This is a particularly special life list item, as it was also an item on my mom’s list of things she wanted to do and see. For years she’s talked about wanting to go to Niagara falls, so for Christmas in 2018 my sister and I decided to make it happen. We booked a hotel for the following April, and set her up to get her passport card that would allow us to cross the border into Canada so we could really experience the falls properly. To be honest, Niagara Falls wasn’t anything I’d actually considered before she started talking about wanting to go, but the more I researched and planned the more excited I became. Who doesn’t want to see one of the wonders of the world!?
The three of us, along with my aunt, ended up driving from Kentucky to upstate New York. We broke the drive down into two parts, stopping in Akron, Ohio on the way up to visit with family. Despite being a bit of a long drive it was still an interesting one, and a part of the country even I hadn’t been to before. We ended up staying in a hotel away from the more tourist heavy falls area, but that turned out to be pretty nice. The hotel was a newer build, very clean, and close enough that we didn’t have to drive far to see things while still giving us peace and quiet.
Those are things every traveler can come to appreciate, believe me.
We certainly didn’t waste any time in our short two days in the area, going straight to the falls themselves. I have to admit it is pretty incredible to hear all that rushing water before you even see it, and when you DO see it? It’s more magnificent than you could possibly have imagined. No pictures do it justice, believe me, and it is just a scene that you really can’t ever adequately describe. It’s so amazing to see nature in all it’s glory that way, just completely raw and untamed. It’s humbling too, knowing that something so powerful exists in the world and that man had absolutely nothing to do with it at all.
We got our first views of the falls, and then checked out the visitors center. There’s a trolley that runs around the American side of the falls, and it is well worth the (cheap) price! The trolley is absolutely fantastic, and was definitely one of the best things about the trip! They drive you around and talk about all the sights, and you can hop on and off! We did this on our second day, and we ended up getting off at Cave of the Winds. We knew that they weren’t fully set up yet, they had only done partial construction for the season, but we still wanted to experience it so my sister and I bought tickets for the four of us.
You ride an industrial elevator down to river level, where you then walk along a man-made boardwalk right up to Bridal Veil Falls! My mom and aunt hung back, but me and my sister went as far as we could. It was so surreal! You’re standing right beside these massive waterfalls that are spraying mist all over the place, and then there were just these massive pillars of ice! I think that was one of the parts I loved most, seeing all those big chunks of ice.
Eventually we crossed the border into Canada, though we didn’t get to stay that long. My mom’s knee was really bothering her, and it was very hard for her to walk. We drove around to view the falls from the Canadian side though, and it really is the more beautiful view. You get two entirely difference experiences, that’s for sure. On the American side you get closer to the falls, but on the Canadian side it’s nicer to look at. It’s a win-win, so definitely get your passport if you’re planning a visit!
Mom ended up sitting in a coffee shop while we did some shopping and then picked up a Papa John’s pizza. Yeah, I know. We went to Canada and brought back a pizza. It’s also worth noting though that we also bought enough Tim Hortons donuts to kill a man, which is hilarious since we do have Tim Hortons here in Kentucky.
All in all we had a great time, and I think we’d all like to go back. If we do return we’ll definitely stay on the Canadian side. That was originally the plan, but my aunt didn’t have her passport so we had to move to the American side. It all worked out, but I’d love to go and do all the cheesy tourist stuff. It there is one thing I love in life, it’s a good tourist trap.
Anyway, even if this was never on your list it’s a good weekend trip if you live close enough!
Life List Item: Complete