A June 2001 trip
to Niagara Falls by Linda Kaye
Quote: You hear it before you see it, the roar of water, endless and seemingly unstoppable. Once you see it, you’ll find the deafening noise giving way to sensations of wonder that has taken hold of millions of people who have visited this spectacle that is Niagara Falls.
A short distance from where we crossed into Canada we got our very first look at Niagara Falls. This was truly a "jaw-dropping" experience, and was only a preview of what was to follow. Whether we were looking up at the falls for the Niagara River,- looking down from high above on the Observation Deck of the Skylon Tower, or looking across the falls from Table Rock, it is hard to find the words to describe its beauty and majesty. A walk along Clifton Hill after dark and a visit to the Casino Niagara rounded out our adventure.
Be sure to pick up free tour books, especially the Niagara Attractions. Inside, you will find off coupons for all major attractions.
Take a walk along Clifton Hill –the Street of Fun at the Falls-at night. It is a combination of New Orleans’s Bourbon Street, Las Vegas and Disneyland. You will find Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, The Guinness World of Records, Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks, Movieland Museum of Stars, The House of Frankenstein, Castle Dracula, The Fun House, Circus World and the Mystery Maze.
Casino Niagara is large, noisy, glitzy and rivals any in Las Vegas. The games are based on the Canadian Dollar, so if you are playing the .00 slots, you are only betting 65 cents, or a .00 roulette chip is worth .25 in U.S.Dollars. You MUST have your identification with you.
There is also a bus pass that is available that allows unlimited transportation in the area.
Hotel | "Hilton Niagara Falls"
Our room was as one might expect from a Hilton; large, well-decorated, comfortable bed and plenty of closet and drawer space. The one slightly disappointing feature was that our room did not face the falls, but then again, not everyone can have that view. Even though the hotel was at full occupancy, the corridors and elevators were quiet.
There is an informal coffee shop/café at one end of the lobby and a well-stocked gift shop. If you arrive by car, the only choice you have is valet parking. The charge is $7.80 USD for a 24-hour period and since parking spaces are at a premium and you are within walking distance of all major sites, it makes it very convenient. There is no charge for "in and out" during your stay. Just call 15 to 30 minutes before you want to use your vehicle and it will be waiting at the entrance door for you.
On the 33rd Floor of the South Tower is the Watermark Restaurant, from there you can take another elevator several floors higher to reach the Lounge. The view from either of these is spectacular. The Lounge was a terrific place to sit and visit, or listen to some good music while viewing the Falls at night, illuminated with multi-colored spotlights.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 18, 2001
Hilton Niagara Falls Fallsview
6361 Fallsview Blvd
Niagara Falls, Ontario L2G3V9
Restaurant | "The Watermark"
The buffet-style breakfast included three long serving areas. The first was the traditional early-morning fare: sausage, bacon, eggs, fried potatoes, French toast, pastries, bagels and fruit. There was also cereals and yogurt. The second table had traditional Japanese delicacies and several chefs were at the third area preparing omelets, made to order. At our table, we were served coffee, milk and juice.
The last seating opportunity for breakfast is at 10:30, but the buffet remains open until 11:00. We went to breakfast at 10:00 and there was no waiting for a table. The normal cost for this buffet breakfast is $14.60 USD, but with the Bounce-Back Package, it was free.
6361 Fallsview Boulevard
Niagara Falls, Ontario
As we were admiring the interior design, our server told us a little bit about the restoration of the building that took place in 1999. The large chandelier in the entrance was from a castle in Europe and a lighthouse top on an adjacent building was rescued from a lighthouse before it was demolished.
Our server told us that they made THE best clam chowder and highly recommended it. And she was right- a bowl of clam chowder it was, along with an open-faced fish sandwich with cold slaw and chips. The chowder was delicious, with chucks of potatoes, carrots and clams, in a thick, spicy creamy soup.
The menu was quite extensive and included seafood, chicken and beef dishes. There was also a full bar.
The Wilson Boat House Restaurant is approximately 25 miles from Niagara Falls via the Robert Moses State Parkway in the beautiful town of Wilson, New York.
Wilson Boat House Restaurant
57 Harbor Street
Niagara Falls, Ontario 14172
Tours are offered from both the American and the Canadian side. On the Canadian side, the tickets are available at The Maid of the Mist Plaza at the bottom of Clifton Hill. A relatively short walk and an elevator ride down to river level will take you to the boats. The entire trip takes about 45 minutes, and this could be the most exciting 45 minutes you will ever experience. Seeing the falls from 33 stories above is spectulcar, or from ground level, which is awe inspiring, but actually being a part of the Falls is truly unforgettable.
As the boat leaves the dock, we passed the American Falls that is smaller than the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Over the load speaker, a voice is reciting facts and history of the area, but the only focus of most on-board is the thundering cloud of mist that lies directly ahead of us and draws our spirit to its beauty. We sense the tons of water rushing toward us at lightening speed. This spectacular event creates the truly "Perfect Storm", never ending, yet never consuming.
Another short walk and elevator ride takes you back to your starting point, and conveniently channels all visitors through a large souvenir shop. Outside the shop is a fast food restaurant, public restrooms, and a large shaded seating area for that final glimpse of the Maid of the Mist and Niagara Falls.
Maid of the Mist
Niagara Reservation State Park at Prospect Point
Niagara Falls, New York 14303
On the ground floor of the Skylon Tower are fast food restaurants, an outdoor patio, several specialty shops and boutiques with goods and fashions from around the world. In the lower level is the Amusement area where you’ll find Niagara’s largest indoor arcade.
The Observation Deck is open year around for both indoor and outdoor viewing of the Falls and the surrounding areas. The cost to ride to the Observation Deck is $6.00 US Dollars adults, $3.55 children, and there is also a family rate. However, if you have reservations at either the dinning facilities, there is only a $1.30 charge. On a clear day, it is said one can see the Toronto and Buffalo skylines, 80 miles of visibility.
The Summit Suite Dining Room boasts that it has the ultimate in buffet-style dining. Breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets are a sight to behold- and a taste to be savored. Prices range from $10.35, Adult, $5.20 child for breakfast, Lunch, $16.55 and $7.55 and dinner $27.55 and $11.00. However, be aware this restaurant does not revolve and not everyone will be seated with a view of the Falls.
The height of dining excellence is the Revolving Dining Room with its award-wining cuisine. Lunch or dinner menus are rivaled only by the view. This section of the Tower makes a full rotation every hour. If you dine after dark, you will discover the magical atmosphere created by the illumination of the Falls. The prices are $27.55 for adults and $11.00 for children. The Revolving Dining Room also offers an "Early Bird" dinner with 4:30 and 5:00 seatings, for the reduced price of $22.96 adults and $9.65 for children. The menu includes fresh Salmon filet, U.S. choice NY Sirloin steak, breast of chicken and roast prime rib of beef.
www.skylon.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
5200 Robinson Street
Niagara Falls, Ontario L2G 2A3
We made several stops to marvel at the sites along Lake Ontario, one of the Great Lakes. One of our stops involved strawberries. We were there right at the peak of the strawberry season and stopped at a roadside stand and purchased a large basket (about 1 quart) of the sweetest berries we had ever tasted. The friendly person where we purchased the berries gave them a final washing, so he knew full well what we intended to do- eat them between his place and the Canadian border. We proved up to the task and as we entered Canada, all that was left in the basket were the stems.
ROCHESTER AIRPORT: "People Friendly" and "airport" are not normally expressions that go together, but Rochester, New York has found a way to make it work. The first thing we saw as we entered the large, spacious ticket-counter area was a collection of horse statues, some elegant and some comically decorated. What a pleasant distraction while standing in line.
Once we cleared that area, we found the Business Center. Having a two-hour wait for our flight, this quiet oasis was a welcome site. It invited passengers to come in, sit and read a newspaper or work at one of the many desks. It was situated in the center of the gate area, glass all around so we could watch all the comings and goings of other passengers. Each space was divided by glass panels to provide some privacy. There were small conference tables, desks with internet connections, and comfortable seating areas, couches and chairs- a great place to read or write a journal. There was no charge for using this facility.
Also in the gate area was a display of new automobiles. What a great idea—shop for a new car while you wait for your flight. Probably the most unique feature of this airport was the rows of rocking chairs facing a floor to ceiling glass wall overlooking the runway area. Sure beats those uncomfortable chairs at the gate.
This was such a great airport, I was almost wishing our plane would be delayed (yeah- right).
Scenic Drive and a People Friendly Airport
Between Rochester and Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls, Ontario
The name "Niagara" is said to be a version of the Neutral Iroquoian word Onguiaahra, which has been translated as "thunder of waters". The geology of Niagara Falls is fascinating; the original falls seen by the first discoverers was seven miles away from where they now spill into the Niagara River. The Falls continue to recede at the rate of six inches per year.
Niagara Falls, has long been called the Honeymoon Capital, and remains quite popular today with the newly married and the romantically inclined. We saw several brides in their beautiful flowing dresses and vails & grooms in their tuxedos looking for that perfect photo opportunity.
Along the large glass viewing wall inside the Skylon Tower high above the falls, there are plaques containing interesting information regarding Niagara Falls. Here is a little that I gleaned while there:
Father Louis Hennepin was the first European to see and describe the falls in a written document dated December 8, 1678. He described it as "an incredible Waterfall, which has no equal". Two hundred years later Charles Dickens reported he felt "lifted from the earth as if he were looking into Heaven".
In March 1848 an ice jam at the mouth of the Niagara River caused the falls to completely stop flowing for 30 hours. Can you imagine the horror of the residents of the area, as they gathered to watch and pray for the water to flow again.
At least 50 brave (or stupid) soles have added their names to the list of those who voluntarily took a tumble over the Horseshoe Falls
October 4, 1901 Annie Edison Taylor, a 63-year old Michigan schoolteacher was the first over the falls in a barrel. She survived.
July 9, 1960 seven-year old Roger Woodward fell off a boat and at Horseshoe Falls wearing only a swimsuit and a life jacket. He survived. Also that same year, Jessie Sharp attempted to shoot the Falls in a kayak and five years later Robert Overacker in a Jet ski. Neither survived.
July 2, 1984 Karl Soucek was the first Canadian over Horseshow falls. He survived and was fined $500.00.
90% of the water spills over Horseshoe Falls (The Canadian Falls) and 10% over the American Falls. Water going over Horseshoe Falls tumbles a distance of 20 stories at a rate that could fill 500,000 bathtubs in one second.
San Antonio, Texas