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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Niagara-on-the-Lake visit sublime in spring

The 150-year-old Prince of Wales Hotel is a landmark in the middle of Niagara on the Lake

Just back from Niagara-on-the-Lake where spring is about a week earlier than here - at least in my south Mentor neighborhood where the magnolias burst into beautiful pink bloom just before I left.  They still were in tight buds up north, but my friend Maggie, who lives closer to Lake Erie, says that's  how they are in her Mentor neighborhood. So I guess the bloom season varies a lot this time of year depending on where you are in relation to Lake Erie..
It was suggested to me that I cross the border at the Rainbow Bridge to avoid delays which are common at the other crossings into Canada, notably the Peace Bridge where I usually cross. The drive from my door to the 150 years old Prince of Wales Hotel in Niagara on the Lake took me just under four hours, including a rest room stop on I-90 in New York State.
It was somewhat problematic to get an online map or GPS instructions that would take me to the Rainbow Bridge, which might explain why few people cross there. But it was good advice since the wait totaled about 5 minutes... 8 minutes on the return trip, but it WAS a Friday.The signage is good and it was simple to find.  A $3 toll is assessed to cross into Canada although it isn't charged on the way back. On the return crossing I was almost hoping for more of a wait because there's a great view of the famous Falls from the bridge.
Purpose of the  under-48-hour visit was to preview the Shaw Festival and to check out the Vintage Hotels, which are some of the nicest in Niagara-on-the-Lake. If you follow the travel section, as I hope you do,  you'll read about this trip on June 9.
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing "Guys and Dolls" which is sure to be a blockbuster sell-out this summer. And my backstage tour was extraordinary.
The picture with this blog is of the Prince of Wales Hotel, where I had two of the best experiences of my life. And that's saying something since I've stayed in a lot of hotels all over the world. Those bests? Best breakfast: a smoked salmon and creme fraiche crepe with pickled red onions and frizzled capers. Best massage: an exquisite deep tissue massage at the hotel's Secret Garden Spa.

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