have a Niagara vacation experience you’ll never forget at one of these Niagara karaoke bars.

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville

Located in Niagara Falls, the main draw of Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville’s karaoke stage is that Jimmy Buffett himself has performed on it. Every Friday and Saturday night, all year long, you can join tourists and locals for a fun night of whatever music it is you want to sing. In addition to performing and listening to karaoke, you can also enjoy excellent Caribbean-inspired bar food and burgers, as well as some of the best margaritas in the whole region. For a sun-inspired good time that includes a lot of questionable singing, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville is a great spot.

FARblog6Beer Garden Karaoke Patio

From May through October, the Pizza-Pizza Patio at the Beer Garden in Clifton Hill has karaoke each and every night. Skilled and entertaining karaoke hosts keep the audiences and performers engaged, and the full bar and fast service keep everyone in the mood to keep trying to outdo their last performances, and with over 2,800 songs to choose from, you’re almost guaranteed to find something you want to croon over. One thing to keep in mind: Anyone under 19 will have to leave the patio at 9 p.m. nightly.

The Blue Lagoon

This Lundy’s Lane bar and restaurant is a great place to perform karaoke if you want mostly local flavor, as the tourists tend to stick to the places closer to Niagara Falls’ downtown. A full bar and great chicken wings will keep you in the mood for singing and listening whether you hit the bar early or late. Be sure to call ahead to ensure karaoke is on the menu as the bar also plays host to local and touring live bands from time to time. For a karaoke experience that can truly only be had in Niagara Falls, The Blue Lagoon is the spot for you.

Whether you love Hall and Oates or Diana Ross, make some time for karaoke in your Niagara Falls vacation. Not only will the night be memorable, but you just might make some local singing friends to meet up with the next time you’re in town.

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When You Need to Send Flowers in Niagara Falls…

April 15, 2016 3:40 pm

FARblog3It’s hard to know exactly what services you are going to want and need when you head out on vacation, but planning ahead is always a great idea. From determining which of the region’s massage therapists are the best to scheduling a lazy and luxurious manicure or pedicure, being pampered by professionals while you’re taking a break from your hectic life is something almost everyone enjoys.

Of course, the services of some professionals you can hopefully avoid entirely, such as a dentist, nurse, doctor, or car mechanic, and while sending flowers is sometimes due to unfortunate events, it’s still a service that may come in handy, whether you’re trying to tell your betrothed how much she means to you, or you’re trying to tell her how sorry you are for spending too much money playing poker at the casino the night before.

Whatever the occasion, there are times in life when you really can only say what you mean with flowers. Here are some of the finest florists in the area who can help you do that.

Dobbie’s Florist

A fourth-generation flower shop in Niagara Falls, this Victoria Avenue shop is open every day of the week, except for a handful of national holidays. They routinely win local awards and have been awarded a Master Florist service and quality level from FTD. The vast majority of their flowers are brought in from around the Niagara Peninsula throughout the year, so you can be certain the flowers are as fresh as possible.

Almost any floral needs can be taken care of at Dobbie’s, whether you want a bouquet for your last-minute elopement or you need to send sympathy flowers to your sister in Bangkok when her dachshund dies. They also have gifts, stuffed animals, fruit, and gourmet baskets.

Sunstrum’s Florist

FARblog4Another local and award-winning florist, Sunstrum’s was started in 1962, when Dennis Sunstrum, Canada’s first Master Designer, opened up the shop. Specializing in delivery throughout the Niagara region, they also work hard to get their flowers locally.

One helpful aspect of Sunstrum’s is that they feature a vast variety of floral designs on their website, so when you don’t have time to run in to the shop, you can’t decide what you want, or you just don’t know anything about flowers, you can still make the right decision simply by looking through their online catalog.

Country Garden Floral Boutique

Open since 1984, Country Garden Floral Boutique is another specialist in local delivery, and when you make the purchase online, the delivery is free. From orchids and roses to lilies and plants, they offer a wide variety of options that should be able to meet any need or occasion. They also offer an excellent catalogue online that not only includes many wonderful bouquets and blooming plants, but they also offer gift baskets of a wide variety.

Whatever your needs and whatever the reason, Niagara Falls’ many florists can be counted on to provide excellent flower-centered service. Whether you choose Dobbie’s, Sunstrum’s, Country Garden Floral Boutique, or still another shop, should your Niagara Falls vacation need flowers, you’ll be in good hands.

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Take a Trip to Tuscany With Massimo Capra

April 8, 2016 3:40 pm

FARblog1Niagara sees many celebrities. There are the waterfalls, of course. There are the many award-winning vineyards and wineries such as Inniskillin and Peller Estates, and the people who started them. There are the stars of stage and screen who regularly make their way to the various venues in the region to perform throughout the year, but one of the most treasured of all Niagara’s many celebrities is the Italian-born celebrity chef, Massimo Capra, whose fantastic restaurant, the Rainbow Room, is easily one of the finest places to eat on the whole Niagara Peninsula.

While every meal at the Rainbow Room is noteworthy — it does have one of the finest views of the waterfalls in the entire city — Capra’s ongoing culinary tour of Italy makes some meals even more noteworthy than others, and on the first Friday in May, his restaurant is showcasing Tuscan cuisine with paired wines from the region.

About Tuscany

Tuscany is located in central Italy and covers about 9,000 square miles. Given its history, landscape, influence on culture and the arts, and food traditions, it’s no wonder3.8 million people call the region home. Considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Tuscany is also where we get wines like Chianti, brunello di Montalcino, and vino nobile di Montepulciano. So strong is the Tuscan cultural and linguistic identity that it is often referred to as “a nation within a nation.”

Its food is central to much of what makes Tuscany so unique. Oriented around the Italian idea of “poor cooking” or cucina povera, straightforward meals are crafted out of inexpensive ingredients utilizing the freshest and highest quality ingredients available. Bread, roasted meats, beans, foraged mushrooms, and red wine — the ingredients that make up Tuscan cuisine are unassuming but hearty, and an experience in eating there is one of life’s simplest pleasures.

About the Winery

FARblog2Tenuta Il Poggione is the winery partnering with Capra on this night of Tuscan flavors. An historic winery known for its excellent wines, attention to detail, and sustainable approach and respect for the land, Tenuta Il Poggione was started in the late 1800s by the Franceschi family, who knew the land was favorable to viticulture and embraced it as such. Today, just like 100 years ago, this winery produces some of the finest wines in the entire region.

The Details

This Tuscany-inspired meal will take place at the Rainbow Room on Friday, May 6th, 2016. Tickets for dinner are $125 per person, and, because seating is limited, it’s highly recommended that you get them as early as you can, as they may sell out. The evening starts with a standing cocktail reception where guests will mix and mingle with one another and Massimo Capra while canapés and wine are served. Dinner will be a five-course Tuscan-inspired meal, and each course will be paired with a wine from Tenuta Il Poggione Winery.

Spend a night in Tuscany during your next Niagara Falls vacation. Buy your tickets to Massimo Capra’s tour of Tuscany now, and discover just how out-of-this-world the world’s simplest food can taste.

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3 of the Best Bike Shops in the Niagara Area

March 27, 2016 1:31 pm

FARblog11Whether you’ve been an avid cyclist for years or you’re just now remembering the thrill and freedom a bike offered you back when you were a child, heading out on a bicycle for a day or an hour has a lot to recommend it. Great exercise that doesn’t wear on your joints the way running or racquetball does, it can help keep stress at bay. And, because you do it outside, it can help keep you connected to a sense of place while you get a regular dose of vitamin D.

For visitors to the Niagara region who love cycling, there are scores of excellent roadways and trails to bike along, which is why cycling in the area is fast becoming almost as popular as touring wineries. To keep up with the cycling craze, quite a few bike shops have sprung up throughout the region as well Here is a look at three of the best, whether you’re in the market for a brand-new bike, you need a replacement tube, or you just want to step into the heady smell of bike tires, sweat, and good-natured people.

Liberty! Bicycles

This downtown St. Catharines bike shop offers a lot of almost everything. They offer an impressive array of bicycles, including Specialized, Cannondale, Kona, and more. Whether you’re in the market for a road bike, a dual suspension mountain bike, a couple of kids’ bikes, or you just want to see what’s current in bicycle design, their showroom is impressive. They also do repairs and host rides. If you’re looking for a bike shop and a small sense of community while you’re in the area, Liberty! Bicycles will feel like a second home.

Pedlar Bicycle Shop

A Norco, Giant, and Haro dealer, this Niagara Falls-based shop takes all the guesswork out of selecting a bike or getting work done on one. Family-owned and operated, the good people at Pedlar have over 40 years of experience working in the bicycle industry, and they’re routinely award the prize of being Niagara’s Favorite Bike Shop in newspaper polls.

They have over 1,000 bicycles in stock and their array of accessories, clothing, and parts is second to none. Especially if you don’t want to wander outside of Niagara Falls to meet your cycling needs, Pedlar is the perfect place.

FARblog12Canal City Cycle

A Thorold-based bicycle shop, Canal City Cycle offers a wide range of bicycles, accessories, and clothing for sale. They also have a repair shop staffed by fast and knowledgeable workers, and if you want to bike while you’re in the area, but you don’t feel like packing your bike into some sort of checkable luggage, you can rent top-of-the-line bicycles here, too. Because they’re located in Thorold, the shop is close to some of the most picturesque biking in the region, which makes renting from them a clear win. Rent bikes for everyone in your party at this shop, and whether you’re looking for a paved path or a day of rugged mountain trails, you’ll be near enough to pedal to it.

Be a part of the swooning cycling masses as they pedal across the Niagara region. Whether you’re young or old, looking for single-track or hoping for an easy, wide, and loping road, the place is filled with great biking trails, and thanks to these bike shops and others like them, you’ll never want for anything bike-related while you’re here.

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Horseback Riding in Niagara? Don’t Mind if I Do

March 18, 2016 9:28 am

FARblog6Once you start to look into it, it can seem like there are as many reasons to visit Niagara as there are drops of water in the Niagara River. Touring the world-class wineries and vineyards, hiking the Bruce Trail, taking in a night of hilarious and delicious musical dinner theatre, gambling until the wee hours of the morning, shopping, eating at restaurants with breathtaking views of the falls, going to festivals, touring historical and military museums — it’s a region rich not just in overall offerings but in the variety of its offerings, too.

So diverse are the opportunities to have a great time here that some of the less-heralded and known-about fun can get lost in the shuffle. For instance, did you know you can go horseback riding while you visit Niagara Falls? Regardless of whether you had a deep and burning passion for horses as a child or you just want to get out into nature on the back of an impressive and well-behaved animal, horseback riding in the region makes for a great way to spend a day or afternoon.

Here are a few of the places where you can saddle up a horse and experience the Niagara landscape as the earliest settlers, First Nations groups, and other pioneers of the past might have.

Niagara Riding Stables

Offering trail rides all along the Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Riding Stables is located in Niagara-on-the-Lake and offers year-round rides and horses to people of all backgrounds and experience levels. Reservations are required, so be sure to call ahead before you go. Their stable of horses is perfect for almost any rider, whether you’re skilled and comfortable in the saddle or you’ve never even seen a horse up close.

The trail rides take roughly 50 minutes and can be scheduled throughout the day. The cost is just $45 per person with a two-person minimum, and riders must be at least 10 years old to ride.

FARblog9HorsePlay Niagara

Based in Wainfleet, HorsePlay Niagara offers rides along the beach and along quiet forest paths. Known for their gentle, easy-to-ride horses, they offer hourly rides for anyone, including children as young as six.

Should you be looking for a more unique experience, they also offer Sunset Rides, Romance Rides, and Cowboy Cookout Rides, and special packages are available for the extra-timid or the very advanced rider. A great place for children, they also have mini golf, a baby animal petting zoo, and a barn play area on-site.

Gordon Harry Conservation Trail

Perhaps you have your own horse or you’re friends with someone in the region with a stable full of ponies eager to hit a trail. If that’s the case, you should make your way to the Gordon Harry Conservation Trail. Named after long-time conservationist Gordon Harry, who was a long-time Wainfleet resident, Wainfleet mayor, and Chairman of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, this trail runs east and west across the old Grand Trunk Railway Corridor, through Wainfleet, and parallel to Lake Erie’s picturesque shoreline.

So, saddle up, and experience Niagara in a totally new and unforgettable way: On the back of a beautiful and trustworthy horse.

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Can’t-Miss Arts and Crafts Studios and Galleries Scattered Across Niagara

March 12, 2016 12:24 pm

FARblog3Makers of all kinds have long been inspired by Niagara’s majestic scenery. Much more than just the home of one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls, the Niagara Peninsula offers up a wealth of beautiful and pastoral landscapes interspersed with everything from lovingly tended vineyards, orchards, and farmlands to old-growth Carolinian forests. Even for artists who create along more abstract and conceptual lines, it’s an inspiring place to wonder and work.

Regardless of whether you love fine art or down-home craft making, Niagara has something for you. With so many fabulous studios and galleries scattered across the region, you could spend all your time here just trekking from one to another. While this list is incomplete, it’s a great place to start your hunt for Niagara-made treasures. Here are a handful of can’t-miss spots for the arts and crafts for your visit to Niagara.

Rodman Hall Art Centre

Located at Brock University in St. Catharines, Rodman Hall Art Centre hosts some of the region’s most contemporary and exciting exhibitions. Home to a permanent collection that boasts over 1,000 drawings, sculptures, paintings, and prints, the Centre also offers tours, lectures, workshops, and classes that the public is welcome to attend. Another highlight are the estate gardens surrounding the centre. Sculpture dots the collection of exotic plants and trees set amidst the micro-climate of Carolinian forest making it an ideal spot to connect with and contemplate the world around you.

Angie Strauss Gallery

Set in Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Old Town, the Angie Strauss Gallery is located in award-winning artist Angie Strauss’ 1860’s Victorian home. A lush English country garden surrounds the space, and flowering plants and trees, a pond, waterfall, and massive weeping beech all add to the allure of the place. You’ll gain intimate access to the artist’s studio and gallery, including many oil paintings and giclee prints. For anyone who loves to meet the artist behind the work, this gallery is should not be missed.

Glass Arts and Crafts

This small Jordan shop offers a wide range of glass-based pieces including the very practical and necessary: doors, windows, cupboards, and lamp shades, as well as the unnecessary but beautiful: suncatchers, flowers, and jewelry. A wonderful place to peruse if you’re looking for something to take home with you, if you work in glass yourself, they also offer a stock of supplies. You can make custom orders, take a class, and gain access to free patterns for stained glass and other ventures.

FARblog4East West Pottery

Another studio and gallery located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, East West Pottery is the only Raku studio in the entire area, and it features Susan Winthrop’s work, as well as the work of a Canadian sculptor by the name of Dean LevsQue. Raku is a traditional Japanese method of pottery-making, and Winthrop has incorporated it into her own designs and creations with stunning success. Whether you just want to stop by to see her at work and purchase some Canadian Raku pottery, or you’d like to take a class or workshop while you’re in the area, East West Pottery is a great place to spend an afternoon.

In Niagara, the hills and dells are alive with making. Head to these can’t-miss studios, galleries, and shops while you’re here to get a taste of some of the region’s best arts and crafts.

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Where to Take Your Sweet Tooth In and Around Niagara

March 3, 2016 2:22 pm

FARblog1Lovers of sweets often rejoice in the opportunity to take a vacation. Not only does a new environment promise new types of sugary excitement, but the prevailing onus of worrying about calories during regular life can be completely set aside once a vacation is underway.

For the visitor to Niagara, chances to indulge your sweet tooth abound whether you’re about to embark on a winery tour in Niagara-on-the-Lake or you’re waiting in line to get tickets for a play in St. Catharines. From ice cream and pies to chocolates and kettle corn, here are some of the places to take your sweet tooth in and around the Niagara Peninsula.

Laura Secord Chocolates

Named after Canadian heroine, Laura Secord, whose 20-mile walk in the War of 1812 to warn the British about an impending American attack is still celebrated, Laura Secord Chocolates was originally founded in 1913 in Toronto. Specialists in chocolates and general confections, they also have amazing ice cream, milk chocolate crayons, lollipops, hot beverages, and much, much more. With locations in Niagara Falls, St Catharines, and Hamilton, anytime your sweet tooth needs satisfying, you’re likely to be just a stone’s throw from a Laura Secord Chocolates.

Shriner’s Creek Kettle Popcorn

For lovers of sweet and salty treats, kettle popcorn has few rivals. Shriner’s Creek has excellent kettle corn of all varieties, including those on the more savory side. Crafted in small-batches, and delicious whether it’s piping hot or cooled down, the popcorn made by Shriner’s Creek is some of the best in the region. Located in Fonthill, the best place to find Shriner’s Creek is year-round on Thursdays and Saturdays at the St. Catharines Farmers’ Market.

FARblog2The Pie Plate Bakery and Cafeé

Located in the Village of Virgil near Trius Winery at Hillebrand, The Pie Plate Bakery and Café specializes in homemade baked treats made entirely from scratch and featuring local Niagara fruits. You can get a full meal in their café — their gourmet pizza is fantastic — but you’ll want to make sure you save room for the finale for which they are named: their unbelievable pies. Their menu is always changing based on what’s available from the fruit growers around them, which means you should stop in to The Pie Plate every time you come to Niagara for a visit.

Monks Chocolates

This small sweets shop showcases a startlingly large array of chocolate goodies and other sugar-based delights, but it’s their frozen treats that keep people coming in and exclaiming. With carefully crafted and decadent gelato, as well as surprisingly good frozen yogurt, you can please almost any sweet tooth in your party.

Located in Grimsby, Monks is a particularly great spot to take young children. Their gelato is actually made from the flavors after which each type is named, which means that, while what you’re giving your little ones is full of sugar, it’s still more on the healthy side than most sweet options.

Give in to your sweet-loving side. The Niagara region boasts some of the best sweet spots in all of Ontario, and while this list is by no means exhaustive, it should still keep you and yours happily occupied throughout your stay.

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Windows by Jamie Kennedy Fresh Grill & Wine Bar Awarded Prestigious 2015 Golden Plate Award

January 14, 2016 10:29 am

GoldenPlateFalls Avenue Resort is very pleased to announce that the Windows by Jamie Kennedy Fresh Grill & Wine Bar restaurant located inside the Sheraton on the Falls hotel has been awarded the prestigious 2015 Golden Plate Award by Les Clefs d’Or Niagara. The recipient of this award is voted on annually by members of Les Clefs d’Or Niagara – a local hotel concierge association – based on quality of cuisine, restaurant atmosphere, service, hotel guest feedback, and reservation accommodation.

As the 2015 winner, Windows by Jamie Kennedy Fresh Grill & Wine Bar has been awarded a framed Royal Dalton gold-ringed plate featuring an engraved Les Clefs d’Or Canada logo in the center. Les Clefs d’Or Niagara created the Golden Plate award to recognize outstanding culinary experiences in the Niagara Region and the award has now been adopted by chapters in both Vancouver and Toronto.

Windows by Jamie Kennedy Fresh Grill & Wine Bar offers a dining experience unlike anywhere else, serving fresh and seasonal farm-to-table cuisine and award-winning local wines in a spectacular Fallsview atmosphere. The entire Windows by Jamie Kennedy Fresh Grill & Wine Bar team is honoured to be recognized with the 2015 Golden Plate Award and will continue to offer guests memorable Fallsview dining experiences focused on local and sustainable agriculture.

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Make New Year’s Eve Spectacular with Spoons

December 29, 2015 10:35 am

event14533If you’re looking for a fun way to make this New Year’s Eve the most memorable one yet then make sure to check out an exclusive live performance from legendary Canadian band Spoons at the Hard Rock Club in Niagara Falls.

This 19+ show is an exciting event that will help you ring in 2016 right! Tickets are $45 per person and can be purchased from the Hard Rock Café Niagara Falls or at TicketScene.com. And if you’re a Falls Avenue Resort hotel guest staying at the Sheraton on the Falls, Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls-Fallsview, Clifton Victoria Inn, or Skyline Hotel and Waterpark then you’ll receive a special offer of $15 off your ticket price.

Experience amazing music from Spoons in a one-of-a-kind rock & roll atmosphere this New Year’s Eve and have a truly unforgettable night in Niagara Falls. Doors open at 8pm on December 31st, so stop by and join the party!

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Kid-Friendly New Year’s Eve Fun in Niagara Falls

December 29, 2015 10:27 am

KidsNYE (3)Ring in 2016 as a family in Niagara Falls with an exciting kid-friendly celebration taking place on December 31st at Adventure City! Children and families are welcome to attend this early New Year’s Eve party in the heart of the city’s tourist district to experience amazing music, dancing, and snacks starting at 8:30pm.

Kids will have the chance to dance and have their photos taken with an exciting lineup of special character mascots including SpongeBob SquarePants, Pink Panther, the Rainforest Café’s Cha Cha the Red Eyed Tree Frog & Ozzie the Orangutan, and the very sweet Miss Kiss Hershey’s Kiss! There will also be gifts for all children in attendance and an exciting balloon drop taking place at 8:59pm followed by spectacular fireworks which can be viewed from the comfort of Adventure City Arcade.

This one-of-a-kind celebration is the perfect way for children and families to ring in the new year together and connect with a ton of fun and excitement just steps away from the magnificent Niagara Falls!

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