Sunday, June 16, 2013

Niagara Falls

Everyone seems to want to go to Niagara Falls. I've always heard they’re amazing, beautiful and spectacular.

But, I didn’t really understand how amazing they were, or why everyone wanted to visit the falls, until I visited Niagara Falls this May.

Niagara Falls is just a short drive from Toronto, Ontario. Several wineries, vineyards and orchards are located near Niagara Falls. Several wineries offer tastings of the Ontario wine. The ice wine is sold at several wineries- it's a unique wine made with grapes that are harvested after they have been frozen on the vine.

Niagara Falls is a pretty busy, tourist town. I stayed in a bed and breakfast just outside of the busy tourist center, but just a short drive to the falls. To see the falls, we parked down the river a bit from the falls at one of the visitor parking lots and walked along the path by the river, first seeing the falls from behind.

                                                       Horseshoe Falls, from the river

We continued to walk until we saw the massive Horseshoe Falls, the largest of the falls. I kept stopping and taking photos to try to capture the falls.

                                                             Horseshoe Falls

I watched several boats, called the Maids of the Mist, go into the center of Horseshoe Falls, where mist and water sprayed up higher than the top of the falls. These boats, which leave from both the U.S. and Canadian sides of the river, allow visitors a close-up view of the falls. Everyone on the boats is given rain parkas to wear, but I’m sure their feet got wet! I decided to just see the falls from up above on the sidewalks.

                                                        The American Falls

The American Falls, down the river and across the way, on the New York side of the river, are also very pretty. Paths along the side of the falls allow visitors to get close-up views of the falls.

The falls were beautiful. I don’t know what I was expecting, but they really are amazing to see. If you get a chance, go see Niagara Falls, either in New York or on the Canadian side. It’s worth it!

                                                             Elements on the Falls

Along the way, we stopped to have a bite to eat in Elements on the Falls, which overlooks the falls. Our table was right by a window and had awesome views of the falls. The restaurant, with its mosaic and blown glass décor, had an interesting atmosphere. It also had great food! The desserts looked awesome too, but I didn’t try one!

                                                     Desserts at Elements on the Falls

We stopped at some botanical gardens (Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens) just outside of town, where the gardens were just beginning to grow in early summer.

                                                     Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens


Then we stopped in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a town not far from Niagara Falls. Niagara-on-the-Lake has a lovely downtown, with many unique shops, an apothecary shop set up as it would have been many years ago, cafes, ice cream shops, an Irish tea room and more. Horse carriages offer visitors rides for a different perspective of the quaint town. It felt a bit like walking into a town in the late 1800s.

Many small towns in the areas offer attractions. For example, at Port Dalhousie, one can ride a  carousel from the early 1900s for a nickel, see the harbor and boats, or hang out at a beach. Many towns had great beaches, a variety of cafes and restaurants, and more.

My time went by too fast, and I didn’t have time to see everything in the area. I definitely plan to go back sometime and visit!

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