Last Saturday, the 21st, my family drove to Canada for a short vacation that included Niagara Falls and Toronto. It took about 8 hours to drive from our house in Indiana to just past the New York border. I spent most of the time off in my own little world, either reading a book or imagining some stories I plan to write soon. I was pretty excited to see the Falls.
Finally, we were there. After checking in at our hotel, we walked just four blocks down a hilly street to the Falls. I was surprised that everything was located so close to them. I’m not kidding when I say that if I stood right in front of the hotel, I could see the Falls.
Once we were at the overlook across from both the American and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls, I was again surprised, this time by the sound of the water and just how high and wide the Falls are. However, it was disappointing how many other people were there. Sure, they have every right to visit there too, but it was so crowded! We stayed for just a little while. My dad and I took photos. We had a dinner of not-so-great food from a rather expensive cafeteria. Afterwards, we stayed near the Falls, waiting for lights to turn on and illuminate the Falls, which happens every night. We had looked forward to that, because that might make for a good photo. But the lights weren’t very strong, and so we left disappointed.
The next morning, we got up and had a breakfast of Timbits at Tim Horton’s. Timbits are like donut holes and Tim Horton’s is the Canadian version of Dunkin’ Donuts. I recommend the sour cream Timbits! My mom entertained my brother and I with a story of how she’d seen a squirrel with a muffin top earlier that morning. No, really. It did have a muffin top. It was eating it. Then we walked through a lot of tourist nonsense – Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, haunted houses, wax museums, and more – on our way to the Maid of the Mist tour. I had expected to see lots of people clustered along the overlook that morning, but apparently 9 AM is too early and so the overlook was relatively deserted. The Maid of the Mist departure area was busy, though.
We waited in line for a while, then put on massive blue ponchos to keep us at least semi-dry during the tour. The boat took us first to the base of the smaller American falls and then to the more impressive Canadian falls. The tour was OK, but it was over so quickly! Within 15 minutes it was over.
We decided to go for a hike that led down to the water because it seemed like a waste of time to drive all the way here and be disappointed by the Falls. So we went down a steep, winding, wooded, rocky trail. It was quite peaceful at the bottom. Stupidly, we hadn’t thought to bring any water even though the day was hot because we hadn’t expected the hike to be as long as it was. The icy cold bottles of water we bought once back up at the top were great! We drove to Toronto next, but I’ll write about that part of the trip in another post.
I was disappointed by Niagara Falls. There were too many tourists and a lot of tacky tourist traps. I couldn’t believe that someone would go there just to visit the casino or an amusement park instead of seeing the Falls, but apparently people do. You can see a 3-D movie about the Falls just a few blocks from the Falls. Is that sad or what? My parents had gone once before, the month before I was born, so nearly 16 years ago. They said the American side had been tacky, so we’d chosen to stay on the Canadian side. But now, they said that side was worse. They were disappointed too. The Falls were impressive and I do think you should try to see them. But I certainly wouldn’t recommend that you spend very long there.