To the Falls!
Trip Start Dec 28, 2007
5Trip End Jan 01, 2008
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Where I stayed
We had a stop at BWI but we didn't have to change planes. Both flights were nice. They gave me a chance to catch up on the Caroline blog that I've been meaning to do for several weeks now. I'm trying to get this one completed much sooner (as in, on the way home). But the bumpy back to BWI is rather hindering.
We were hoping for mounds of snow when we arrived. But we missed it by two weeks. The locals on the flight were still complaining about the huge storm we missed. I guess the old saying "the grass is always greener" is true.
We got to the hotel around 11AM. We stayed at the Buffalo Niagara Marriott. It is true to its name, sitting between the falls and Buffalo. Other than location, it's pretty much a standard full service Marriott. The beds were not the best. I didn't actually check, but I don't think they have the signature Jamison beds that most Marriotts boast. I'm use to lying back in a Marriott bed and sinking into lots of fluffy pillows and down mattress toppers. This bed was a lot firmer than I like. There were poster scattered around the hotel promoting the fact that they are about to remodel the rooms. Perhaps they will get the good beds in then. Along with, what looked like, 37" flat screen televisions! Like all full service Marriotts, you get about 12 channels and internet cost about ten bucks a day. I've always wondered why paying half the price at a Fairfield gets you full cable and free internet while the full service, after charging you a inflated price, nickel and dime you for every amenity. And you can't get cable. I miss my Discovery, Travel, and G4. But at least I have eight glorious ESPN channels to endlessly flip through. Okay, I'll get off my soap box. The onsite restaurant, ____ is right across from the front desk. We did breakfast there every morning. Decent buffet. It kept us going all day. There is a pool table, darts and even a dance floor are in the bar area. A DJ comes in around ten every night. I suggest beer or wine if go at night. The drinks we had were mixed really weak. The workout room was a good size. With all our walking during the day, we never actually used it. There was also an indoor pool and hot tub. The front desk staff was very friendly and courteous. They were nice enough to give us an early check in
Taking the advice of the Tripadvisor members, we headed to lunch. The number one restaurant for Niagara, New York is Michael's Pizza. Michael's is located in Niagara's Little Italy. Yep, I was surprised to find a Little Italy at Niagara Falls also. But there is no doubt that this so some good Italian. We saw several Italian dishes going around us. They all looked and smelled incredible. But we went with the Pizza, and were thoroughly satisfied.
On to the falls. We started with the American side. We've heard that the Canadian side is better. Since we were down to a half day, it seems a good choice to spend it on the American side. The American side is mainly park area. We found out form a tour guide later that NY state law requires the area to be... "untouched" so to say. The result is undeveloped natural beauty. Quite a difference when you make it up to the falls, and look across the way to the Canadian wall of giant hotels. The view of the falls is really not the best. We viewed them from Goat Island. From Goat Island you are essential get a side view of the falls. From the observation points we could see that a pier jutting out from the New York mainland had been constructed.
Despite the less than ideal vantage point of Goat Island, the Falls themselves are still a spectacular site. Just watching the amount of water slip over the sides is mind boggling. I forget how many millions of gallons go over every minute. I guess I'll have to Google that later.
After taking in the falls we slipped over to the gift shop to warm up with a hot chocolate. We were both feeling pretty exhausted from the all the walking. But we had one more task to mark off the list before we could head back to the hotel. The Cave of the Winds takes you down to the post falls river level via an elevator. A short path and a network of wooden railways take you up close to the falls. The railways are torn back to a safe distance during the winter season. The mist coming off of the falls settles and freezes into thick sheets of ice. The paths are salted, but ice still builds up so watch your step. The Cave of the Winds is definitely the best vantage point on the American side. The tour guide was kind enough to help us get two really good pictures of Kelly and me under the falls.
We made our way back to the Marriott about sun down. Had some snacks at the downstairs bar and hit the sack early. What a day!