Viagra Falls

August 17, 2017

 

Pearl of the Post: Calm Rush

 

"Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time."

~ Jon Muir

 

Niagra Falls is a good shot in the arm and my family needed a booster shot.

Maybe it's because we know what it is like to go over the falls that we were drawn to Niagra Falls. Maybe it's because of my childhood imprint of the falls. All I know is once I suggested Niagra, it cleared all other possibilities from the deck. 

 

And so began our adventure. Upon reflection, I see why our good old fashion road trip up to Niagra Falls was full of wonder. 

 

The best part of a road trip, particularly through upstate New York, is getting lost in the scenery - the fields of wild flowers, sunflower patches, cornfields, American Flags everywhere, flower pots hanging from mailboxes... You wind through the countryside, passing farmland with miles between barns, watering holes, herds of horses, cows and llamas. 

 

It always amazes me how much of New York State is untouched, unbuilt and farmed land. Are these the farms that find their way to my table?

 

The pasture of trees grants instant gratitude for their work to counteract the rougher, congested, concrete presence of New York City and Long Island. Wind turbines spinning pleasant surprises. There's but one on the South Shore of Long Island - one - that I know of.

 

Miles and miles and hours and hours of country roads. Was grateful Waze was working and didn't go offline. As a backup we went old school and printed out directions to and from each of our destinations (which I recommend ya do!!). 

 

We were concerned about the long drive and how the kids would fare. We left at night and split the trip. Felt that was better than trying to force us up and out early in the morning cuz, we're not a morning family. 

 

Electronics are a blessing and a curse. On long road trips they're a blessing, until the point you want them to see the scenery and they don't blink. Part of road trip fun is seeing what you catch out of the corner of your eye. They missed a lot. LOL

 

They'd watch on their iPads for an hour and then during their break time we'd chat and play some games like I Spy, Name a State that ends in the last letter of the State I mentioned and our new favorite Guess the Movie Quote. 

 

The ramblings and randomness of just passing through.

We passed through Owego (not to be confused with Oswego) and stumbled upon  Carol's Coffee & Art Bar.  I fell instantly in love with this sweet, artsy place that I caught out of the corner of my eye at the exact moment I craved iced coffee and am otherwise programmed for Starbucks. 

 

We spent about an hour with Carol cuz there's no rush when road tripping. My road trip mantra is, we'll get there when we get there. We enjoyed her yummy home made sweets n eats while admiring her art hanging everywhere on the walls. She had prints between the tables and glass covers (so brilliant). She shared her artist turned cafe owner story. 

 

This is what road tripping is all about.

 

We passed through more small towns Corning (as in the plates and Corning Museum of Glass) and about a hundred colleges I've never heard of and drove through the ones that rang a bell - Binghamton and Syracuse. 

 

Each small town's Main Street emoting its own charm and feel. One more arty, the other conventional and the next filled with antique shops and farm stands. 

 

Our next main food stop was in Buffalo where we had to give patronage to the Anchor Bar, the place where Buffalo Wings were invented. It was a must eat on our list!! We gobbled up the wings, Onion Rings on the Side and left happy. 

Twenty minutes later we were in Niagra, NY. Not the prettiest drive in, just over a bridge. Across the river you see Canada which boggled my boy's mind. A foreign country within site!!

 

We stayed on the American Side at the Sheraton At The Falls.

 

We didn't have a falls view room but it was within walking distance to all the sights. It had a great indoor pool "The Reef" which is how my kids rate hotels. Bonus points for their shark tank.

 

We dropped off our gear, claimed our beds and walked around Old Niagra Street. It's mostly pedestrian with the odd NFPD mobile, gift shops and food options for the tourists - Mario's Pizza, food trucks with Indian food and Mother Cluckers.  I opted for Mother Cluckers "Dirty Corn" on the cob as a post wings option. 

 

I was on the edge of my seat while my family was leisurely digging into their pizza. After all, I did say there's "no rush" every hour on the hour in the car. Time was ticking as I wanted my first shot of Niagra Falls against the sun set!!!!!

 

The moment you step into the park you hear the roaring rush of the rapids that lead into the Falls. We started up by the bridge to follow the rapids. We all snapped pics. I trailed behind to capture more shots and then shot back up to my kids because I wanted to see the looks on their faces the first time they really truly saw the Falls!!!!

 

Right on cue, my boys goes, "OH MY   G    O    D!!!"

 

Mom Mission Complete!!!

 

They were amazed. It is simply amazing. Breathtaking, awe inspiring and wondrous.

 

You can't help but wonder. 

 

 

The prime falls viewing areas by the falls and the observation deck were packed with people. Those were the only spots that actually felt crowded. We didn't hit a crowd or super long lines. 

 

The next day we opted for the Niagra Discovery Pass and started our journey at the movie theater in the Visitor's Center. "Niagra: Legends of Adventure" was informative and entertaining!!

 

We learned about Annie Edson Taylor, the 63 year old retired school teacher who's birthday gift to herself was to be the first person to go over the falls in a barrel and live to see her next birthday. Other peeps went over the falls, the ones who survived and who didn't, the Thunder Gods and how Niagra is one of few unfortified international borders.

 

Niagra dances between two worlds yet it somehow all flows. {Click To Tweet This!}

 

We learned how 1/5 of the WORLDS fresh water flows through the Niagra River. Glacier water flows through the Great Lakes and down the Niagra. Think about that for a second. Then think how disgusting and unacceptable it was that the week before there was a "minor" sewage incident

 

We did Maid of the Midst, omg, so fun, funny, and gives you the full frontal view of the falls. WEAR THE PONCHOS CUZ YOU WILL GET WET!!! We left soaked with laughter and squishy sneakers. We hopped on the trolly and the driver recommended with have lunch at the Top of the Falls and then do next door Cave of the Winds

 

And so we did. The view from the Top of the Falls looked over HorseShoe Falls (the Canadian Falls). Now, if you are planning a trip, I'd recommend you do Cave of the Winds first, mainly because they give you sandals or wear water shoes!! You walk through and up a deck with is re-built by hand (no machines, no nails) every single year.

 

The deck gives you a beautiful view of the river and takes you right up under a small fall at a point called THE HURRICANE!!  The force of the water under the fall is very strong!! My mom radar wants you to be aware that if you have small children, you best hold onto them or take them just to the fringe!! No-one is monitoring the deck and they can get swept away under the open fence. 

We were wet yet again and drenched with happiness. There's no need to get a blow out before going to Niagra Falls. Mine lasted about a day.

 

The next day we walked over the Rainbow Bridge to Canada. It was hot and we baked on the bridge for a half hour to walk through the border. Yes, you need your passports.

 

We arrived over heated and hangry. 

 

To our surprise, the Canadian Side was more gaudy than the American Side. Clifton Hill felt like Universal Studios with attractions everywhere. If you're looking for some artificial stimulation, you're in luck. 

 

Walking the streets we saw Sleep Away Senior Campers touring on their Senior Trip. It brought flashbacks of my own senior trip there. 

 

The Canadian side offers the Adventure Pass (same as the American Discovery Pass) and Hornblower Cruise (same as Maid of the Mist). Two sides, same coin. 

 

We walked down by the Zip Line and rested under a Canadian Birch Tree. We didn't walk all the way down to HorseShoe Falls and unlike Niagra Park, there wasn't a trolly to move you around. It was way too far and we were way too hot to journey on. 

 

I did stop for Sweet Jesus Ice Cream and have myself a little Sweet Baby Jesus cone. Oh lordy, it was yummy.... I did wish we experienced the Journey Behind the Falls tour which lets you take in the falls from behind,  we just got the full frontal version. 

That evening we walked back through Niagra Park for the firework show. It was beautiful. We left Niagra with smiles upon our faces and wonder in our hearts. 

 

It rained our final day, perfect for the Aquarium and hitting the gift shops. The Aquarium is small and has a "did you see" check list for the kids which kept mine engaged and interested. 

 

We took a two night road trip back stopping first in Syracuse for some Dinosaur Barbecue which came highly recommended and for good reason! Then for breakfast we hit Stellas, which is exactly the diner type restaraunt you need by every college!!

 

We spent time exploring Destiny USA, the largest mall in America and hit their indoor race track and Mirror Maze. My kids had a blast. 

 

We ventured to Little Falls, NY to dine at Beardslee Castle. Apparently it's haunted. It's a small castle, as far as castles go and we spent our after dinner hour down in the dungeon playing darts. My girl hit the bullseye!!

Going from one wonder to another, the next day we stopped at Howes Cavern which is a post in and of itself. An underground cave discovered by sheer curiosity, revealing hundreds of million year old Limestone and Calcite deposits. Totally worth a day trip and stop in!!!

 

We covered a lot of ground on our journey. My kids gave the trip a 10!!!  

 

It fulfilled everything we intended it to bringing us closer together making memories at one of the wonders of the world.

 

 

Wonders never cease.

 

(c) 2017 Cynthia R. Litman. All Rights Reserved.

Updated 9/4/17

For permission to utilize photos, please e-mail me. 

 

Please reload

Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Pinterest Social Icon
  • Snapchat Social Icon
Recent Posts

January 1, 2020

April 18, 2019

January 14, 2019

October 22, 2018

September 16, 2018

August 17, 2018

June 14, 2018

Please reload

Archive
Please reload

Search By Tags