Continued from my previous blog post… London to Niagara-on-the-Lake…
Visiting Niagara Falls in Fall (Autumn) is a great way to avoid the mass crowds and also see Canada’s National Emblem (the red Maple leaf) falling from the trees in abundance. Here’s my experience of my two day trip to the falls… “Niagara in a Nutshell“.
Exploring Niagara, Ontario
Morning Jog and Niagara-on-the-Lake
After the previous nights’ looooong drive and late night, we woke up yesterday morning fairly late. After waking, we ate some leftover food from our airplane meals and then I head out for another marathon training run. I initially only intended to do a 5.5 mile interval training run, but ended up dropping a card out of my running belt so had to retrace some steps and I thus, finally ran about a mile further than I had planned! The run, however, around the town that our hotel was located, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, was absolutely stunning. Just minutes, down the road, from our hotel (The Pillar and Post) were a number of wineries, surrounded by lush green vineyards (I was tempted to jog my way through them, munching grapes, on the way!). As I turned the corner at the end of the road, I arrived at the Niagara River, and ended up following it, downstream, to Lake Ontario – the HUGE lake which spans around half the breadth of New York state! I couldn’t help but stop, briefly, to take a photo or two looking across the river to the American tip, before continuing onwards to Lake Ontario, and finally back towards the hotel. I passed some beautiful Canadian townhouses on the way, along with a marina, golf course, and a historic fort, flying the British flag! I found the people in this beautiful, quaint town to be much friendlier then those in London the previous morning- and, although it was much colder here, the run felt a million times more relaxing and pleasant! 🙂
After my run and a quick shower, we set out to sort the hire cars. Straight after, we got some lunch in a pancake store, in Buffalo, and then drove to the falls.
By the time we made it to the falls, the horrible wet weather we’d had, whilst getting the car, had passed-and it was just fairly overcast (and freezing cold!). We excitedly wondered up and down the road on the Canadian side, taking photographs and marvelling at the tremendous, panoramic view of the 3 waterfalls that comprise the infamous Niagara falls (the American falls, the Bridal Veil falls and the Horseshoe falls), and looking around the nearby souvenir shops (where a bear tried to steal my hat… can you believe the cheek?! See the pictures of me fighting it to the left 😛 ), before running back to the car just in time to avoid a parking fine!
Since we wanted to come back and see the falls again at night, we drove off again for a drive around the Niagara area – mainly sticking to the scenic routes along the Niagara River. Just as it was getting closer to dusk, we head back towards the falls to see the spectacle at night too. This time, we entered from a different direction, and, thus, we were able to follow the Niagara River right up until the rapid, turbulent path of the water gushed over the horseshoe falls at the end. The spray from the falls reached over onto the road, creating patterns of mist, and soaking my camera lense when I tried to take photos a little too close!
Hungry and cold, we finally drove back to our hotel for some grub! We got dressed up and went down to the hotels’ restaurant and settled down for a nice glass of red wine and a steak. We all thoroughly enjoyed our meals, but fatigue eventually took over and we all retired to bed!
Niagara, New York
Waking up this morning, I packed my suitcase up again – ready for our flight back to New York City this afternoon… went for a brief swim in the hotel pool whilst chatting to some of the friendly locals, and then packed our suitcases into the hire car ready for our final morning of sightseeing in Niagara. Today, we vowed to check out more of the American side of the falls.
Crossing the border, with the essentials (duty free bottle of gin – to last the rest of the trip 😉 and maple syrup) in hand, we parked up in a $5 car park (parking is wayyyy cheaper on the US side) and wondered across the bridge towards Canada (for more photo ops), and then back into Niagara Falls State Park.
Visiting Prospect Point got us up close and personal to the American Falls… and then meandering across the pedestrian bridge to Goat Island took us through some beautiful parks, and then up towards Terrapin Point where you could get a closer look at the Horseshoe falls again. Unfortunately, whilst we were visiting, they were doing some building work around Terrapin Point to make the view much better for future visitors – so we couldn’t get a particularly good view this time round… it seems that once the work is complete, however, the viewing area will be much better for future tourists! 🙂
Buffalo Chicken Wings
After our nice stroll through the State Park, we head into Buffalo for a quick bite before rushing off to Buffalo Airport. A good friend of mine lives in Buffalo when he’s not gallivanting the world on his own adventures – and when I asked him for some advice on places to eat, he said I HAVE to get some Chicken Wings from ‘Anchor Bar’ (the “home of the original Buffalo chicken wings”)… so this we did – and whilst we didn’t really have time for a sit-down meal, before running to catching our flight, we did have 10minutes to wait for a take out.
The restaurant, inside, is decorated with motorbikes, interesting statues, and thousands of quirky car registration plates from all around the country!
I have to admit, the wings were amazing… fatty and greasy, but who really cares about that stuff when they taste so good?! 😛 If you don’t like spicy food, you can order plain wings without the sauce or spices – but they’re just not the same!
After checking in and having a drink in the lounge, we boarded our JetBlue flight back to NYC. As we set off, I searched out the window for a birds eye view of the falls, but unfortunately couldn’t see them from the plane. Around an hour later, we were flying over Manhattan – looking out the window to see the shadow the Empire State Building cast, over the East of the city, at sunset was spectacular enough to make up for it… the photographs just don’t do it justice! As we landed, we watched as another plane landed on the runway parallel to us right in front of the sunset!!
We were fairly late arriving in New York, after navigating the public transport systems from JFK, so we unpacked our bags into the new hotel room and just head to the Italian restaurant, recommended by the hotel, around 100m down the road. The pizza, shared between 3, was delicious (and HUGE!!) – we even have a bit left over for tomorrows lunch!! Now time to get some rest ready for tomorrow!!
Have you ever been to Buffalo/Niagara? What activities did you partake in? Which side of the falls did you prefer? I’d love to hear your thoughts/opinions in the comments below! 🙂
Love, Magic and Fairy Dust 😉
For Great Deals on hotels in, and around, Niagara – click the image below! 🙂