3 Reasons to Enjoy St. Patty’s Day in Niagara

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nfhblog1Whether you’re of bona-fide Irish stock or you just love a grand excuse to revel in Irish culture for a day, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most popular and most celebrated holidays in all of Europe and North America. Marked by all things green, lucky, and boozey, and punctuated by parades far and near, the religious feast day of the patron saint of Ireland is an almost-guaranteed day of excess and fun — no matter where you mark it.

If you’re planning a spring trip to the Niagara Peninsula, you’ll we can don green with gusto as you’ll find plenty of Irish-related entertainment popping up all over the region. From the world’s shortest parade to our most authentic Irish pub, here are three of the many reasons you should consider enjoying St. Patty’s Day in Niagara.

The Parade

Started in the 1970s, the Niagara Falls St. Patrick’s Day Parade takes place at 4:45pm every March 17th in front of the Niagara Falls Conference Center, and to call it “short,” is to give it too much credit. Members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, a local Catholic priest or two, regional politicians, someone in the role or St. Patrick, and a well-dressed leprechaun are all that make up the world’s shortest parade. After a small smattering of steps, the parade participants leave the parade “route” and head indoors to the conference center for a party that includes plenty of beer, food, and entertainment. For an unusual St. Patrick’s Day event that won’t take up too much time — especially if the weather is foul — the parade is a perfect break in a day of celebration.

The Pub

Doc Magilligan’s is an authentic Irish pub and restaurant centrally located on Lundy’s Lane in Niagara Falls. Owned by a family whose descendants go all the way back to Dungiven, Ireland, everything from its menu to its rich, tasteful decor feels plucked from the hills and dales of Ireland making a meal and a drink at

Doc Magilligan’s feel like a trip to the Motherland any time of year. Around St. Patrick’s Day, however, they pull out all the stops with live music, dancing, specials, and throngs of revelers. Eat authentic Irish food from breakfast until late at night, and drink pint after pint of Guinness to go along with it. If you want your Niagara Falls St. Patty’s experience to feel something like it might if you were to head over to Ireland, get to Doc Magilligan’s early and stay late.

The Green Waterfalls

nfhblog2While the trio of waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls are stunning any time of year, day or night, St. Patrick’s Day night finds them in a rare and Irish-themed hue. Most nights out of the year, the waterfalls are bathed in a rainbow of colors, but when March 17th rolls around, the falls go green. If you’ve never seen millions of gallons of green-tinted water rushing through the dark of night with a deafening roar while merrymaking is all around you, you’ve never experienced St. Patrick’s Day in Niagara.

Spend March 17th with us, and let your inner leprechaun loose in a place he’ll feel right at home.

What to Look for at the 6th Annual Greater Niagara Region Home and Garden Show 2016

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NFHblog5The Niagara Peninsula is easily one of the most fertile places in all of Canada and North America as is evidenced by our wealth of wineries, vineyards, orchards, and farms. Blessed with a mild climate, an abundance of fresh water, and rich, well-draining soil, it’s common practice for many people in the region — not just professional famers, landscaping companies, and vineyard owners — to plant and maintain impressive gardens and tend to luscious and intentional landscapes.

Maybe that’s the reason why one of the newest annual traditions in the Niagara region is the early spring home and garden show held the first weekend in March at the Scotiabank Convention Centre.

Whether you’re coming to Niagara for a quick romantic getaway, a business meeting, or to take in some much-needed R&R at one of the world’s best tourist destinations, if you love home improvement, landscaping, or gardening, plan your Niagara trip to coincide with this event.

Open to the public from Friday, March 4th at 2 p.m. through Sunday, March 6th at 5 p.m., for just $7.00, you can see, read, listen, sample, and learn from some of the best in the home, garden, and landscaping industries. Full of exhibits, displays, vendors, and demonstrations, here is some of what you should look for at the 6th Annual Greater Niagara Region Home and Garden Show.

The Complete Home Improvement Centre

NFHblog6For anyone who loves renovating, updating, or just generally improving a home, this year’s Complete Home Improvement Centre will be a definite highlight. Learn tricks and tips for those do-it-yourself projects you’ve been putting off. Discover the latest in materials and design, from flooring and roofing to storage and lighting.

Even if you’re completely satisfied with your home the way it is now, you’re likely to find great ideas and products that will help you make better decisions about what to do in the future.

Garden, Landscape and Outdoor Living Showcase

While the landscapers and gardening experts taking part in the Greater Niagara Region Home and Garden Show will mostly be offering insight and advice for homeowners and growers in the Niagara region, much of the information you can glean about getting your yard and flowerbeds ready for warmer weather is applicable no matter where you live.

Find out what to plant for a robust-looking summer yard. Learn about when to put spring flowers in the ground and how to keep them safe from late frosts. Discover which trees, bushes, and plants will keep your yard and landscaping looking great through the autumn months. For anyone looking to bone up on how to best improve the look of their home’s exterior, the Garden, Landscape, and Outdoor Living Showcase should not be missed.

Gardening Seminars

As the trend toward a larger and healthier local food economy continues to gather steam throughout North America, one thing anyone with a little bit of earth can do to help out is plant a garden. Whether you own a half-acre or you just have a little roof space on which to place some raised beds, the Gardening Seminars held throughout the weekend will answer many of your questions about how to garden most effectively given your space and your ambition.

For home, land, and garden improvement Niagara-style, head to the Scotiabank Convention Centre this March 4th through the 6th.

5 Reasons You’d Rather Spend Your College Spring Break in Niagara

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nfhblog1.jpfWhen it comes to possible college spring break destinations, cooler climes rarely make the list as students flock by the thousands to warm and sunny beaches throughout the southern United States. While many enjoy a rowdy week off from studying and other adult-like responsibilities, the endless party and beach scene isn’t a fit for everyone.

If you’re wondering where to spend your upcoming college Spring Break, but you’d rather avoid tending to sunburn and talking about which bar has the best Jello shots, consider spending a week in Niagara. From the giant indoor water park to the lower drinking age, the area has a lot to recommend it — especially for college students looking for a great experience that won’t require them to forego plenty of rest and relaxation.

1. The Water Park

One of North America’s largest indoor water parks can be found in Niagara Falls at the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark. Filled with 125,000 square feet of water-centered entertainment, you can zip down a six-story high water slide, hit the full-size wave pool, and relax in the adults-only hot tub. For water fun that can keep you and your friends entertained without requiring any sun block, Fallsview is perfect.

2. The Drinking Age

Especially for students who are attending college in the United States, spending a week in Niagara — with its legal drinking age of 19 — is an obvious perk. Why spend your Spring Break with a fake ID and the potential for legal woes somewhere in the U.S.? As long as you’re 19 and drink responsibly, you can enjoy everything from the area’s world-renowned wine to a happy hour Long Island Iced Tea.

3. The Poutine

nfhblog2If there’s one thing college students do on a regular basis, it’s eat inexpensive comfort food at all hours of the day. While pizza, nachos, burgers, and donuts are all available in the Niagara region for your Spring Break enjoyment, a popular Canadian dish called poutine can be had as well.

French fries covered in fresh cheese curd and gravy, poutine is one of those dishes whose simplicity betrays its remarkable tastiness, and you can find it at a dozen different restaurants in the area with a dozen different variations.

4. The Scenery

Whether you routinely take photos for your own personal enjoyment or for the enjoyment of others in posts to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, the scenery at Niagara Falls is its own perfect reason to spend your Spring Break here. The waterfalls, the parks, the Niagara River, the vineyards, and farms — the entire Niagara Peninsula is ripe for unforgettable photos.

5. The Pace

While it’s true that Niagara Falls is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, March and April aren’t busy times. For the college student genuinely in need of a break, the slow and easy pace of Niagara in spring is ideal. You’ll have no crowds to push through and few waits to endure at concerts, bars, restaurants, and wineries.

Spring Break in Niagara will afford you the chance to spend your time exactly as you choose at the speed you desire so when you head back to school, you’ll be truly rejuvenated.

Spend your Spring Break in Niagara and get the rest you need while having the time of your life.

3 Performances You Won’t Want to Miss in Niagara Falls This March

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NFHblog3Niagara Falls has long been a great tourist destination, regardless of whether the tourist in question loved wine, waterfalls, music, or gambling. The region is just so rich in diverse opportunities for enrichment and entertainment that almost anyone can have the time of their lives here.

That’s especially true for people who love live music. From international pop stars to Canadian rock and roll legends, performers of the highest caliber routinely make memorable stops in Niagara Falls. If you’re planning a trip to the region in March and you love live music, here are three performances you won’t want to miss.

1. Don Felder

One of the greatest and most-recognized musicians of the 20th century, Don Felder ended up being the lead guitarist for the Eagles for over 25 years, ushering in the momentum that changed the band’s sound from country to rock and roll. A songwriter who also occasionally sang lead vocals in the band, Felder is credited with writing the music to the massive hit, “Hotel California.”

While he is most well-known for his work with the Eagles, Felder has also worked with a number of other artists over the years including the Bee Gees, Barbra Streisand, and Diana Ross, and he’s performed solo since the early 2000s. He can almost always be spotted with one of two signature guitars, a Gibson Les Paul or a Gibson EDS-1275. As a live performer, Felder is electrifying, and fans can see him March 3rd, 4th, or 5th at the Fallsview Casino Resort.

2. Dreamer

NFHblog4For fans of 1970s and 1980s British rock and roll, few groups were as entertaining and unforgettable as Supertramp, and the cover band Dreamer is as close to the real deal as you can get. They are an eight-piece, live rock-and-roll band that features everything from clarinet and trombone to keyboards and guitar.

Dreamer performs the stunning and complicated arrangements of all the best Supertramp songs, from the massive hits to the deep cuts. Hear surprisingly faithful renditions of Supertramp classics like “Breakfast in America,” “The Logical Song,” “Give a Little Bit,” “Take the Long Way Home,” “Cannonball,” and many, many more. You can catch Dreamer at the Seneca Queen Theatre on March 5th at 8 p.m. Tickets start at just under $25.

The Leahy’s

For decades, lovers of music and dance flocked to performances by The Leahy Family, a Canadian folk music group with Irish roots that toured the world. Eight of 11 siblings first banded together in the 1980s to step dance, sing and play songs, and while their name is a bit different, the great music continues. Since that time, they’ve played thousands of shows and put out numerous records and singles. Today, the eight siblings are still on the road together with a renewed emphasis on songwriting and singing. For lovers of traditional Irish music and new folk, The Leahy’s can’t be beat. They’re playing the Scotiabank Convention Centre on March 19th. Tickets are $35.

Every day brings with it another reasons to visit the Niagara Falls region. If you’re a lover of music, plan your trip now for March, when these three great performances will all be taking place.

Eat Your Heart Out in Abruzzo (in Niagara)

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NFHblog1One of the most exciting aspects of any vacation is getting to eat three square meals a day in a brand-new place. From Chicago to Paris to the outback of Australia, food is one of the best reflections of history, culture, people, and place.

While it’s true that almost any trip will afford you new dishes to taste, for the visitor to Niagara, taste is an experience that is second to none. From the many excellent restaurants gracing the city of Niagara Falls to the farm-to-table establishments in the towns and wineries that make up the Niagara Peninsula, eating in Niagara need never be an afterthought.

Nowhere is this truer than in the Rainbow Room, a fine dining Italian restaurant operated under the watchful and creative eye of celebrity chef, Massimo Capra. Born in Italy, Capra routinely offers specialty culinary events at the Rainbow Room centered on the regions or towns of his homeland, and on Friday, March 4th, he’s highlighting Abruzzo.

About Abruzzo

Abruzzo is a region in Italy that covers just over 4,000 square miles and is home to some 1.3 million people. Known as a land of poets and artists, the people hold fast to many forms of traditional artisanship including their pasta making. Considered the greenest area in all of Europe, roughly one third of the area has been set aside as protected nature preserves and national parks. Abruzzo’s parks and reserves are, in many ways, responsible for assisting in the survival of up to 75 percent of the wildlife in Europe, including many rare species such as the Golden Eagle, the Apennine Wolf, and the Small Wading Dotterel. It is a diverse and fertile place, and, of course, it’s known for its cuisine.

Abruzzo Cuisine

True to form, the region of Abruzzo has fantastic food that differs in many ways from other parts of Italy. For instance, roast lamb is a common regional ingredient and is enjoyed in a wide variety of incarnations. Some of the area’s most popular dishes include:

  • Maccheroni alla Chitarra, a pasta that is similar in shape to spaghetti that is formed when pressed through a chitarra.
  • Gnocchi carrati, a dish that includes bacon, pecorino, and eggs.
  • Pastuccia, a polenta stew that features eggs, cheese, and sausage.
  • Pecora al cotturo, which is lamb that has been stuffed with a wide variety of mountain herbs before being cooked in a copper pot.

The Rainbow Room Event

NFHblog2The cuisine of Abruzzo will be on full display during the night of the March 4th culinary event, and each course will be paired with wine from the region as well. Masciarelli Winery is a fantastic winery that started with a vineyard that covered just 2.5 hectares. Today, it boasts over 300 hectares scattered across the Abruzzo region, which allows for wines that aren’t just distinct to Abruzzo but distinct to the many different terroirs within the region. Abruzzo, then, is honored in every bite and sip taken throughout this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

For a taste of Abruzzo while you’re in the heart of Niagara, reserve your seat at the Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra now.

Pairings and Icewine: How to Get It Right

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nfnblogj7.jpegTo many people around the world, Niagara’s claim to fame begins and ends with the stunning trio of waterfalls for which it is named. What other reason could there possibly be to travel to the Niagara region except to gaze upon such a majestic and unparalleled onslaught of water?

Well, you could list the restaurants, festivals, biking, fireworks, parks system, and entertainment, but if you want to give a single, simple answer: icewine will suffice. Known as “liquid gold,” icewine is the crown jewel of Niagara’s viticulture in many ways. Delicate, delicious, and difficult to make, icewine is harvested during the winter months but easily enjoyed all year long — especially when you know what to serve it with.

Cheese

Cheese is an ideal companion to icewine, so long as you use cheeses with strong flavor. Milder cheeses tend to disappear in the presence of icewine’s sweetness and complex acidity, which is why you can always choose blue cheeses like Roquefort or Gorgonzola. If you don’t like blue cheese, hard, aged cheeses also work well. Go for a Parmigiano Reggiano or a very aged Sharp Cheddar.

Spicy Foods

Spicy food is another fabulous pairing for icewine’s sweetness. Whether you’re eating Thai, Indian, Mexican, or Creole, the spicier the dish, the better your glass of icewine will taste. Besides the way its sweetness balances the spices present, icewine — because it’s best served chilled — can also serve as a bit of a cooling presence should your mouth start to feel feverish.

Salty Foods

Another great way to enjoy icewine with a meal is to serve it alongside salty dishes. From anchovies to olives and capers, enjoying icewine in conjunction with salt will enhance your experience of both the food and the wine.

Rich Foods

Finding a sweet wine to compliment rich foods such as foie gras, pate, or a meat such as duck can often be tricky. These types of food are higher in fat, and therefore, the dish doesn’t give up much room to the sugars present in a lot of sweeter wines. However, icewine isn’t just a sweet wine; it also has a welcome amount of acidity in it. This complexity allows icewine allows to complement rich food very well.

nfhblog8.jpegDesserts

It may seem counter-intuitive to add a sweet wine to your dessert course, but icewine pairs exceedingly well with sweeter dishes. Because there is such a wide range of icewine available, you can also get remarkably picky about what type of varietal you serve with what type of dessert. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Vidal icewine pairs quite well with a wide range of fruit-based desserts, whether you’re serving a banana pudding, a peach cobbler, or a pineapple upside-down cake.
  • Riesling Icewine is also prefect with citrus, pineapple, honeydew, and kiwi.
  • Cabernet Franc icewine complements berry-centered desserts whether you’re working with strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries. Or, if you’re serving a rich dessert like chocolate, custard, or a crème brulee, look for a Cabernet Franc icewine so that the wine and the creamy richness of your dish won’t be in competition with one another.

Whether you serve it on its own or as an accompaniment to these many food pairing suggestions, Niagara icewine is a treat of exceptional range and quality.

Where to Get a Great Cocktail in Niagara

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nfhblog5.jpegNo matter what time of year you visit, vacationing in Niagara will afford you ample opportunity to relax and enjoy yourself. From the casinos and the shopping to the simple pleasure you’re sure to get from taking in the region’s eponymous waterfalls, there is so much to see and do that almost anyone can have a good time here — even the lover of quality cocktails.

While Niagara certainly doesn’t have the speakeasy and prohibition-style cocktail reputation enjoyed by larger urban areas such as New York City, that doesn’t mean the spirits snob will suffer. Here are a handful of places where you can get a great cocktail in the Niagara region, whether you’re enjoying it along with dinner or as the precursor to even more cocktails.

The Rainbow Room

One of the finest restaurants in the region, The Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra also boasts an excellent wine list, a full bar, and a delightful cocktail selection. Whether you make a reservation for dinner or you come in for a mid-afternoon drink and snack — something light and fresh-tasting that will pair well with a salad, for example — you simply cannot go wrong with this establishment. Everything from the food and decor to the view is top-notch, which makes the cocktails taste that much better.

nfhblog6.jpegThe Keg Steakhouse

A chain that has numerous locations throughout Canada, The Keg Steakhouse is a great place to get a steak or a martini. Especially if you like your martinis made in line with the classic style — a.k.a. gin-based — their Cucumber Collins is a must. Hendrick’s Gin is shaken with simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, muddled English cucumber, and fresh rosemary before being topped with a bit of 7up.

Two Black Sheep

Located in St. Hamilton, this small and hip space is the perfect place to grab an unusual and expertly crafted cocktail. Charcuterie plates, local wine, chocolates, oysters, and booze abound. If you’re looking for a cocktail experience that feels like it’s a direct homage to Brooklyn, Two Black Sheep will fit the bill. They’re open every day from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m., and they also feature dollar oysters between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. every day. It’s the perfect place for an early evening hangout or an after the party nightcap.

Avanti Bar and Grill

An Italian restaurant in Niagara Falls, Avanti Bar and Grill can be counted on to provide a good cocktail, regardless of the type of liquor you’re seeking. A simple establishment that features excellent fare, you can easily sit down at the bar and enjoy everything from a Manhattan or a Negroni to a Chocolate Martini. Should you also be hankering for a meal, their pizza is excellent, too. They also offer plenty of beer specials for whenever you decide you need to pace yourself a bit.

Whatever it is that calls you to Niagara, don’t neglect the cocktail-loving side of yourself. Whether you find yourself in Niagara Falls proper or in St. Catharines, the region has plenty of restaurants and bars where your love for fine spirits can be both awakened and sated.

Experience Live Spoons Performance this New Year’s Eve!

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HRClub_NewYearsPosterNew Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls is always an exciting time and this year’s celebration is going to be one of the city’s best with a special live performance by legendary Canadian band Spoons at the Hard Rock Club!

Spoons will be playing an exclusive show on December 31st in the one-of-a-kind Hard Rock Club located just steps away from the incredible Niagara Falls. The show is a 19+ event with doors opening at 8pm on December 31st. You can get your tickets now from the Hard Rock Café Niagara Falls or by visiting TicketScene.com. And if you’re a guest at one of four Falls Avenue Resort hotels including the Sheraton on the Falls, Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls-Fallsview, Clifton Victoria Inn, or Skyline Hotel and Waterpark then you’ll also receive $15 off the price of your ticket.

Ring in 2016 with live music and an unforgettable celebration at the Hard Rock Club Niagara Falls and make this a New Year’s Eve you will never forget!

Ring in 2016 with the Kids in Niagara Falls!

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balloon-dropThere’s no better place to find family-friendly New Year’s Eve fun than at Adventure City’s exciting Balloon Drop celebration taking place on December 31st! Kicking off at 8:30pm, this exciting event will feature music, dancing, and snacks for children to enjoy as well as an amazing line-up of 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!

All children in attendance will also receive a special gift and will have the chance to watch a New Year’s Eve balloon drop at 8:59pm followed by spectacular fireworks which can be safely and comfortably viewed from inside Adventure City Arcade.

So gather up the kids and head on over to Adventure City this New Year’s Eve for a unique celebration featuring non-stop excitement and fun in a world-class destination!

New Year’s Eve in Niagara is an Experience Like Nowhere Else

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fireworksnfSpend a spectacular New Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls with family and friends at Niagara’s annual free New Year’s Eve concert in Queen Victoria Park. The picturesque setting, world-class entertainment, and spectacular fireworks show make this an incredibly worthwhile and unforgettable event for locals and visitors alike who are looking for one-of-a-kind New Year’s Eve experiences in direct view of the beautiful Niagara Falls.

This year’s concert starts at 8:00pm and will feature live performances from Tom Cochrane & Red Rider, Dennis Deyoung and the music of Styx, Down With Webster, and Alan Doyle & The Beautiful Gypsies. This musical celebration is a unique event that makes the city come alive with excitement and offers unforgettable Niagara Falls experiences for people of all ages. Ring in 2016 in spectacular style by checking out this amazing free concert in Queen Victoria Park, and kick off 2016 with great music, good company, and breathtaking sights in Niagara Falls!