Saturday, September 3, 2011

Niagara Falls

This summer went quickly, but they all do.  Charles did some touring to Los Angeles and Tokyo before coming back to NYC in early August.  In fact, in Tokyo he went through a typhoon and earthquake followed by an earthquake and a hurricane in New York.

We have taken many short trips to Long Beach and Governor’s Island (Video) locally and to Niagara Falls, Ontario. (Video)  The Falls delights all ages.  There is something about the breadth and grandeur that is spellbinding.  We rented a car and left early one morning for a 5 hour drive to a water park in Canandaigua, in the Fingerlakes district of New York State.  We amused ourselves on the way up by using Miranda’s iPhone to locate a Starbucks that was not too far off the highway anywhere in the middle of northeastern Pennsylvania.  Eventually, we did find one and recaffeinated.

The waterpark was fun for the boys.  There were huge slides and gigantic slides.  We went down most of them.  The wave pool and the water playground were also fun. All of July, Miranda had taken the boys to a pool close to our apartment so they were perfectly at home in the water. 

Exhausted from 4½ hours of exercise, we left the waterpark and drove to Batavia, NY, where we checked into a motel, had some health food at Burger King and went to sleep.  The next morning we drove into Niagara Falls, NY across multiple bridges and along roads Robert Moses designed.  We went across the Rainbow Bridge into Niagara Falls, Ontario as Charles had been told that the best views were from the Canadian side.  Immigration was easy and after a few wrong turns that gave us magnificent views we managed to arrive at the Hilton.

Amazingly they gave us a room at 10:30am so we took our few things upstairs (to the 30th floor) and unpacked to stunning views of the American and Canadian Falls.  We had brought the portable espresso machine and milk frother with us so we made some coffees and just sat and enjoyed the view for a while.

Next we were off to the Maid of the Mist, probably the most famous attraction at the Falls. It didn’t take long until we were on the boat with mist spraying all over us.  We donned rain ponchos but we still got rather wet. The sound was thrilling, so much water falling so far, crashing onto the rocks close to us. The tour boat which must have had a strong, tugboat engine made its way up to within about 100 yards of the falling water of the Horseshoe Falls.  Essentially, the boat was surrounded on 3 sides by falling water. Miranda took photos and videos despite the mist and we’re glad she did.

We enjoyed a little snack at a café above the dock (which had an amazing view too) then Max suggested we not go directly to the next attraction, Under the Falls, but instead, go back to our room to rest, go for a swim, and then go to the attraction.  It was an excellent idea and we enjoyed the view more and had a swim in the hotel pool which had a 3 story waterslide built into it.

When that was all done it was too late to go Under the Falls so we merely strolled around the strip and then down to the walkway along the Canadian side of the Falls. The next morning, after another swim, we went Under the Falls.  It was claustrophobic and very noisy, and Charles misplaced my Maui Jim’s somewhere and to his great chagrin, never found them.

We went for on last swim before checking out.  Immigration on the US side took a little longer.  We wondered why the line to come to Canada was short in the morning and long in the evening and vice versa for the US side.  One possible explanation could be that there are casinos on the Canadian side.  Before heading home we stopped on the US side of the falls at Niagara Falls State Park.  Though the view was not as good, our proximity to the falls was even closer.  The water at the top was crystal clear so one could see the rock bottom about 3 to 5 feet deep despite the swiftness of the running water.

The 6½ hour drive home was punctuated by two very strong thunderstorms.  It didn’t make driving any easier, especially the downpour on I-80 just before getting to the GW Bridge, going 60mph surrounded by semi-trucks!   But by the time we arrived at our door it had stopped raining. 

We all agreed we could have spent one more day in Niagara Falls. 

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