The Deal Detective is SmarterTravel.com’s resident bargain hunter, Kate Hamman. She’s always on the lookout for new travel deals and invites you, dear reader, to submit your own questions.
Cindy writes, “I would like to surprise my husband with a unique weekend getaway. He travels a lot and so I want something out of the ordinary. Air from BUF or ROC, or within a four-hour drive of Rochester NY.”
Though I do love the excitement of flying to a foreign land, I have to admit that I am a road-trip junkie. I love the freedom of driving down an endless highway unaware of what you might encounter around the next bend. For this reason alone, I’ve decided to forego putting you on a plane, and instead I’m going to suggest a place that is not only in another country and gives you the impression of having flown across the Pond, but only requires a full tank of gas, a sense of adventure, and a limited amount of time to get there.
I think Niagara-on-the-Lake is the ideal place for an affordable weekend getaway. Located only about a two-hour drive from Rochester, this Canadian town captures the essence of the English countryside. During your drive, you will pass the misty and massive Niagara Falls, follow the serene Niagara River, and encounter a variety of farms and vineyards. Plus, the favorable exchange rate means you can save in a slew of different ways.
Once you arrive, you can choose from a plethora of places to stay depending on your budget, from local B&Bs (some may be closed during the off-season) to the royalty-inspired Prince of Wales (rooms start at $170 CAD (about $140 U.S.; check XE.com for current exchange rates) in winter, but deals are offered throughout the year).
As for things to do, you can spend the day touring the numerous wineries in the surrounding area, tasting everything from Rieslings to the rare Ice Wine; browsing the many boutiques and local shops on the main drag; sitting at Shaw Cafe & Wine Bar sipping a cappuccino and enjoying a light lunch; or having afternoon tea, complete with finger sandwiches, at the Prince of Wales.
If, however, you need a bit more excitement and are craving the bright lights of the big city, Toronto is only about an hour-and-a-half away. But that’s a different article for a different day.
And now it is my turn to make a request to all of my readers. I would love to hear your suggestions for road trips (or short flights) from Rochester, or even other things to do in and around Niagara-on-the-Lake. Plus, be sure to ask your own questions about the trip you daydream about, and let’s see if we can make it a reality together.
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