Niagara Segway Tours at Henry of Pelham Estate Family Winery
This is Guillaume, our amazing Segway tour guide, looking majestic with the view of the Henry of Pelham vineyards in the background. He was so welcoming and easy going on Saturday morning when my dad and I arrived for our tour at Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery. Guillaume told us he’d teach us how to use the Segway, then give us a few minutes to practice on our own before we embarked on our tour of the vineyard. Guillaume gave me a helmet to put on and then held the Segway steady for me to step onto and balance. He gave me tips and information on how the Segway moves during the whole set-up. When you shift your body weight forward, the Segway will slowly start to travel in that direction. When leaning on your heels, the Segway moves backward. It worked like a big, sturdy hoverboard, except there were handles to hold onto and these were what turned the Segway. At first, the balancing was the trickiest part. I never felt like I was going to fall, but stopping and turning definitely took some concentration. I practiced in the empty parking lot for a couple of minutes as Guillaume got my dad set up, and after getting relatively comfortable with our mode of transport, Guillaume turned our speed setting up to normal levels. “That was the slow speed?” I said to my dad. We were about to go off-roading!
Guillaume told my dad and I about the interesting history and origins of Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery. He spoke about Henry Smith, the owner of the massive property who built the original inn and tavern in 1842, the interesting story of how they got the name, 'Henry of Pelham', and how the winery got into the hands of the Specks. Guillaume, we realized, was extremely knowledgeable, not just about the history, but soon we were about to find out about his expertise about vineyards and winemaking. After learning about the rich history for a few minutes, we headed across the street and into the vast vineyard! Our Segways boogied as we rolled over the dirt and gravel; they were meant for off-roading and had huge tires so riders barely feel the bumps at all! The drive was surprisingly very smooth. The vineyards were green, lush, and full of grapes, and the rows went on forever like a sea. The scene was picture-perfect. This was a massive vineyard, but it was no match for us! We were able to cover a large amount of ground in just forty minutes or so. Guillaume educated Dad and I the whole time, answering all of our questions and showing us the different mechanisms around the vineyard that help the wineries collect data about their operation and produce the best quality grapes possible for winemaking. On our private tour, we rode past ponds filled with croaking frogs and turtles, rode in between the vines, and got fantastic pictures taken of us and our surroundings by my lovely co-worker, Kelly. It was a great way to spend a summer mid-morning, breathing in the fresh air and learning about the amazing industry that our area is well-known for. The whole experience was super eye-opening and one-of-a-kind!
I had hoped that the flats I had worn would be safe, yet it turned out I hadn’t moved my feet off of the Segway for about an hour! When I stepped off, it felt a little weird to walk again and not move so quickly, like when you step off of the accelerated walkways at the airport. By the end of the tour, Dad and I agreed that we had stopped thinking about how to control our Segway in order to move the way we wanted, it had almost become a completely automatic way to get around! I would highly recommend Niagara Segway's tour around the vineyard at Henry of Pelham. I've never done anything like it before and it was completely immersive and entertaining! Thank you, Guillaume! Guillaume at Niagara Segway gives other amazing tours of the area, including Segway tours of the Welland Canal and Port Dalhousie and walking tours of historic Thorold. Visit his listing on our website under the 'Play' tab > 'Things to Do' and check out his website at www.niagarasegway.com!
There is definitely more to come,
Claire, Twenty Valley Tourism Assistant