Saturday, September 13, 2014

Up Close and Personal - Niagara Falls!

Well, if you know me or have been reading my blog posts, you probably know that I'm from Niagara Falls, New York. Grew up in Western New York, graduated from LaSalle High School (which is no longer there), and moved to Central New York 44+ years ago.

I still have family that live in the Niagara area so we go back there to visit, attend the graduations parties, weddings, and of course our family get-togethers for the Buffalo Bills football games (they won their first game this season in overtime against the Chicago Bears- Yay!).

It was time to take on the tourist role again so my husband and I looked like the typical tourists with our cameras in hand. (I still don't know what I'm doing, but I'm playing around with some settings on it now.)

Our first venture out was around the Falls on our side of the border in New York. The day was hot, humid, and windy so between the mist from the falls, the humidity, and the wind blowing my hair in my face some of the photos came out hazy and blurred, but I think we managed to get some pretty good photos, too.

View from Niagara Falls, Ontario

To tour Niagara Falls, New York, you get there through Goat Island. Goat Island is a good size Island and this is where the parking areas are to walk to the Falls and the Three Sisters Islands and the Niagara River. The Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest State Park in the United States. Here is a link to the park: Niagara Falls State Park. It was first established as the Niagara Reservation in 1885. The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York City.

Years ago, when my husband and I were in elementary (middle school). there used to be a yearly festival held on Goat Island celebrating the Maid of the Mist Festival.  As Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts we would learn various Indian crafts and then would display them at this festival. I can remember one year where our Girl Scout Troop learned Indian Bead work. We made headbands out of seed beads on a loom. We also made Indian tunics and long skirts out of white flannel that we trimmed using bugle beads and seed beads.

Maid of the Mist (photo taken from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada)

For a close up look at the Falls there is a Maid of the Mist boat that you can tour the American and Bridal Veil Falls. You can also go through the Cave of the Winds in which you take an elevator to the base of the Falls to the Niagara River. Through a series of decks, walkways, and platforms visitors can walk right up to the Bridal Veil Falls and have the water flow beneath the decking they are walking on. You are provided with a rain-poncho. The decking is removed each fall to prevent winter damage from ice build-up. These two tours are great, but you need to have a waterproof camera. From the Canadian side of Niagara Falls you can take the Hornblower Niagara Cruises for a tour of the Falls.

Rainbow Bridge in background (named because of the many rainbows that surrounds the falls?). You can walk across this bridge to Canada, but you still need a valid passport, Passport Card or enhanced drivers license to return to the U.S.

Bridal Veil Falls with people viewing it from the Cave of the Winds.
(Photo taken from Niagara Falls, Ontario)

To see the "Falls" in its entirety, it is best viewed from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Growing up on the Canadian border was fun. As kids, we could walk across the Rainbow Bridge for 10 Cents. You felt quite grown-up walking into another Country without your parents. It was a good hike, and we found it entertaining to walk around the tourist areas. One of the things I loved the best over there was all the beautiful landscaping. I guess at an early age I was always attracted to flowers and landscaping. The flower gardens were beautiful, and are still well maintained. There was a little hidden/secret garden very close to the Rainbow Bridge and it was always beautiful. It's still there, but a little more "travel-worn" and not quite as I remembered it. And it doesn't look the same with the big buildings in the background like the Casino and Hard Rock Cafe. hahaha

Horseshoe Falls with Hornblower boat. (Photo taken from Niagara Falls, Ontario).

Sometimes we would ride our bikes across the bridge into Canada and head to a swimming area called Dufferin Islands. And we would not usually return home without purchasing a bar of Mackintosh Toffee in the plaid wrapper. Oh, soooo good and not available in the U.S.

At the time you did not need a Passport, but now to get into Canada you need a photo ID; and to return to the United States you need a valid Passport, Passport Card or an Enhanced Driver's License. Here is some information on obtaining one of the above documents: U.S. Passport Card and Enhanced Driver License. NOTE: THE PASSPORT CARD IS NOT APPROVED FOR AIR TRAVEL. It is valid for land and sea crossings only.

If/when you do travel to Niagara Falls, Ontario- be sure to cross the street from the Falls and take the walkways through the gardens. The views and flowers are amazing!

More photos from Niagara Falls, Ontario.

For other areas to visit while in the Niagara Falls region here is my blog post on Lewiston/Youngstown, NY: Lewiston & Youngstown, New York

If you missed my two posts from last year on Niagara-On-The-Lake you can click on these two links:
Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada
Niagara-On-The-Lake Part II; Niagara Parks Botanical Garden

Hope you liked your visit! 
Feel free to leave a comment. 
I would love to hear from you!


  1. Sue you captured the Falls beautifully and I am glad the weather cleared for you. I am so amazed at how beautifully both sides keep the gardens around the Falls. They really do a fantastic job....I haven't been there in years.

    1. Thank you, Donna. We were lucky that the weather cleared up. We first toured the New York side, and then we decided to stay another day and head over to Canada for some more photos. I'm glad we did because the day was just beautiful for some great pictures.
      It's been quite awhile for us to do the "tourist" thing because we're usually busy with family activities when we visit, but this time we took a few extra days for sightseeing.

  2. I always loved the Flower Clock.I was entranced by it! Someday,I shall tell you how my younger brother got caught at the border bringing fireworks back,hidden in his bike.My mother left him there 'til our dad got home from work.I'm chuckling at his stupidity as I write this....

    1. I always loved the Flower Clock, too. And I think every year (or season) they changed the flowers in it. We were there last year, but I'm not sure if they still change the flowers every year. I posted a photo of it in my blog post on Niagara-On-The-Lake.
      That is hilarious about your brother trying to bring fireworks back on his bike. Too funny.

  3. Wow! You got some great shots! They are postcard worthy.

    1. Thanks Denise! We had a great visit and lucky for us the weather held out. It was a lot of fun.

  4. Thanks for the tour Sue. Your blog is great as always. Sharing for friends and family to see.

    1. Thanks so much Cindy. I really appreciate that.

  5. Moved to Niagara Falls, NY as a young bride and all of our children were born there so they still consider the Falls home. Had a great family reunion there Labor Day weekend. Loved your pictures as they brought back so many memories of our visits to both sides of the border.

    1. The area is so memorable for all of us that live/lived there. We lost a lot of our memorable buildings like our theaters on Falls Street, but it would be nice if they are able to make some significant improvements for the better that would continue to attract visitors to the area.
      After being away for so long I still consider the Falls home, too. Thanks for your comments.

  6. Well I felt obliged to visit your blog after you left such an engaging comment. Since I'm a quadriplegic I can no longer travel so I truly enjoy such travelogues such as this. Those formal gardens are stupendous and remind me of something the Brits would do. Thanks much for sharing Susan.

    1. Thank you, Patrick. I'm glad you enjoyed my blog post. You are right in that the gardens in this area of Ontario are managed by the School of Horticulture in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The school training program was based on the long standing gardener apprenticeship offered at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England. They are truly amazing and every year is different. Niagara Falls, Ontario was the perfect place to match a Horticulture School to enhance the beautiful parks and scenery in the area.
      Thanks for commenting.

  7. That's more like a location which can provide us a lot surely especially during the times like niagara falls 2 day tour from new york are quite supportive which can be taken ahead.