Buffalo - 0 Niagera Falls - 10

Trip Start May 24, 2009
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Trip End Nov 05, 2009


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Flag of United States  , New York
Monday, September 7, 2009

In contrast to my blog about Philly, I would NOT recommend Buffalo!  It was a ghost town when we arrived and stayed that way until the afternoon I left when the residents seem to appear from nowhere.  Although, saying that it was a good base for Niagara Falls, on the US side as Niagara itself was an even bigger dive!

On the US side, you get access to two of the waterfalls which make up the three Niagara Falls, the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.  The most famous Horseshoe Falls which everyone things of when they picture Niagara are actually on the Canadian side, although they're all right next to each other so we got to see all three.   To get the the Falls you walk through a park, with the Falls and associated tourist trade at the far end, with the Niagara River running through the park.  This seems to be a big contrast to the Canadian side which has multiple high rise casinos and hotels on the banks overlooking the falls.

A famous part of the 'Niagara Experience' is the Maid of the Mists boat tour, where you're taken by boat to the base of the falls.  We paid for our ticket and piled into an lift to take us down from the cliff to the river bank where we were given a rather fetching blue plastic poncho to wear!  Trust me, you need them!  The boat takes you to base of the American and Bridal Veil Falls first of all, then onto the bottom of the Horseshoe Falls, into the mist created by the force of water moving over the falls.  I guess we got within around 50 feet from the base of the falls, so you do get pretty wet!

Another attraction at the falls is the 'Cave of the Winds', which, despite it's name is not actually a cave!  In fairness to it, there did used to be a cave behind the Bridal Veil Falls however it was destroyed by a rock fall many years ago.   In it's place they've constructed a walkway which takes you right up to the base of the two American waterfalls, again right into spray.  Really, we should have been warned by not only the free poncho (yellow this time) but by the fact that everyone was made to take off their shoes and wear special sandals. If I thought I'd got wet on the Maid of the Mists I was mistaken!  Because the falls are significantly smaller than the Horseshoe Falls you can get right up close to them and you really get soaked. 

We spent the full day at Niagara as there's plenty to see, even if you don't pay to do things like we did.  The park around the falls is pretty large and extends over to Goat Island, a small island that separates the US and Canadian Falls.  Access to the falls themselves if free which was great, definitely worth the trip!
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