It’s been over 3 years since hubs & I have spent more than a few hours away from the babes. No longer in the season of babyhood, but now in a season of full calendars filled with kids’ activities and social events, finding time for “US” is tricky. But there was a pocket in the hockey schedule this weekend and we seized it. Thanks to Nana & Papa extraordinaire, we were able to sneak away for 24 glorious hours to one of our favourite spots – Niagara on the Lake – to soak in some much-needed sans kiddos time, invest in our well-being, wake up on our own terms, & sip + savour the delights of the region. We love our kiddos, but we love “US” too. If a long overdue couples’ escape is on your radar, here are our suggestions on where to STAY, EAT & EXPLORE in the beautiful region of NOTL:
Our life is action-packed, leaving very little rest for us weary parents, so after hearing wonderful things, a stay at OBAN INN with all-encompassing dine + sleep + spa features seemed like a fabulous choice to recharge & rejuvenate. It’s also just 1.5 hours away from most of Ontario’s urban centres, and one of the few properties in the region set along the waterfront (serene & therapeutic!). It was the first country inn of the NOTL region, rich in heritage as once the private home of Captain Duncan Milloy of Oban, Scotland who was became king of hospitality and began welcoming guests to enjoy his quarters. Both hubs & I have Scottish roots, so this bit of history was so special.
We stayed in a Premium King Suite, which had a modern, cozy, charming aesthetic, views of Lake Ontario, all the usual amenities (a safe, coffee maker, hairdryer, toiletries, flat-screen TV, etc.), with added warm touches like a in-room fireplace, luxe cotton robes & roses handed out during turn-down service as a gesture of thanks. NOTE: there is no mini-fridge, but guest services happily offered us a silver bucket of ice to chill our bubbly upon check-in.
When you book a 1-night “Refresh Me” package directly with the hotel, 2 spa services are included with your stay. The facial & massage hubs & I were treated to at the Spa were heaven on earth and skincare enthusiasts will love that they use eco-conscious, skin-friendly AVEDA products. You’ll get an OSpa sac filled with a cozy robe, slippers & a key to store your belongings in their clean & bright changeroom facilities. A fabulous experience that had us feeling renewed. NOTE: the hot springs & hydrotherapy pools were closed for the season during our stay, but if you visit May-end of September, you’ll have access to those as part of your OSpa experience too!
When you book with OBAN INN, a complimentary buffet breakfast is included with your stay. The spread has the usual American breakfast suspects (eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries, fruit platter, pastries & a variety of cereal & bread selections). There is the option of room service with a surcharge if you want to linger in your PJs a little longer.
Given our short stay, we didn’t venture out much this trip and opted to have dinner at the Inn’s restaurant also. Chef Jeff Prior’s menu created with ingredients from the region did not disappoint. The Autumn Salad, Beef Tenderloin & Pear Cardamom Streusel Cake deserve honourable mention. Wash it all down with sommelier-selected vinos from the Niagara region (the Pondview Cab Sav was on point!) or one of their “Therapeutic” warm bevies (The Blueberry Tea is ultra-soothing!).
OBAN INN’s restaurant overlooks their well-maintained, blooming gardens & flowing fountain, or opt to dine in SHAWS CORNER for a taste of history while you dine among photos from the theatre talent that’s taken to the Shaw stage.
NOTE: I did hear individuals with allergies being accommodated, so definitely contact the hotel ahead of time if you have dietary restrictions.
Oban Inn is ideally located just a 5 min walk from the other cafes and dining facilities along Queen Street, including the not-to-be-missed Shaw Café & Wine Bar.
Oban Inn is steps away from National Historic landmarks, walking trails, North America’s oldest golf course, and the quaint shops along Queen. We enjoyed a slow, simple stroll after our morning’s brekkie just soaking in togetherness & uninterrupted conversation – the region so gorgeous with Fall foliage this time of year.
Oban also has bikes on-property you can rent out from the front desk if that’s how you like to roll 😉
And when in Wine Country, why not sip & savour on a Wine Tour. There are so many ways to soak in the vineyards (bike, private tour, etc.), and each winery has something unique to experience all year long. Our boys’ hockey schedule was luring us back to home, but we did manage to sneak in a Hallo-wine Trick or Treat pairing with our friends at Konzelmann Estate Winery!
We hope you found these suggestions helpful for your own couples’ (or Bestie/another special person) escape – not easy to fit in but so worth it. The value of well-being, and investing in that good love (or friendship/relationship) you’ve got is something you can’t really put a price tag on and so important to carve out time for. It was just the recharge we needed to pour back into our people & keep up with rink life back home. I’m not sure when we’ll squeeze in another, but we’ll cherish this special time & for sure won’t take it for granted when the opportunity knocks again.
**Special thanks to our partners at Oban Inn & Konzelmann Estate Winery for hosting us to facilitate this post**
How often do you get a night away sans kiddos?
Love & light,