By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: Winter isnít one of our favourite seasons but we do like to get out of the city for some weekend trips. Iíd like to know what kind of art exhibits and interesting inns are available in the Niagara area.

A: The Niagara region celebrates winter with a big bang each year. Even if you donít enjoy the outdoor activities, the area is considered a year-round destination so youíll be sure to find something. In the arts department, the Jordan Art Gallery is presenting small works by local artists until November 30th. The Jordan Art Gallery is open daily 10 a.m to 6p.m. and is located at 3845 Main Street, Jordan, Ontario. For more information email at or call 905 562 6680.

You can also check out the galleries around Niagara-on-the-Lake. Over at the Romance Collection Gallery (177 King Street and telephone (905) 468-4431) which was her former abode, the celebrated artist has a collection of paintings on display.

To get you in the holiday spirit, Niagara will be launching its Angelfest from November 18, 2006 to January 18, 2007. Now in its seventh year, this scenic trail will showcase the quaintest towns as they are decorated in festive Christmas lights. Follow the scenic Angel Trail to take in the festive lights, shops, museums, galleries and fine restaurants in Stoney Creek, Grimsby, Beamsville, Vineland, Jordan, Port Dalhousie, St. Catharines and Thorold. For more information visit

If you wish to avoid the bigger hotels around Niagara Falls, the smaller towns with their country inns make a wonderful alternative. Vintage Hotels ( has a selection of inns you can visit online. is another invaluable resource.

In Niagara-on-the-Lake the posh Riverbend Inn & Vineyard ( along the Niagara Parkway is styled in a stately opulence with massive suites overlooking the vineyards.

In Thorold, the former Maplehurst hospital which closed years ago has been converted into a boutique country inn known as the Keefer Mansion Inn (

The historic property was the private residence of the Keefer family. Considered an important engineering family in Canadaís early history, the patriarch George was the president of the Welland Canal and he had several sons and grandsons who all left their mark on some of Canadaís first buildings and bridges. The inn has been returned back to its Gilded Age grandeur and is near the wine routes and Niagara Falls.


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