NIAGARA FALLS, ON
Its officially that time of year - we are off to see somewhere new! Matt and I are headed North to visit the only landmark moving backwards at 2.3 feet a year - Niagara Falls. Honestly, we are only going for some delicious poutine. Regardless, off we go! We will be walking the Rainbow Bridge, venturing Behind the Falls and seeing how Bridal Veil Falls competes with Yosemite's. And of course, capturing moment after moment of the beautiful, the interesting and the fun.
One seven hour drive, a few pit stops and too many snacks later, we cruised through customs and found ourselves on Canada's pavement. As we approached the border, Niagara Falls was in view in the deep distance... only giving us a glimpse of its glory. We checked in to our nearby hotel, arranged for our credit cards and cell phones to be set to international mode and headed out. The surrounding area is very clean and super accommodating to walkers. We (unintentionally) arrived and are visiting Niagara Falls during a slower time, right before their peak season, so the crowds at a low (and we are so very appreciative). On our walk downtown, we reveled at the height of the Skylon Tower in the distance and soon found ourselves booking a dinner 775 feet in the air! We took the elevator up the Skylon Tower that gave us an incredible aerial view of all the falls and the American land beyond. We chose the all-you-can eat buffet and indulged in crab, filet, fish, veggies and way too many types of dessert. After going to the observatory deck for some excellent views of the nightly illuminated falls, we took our descent back down the glass elevator and meandered through downtown Niagara Falls a bit. After some black jack and not-so-lucky slot machines, we had a couple of drinks at a nearby restaurant before calling it a night. The area is very quiet and slow, with maybe only one bar really busy with a live band. Tomorrow we get up-close and personal with the falls (from what we have seen so far, they are SO, so beautiful.)
We started our day with way too much French toast from IHOP and soon made our way to the falls. We ventured behind the falls, allowing us a behind-the-scenes look at the rushing water and an up-close misting on a nearby platform. Everyone was mandated to wear provided ponchos while exploring the two caves carved out of the stone behind the waterfalls, giving viewers an close view of the rushing waterfall. Walking around the area soon dried our once-soaked pants and shoes. What began as a routine walk along the water to cross the Rainbow Bridge to the American side turned into a moment of spontaneity. We saw people rushing down ziplines in harnesses some-odd feet above the water below. Soon we ourselves were signing waivers, strapping on helmets and jumping into harnesses – yup, we went ziplining along the cliffs! It was incredible and such a thrill! Matt was full of questions (some reasonable, some ridiculous) only to reassure that we will, in fact, survive this crazy act. We blew each other a kiss, the doors opened and off we zipped! Everything moved in slow motion below. For a moment, we were completely and totally free – amazing. We made our way across the Rainbow Bridge, viewing the falls from afar and grabbed lunch downtown. We walked through Queen Elizabeth park before refreshing at the hotel for our date night – dinner at Ruth’s Chris. We enjoyed a 5-course meal (with a lovely coupon courtesy of Travelzoo) in a private, cozy nook. Matt had seared tuna, the harvest salad, lemon sorbet with a splash of bubbly wine (for palate cleansing, of course), 16 oz. rib eye steak and a chocolate lava cake topped with ice cream and dessert wine. I had crab stuffed mushrooms, Caesar salad, lemon sorbet, 8 oz. petit filet and the same dessert – AMAZING. We strolled (sloooowly) to the falls viewing deck and enjoyed the night sky, the night lights and the rushing sounds of water for some time – just keeping warm and enjoying each other’s company in the therapeutic atmosphere of the waterfalls.
Our last day in Niagara Falls! We woke up a little later than we hoped, grabbed a quick breakfast at Tim Hortons (my first time ever eating there hollaaaa) and headed for the White Water Walk. The map was a bit misleading, so we walked from the Falls to the White Water Walk. Although the route was scenic and it was an absolutely beautiful day, we ended up walking for 40 minutes or so with no idea when the Walk was going to show up! We came across it right near the Whirlpool International Bridge used for driving from the USA to Canada. We took a short elevator ride down below the rock-bed to come out of a tunnel that lead us to the Whirlpool Rapids. And boy, were they roaring! As a general measure, water rapids are scaled on a 1-6 rank of difficulty (1 being the easiest). The Whirlpool Rapids located below Niagara Falls are ranked as Class 6 and are described as extreme and exploratory rapids. They are the most dangerous of its kind and rip along the Niagara Gorge. Before departing for home, we had to indulge in some good ole-fashion Canadian poutine! After all... it originated from Montreal! Before you judge off its name alone, know that its simply French fries topped with delicious gravy and cheese curd - and it's amaaazing. I think French fries are my favorite food, so these were a must-try. Matt got poutine topped with ranch, chicken and bacon (also YUM). After a perfectly relaxing day outside, we packed up the car and headed East. Niagara Falls - we will definitely be seeing you again! Until next time...