Monday, June 13, 2011
Well, we survived our trip to Niagara, though my car is full of dog hair and kibble. What a weekend!
We drove all day Friday and stopped in Grand Island, a town just south of Niagara Falls and the location of our hotel -- a Holiday Inn with no discernible business plan in a very remote setting. We were up early on Saturday -- in fact, that's the sunrise from our window above -- and we made our way over to the falls.
Remember how I said we'd have to stick to the New York side of the falls because the British Consulate still had our passports? Well, by some miracle, our passports arrived via UPS delivery about 1/2 an hour before we left home on Friday morning. (Which means, yes, we got our visas. Whew!) So we were able to take them with us and go to Canada after all.
We went for breakfast in a ridiculously overpriced Perkins on the Canadian side ($47 for the two of us!) and then walked along the Niagara gorge. I see why Canada is a better vantage point for the falls -- they come off the American side of the gorge, so if you were in the U.S., you couldn't see them straight on. But I could have done without all the tacky commercial development, which easily rivals the most touristy parts of Orlando and other meccas.
We paid a ridiculous amount for parking ($25 for two hours!) and drove back to the states. That afternoon we headed down to a riverfront bar in Grand Island for lunch (kielbasa on a bun!) and asked about local attractions. One of the other customers told us about an art show going on in Buffalo that weekend, in the "bohemian" neighborhood. So when we finished eating we shuffled off to Buffalo, made a drive-by visit to one of Frank Lloyd Wright's houses, and took a quick walk around the art show.
By this time the dogs were exhausted, so we came back to the hotel and spent a quiet night there. The next morning we went back to the falls to visit the American side, which was almost more impressive. Even though you couldn't see the falls in their entirety, you could stand right next to them, so you got a much better appreciation for the quantity of water involved. Pretty incredible! (And by the way, I'm told that fish survive the plunge over the falls. Apparently they land in the water below and just keep on swimming, unless they're unlucky enough to hit a rock.)
We hopped into the car and drove back, via a scenic route through Wyoming County, NY. Lots of hills. Poor Florence was straining to make it.
All in all, a terrific trip, and exactly what I wanted -- a chance to see the falls before we left the country. Today I get to vacuum my car!