What a journey we have had up to this point. Nearly six months of travel and sightseeing and now Niagara Falls!
I will begin by saying that we did not try going over the Falls in a barrel! Nope, as exciting as that would be, it’s not for us. However, we did hear a lot of colorful stories of those who have tried and failed and even some who tried and survived. But, I’m getting ahead of myself…
To begin with, we were very pleased with the Branches of Niagara Resort and Campground where we stayed this week. They have every activity for family fun that you can imagine in a campground from zip lining to putt-putt to kayaking to swimming. I have to admit to being beaten badly by Kenny in a mean game of checkers played on an oversized outdoor checkerboard. They also have some of the best cabins for rental that we’ve seen. Best of all, we were only 20 minutes from Niagara Falls State Park.
We picked up some Niagara brochures from the office and the next day drove to the Park where we found parking to be very expensive. We paid $35 to park on an open surface lot (good for 24 hours).
Let me just say that this state park does not look or feel to me like any other I’ve visited. I think of a state park as being surrounded by trees and nature and perhaps camping. This park just begins on a city street with a sign to let you know that you have arrived. Oh, and there are lots of people, tourists everywhere.
We walked around all afternoon and into the evening and barely scratched the surface of what there is to see and do, so we felt good about having booked a tour for the next day.
We were thrilled to walk across the Rainbow Bridge and cross the border into Canada. In true fashion, we met a couple and their puppy who also crossed the bridge and we talked with them for awhile. Veronica and Rudy are US citizens, but originate from Bolivia. They live in Virginia and they are house painters. A very cute couple – she is actually a hair stylist, but works with him because they like to be together. Rudy was an orphan who came to the US when he was adopted and met Veronica on a return visit to Bolivia.
Once inside Canada, we couldn’t resist going in the duty-free store… Cigars, perfume, and booze! Woo!
Next up, we walked around and found a lot of nice hotels, restaurants, and family fun excitement, including the Skywheel, which we tried. It was awesome! You can see for miles up there and we went around three times. It’s not a fast ride, just slow and easy going and it was only the two of us in the capsule. We walked a lot and saw all we wanted to by the time it started raining, so we picked up our package from the duty-free shop and headed back to the U.S.
The rain stopped, and we had dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. Then, before leaving the park that night we walked out on the observation deck and watched the Falls as they were lit up, first with white lights, then red, and finally green. It was a great sight!
The Over The Falls tour company picked us up 10 minutes from our place at 8:45 a.m. and about a dozen others joined us as we headed to the State Park. Right away, we started talking with another couple whose names are Fran and Pat. They are from Jersey and we sort of paired up with them for the day and had a lot of laughs with them. We helped each other out with photos, had lunch together, and just had a real good time.
Back to the tour… Jim was the driver/guide; throughout the day, he shared story after story and filled us with interesting information and history. On the U.S. side, he took us to Cave of the Winds, Goat Island, Luna Island, Three Sisters, and Maid of the Mist. After all that, we headed across the Rainbow Bridge, had our passports checked and went into Canada.
I cannot detail all the places we went to because there were so many, but we began with a stop for lunch and shopping near the Whitewater Walk. He took us to the Horseshoe Falls visitor area, which is just stunningly beautiful. Next, we went to Niagara Peninsula Energy Power Plant (the flower clock), the whitewater rapids overlook area, and the last stop was to the breathtaking Skylon Tower. At 6:00 p.m., Jim dropped Fran, Pat and us off back where he picked us up that morning and we were just exhausted from a day that more than exceeded our expectations!
And now… After all this, you might ask, where to next? Well, that’s the secret I hinted at on Facebook recently… As I write this, we are midway home! Ken has been doing a great job driving since yesterday afternoon with an overnight stay at a rest area just past Cleveland, Ohio. With good fortune we will arrive in Chesterfield tomorrow afternoon. We are so excited to have a month at home with family and friends, and of course, doctor and dental visits!
Late September we will venture out again and head to southern Texas for six months, but by now you know me well enough to know that I will save that for another blog, lol.
Please keep us in your prayers as we travel home… Love to all, from us 😊