Due to having severe withdrawal sadness from our Niagara Falls trip two weeks ago, thought I’d write a quick trip report to re-live the fun.
Left home early Tuesday morning and were crossing Peace Bridge by 9:15am. They were doing construction on the Bridge but traffic was not backed up. They had 3 booths open for autos and our wait to approach the border patrol official was less than 5 minutes. Answered the normal questions and got through with no problem. We then proceeded onto the Niagara Parkway for the enjoyable drive to the Falls along the Niagara River. The River was as smooth as glass and we stopped a few times for some pics. Got excited as we got near and could see the skyline of the city.
Knew it was way to early to check-in at the Travelodge At The Falls on Clifton Hill so drove around for a cursory review of the area. Of course drove by the Falls then up Clifton Hill. Back to the parkway and made a stop at the Floral Clock. Headed back and drove through downtown. Then onto Victoria Ave and up Lundy’s Lane with a drive-by the recently closed Niagara Square Shopping Centre. After lunch at McDonalds, it was after noon so we stopped by the motel and happily the room was ready. We unpacked and got ready to enjoy our stay.
We are often asked if we get tired of going to Niagara Falls every year and seeing the same sights. The easy answer is no, you can never see the Falls too many times! We do try to do different things or do the same things differently. For example, we have never been to the State Park on the American side at night. In the past, we have always visited during the day. This year, we went over a little after 7pm on our first night and stayed until almost midnight. The State Park is always great but it was a new experience to be there at night. The white lights shining on the upper river really highlights the rapids as they approach the Falls. Very cool! The new LED lighting is impressive and seeing the Falls from above and from the side all lit up was a new and pretty cool experience.
The next night, we went up to the Skylon Tower Observation Deck after dark. Again, this is the first time we did this at night. Another cool experience! Sure, due to it being dark, the long-distance viewing is limited but seeing all the bright lights on and around the Falls, the Fallsview District and on Clifton Hill was great. Very beautiful!
Our second day we did the Whirlpool Aero Car. It has been probably more than 10 years since we last rode that. The ride is fairly quick but the view and experience is worth the price. Pretty neat to be above the rapids/whirlpool. After that, we went to the Niagara Falls History Museum. This was also a first. We’ve always talked about making a stop there and this year we finally did. We enjoyed all the displays and especially the temporary exhibit, “Pieces of Canada,” which celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday. After that we went across the street to the Battle Ground Hotel Museum. It was closed but we were still able to walk around the building and the grounds.
On the third day, we were going to visit the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum on our way back from Niagara-on-the-Lake but there was a school group there and we decided to skip it.
So even though it seems like going to Niagara Falls every single year might get to be the “same old, same old,” it really never does if you do different things and do the same things every few years.
We ate daily at Mama Mia’s, our favorite place for homemade spaghetti and meatballs. Montana’s BBQ & Bar one night for some beer and good burgers. On Clifton Hill, we partook in some Wendy’s, snow-cones from the little ice cream stand and for the first time ever…Beaver Tails. Not sure how long that little stand has been there hidden behind Burger King, but an advertisement in our motel room made us aware of it. We remembered beaver tails being mentioned on this forum so we had to give them a try. Yummy, glad we did! And of course, we stopped everyday at our favorite place on Clifton Hill…The Fudge Factory. All in all, I think we came home with 16 slices of fudge, since the first thing we hear from family when we get home to Ohio is not, “so glad you’re home” but, “where’s the fudge?!”
We picked a great time to visit. The crowds were light and the weather was great. It rained almost the entire drive Tuesday morning but once we got near Buffalo it cleared and it was pretty much sunny the entire rest of the trip. It could have been a touch warmer, but no complaints.
The new LED lights illuminating the Falls at night are pretty impressive and the color combinations seemed endless. We rode our bikes down to the Falls the second night and rode along Queen Victoria's park from midnight until 2am, so we really got to see them for a long time. My only critique would be they change the colors too often and too quickly. They also seemed to really like the orangish color for some reason and not enough blue, red and green.
Niagara-on-the-Lake was as charming as ever. Stopped at Taylor’s Bakery for some Empire Biscuits but they were crowed and we didn’t see them in the display case so went across the street to Niagara Home Bakery and got them there. Got some gelato from Il Gelato di Carlotta and took it to our favorite gazebo in Queen’s Royal Park. It was a very clear day and could see Toronto’s skyline probably the best we ever could. Also saw an awesome old clipper sailing ship off in the distance. Anyone know what that was? Is that something you can go on? Is it out of Toronto?
We were disappointed that Kurtz Orchards Farm and Marketplace was closed. Does anyone know if they are closed permanently? It looked permanent as the inside looked empty and there were no signs or anything in the windows. Hope it’s not permanent as we loved that place!
On the way home, we took the rural route along Lake Erie the entire way until we got into Ohio. It is so enjoyable going that way and avoiding the freeway. Going through downtown Erie always makes us second guess going that way but east and west of Erie makes up for it. In the past, we would hop on 90 right after getting into Ohio but this time we stayed on Route 531 until Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio. So glad we did that! Some of the best views of Lake Erie were on this route between the PA border and GOTL.
As expected, we had a great time in Niagara Falls and the surrounding area. There is no way we will be able to wait a year to be back. Seriously thinking about making our yearly visit a twice-a-year thing.