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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Niagara Falls

Starting this blog entry is hard. I mean, how do you talk about Niagara Falls without sounding like a cliche? Niagara Falls-- a place for lovers? The best thing across the boarder? Niagara- a naturalist's delight?

NF for me was a long-deserved getaway. Nilly and I anguished over where we were supposed to go this year to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary or the 10th year commemoration of the day we started dating. So, choosing between the falls and spending a wad of cash at the Hershey Lodge became a no-brainer.

The 6-1/2 hour drive from Podunk Town to the Canadian Boarder was a little more stressful than I thought, thanks to the Little League Baseball event taking place at the Pennsylvania boarder. Once we made through the slow-crawling traffic, the trip was really a breeze.

Our first stop was our hotel called the Sterling Inn and Spa.

A recent addition to the hotels at the Tourist District, Sterling Inn and Spa is located in a part of town that is being revived. Imagine our surprise when we saw how "strange" the hotel looked from the outside! Later on, we've learned that the building used to be a Borden cheese manufacturing site.

Our room was on the first floor. We had a huge king-sized bed, a wonderful fireplace (which sadly, we can't use since it was warm), sliding windows from the 2-person whirlpool tub, a glass sink, and a rainhead shower with water body massagers. ****AWESOME**** is an understatement. Not to mention that they had Bath and Body hair products and body gels. Okay, so I am easily impressed. Leave me alone.

We also had hardwood floors, an empty refrigerator to put cold cuts and water in without constantly buying $2 water bottles.

The Inn also had an in-house spa. Nilly and I took advantage of their services the day we hiked 8 miles to and from the rapids. For $120 per person, we got a 60-minute Swedish massage where our masseuse did not speak to us except to give us instructions to roll over and how to prepare ourselves for the steam room. Definitely money well spent.

Same night, we experienced the most wonderful dining experience at the Falls. The AG (which is the chemical symbol for Silver-- get it? Sterling Silver? I know, geeky chemistry joke) was not just a meal. It was a moment to savor. Our bartender, who looked a lot like Deputy Leo, was an easy going guy who made the most wonderful amaretto sour drinks--yum! He gave us our menus, served our meals (Nilly got a Wellington Beef that was to die for while I had the salmon-- a real mouth melting treat!) and helped us choose desserts (Nilly had a baked on the spot pie and peach sorbet while I had the cheesecake with candied ginger and cherry--ecstatic!). Superlatives cannot justify the meal we got.

Throughout the couple of days, unfortunately, we've not been able to experience the same culinary greatness. Mediocre was a definite staple. We ate lunch once at Wolfgang Puck. The meal was above average. We returned for dessert a day later and the service was horrible. So horrible that after waiting for 10 minutes to be acknowledged, we finally left. We also dined at a place called Carpaccio which was voted best place to dine for a succession of years. We were disappointed!!! We spent almost as much money as we did at the AG for fare that is up to par, if not sub par to The Olive Garden. We vowed that the next time we return, we will try eating at The Waterfront. We're skipping the pubs and whatnots. Another place to skip for breakfast? AlMac's. Other than the fact that it's a buffet place, they are overpriced and almost inedible. Go ahead and just have a meal at Denny's or Perkins. At least, you'll know what you're getting. You'll thank me for the suggestion later.

Things We Got To Do

1. The Maid of the Mist- of course you have to do it. Getting thisclose to the falls was a breath taking moment.

2. Behind the Falls- I was a little disappointed with this but I may try to walk behind the falls on the American side.

3. The Rapids- It's a nice 3 mile walk from the Bridalveil falls. It's another 1/4 mile walking close to the Stage 5 white water rapids.

4. The Buddhist Temple- Right across from the rapids, it was a nice quiet break.

5. The Whirlpool- Nilly did the ride. At this point, I was "watered" out. It was another 2 miles from the rapids.

We didn't do Marineland, the Butterfly Museum or the Aviary. We also opted out of the numerous haunted houses, wax museums, and the ferris wheel located at Victoria Rd. When the brochures said that Clifton Heights was tourist trap hell, believe it. It took us forever to get through the throngs of people.

We went to the Outlet Mall because our camera died. It's such a shame. Now, we have a small snapshot camera-- you tell me what you think about it-- the photos should speak for themselves.

On the last night of our vacation, we watched the fireworks. It was a nice way to end an evening. Having missed fireworks this past 4th of July, the pyrotechnic show was a nice change. Having it over the waters was magical.

Anyway, after 4 days and walking about 20 miles, our vacation had to end. At first, we decided on taking our time driving back home. 20 minutes into the trip, we decided to drive as quickly as we could to see the J-man before he falls asleep. Seeing his face light up when we pulled into the driveway was a sight to see.

We're planning another visit to the falls maybe 5 years from now. Hopefully the boy will be big enough to experience the falls for himself!

1 comment:

the bro said...

Great shots. Looks like you had a blast over there.