What To Do & See, Including The Maid Of The Mist, The Rainbow And A Wine Tasting Tour
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com Travel Blogger
When I first casually strolled up to Niagara Falls, I fully expected to look at it for 30 seconds or so and then walk away saying “well, at least I saw it. Where’s the bar?”
But when I got up to the railing, something unusual happened. I was blown away by it.
So much so that I could not quit looking at it. The rush of water constantly flowing over a cheer cliff in unfathomable gallons, moment after moment after moment left me dazed. Mesmerized. I was lost in time, lost in life really, just staring at it in disbelief.
After standing in silence for several minutes, I finally snapped out of it and pulled my brain back into my body. “Wow,” I exclaimed to no one in particular.
It is truly an amazing site I’m no geologist so I can’t begin to comprehend where that tremendous volume of water constantly comes from – and has been coming from for centuries and will continue to do so for more centuries – but there it is, a non-stop gush that left me gushing.
And you can get right up to it, almost to the point you can almost reach out and touch it. The Canadian side – better by far than the American side to be at when you visit the Falls – has a long walkway to get many different views, including one right where the water rolls off the edge. You can even walk down on some rocks about halfway down and get a different angle of it.
For the life of me, I could not figure out why anyone would want to go over the Falls in a barrel or any other kind of device, as was a kind of sport back in the day. I could stand there all day watching the Falls and not once would I ever think “say, it sure would be fun to go plunging over the side of this thing.”
I was thrilled to learn that there is more than one falls that makes up Niagara Falls. In fact, there are three. Look downriver and you will see them. And you can even go right into the mist of the falls on the Maid Of The Mist boat.
That was fun, but not scary, as I had kind of hoped. I’m no daredevil but I kind of wanted the boat to start tilting from side to side, once almost to the point of capsizing, before righting itself as we pull back from the wall of water. But all we got was a kind of misty spray (thus the boat’s name).
There are also rainbows. This stunned me. At the end of each day, a beautiful rainbow emerges and arches across the water as if someone had just painted the sky. It’s beautiful.
The problem, tho, with Niagara Falls, is once you’ve seen the Falls from all angles, from all places and at different times, there’s not much left to do there.
The small town offers little in the area of adult diversions. Mostly, it’s a series of arcades and touristy shops and attractions that do not appeal much to me.
I did like having drinks on the large deck of Edgewater Grill overlooking the Falls, but try as we did, my friend and I could not find another captivating place to have a drink. We also could not find anyplace other than a chain to eat in for dinner and thus settled for an unsatisfying burger at the Hard Rock Cafe. What we wanted was a local pub with some character. Apparently, there are none.
I should point out that this was before Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville was there, so that’s a good addition that would provide this Parrothead with a good drinking place. But I’m sure the crowd is more touristy (meaning families) than the partiers I often find in the Las Vegas Margaritaville.
Fortunately tho, there’s wine tasting!
One day a friend and I jumped aboard a van from the Niagara Airbus (905-374-8111), that came to our hotel and we set off to drink some Canadian wines!
There’s 35 wineries in nearby Niagara-By-The-Lake and we visited a half dozen of them. Napa it’s not but wine tasting is really about the experience and meeting and talking to people as you start to get silly, and that’s definitely what you get here.
I was also pleasantly surprised to learn the drive from Niagara Falls to the wineries is spectacular. It’s on the Niagara Parkway and parallels the river. I had the driver stop a few times to peer down the steep drop and noticed a very scenic and peaceful path for walking, running and bicycle riding.
The road also goes past several motels and and B&Bs. I found this interesting because when I was a wee-little kid, my parents came to Niagara Falls for a second honeymoon. I was eyeing each and every motel trying to figure out which one they may have stayed in on their trip (at the time, the touristy area was not built up as it is now).
So to summarize, here’s my recommend itinerary for Niagara Falls:
• Be sure you’re in the (much) more scenic and accessible Canadian side
• Spend several hours admiring the falls from all angles, walking up and down the sidewalk and of course be there for the rainbow.
• Take the Maid Of The Mist boat tour
• Go wine tasting, being sure to stop and admire the views along Niagara Parkway.