Who Won the War?

Trip Start May 12, 2012
Trip End May 19, 2012

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Where I stayed
The Olde Angel Inn
What I did
Fort George

Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It's been another spectacular day in Southern Ontario.  The weather today was even better than yesterday.  The high was 75 degress, perfect temperature!

Today started with Dan, Ginger and Harrison surprising Donna with a breakfast of coffee and donuts.  They came from Tim Horton's, a big Canadian chain that seems to be a cross between Starbucks and McDonalds.  Yummy donuts though. 

Ginger and Harrison's birthday gift to Donna was an extraordinarily beautiful emerald necklace.  It's a beautiful, deep green stone, mounted in silver with a diamond accent above it.  Ginger designed it herself and had it made.  Donna was so please that I bet she never takes it off!

We puttered around for a little while then packed up the car to head north to Niagara-On-The-Lake.  On the way, we stopped at the Niagara Botanical gardens and walked around.  The gardens here are a month or six weeks behind Sacramento, and it was nice to see tulips and daffodils and other early spring flowers again. 

Next stop was at IceCube, an ice wine vinyard and winery so we could check out just exactly why ice wine is different than other wine.  Turns out, the grapes are left on the vine at the end of the growing season.  They are netted so the birds don't get them, but they aren't picked until December or January, when they are frozen. 

Ice wine is pretty tasty, especially the Ice Wine Slushies they were giving out as samples.  We all wished we had a 7-Eleven Big Gulp sized Slushie.  But at least we got the proportions for making them at home, and definitely plan on having our friends give them a try.

Drove on into Niagara-On-The-Lake.  This beautiful little village sits on the edge of Lake Ontario, and played a big part in the War of 1812.  The buildings are old, but beautifully kept and there are several blocks of boutique stores and restaurants.  A bus driver in Niagara Falls had told us to be sure to go to the Olde Angel Inn in NOTL.  Ginger caught sight of the Olde Angel about a block off the main street, so we decided to go in.

This inn is famous for it's Poutine, a Canadian dish comprised of french fries, Guiness gravy and melted cheese.  So we ordered some, and it is really good, but not something you could eat very often.  The other thing the inn is famous for is it's ghost.

The first record of a tavern on this site was in 1789, when the public records show the Harmonious Coach House as being located here. The Inn was badly damaged in the War of 1812, but was rebuilt in 1815, and was named the Angel Inn as a reference to the owner's wife. (Chump!)

The best thing about this place is that it's supposedly haunted by a young British Soldier who was killed here in 1813.  He was waiting for his girlfriend, and hiding in a barrel in the cellar.  The Americans came through looking for British soliers, and ran their bayonets through every barrel, stabbing him to death. 

We heard the story, and thought we'd check out the guest rooms to see if they were as cool as they sounded. We decided to stay in the General's Quarters, a two bedroom, two bath suite with a little sitting room. The suite was located directly above the dining room, where the ghost is supposed to do his best work. It should be noted that the floors in our rooms are the original wood with 1/16th inch gaps in many places. Very cool.

It was still early, so we took a walk, had a wonderful ice cream, and headed out to Fort George.  Fort George sits on the Canadian side of the Niagara River, right across from Fort Niagara on the American side. The first shots of the War of 1812 were fired here, and from what we could see, the war is still being fought in these parts.  Fort George offered us the opportunity to hear the Canadian side of the story. 

The whole concept of Fort George is great. They have restored the Fort to as close a replica of the 1812 version as possible. One building, the Powder Magazine, is original, and many other buildings have been there for a long time. Each open building has a guide dressed in period clothing who does a presentation (in English and in French if necessary) and then answers questions.

Our favorites were the musket demonstration (see the movie Dan shot below) and the kitchen.  The scullery maids in the kitchen had baked oatmeal molasses cookies, which were yummy. 

The final exhibit was a multi-media exhibit that showed video of important scenes and ran text down the side of the screen.  It was a 4 sided screen that you could walk around to get different perspectives on the show.  Really nice.  But, the ultimate question, who won the war of 1812, is still being debated, both on the Canadian side and the American side.

On our way back to the Olde Angel Inn, we drove down to the shore of Lake Ontario and sat outside for an hour or so.  The weather was just lovely, there was a great breeze coming off the lake, but it wasn't too cold.  Also, we were right on a hole on the golf course, so we got to watch the late afternoon golfers play through.  According to Harrison, everybody who came through was a lousy golfer.

We went back to the Inn and hung around for a couple hours before dinner.  Dinner was at Bistro 61, on Queen Street in NOTL, and was very good.  Started off with a baked bree with raspberry coulie and herbed crostini.  Harrison had roasted chicken, Dan had Osso Buco, and Ginger and Donna shared a Pizza Margarita.

Ginger was really tired when we got through with dinner and went up to bed.  Dan, Donna and Harrison went to the pub at the Olde Angel for drinks and desserts. For the record, the Olde Angel Inn's Sticky Toffee Cake and the Bread Pudding can't be beat.

The pub was pretty crowded for a Tuesday night and we got in to some interesting conversations, mainly about the Canadian Healthcare System.  We have observed that the Canadians all love their health system and don't mind paying 13% sales tax to keep it going.  The strongest objectors to socialized medicine were all Americans

Donna and Harrison went up to bed about 11:30, but Dan stayed downstairs talking to some more new friends.  These people, who are locals, are intrigued by the whole concept of Scootouring and, they say, are planning to come to California next April to see what it's all about.

All in all, it was a 60th birthday celebration that was simply outstanding!
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Elaine Casler on

Can you take a picture of the necklace and post it? I'd love to see it -- sounds really unique!

Cliff on

Hi guys. It's great to hear from you and hear your travel tales. Stay safe and have a wonderful time. Love and wishes, Cliff. x

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