Sunday, September 24, 2017

Roller Coaster Road Trip: Amazing Niagara Falls, Part II

When I'd last left off, the three of us, Rich, Gary and I, had gone to explore the backside of the Canadian side of the Falls, and by then it was almost dusk and we were in for some more spectacular views.  You see, as the sky grows dark, the Falls light up in brilliant hues of red, green, white, purple and blue, and at around 9 p.m., the skies light up as well with a nightly fireworks show.  These pictures don't really capture the absolute brilliance of it all, but they do give you a good idea of what it was like...


Wow, what a great ending to a great day!  Once again, if you've ever wanted to go to see Niagara Falls, you should do it at least once in your lifetime.  Like I'd mentioned previously, the wonder of it all just has you wanting to take in as much of it as you can.  I feel very lucky to have visited.  

After the fireworks, we wandered a bit through the town for some crowd watching and a bite before heading over to Alice in Wonderland. The streets were still teeming with tourists enjoying all of the touristy things this place has to offer. There was one place, about a block up from the promenade, that we had noticed had a very long line. We decided to check it out, only o find out it was an ice cream place, but it couldn't have been any ordinary ice cream parlor with a line around the block.  We moved closer to investigate...

Sweet Jesus!  They had a vampire child advertising their ice cream.  Though the menu was tempting, we were hungry for some real food, and besides...that line!  I thought about posting this picture as my profile on Facebook, just to see what people would say.  I never did.

I found this place on AirBnB, and the advertisement actually called it Alice in Wonderland.  It is owned by a person called Wei, and boy he (or she) wasn't kidding.  The entire place, a charming two-story house within a five minute drive to the downtown area, was decorated in bric a brac from the famous novel and film.  Just take a look-see...

Although I wasn't really looking too much forward to this particular lodging, it was comfortable, clean, convenient, and very charming.  Thanks to Wei!

Friday was our last day in the Falls area and we had some things on our list, like ziplining, a boat ride on Hornblower Cruises, and the Aero Car, which is an antique cable car that runs across the Niagara River where the rushing white water rapids converge to form a whirlpool.  This was our first stop.  



As you can see from these pictures, this experience was pretty amazing, too!  Highly recommended if you visit the Falls area!  

Once we had finished the Aero Car ride, we headed back into town for one last few hours with the famous Falls.  The day had been pretty overcast and we were immediately disappointed to find out that it was too windy for the zipline to run, so we quickly headed down to Hornblower Cruises to get one last up close view of Niagara Falls.  This is yet another must if you visit, as the views from the water, up close, are spectacular and engrossing.  Take a look...

It was a little wet!

So for the next couple of hours after our cruise, we took one last meal and one last walk around to shop and look around.  After roller coastering for four days straight, which at the time seemed so long before, we needed this wonderful respite and for 36 hours we got to experience such a great place!  

Stay tuned for the last stop on our Roller Coaster Road Trip 2017, Toronto, Canada, and in the meantime, check out my past entries for this trip:

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Roller Coaster Road Trip 2017: Amazing Niagara Falls

Here's a prepared for a picture-filled post...

When I last left off on our 8-day journey, we had been at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.  We had ridden twenty-three roller coasters in the first four days, and for the next two and a half days we'd be slowing it down a bit.  That wasn't a bad thing of course because we were headed to a place I've wanted to go to since I was a child...Niagara Falls...before heading up to Toronto, our last stop.

The day was Thursday and we packed ourselves up from that beautiful cabin on Lake Eerie and headed northwest towards our destination.  Along the way I had an idea...hey, you guys wanna stop in Buffalo for some real Buffalo wings?  Hey, when in Rome!  We had to pass through Buffalo to get to where we were going anyway and it would be right around lunchtime when we did, so.  The boys agreed and a quick Internet search had us heading to Anchor Bar, a place claiming to be the home of the original Buffalo wing.   

We finally arrived at the Anchor around 12;30 and the place was buzzing.  A quick 20-minute wait and we were all seated and ready to order.  All I can say is wow....great, meaty wings!  Probably the meatiest wings and some of the tastiest I've ever had.  With full bellies, we headed out to Niagara Falls and Alice in Wonderland.

Now I mentioned Alice in Wonderland because the house we were renting via AirBnB on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls was themed after Lewis Carroll's famous tale.  More on that in a little. In planning for this trip, I had heard from many people that the Canadian side of the Falls is much livelier than the American side.  From what we saw on our side, this is absolutely true.  Good choice!

Since we weren't able to check in to our rental until 5 p.m., we had a good three hours or so to explore the town of Niagara and of course, the Falls.  Our first sight of the famous cascades came upon crossing the bridge after the border crossing.  Like with any natural wonder, I am sure, that initial view of the Falls filled me with wonder and a strong desire to see it up close.  

My first impression of the city of Niagara Falls and Clifton Hill was that is was a busy entertainment center built around the attraction meant for families, and others, to enjoy.  Restaurants, miniature golf courses, haunted mansions, souvenir shops, ice cream parlors and even a couple of casinos lined the streets leading down towards the main attraction.  There was plenty for all to do once the wonder of the Falls had worn its initial appeal.  

Once we'd found a place to park the car, it was time to explore.  After making a quick trip to Starbucks for a cup of iced coffee and to charge our engines, we headed on down the hill towards the giant wonder.  For the next 2-3 hours, we took in as much as we could.  The sight of the falls was something to see, the kind of thing that's hard to take your eyes off of as you walk along the promenade of the Niagara Parkway.  Stopping at virtually anywhere along the path, the Rainbow Bridge, connecting two countries, is to your left, the American Falls is across the river and the Bridal Veil and Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side straight up ahead and to the left.  Breathtaking all around!

Once we'd taken it all in, we decided to see what attractions within the Falls we could do at this time of the day.  We had already decided that we wanted to take the Journey Behind the Falls, one of the boat tours (Hornblower is the boat operator on the Canadian side.  Maid of the Mist, which I had heard of before, is on the American side.), and zip lining.  Going behind the Falls turned out to be the only option for us that evening, and it was hella cool!

As was our mood all afternoon long, this little excursion brought out the wonder in each of watch the rushing water from behind the Falls was awe-inspiring and then to go down onto the 'deck' to see the giant waterfall from below...spectacular!  

Well I'm going to stop right here because there was lots more to come on our little 36 hour trip to this wonderful place.  Stay tuned as we check in and check out Alice in Wonderland, get a whole new perspective on the Falls at night, and even check out a beautiful whirlpool up the Niagara River.  And in the meantime, be sure to check out my previous entries on this awesome Roller Coaster Road Trip 2017: