Road Trip! Part IIIJuly 1, 2009
We packed up the cottage and started west. The day was gray and drizzly at first but by the time we had a picnic lunch at Niagara Falls State Park it was clearing up nicely. We treated the kids to a couple of the touristy approaches to the falls. We went down the elevator to the Cave of the Winds and then took the walkway to the bottom of the American Falls. The wind and spray from the falls is enough to get you drenched. And you get to keep the lovely rain ponchos and sandals. Actually, the sandals aren’t bad and 3 out of 4 of us kept ours. I see mine as appropriately used as gym shower sandals, but my 9 year old can pull off wearing hers as a fashion statement.
We went out on the Observation Deck, where you can get a view of both the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls simultaneously (both together make up Niagara Falls).
And we took the kids on The Maid of the Mist (well there are several Maids of the Mist). The Maid of the Mist goes up the river for a great view of of the American Falls and then as close as reasonable to the base of Horseshoe Fall where the boat idles for several minutes you get drenched by the spray. For this experience you get lovely blue rain ponchos. Otherwise, they are recycled (yeah!). The trip was exciting, but a true benefit of the boats is their inclusion in photos so that you can get a sense of the true size of the Falls – they are huge and powerful!
Two days later we went to the Canadian side and enjoyed the view of the falls from that perspective. You can see the American Falls straight on. But the day was darker and mistier so we’ll skip more pics of the falls But we will include some pictures of Canadian fencing along the falls; the Canadians have much nicer fences than the Americans.
We spent that evening and the next day with my nephew (how is it possible that I, as young as I am, could possibly have a home owning, 29 year old, nephew?). Buffalo has a lot going for it as it changes itself from a steal industry town to something different. It is a city rich with power sources. It gets as much sunshine as Orlando, FL, I was told, and they are going to build wind turbines offshore in Lake Erie. Buffalo looks like an up and coming city. My nephew certainly likes it as he showed us around. We went to the Albright-Knox Art Museum, saw a boathouse built using Frank Lloyd Wrights’ original plans, saw more beautiful Buffalo architecture and ate chicken wings. We tried to get a tour of the Darwin Martin House, a complex of buildings built by Frank Lloyd Wright, but they were booked for the day. Instead, we went to, perhaps you have guessed it, a bookstore.
We went to Talking Leaves Books – “independent and idiosyncratic since 1971.” It was Father’s Day and my husband was in 7th heaven. After an hour or so I found him with at least 8 books, and he had already put some back. The kids and I got 2 books each, and DH had a happy Father’s Day. Luckily we had stumbled on a buy 3 get the 4th book free sale, but still we racked up a big enough bill that it was worth it to buy a one year $10 membership that gets the member an additional 10% discount. They were nice enough to let me put the membership in my nephew’s name so he can reap the benefits for the next 12 months. Besides, it made me feel less guilty about lazing around his house like zombies for the next 4 hours – I guess we were tired after a week and a half of vacationing.
The next day we crossed the border into Canada, spent the morning oohing and ahhing over the falls some more and then headed across Ontario. We spent the night in the best hotel of the trip – The Hilton Garden Inn in Plymouth, MI, outside of Detroit. If I ever need to spend time in Detroit this is where I’ll be staying.
And then we went home.