A 1968 photograph of Joel Dombrowski shows him as a small boy, peering over a guardrail at Niagara Falls. Awestruck by the crashing waters, he looks as if he's trying to taste the mist. Exciting that sense of wonder in others would later become his profession. Today, Joel escorts first-timers through Niagara Falls State Park as a popular tour guide. He draws upon his training in journalism, experience as a standup comedian, and a lifetime obsession with history to share the story of the park with wit and elegance. For more than 10 years, his approach⎯merging stray historical facts with compelling anecdotes and comical accounts of waterfall lore⎯has made experiencing the Niagara landscape doubly memorable for his tour companions.
The proprietors of Niagara Ghost Walks gamely lead guests on a historical journey through the most haunted locales in the fog-shrouded city. On treks through the city’s downtown, guides recount eerie tales while escorting groups to locales such as the spot where mob lieutenant Freddy Tedesco smoked his final cigar. Visitors also learn about the locally famous Old Stone Jug, a paranormally affected jail.
The dedicated guides of Niagara Fun Tours escort flocks of visitors around the Niagara region during scenic seasonal tours. Seasonal winery tours visit and taste at four wineries studding the Niagara Wine Belt, where settings range from mountain chalets to baroque and modern castle decor to rustic wood farmhouses. Visitors can also opt for a discovery tour to glimpse Niagara Falls. Guides often conclude their tours with stops at locales such as the fresh-fare-focused Kurtz Orchards marketplace or Chocolate FX, where chocolate artisans fashion often-unconventional taste combinations using traditional panning and moulding techniques. Oenophiles and sightseers embark on a new microbrewery and winery tour, a seasonal winery tour, or scenic tours of Niagara Falls. The five-hour winery-and-microbrewery bus tour makes stops at three nearby microbreweries along with two wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Participants enjoy tastings at each location, have a chance to grab some lunch at Harvest Barn Country Market, and receive a wine tasting at Rancourt Winery. Niagara Fun Tours also provides round-trip transportation for each tour, loading guests into large shuttles that accommodate up to 48 passengers or into vehicles that accommodate up to 24 giraffes.
The vineyards of Niagara's wineries offer guests an inside look at their wine-crafting practices, including grape selection and cultivation. The full-day tour reveals all of the necessary steps each winery takes in preparing its signature libations, with each tour culminating in a wine tasting, sure to please the palate and nurture appreciation for the sacrifices of selfless grapes throughout history. To redeem this deal, simply visit the wineries of your choice and present today's Groupon to frolic in the vinous depths of oenophilic education.
Honoured with more than 500 awards, Pillitteri Estates Winery produces rich reds, fragrant whites, and signature icewines. Tour groups of 10 to 15 visitors kick off their oenophile journey in the awards room, stuffed to an impressive degree with plaudits from both domestic and international competitions and organizations. After a visit to the press room, where vintners do their grape-squeezing and movable type-shuffling, guides usher guests into the neo-Norman barrel cellar, a cooled concrete vault filled with litres of libations aging in oak barrels. From the ceiling hang 23 stainless steel chairs bearing etchings recounting the ancestral origin myth of the winery's proprietors, the Pillitteri family, two generations of whom remain active in the estate's day-to-day operations.
Though they can get you on exclusive tours inside many of the Niagara Region's wineries, the staff of Niagara Getaway Wine Tours aren’t wine-industry agents—instead, they're history tour guides. On tours from Niagara-on-the-Lake's Old Town through the surrounding Wine Country, they unveil surprising stories and facts about the city and region's past that many would expect only a local or incognito time traveller to know. They interrupt this narration, provided on tours by van or bike, only for stops at local wineries—such as Peller Estates Winery and Pillitteri Estates Winery—which often include tours, tastings, food pairings, and meals.
For many entrepreneurs, beginning a business can be tedious and tiring. For the founders of Taste the Town Tours, it was downright delicious. In order to locate the most savoury cuisine for their guests, the owners sent their taste buds on a jaunt through Niagara-on-the-Lake's historical downtown district, unleashing them into establishments such as a charming bistro, an Irish tearoom, and a fudge shop. Coupling mouth-watering morsels with cultural information about the area, the guides are able to construct an excursion that is both tasty and educational, like a tour through an edible textbook factory.