SUNLIGHT FADES with each passing day, leaves begin to colour before surrendering entirely and giving into gravity, temps plummet on a steady unrelenting drop, the sad reality of hibernation for many Porsche sports cars creeps closer, so it was time for one more blast through Niagara on a new route—the Niagara Autumn Colours Fun Run.
Club members’ hunger for driving tours seems to be insatiable—this Oct. 7 fun run was put together quickly with less than two weeks to sign up and still managed to attract 15 fine Porsches and 34 people.
This Niagara escarpment route is brand new and takes advantage of all the best twists and turns and ups and downs that have been carved out of Ontario’s popular sprawling and towering rocky cliff.
Our group encountered a bit of rain, thankfully the only rain of the day, on the way to the meeting point at the top of the escarpment in Stoney Creek, just outside of Hamilton, before setting off for Ridge Road. From here, it was only sunny skies and balmy temps. The panoramic views were spectacular of the towns below, Lake Ontario beyond and even the looming skylines of Mississauga and Toronto.
Niagara is usually at its colourful autumn peak at this time of year but due to the unseasonably warm September most leaves were still green. (One week later we would find that this meant absolutely perfect fall colours for the Autumn Blaze Muskoka Ramble.)
The convoy pulled into Ridge Road Estate Winery, a family farmstead dating back to the mid-1800s, where owner Jayne Douglas warmly welcomed us with a couple wine samples, made in small batches from hand-picked grapes, paired with some snacks. Our Porsches overflowed the small gravel parking lot and our members packed the rustic tasting bar. Many found some nice wine pairings for their Thanksgiving dinners that would be happening this same weekend.
Porsche heaven… the most fun roads awaited us after lunch as we returned to the top of the escarpment via curvy Quarry Road. No compromise was made on the day’s route. Each stretch was specially selected for its curves. Straights were avoided.
More Ridge Road driving followed before we descended the escarpment into Beamsville for a gourmet lunch at 2017’s Winery of the Year, Redstone Winery. The lunch included a delicious selection of seasonal salads, house made pizzas, topped off by a mouth-watering peach crumble served piping hot, a perfect dessert for the fall season. Bruce Pinkerton, who came out in his 1958 356 Speedster, made sure there were no leftovers.
Porsche heaven… the most fun roads awaited us after lunch as we returned to the top of the escarpment via curvy Quarry Road. No compromise was made on the day’s route. Each stretch was specially selected for its curves. Straights were avoided. We actually drove a several kilometre loop in one area to make sure we hit all the great twisties.
Driving along the southern edge of St. Catharines, we skirted Decew Falls, Morningstar Mill and Brock University where we geared down and cranked open the throttle in the Thorold tunnel that dives below the Welland Canal (always an aural delight with a good-size group of Porsches), popped into Brock’s Monument in Queenston Heights, then cruised along the picturesque Niagara River Parkway. The run wrapped up in Niagara-On-The-Lake at Peller Estates winery with a mini car show on the south lawn along with a tasting of three fine wines (a sparkling rosé, cabernet sauvignon red and cabernet franc red icewine), compliments of yours truly, the fun run’s host.
Several club members kept the good times rolling by relaxing with refreshments on Peller’s outdoor patio which would be closing for the season after this weekend.
“When’s the next run?” club member George Aleksic, driving his black 2006 911, asked excitedly. “Call me tomorrow, let me know!”
Out with his 2008 Boxster, Bill Liu echoed the same sentiments. “Can we do another one in a week of two? I want to bring my Cayenne.”
But, sadly, all good things must end, albeit just for the season. Look for this great new Niagara escarpment route, tweaked slightly and perfected, to be featured in several more fun runs in 2018. </>
Story and photos by Stefan Walther