Niagara escarpment and Ball’s Falls

Hubby had planned a fun weekend getaway, which involved cycling, hiking, wine tasting, and delicious food. Ontario has so many lovely places – we went to Jordon. With our car packed, we made our way to our lunch stop in the town of Winona.


The place was Memphis Fire BBQ. Hubby had seen this restaurant showcased on the Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here! It’s a cute place with a diner feel. Portions are massive, and a heart attack waiting to happen, but it was worth the visit. I would not say it is the best food I have ever eaten, but the BBQ is down well and nothing was over-cooked. My burger was juicy and hubby’s beef brisket sandwich had a nice smoky flavour.

After the very heavy lunch, we continued to Jordan and checked into our room. It was such a fantastic, 2-storey suite at Inn on the Twenty. It was early afternoon, so we changed into our biking clothes and went for a fun ride through the beautiful area. It was my first long ride on my Surly, and it was a comfortable ride. I admit that I still love my Cannondale more, but the Surly has a certain cool factor that I love. The ride on the steel bike is smooth, but on hill climbs, I do find it easier on a carbon fibre bike. And yes, there were definitely a few steep climbs on this route as we made our way up parts of the escarpment. That meant we had some awesome descents as well, though one of them was a little scary as I watched hubby bombing down a winding road, with cars coming up. I am almost certain one of the drivers was surprised as he was rounding up the corner as hubby was flying down the other side. I was going pretty quick myself, but I slowed down around the bends. There really should be fish-eye mirrors on the road!

The total distance of the route was 56.38 km, and my maximum speed was 52.2 km/hr (possibly my fastest). The roads were in great condition, and for the most part, there was not too much traffic to contend with. The scenery was beautiful and varied. The temperature was perfect.

We had reservations for dinner, but we arrived with a little bit of time to kill. Hubby suggested that I go to the spa for a massage, but it turned out that the spa had already closed for the day, so we went for a walk. We ended up in the tranquil flower garden of the inn, where we both started taking photos of bees and flowers.

On the Twenty restaurant is located conveniently across the road. We have dined here a couple of times before, and have always been happy with the food, the stunning views, and the service. We decided to try a bottle of their Pinot. Sitting in front of the window that overlooks the Twenty Valley, watching the glow of the sun setting while sipping our wine was such a perfect way to end the day. We both ordered the foie gras to start ($19), and it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I honestly wanted to lick the plate. For our mains, I ordered the duck duo ($36), which was good. I would have liked the skin a little crispier, but I also know that that isn’t easy. The duck breast was juicy. Unfortunately, hubby’s wellington ($39) was a disaster! It was so salty, and not because the chef sprinkled a little bit too much salt on it, but rather it tasted like it was likely in a very salty brine because the meat was salty all the way through. We are not complainers, so he ate a little bit, and I saved him half of my dish. I know we should have said something so that the restaurant could do something to fix the problem. It turned out that it wasn’t just us that found the beef too salty. Another table mentioned it to the wait staff as they were clearing the table, and when asked if he wanted them to pack up the remains.

The meal didn’t get us down. We had boozed up and when we got back to our room, we relaxed in the jacuzzi.

The next morning after breakfast, we did a little shopping in the quaint little town, and then went on a cellar tour of Cave Springs. It was a fun way to start our day. Hubby had more fun planned for us. We stopped at Grand Oak, which looks like an old fashioned general store. There is a small restaurant attached, and he had read that we could place an order for a picnic dinner and pick it up later. The food sold in this store are fancy products (ex. fancy oils), and I loved that they had a gluten-free section with lots of fresh-baked options. But for the time being, we could not purchase any perishables because we still had a whole day ahead of us. After placing the order, we continued driving until we arrived at Vineland Estates Winery, in Vineland, Ontario. Driving up the driveway was magnificent. There was so much grandeur in the scenery that it felt like we were in California. The vineyards flocked either side of the long driveway up to the winery, and the vineyards were expansive. The sky was so blue, and the grass was lush and dark green. It took my breath away.

Hubby’s friend had told him about this place, specifically the restaurant, so here we were. The restaurant terrace is amazing. It overlooks the vineyard, and you see the tree-line that divides the property from the Bruce Trail. The food is fresh and delicious. I highly recommend dining here in the summer. Make sure you have the afternoon open because it’s such a relaxing way to spend the day with your friends. I think hubby and I are going to come back for a dinner one day soon.

After lunch, we lathered on the sunscreen and walked down the long driveway, and headed for the hiking trail that would take us towards Ball’s Falls. The trail is not very technical, and I was glad that it was in the forest which provided shade. It’s a well-marked trail, so there were no concerns about getting lost. There was one spot where you come out of the forest and onto a dirt road that is next to a winery, and fruit trees. I was tempted to pick the peach off the tree, but the signs remind you not to do such things, so we continued along and found ourselves back in the forest.

We did not actually make it to Ball’s Falls because it was getting later in the day, and you do have to pay a fee to get up close to the falls, so we turned around and hiked back to our car. The reason we could not chance staying out too late was because we had to pick up our meal at Grand Oak. My fondest memory of the hike was hubby playing music in the forest as we hiked. In his boyish moment, he started doing a little dance, which made me giggle.

We picked up on meal and ate it when we got home. It was healthy and yummy. Thank you hubby! It was such a fabulous weekend!


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