Pick A Perfect Autumn Day Equation

Whether you are road tripping with friends, heading out on a family adventure or escaping for a few days with someone special, fall is a beautiful time to plan a getaway to Niagara Benchlands. This fall, Niagara has a jam-packed calendar of fun festivals and events, colourful autumn hiking options, delicious farm-to-table experiences, winery touring programs, and so much more. Planning your next autumn adventure is as easy as choosing your travel companions, selecting one of these six travel equations and hopping in the car!

Autumn Day Equation #1: Family + Fall Festival Fun

Skip the amusement parks this fall and show the kids some good, old-fashioned fall festival fun. The annual Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival has been a growing Niagara tradition since 1974 because all it takes is one visit to make guests want to return year after year. Browse through the on-site Farmer’s Market for the freshest fall produce, visit the children’s area for pony, antique train and tractor rides, birds of prey demonstrations, face painting and bouncy castles, browse through the massive selection of vendor stalls, snack on food truck fare, enjoy live music, and tour through the conservation area’s heritage village, which includes a blacksmith shop, grist mill, and a historic cabin and church.

If your Thanksgiving weekend is too busy for a road trip, schedule your Niagara adventure a few weeks earlier and bring the family for Harvest Pioneer Day on September 16th. This wonderful event, which has been taking place for 57 years, brings the Niagara Benchlands community together to celebrate the harvest at the Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre with folk arts and crafts demonstrations, music, dancing, and artisan vendors.

Autumn Day Equation #2: Family + Pumpkin-Themed Fun

Why save the pumpkin fun for Halloween? The Good Earth Farm, in Vineland, offers all kinds of farm-themed play on Saturday and Sundays throughout September and October, including pumpkin painting, hayrides, a giant corn maze, farm games, a local produce shop, and fire pit rentals that includes firewood and all the fixings for s’mores! When the sun sets, treat your crew to dinner at one of the many excellent local restaurants that show their soft spot for kids with a delicious kids’ menu, such as The Local, Lake House Restaurant, and Smoke & Moonshine Authentic Barbecue.

Autumn Day Equation #3: Friends + Fall Festival Fun

Gather up a gang and plan a trip to Niagara Benchlands that coincides with one of these fun festivals for grownups!

Sip Niagara returns to Charles Daley Park for its third year on September 30th and October 1st. Experience the world’s largest Caesar bar with over 200 unique ingredients and a VIP Caesar lounge! Over 60 local wineries, distilleries, and craft beer and cider producers will also be there pouring their signature sips to a soundtrack of live music and DJ-spun tunes.

Prost! Newark Brewing Company is bringing Oktoberfest to the Niagara Benchlands, complete with live music, games, giveaways, and German-inspired beer and food features. Get your tickets well in advance for the popular event.

Autumn Day Equation #4: Friends + A Waterfall Hike + One Last Patio Afternoon

The rocky crest of the Escarpment running through the Niagara Benchlands creates some very spectacular waterfalls, particularly after fall rains. Round up your crew and gear up, sporting a good pair of hiking shoes hit the trails at one of the following options:

  • If you’re looking for a leisurely and scenic stroll, flat, gravel paths at Ball’s Falls Conservation Area make this waterfall walk an excellent choice. There is both an Upper Ball’s Falls and a Lower Ball’s Falls that the Twenty Mile Creek plummets over, and both are well worth the short walk to get to and from the parking lot.Just Around The Benchlands Bend: After your hike, refuel on coffee and pastries at RPM Bakehouse in Jordan Village.
  • For a stunning group picture backdrop, the stony riverbed of large boulders and two waterfalls at Rockway Conservation Area offers some spectacular options. The first waterfall you’ll pass is the smaller of the two, with a height of 12.2 metres, and the second waterfall plunges an impressive 19.5 metres.Just Around The Benchlands Bend: Plan ahead and make a stop at one of the many roadside stands and produce markets that call Niagara Benchlands home to pick up some crunchy apples to snack on throughout your hiking adventures.
  • For those looking for a bit of a longer hike, Louth Falls at Louth Conservation Area is a perfect choice. This shady section of the Sixteen Mile Creek valley is absolutely stunning.Just Around The Benchlands Bend: A short stroll up the road from Louth Conservation Area, you’ll find Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery, a friendly boutique winery that offers wine tastings and delicious patio platters.

After your hike, spend a little time browsing through the shops of Jordan Village before making your way for one last afternoon on the patio. Great patio choices for fall afternoons include:

  • Bench Brewing Company’s Beer Garden, which has comfortable seating, tasty food, and a view of neighbouring orchards and vineyards
  • Niagara Custom Crush Studio’s The Crush, which houses five innovative small-lot winemakers all under one roof, as well as an incredible cheese shop and private fire pits
  • Fielding Estate Winery has a collection of cozy wine domes where guests can enjoy outdoor tastings with cheese and charcuterie boards even on rainy and cold fall days (Now booking November through March)

Autumn Day Equation #5: Just The Two of You + An Afternoon of Picture-Perfect Fall Winery Tastings

Niagara Grape & Wine Festival’s Discovery Pass touring program is an excellent way to spend an afternoon sipping and snacking your way through a selection of Niagara wineries. Purchase your Discovery Pass and build your touring itinerary around six of the many Niagara Benchlands wineries that are part of this promotion on September 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23 or 24, which include: 180 Estate Winery, Alvento Winery, Cave Spring Vineyard, Harbour Estates Winery, Magnotta, Redstone Winery, Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery and Vineland Estates Winery.

Autumn Day Equation #6: Just The Two of You + A Harvest Season Stock Up

Transform weekend grocery shopping into a romantic escape by touring Niagara Benchlands’ rolling country roads and making stops at the many roadside stands, markets and interesting shops you bump into along the way. Borrow this sample itinerary or create your own route using our CultivATE Taste Trail map.

  • Start your morning apple picking in an orchard with one of Niagara’s most impressive views of the Escarpment at Windwood Farms. Choose from Ginger Gold, Gala, McIntosh, Empire, Honey Crisp, and many other varieties.
  • Just down the road, you’ll find Romagnoli Farms Fruit Stand, where you can stock your trunk with produce that will last for weeks in a cool, dark cellar, like potatoes, squash, and turnips, as well as fall favourites to enjoy during the week ahead, like tomatoes, peppers and corn.
  • Next, swing into Littlefoot Farm Quality Meats. All of the meat and eggs you’ll find in this friendly little shop are naturally raised outdoors in grass pastures and fed a diet of local, non-GMO mixed grains supplemented with fruits and vegetables.
  • For your next stock-up stop, visit Hildreth Farms, where you can get all kinds of tasty locally made preserves, sauces and honey to bring farm-to-table flavours to your cooking all winter long.
  • Reward yourself for a morning spent picking and shopping with a three-course Wine and Dine Tasting Lunch overlooking the red clay soil vineyard at Redstone Winery.
  • Having spent the morning stocking up on food, dedicate your afternoon to rounding out your winter beverage supply. In addition to a plethora of wine, craft beer, and cider options, Niagara Benchlands is also home to places where you’ll find creative cocktail ingredients . If you prefer non-alcoholic wines, Vineland Estates Winery has a diverse selection. If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, a stop at Revalee Brunch Café is a must to buy some delicious Pilot Coffee or Pluck Tea to take home.
  • If you’re having too much fun to head home at the end of the day, consider extending your farm-to-table fun by spending the night in a room with an orchard or vineyard view! Vacation rentals at Inn The Orchard, Honsberger Estate Winery or Alvento Winery are all excellent choices.