13 Nov From the Falls to the Lakes
Niagara falls is one place I have always wanted to visit. Witnessing the three falls up close with all their power actually surpassed my expectations. I knew the falls were powerful, but never realized how intense the experience would be until we were right at the foot of Horseshoe Falls, the largest of the three.
There are several options if you want to get close to the falls, but since we were short on time, we chose one experience, The Maid of the Mist boat tour. The boat ride is about 30 minutes long, and I really wasn’t expecting much of anything. Boy was I wrong–the ride starts off innocently enough, the passengers donning their bright blue ponchos heading to get a look first at the Rainbow Bridge, then American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls and before you know it, you are smack dab in the middle of Horseshoe Falls in what feels like a hurricane! I think they under exaggerated the mist part of the boat’s name–trust me, it is not a mist, it felt more like a downpour! It didn’t help that somehow I missed an arm hole when I was putting on my stylish poncho which lead me to being only half protected from the water.
One armed poncho wearer
Getting close to Horseshoe Falls
At the bottom of Horseshoe Falls
The whole experience near the falls made me giggle uncontrollably–my poncho was flying all over the place, water was everywhere, and I could hardly stand upright because I kept bouncing around trying to take photos. It was so much fun; way more fun than I ever expected from a tour I always considered a hokey tourist trap. We have a video coming soon where you can get a glimpse of the falls up close!
Later that evening we decided to take a walk to the USA. I mean, how often can you do that? I couldn’t pass up the chance to just waltz right into another country. Since we came in from Toronto, we were staying on the Canadian side of the falls. After the requisite 50 cent toll fee we went through the turnstiles and were on our way to the USA. The walk across the bridge was nice, and I had to stop for a photo opp at the international border line.
Standing in two countries at once!
We walked through to the USA side and wandered around upriver, but since it was starting to get late, we decided to head back to Canada. Every evening there is an Illumination Light Show where the falls are lit up with changing colors, so we got to see some of the beautiful colors from the bridge on our walk back. The views of the falls from the Canadian side are great–we lingered by the falls for a long time taking photos, consumed by its beauty.
View from Rainbow Bridge
Despite growing up in Minnesota, so close to the maple leaf country, this was my first trip to Canada. So, one thing I was a little disappointed about, was that I didn’t get a passport stamp at the airport OR at Niagara Falls! I should have asked one of the customs officials for a stamp, but I forgot until we were already all the way through. I get so flustered going through customs, I never have anything to hide, but for some reason when I am put on the spot, I freeze and have trouble answering simple questions! Example…”Where are you from?”, “Umm the U.S.”, “Yeah, I can see that, from what state?”, “Ummm Minnesota wait no, I live in Florida now…” I’m sure the officials are used to it, but I still hate when that happens! Oh well, I will just have to visit again sometime to take another shot at getting a stamp.
Niagara on the Lake
The next morning we decided to take the scenic route to Toronto and stop at the little town of Niagara on the Lake. The scenic drive is very pretty and dotted with wineries all along the way. There are so many interesting looking wineries, but we didn’t have time to stop.
We arrived at Niagara on the Lake only about 30 minutes after leaving Niagara Falls. There are many shops along the main street, Queen Street–it feels like you are stepping back in time into a colonial village. Two of my favorite shops were Victoria Teas and Kurtz Culinary Creations. If only I had room in my suitcase to bring a few things home with me… After about an hour of browsing, we decided to continue on to Toronto for the rest of our jam packed weekend trip.