Blogs > News-Herald Food and Travel

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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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ohio wine country a great destination

Just learned that only 20 tickets remain for Wine N Bloom, the wine tasting self drive tour taking place the first two Fridays and Saturdays in May. Anything in Ohio's closeby  Wine Country sells out almost immediately  - it's become that popular. Donnie Winchell of the Ohio Wine Producers tells me that as many as 20,000 people visit Ohio wineries every weekend!

And it's really no wonder considering that many of the wineries are within a 10 minute drive of each other and you can get to Route 528 in about 15 to 20 minutes on Interstate 90 from the heart of Mentor. Two of the wineries are a five minute or so cruise south on 528.
What's more, the addition of  Cellar Rats brewery at Chalet Debonne and Red Eagle bourbon distillery almost next door at South River make this a no-brainer for couples who aren't mutually happy drinking wine.

Trees are in gorgeous bloom now and even if an occasional April shower wets things down, there's hardly a better place to be than Ohio Wine Country.   If you call and discover Wine-N-Bloom tickets are gone, never fear. You can still visit various wineries for tasting what they do best. Many of them have entertainment on weekends and satisfying munchies to take the edge off a wine induced hunger.  Full measl are available at Ferrante and Grand River and if you are really hungry head into Madison Village for a steak at Vault, which is really something special.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dreaming or planning, the April 14 NH travel section has it all

Great mixture of dreaming and planning in today's travel section. Zip through the trees near Mansfield, discover a Florida beach town ideal for summer, add to your birding life list, or leave all your cares in a storied German spa town.

Michael Blair's video camera was mounted on his helmet as he ziplined, giving the viewer that scary pit in the stomach feeling that fades when pure wonder takes over. It's with the online version of his wife,  writer Tracey Read's fine story about the lodge at Mohican State Park and all the fun - including ziplining that can be found around there.

My story about Rosemary Beach takes you to a part of Florida that northeast Ohioans have been  less likely to visit, mainly because the Panhandle hasn't been easy to reach and winter there is like spring here.  But a new airport and budget friendly Southwest Airlines flights make this beach town a perfect fit as a summer destination for those wishing to mix relaxation with plenty of activities & fine dining. You stay in family and pet friendly cottages with kitchens and washer-dryers, tucking your car away in the garage,  if you have one,  so you can walk or bike wherever you want to go.

Outdoors writer Jeff Frischkorn's last trip before his retirement  was a birding foray to border town McAllen, Texas, in the midst of the spring migration. That's on the bend of the Rio Grande River about as far south as you can go in Texas. He added many birds to his life list and came back with a super story for our travel section.

And Tricia Ambrose visited Germany last December and came back with a couple of stories, the first of which is about Baden-Baden, a high-end spa town where the mineral waters ended stress for Roman legionnaires and continue to do so to this day.

If you can't find thw News Heraldon the newstand or don't get home delivery, just click on the underlined stories here to go to each of them directly. And please feel free to comment. We do it for our readers, and without your feedback we don't know if we are doing what works for you. And suggestions? They're always welcomed.

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