Destination: Niagara Falls, Canada
Number of Days Spent: 1 day
Where we stayed: Crown Plaza Falls View - $70 (The place was pretty deserted so we were upgraded to the executive floor, complete with a huge balcony with a view of the falls!
Best restaurant: Leftovers from our dinner in Morristown were as far as we got. The snowstorm put us behind schedule and we got into the hotel too late to go out to dinner.
Worst of: We learned about 'Lake effect' snow first hand. It was all smooth sailing until we got within about a 100 miles of Buffalo and that's when the floodgates creating blizzard like conditions. The snow ends just north of Buffalo however making our stay at Niagara much more enjoyable.
Most Memorable: We practically ice skated up to the falls! The overlooks closest to them were closed due to all that ice.
Useful Tip: Visiting in the winter may have its drawbacks (Maid of the Mist was closed) but we thought it was even more beautiful. To top that off the hotels were cheaper and the area was virtually deserted.
Just before heading out of town, we made a quick stop in Morristown, NJ. The real reason was for Tracy to be able to check out one of only two Century Department Stores (the other being in downtown Manhattan), but it was too early in the morning and they were not going to open for a while so we skipped out. As far as history is concerned, Morristown was home to Washington's troops and he spent a fair amount of time in the town during and after the war.
Here are a couple of photos of the afore mentioned lake effect snow, one of the drawbacks to planning a Northern Road trip in the middle of winter.
When we finally made it to the falls, the hotel was so empty that they Upgraded our room to one of the suites with views of the falls!
Niagara Falls straddles the United States and Canada border. Both side are well developed with shops, restaurants and hoards of hotels. Not settling for just an average stop, both sides have taken it a step further adding Casinos, kitschy rides and goofy named documentary type movies like 'Rage of Fury'. The falls provide a stunning and romantic setting, but the over commercialization has little to be desired and takes away a little piece of that magic in my books.
One perk to visiting in the middle of winter - there are no crowds at all. In fact, if you get up early enough - its you, a deserted road, and the roar of the falls. If you can stand a little cold, the falls are amazing.
As you can tell from the photos below, the mist comes off and covers everything in a sheet of ice. Excellent for photos, horrible for walking.
Being in Canada...heeeey....I had to drop a few "loonies" in the machine. After getting a really poor exchange rate from the machine for my $5, I wasted no time in giving it right back to the community.
A six hour or so drive from Niagara across Canada and you can be in Detroit by nightfall. With some of Tracy's great aunt and family living there, we decided to stop in and say hi. They offered to put us up for the night, which was extremely nice of them to do so.
From Detroit we drove all the way back to Minneapolis. Once again, our good friends allowed us to crash at their pad. Thank you again Jamie, Maria, Emma and Noah for offering us a room. We have the greatest circle of friends and family and we could not do half the things we do or see half the things we see if it were not for their support.
5000+ miles, 14 states, 2 countries, and no speeding tickets...amazing.