Monday, August 22, 2016

Niagara Falls, 2016

Ok, so I lied yesterday. This post will officially be my last vacation post. Niagara Falls gets its own category since it was on our way home after vacation was over and, well, it's Niagara Falls!

I have been visiting Niagara Falls since I was a little girl. It is kind of like Mecca for us, a pilgrimage of sorts, I suppose. We visit grandparents. We drive the 20-minutes to the Falls.

The only thing I can think to compare it to would be driving up to Newfound Gap if you are visiting Gatlinburg. The view beckons you, even if you have seen it many times before, you feel compelled to visit.

This was Jack's second visit to the Falls – on our last visit, it was freezing and we literally parked, ran out to the view, snapped a couple of photos, and ran back to our car. Teeth chattering all the way.

This visit was the exact opposite. It was Isaac's first time here and it was super hot and muggy. Normally a cool mist rises from the Falls, creating it's own cloud. On the day we visited, it felt more like a humid rain forest in the tropics. I have never been there when steam seemed to rise from the water.

After snapping our family photos, we took refuge in the air conditioned Table Rock visitor center. We had been driving since 6am, so we took the opportunity to get breakfast at Tim Horton's located inside. With food in hand, we went up to an observation area and watched the falls from inside.

With a little one, it was nice to be able to let him wander a bit without worrying about losing him in a crowd. We were early enough that we missed most of the tourists. Even though it was super hot and muggy, the tourists were filling up the parking lot as we left.

We crossed into New York state on the Rainbow Bridge, which offers a great view of both the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side. Some day we will come back and take our boys to ride Maid of the Mist* (a boat you can ride to the base of the falls), and take the tunnels behind the Canadian Falls and the walking tour on the American side. Oddly enough I have walked across the bridge to the American side and viewed from the Observation Tower but have never taken the stairs down to the American Falls.

Fifteen years ago, Daniel and I attended one of my cousin's weddings in Michigan and then visited my extended family in Ontario. As a part of that trip, I took Daniel to the Falls for the first time and we ate dinner at the Skylon Tower, overlooking the falls.

It was our most expensive date, possibly ever! We were not yet engaged, but it was such a fun experience. My sister was actually engaged at Niagara Falls the following summer. Suffice it to say, we have a lot of memories tied to Niagara Falls and I hope to have more in the years to come as we share new experiences with our boys.

*Maid of the Mist used to be a Canadian attraction, but I think now you have to do it from the States.

Visiting Niagara Falls as a young girl, fall circa 1990.

Taking Daniel to Niagara Falls for the first time, summer 2001.

Jack's first trip to Niagara Falls, winter 2012.

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