Sunday, July 6, 2008

Niagara Falls, Canada

A couple of months ago I suggested my family drive up from Long Island to spend time with me in Buffalo, where I would be for Peggy's wedding. I could stay until Tuesday, so we would have the whole day on Monday to do something fun.

Guess I forgot what a long drive that is (10 hours!) because they all opted to fly. Mom and my sister, Cathy, flew up together from Long Island and another sister, Nancy, flew over from the Boston area. Sadly, my third sister couldn't make it because of an obligation with her in-laws.

Sunday Mom and Cathy arrived early enough to attend Peggy's post wedding picnic.

Mom and Sue (a sorority sister)

While we were tearing the roof off the sucka (translation: talking and sipping beer), Nancy arrived at the airport and picked up a rental car. Sounds like a simple task, but it took her an hour and a half! We met up with her back at the hotel.

Our plans for that night included dashing off to Niagara Falls to watch fireworks. Geez, that sounded good on paper, but we were all exhausted. But, in keeping with the theme of the weekend, we went for it!!

I took a pill to keep the migraine fairy away, Ileana took a pill so her knees wouldn't bother her, Cathy took a decongestant for her cold and Mom took a look at all of us and called us wimps. (Not really. That's what we call "literary license." Just go with it!)

We made it to the Falls, but missed the fireworks due to some confusing directions.

Real sister, Nancy, and sorority/Puerto Rican sister, Ileana, at Niagara Falls.

Our photos came out very dark:

Trust me, Mom is looking at the wonder that is The Falls.

Monday morning we woke with a groan...I mean...full of energy and ready to tour Grand Island, NY (where my husband grew up) and Niagara Falls, Canada. "Woo-hoo!" said my brain. My body replied, "Woo-frickin'-hoo. Let me lay down for a while. Anywhere. This quiet corner of the hotel lobby is fine." My brain told my body to suck it up and off we went.

Before climbing into the rental car, we said goodbye to all remaining sorority sisters and vowed not to wait 28 years to see one another again. I think we really mean it, too.

Grand Island is only about 15 minutes from Buffalo and you have to drive across it to get to Niagara Falls:

(Awesome shot I got of Grand Island from the plane.)

My husband grew up there and every summer we go back for a visit. His family owned a house right on the Niagara River. We drove over this bridge to get unto the island. And yes, this river eventually goes over the Falls:


We stopped and said hello to a few Grand Island friends and even indulged in some authentic Buffalo wings. We then continued on towards "The Cave Of The Winds" attraction on the American side of The Falls.

We walked along the rapids to get there:

Upon arrival, you are given a plastic poncho and special "Cave Of The Winds" shoes.

You are then directed to an elevator which takes you down to the base of the Falls. A wooden walkway lies ahead, which you climb down in order to gaze at the rushing Falls and surprisingly quiet river below.

Photo above by Nancy

Photo above by Nancy

Nancy is the figure on the left:

"Maid of the Mist" cruising by:

Photo above by Nancy

Then the stairs climb upward, towards a section of the Falls that is close enough to stand under.

Sorry, but at this point I tucked my camera inside my purse and under my stylish poncho. The portion of the walkway that's directly under the Falls is called "The Hurricane Deck". It's windy and chilly and you WILL get soaked. (By the way, if you ever go, you don't have to go up to the Hurricane Deck. You can bypass it).

Everyone comes away giggling and wet. It's exhilarating.

Photo above by Nancy

Finally, it was time to find our hotel. Since we only had one night to enjoy Niagara Falls, we decided to splurge. We reserved a room at the Embassy Suites, with a view of both the American and Canadian Falls.

The view from our hotel room:

Photo above by Nancy

Check this out. You could sit in the jacuzzi tub and look through the bedroom to see the view from your floor to ceiling window. We gave it a try:

I think you're supposed to add water. Oh- and turn around.(Look how tired I am! This weekend just about killed me).
That night we had a fantastic dinner (with a view of the Falls)

and checked out the nearby casino. The following day we walked down to the edge of the Canadian Falls and took some photos.
I'm standing by the Canadian Falls, but looking across to the American Falls. "Cave of the Winds" is down there somewhere.

We found a spot along the rail, where you can see the very point where the water tips over the edge. As you look at these, imagine the deafening sound of rushing water and a light spray on your face:

The dark green water is the top of The Falls, the light green is the water in mid air as it plunges downward. The gray water is the whirlpool below:
You know what? I don't have the energy to come up with a good ending to this story. I was gone four days. Here it is a week later, I'm still exhausted. I'm afraid you'll have to help me out and write your own. Zzzzzz...


Julie said...

Did you get to keep those sandals? I want a pair!

Lovely pics, Caryl. You make me realize how badly I need a vacation, tiring or otherwise!

lois meyer said...

Fantastic pictures - and I was there!

We packed alot into a few days and it was great. Only downside was that Jacky couldn't be with us. A little ironic since she went to school in Buffalo!

You are a really good photographer - you have a good eye.


caryl said...

They have bins where you can donate your sandles to the world's poor. (But you CAN keep them if you want to!)

Mom, a couple of the photos are Nancy's. I'll go back and give her credit.

And by the way, I corrected my typos and rewrote this a bit since I posted it. I think it's a little better!

Gene said...

Caryl: As you well know we live on Grand Island and over many years have seen numerous photos, articles, and documentations of "THE FALLS". We have to say that your pictures and descriptive format equal many of the best we have seen and exceed many more. Congratulations on an outstanding presentation.
Elaine & Gene Belstraz

JO GROVER said...

This brought back memories. My first husband and I took our three children there years ago. We took them on the Cave of the Winds tour and I was a nervous wreck trying to watch three rambuctious kids, who wanted to go everywhere and see everything. My second trip was years later with some gal friends and we did the Maid of the Mist. It is a very exciting and wondrous place. Your pics may have saved me from having to make a third trip.