Weekend in Niagara.. Ohhh Canada…
July 13, 2018
So our first long weekend trip took us to Niagara falls in 2014, so why not start there.
Let me start off by saying that I love the country I live in, as messed up as some of our political issues are, it is still a melting pot, of people, cultures and ideas. The US has so many gorgeous places to visit mountains, valleys, shorelines and everything in between.
That being said, when visiting Niagara Falls, go to the Canadian side,, trust me there is a difference. It would seem that where the US built a city and then built a park as its attraction, Canada built a park and added commerce so you can stay in it. All along the falls are hotels that give you an amazing view of what you came to see. Opening your hotel curtains and seeing that wonder is awesome and at night,, wow.
According to Wikipedia “Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the international border between the Canadian province of Ontario and the American state of New York. They form the southern end of the Niagara Gorge”.
So Niagara Falls is only about a four-hour drive for us, so super easy to get to by car. Crossing the border at the Peace Bridge was very easy, thorough, but easy. We stayed our first night at The Marriott Niagara Falls Fallsview Hotel & Spa http://www.niagarafallsmarriott.com. All of the prices for hotel rooms are a bit pricey all over town, but worth it when you open those curtains. The rooms at the Marriott were very comfortable and clean and they have the most amazing pillows! They were so comfortable.
There is a great restaurant on site at the hotel called Morton’s Grille with of course a beautiful view of the falls. When we checked in they gave us a coupon for Morton’s which of course we couldn’t refuse. The food was very good and the coupon helped offset the higher price tag.
The main attraction of course while here is the Falls. We had to be tourists, because why not and we did the Maid of the Mist boat tour https://www.maidofthemist.com/schedule-pricing/. It was so much fun and yes you get soaked, so don’t plan on dressing up,comfortable clothes and shoes. It’s about $20 per person for the tour and no reservations are accepted. The boat takes you right up to the falls and you can get some great pictures. When we got off the boat we walked along the river and just took in some of the sites and once again…. the falls. So pretty!
At night, when you are done looking at the falls all lit up in rainbow colors, we hit the casino! With an extra $100 in our pockets, cuz i hit it big on the penny machine, we headed back to our hotel for the night and again to stare at the falls. (did I forget to mention how long it takes for $150 in pennies to come out of a slot machine? A while, much longer than one would expect. But it was exciting seeing all the people staring thinking I hit the million dollar jackpot! We spent the extra $50 getting snacks and drinks. Thank you Canada!)
Having really seen all there was to see… the falls, we headed slightly north for our next day in Wine Country! We booked a guided tour to several of the wineries in Niagara on the Lake with Magnificent Tours. They picked us up right at our hotel in a small charter bus and off we went to 5 wonderful wineries. Each treating us to a tour and tasting and of course the chance to buy, which we did! They also allowed for time to shop and walk around the small town of Niagara on the Lake which is just charming. This place will be returned to someday, we absolutely loved it.
We booked a room at a B-N-B for our night there. We booked through Booking.com at the Chalet Bed and Breakfast http://www.booking.com/Share-l4IkLx. Let me tell you,, NOT what we were expecting and what a wonderful treat that was. Elfie and Gina own/run the place. It’s a cute little chalet style home on a working farm fully equipped with Lamas! YES Lamas! They took us on a tour of the animal areas and we saw a gorgeous sunset. For dinner that night we went to a great casual restaurant called the Garrison House http://www.thegarrisonhouse.ca/. Awesome food here, wonderful and friendly staff and comfortable surroundings. I would recommend this place for sure!
Sadly this was 4 years ago, so I don’t remember who it was, but one of the ladies is a fantastic cook and made the most delicious breakfast for us served on the terrace. After checking out we went back into town to walk around some more and went down to the lake for the views. On a very clear day you can see Toronto, but on the day we were there, it was hot and hazy so we caught faint glimpses. It’s beautiful to walk and sit along the water front and take in all the sailboats coming and going. I could definitely spend more time here.
When we left town, we headed back down toward the Falls and some more touristy stuff. There is a beautiful park along the river that you can drive through and at one point we were able to get out and watch the most amazing/crazy thing. So you want to go to Whirlpool State Park and walk to the look out. The river here makes this crazy 90 degree turn and creates a real whirlpool in the turn. This alone is wild to watch, but then there is a company called Whirlpool jet boat tours and they take you right up into it. https://www.whirlpooljet.com/jet-boating/niagara-falls/ You have to go to their website and see some of the pictures and videos, and on this one you will not only get wet, you will get soaked! I think we stood there for a half hour watching the boats come up and down.
From there we made our way to Skylon Tower. It’s sort of like Seattle’s space needle? It was very expensive for what you get, which is an elevator ride to an observation deck. That’s it folks,, just an aerial view of the area. I hate to say it, but don’t waste your money, it’s nothing special, other than to say, been there done that, and now we have.
We headed back to the US via Niagara Falls, NY and stopped of course to see the American falls. Kind of a disappointment. There is a very small park that you can walk through to get to the falls observation area. It was nice, it was clean, but after having been on the Canada side, it was eh.. ok. I think the fact that you are viewing the falls more from on top of them, where on the Canadian side you are looking head on at them is the difference. It’s all about the view. The city itself is just an ordinary city like any other in the US only super busy and crowded with tourists and vendors trying to sell you t-shirts and shot glasses. We didn’t stay long and headed back home from there.
I would go back but likely not for the Falls but to see Niagara on the Lake again and more wine country.