I have been to Niagara Falls three times in my life. Once when I was 5, once when I was 19 and last weekend (July 23 through 25, 2015). The actual trip took just under 48 hours. My husband, Bobby, had never seen them until last week.
If the truth were known, he might not have seen them yet if it hadn’t been for an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, a Food Network show hosted by Guy Fieri. The episode highlighted Grover’s Bar & Grill in East Amherst, N.Y., just outside of Buffalo. Guy highlighted Grover’s hamburgers, wings and cheeseburger soup. I said to Bobby, “Hey, we could go there. It isn’t that far.” He agreed and that was just enough for me to start planning a trip there.
>My mother-in-law, Carmen Mercuri, has said that I should be a trip planner, because when I go on vacation, I’m always trying to find new things to do and see. So, it would be no surprise to her that I was researching places to see near Buffalo. When I saw that Niagara Falls, New York was around 45 minutes trip from Grover’s. I got excited.
I have always heard that seeing the Falls from the Canadian side is the best way to see them. The other times I had gone, I went to the Canadian side, so I thought that was true, as well. The thing is, though, we don’t have passports and in order to get back into the United States, even from Canada, you need a passport. This was why we have never even seriously thought about Niagara Falls until recently. As it turns out, there are a ton of things that you can do and see from Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the United States. It was established in 1885. When we arrived on Goat Island, which is part of the park, it was around 2:30 p.m. We each purchased a Discovery Pass for $38 apiece. The price is well worth it, because with it we got tickets to ride the Maid of the Mist, walk the Cave of Winds, watch the movie “Niagara: Legends of Adventure,” explore the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center and the Aquarium of Niagara. We actually only had time enough to do the Maid of the Mist, Cave of Winds and the movie. Our tickets don’t expire until October, so we can definitely go back to finish it up if we want.
The Niagara Falls are beautiful, amazing, awesome and breath-taking. The Maid of the Mist tour took us right to the base of the Horseshoe Falls where we were drenched by the falls both from the mist and from the wind blowing the water from the falls onto us. The boat was filled to capacity, and we were all getting soaked, but none of us cared! At one point, we were surrounded on three sides by the falls.
When we got off of the Maid of the Mist there is a path that you can walk up to the “Crow’s Nest,” which takes you so close to the American Falls that you can get pretty wet. The blue poncho I had received, was not sufficient to keep the water from going down my back and soaking my shirt. But it was so cool, figuratively and literally, that I would totally do that again!
After the Maid of the Mist and viewing the falls from the observation deck, we took in the movie, because when we weren’t getting wet from the Falls, we were hot in the sun. Plus, we needed to take a break! The movie detailed the history of the Falls and people who either discovered the falls, walked over the falls or rode the falls.
A trolley ride back to Goat Island dropped us off at Cave of the Winds complex. There, we picked up another poncho -– yellow instead of the blue one from Maid of the Mist -– and sandals that we could change into in order to protect our shoes from getting wet. We took an elevator down to the walkway and then walked down and up some steps to “feel the power” of the American Falls. I felt like a kid again, splashing in puddles, sticking my hands in the falls and standing under the falls on the Hurricane Deck. The poncho here, actually did a much better job in protecting my clothes, but I think that was because the neck of this poncho was much more narrow.
In addition to the paid attractions, we also viewed the Falls from Terrapin Point, which is the closest you can get to the Horseshoe Falls on the U.S. side. We walked the footbridges out to the Three Sisters Islands and then basically collapsed on the Trolley ride back to our car. We were only at Niagara Falls State Park 7 ½ hours! Although it was short, it was a very full and fulfilling day.
This was just one piece of our trip to New York. Bobby and I can sure pack a lot into 48 hours. Just you wait and see! (Or, just you wait and read. What we discovered in Lucille Ball’s home town can be read here, and a trip to a restaurant featured in Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives can be found here.)