After almost a full year of inactivity (halfway done with my Masters program!), it’s time for a much-needed blog update. In addition to being extremely busy with school, I also just survived a history-making winter in Rochester. I’ve gone on a couple of excursions this past year that never made it into blog posts, but not many.
Two of those trips were to Niagara Falls: one on February 22 at a balmy 24° (surrounded by single digit days), and one just recently in the end of May at a beautiful 84°. I’ll also note that I didn’t take my camera with me in May. Partially because I was worried about it getting wet but also because I focus too much on changing lenses instead of the scene in front of me when I have my camera. So many of these photos are simple cell phone shots, sorry for the quality.
SUNNY NIAGARA… NICE!
We’ll start with the nice and sunny pictures of the falls to provide perspective for the winter photos. It’s a little less than 1:30 to drive from Rochester to Niagara Falls and we arrived late in the day, almost around 3:00 in the afternoon. It worked out well though because it was still plenty warm, and $10 parking was easy to find on Goat Island, in between the American and Canadian Falls.
It was so cold in February that I was actually starting to feel cold again just walking up to the falls in May. It took a few minutes to adjust my mental perception and get used to the nonthreatening weather. The #1 priority for the day was the Maid of the Mist excursion, so we immediately made our way off of Goat Island onto the American side of the falls.
The Maid of the Mist cost $17/person, and you get a nifty souvenir poncho with that. After paying you’re allowed to descend the huge elevator to the base of the falls where you pick up your poncho and join the line of those waiting to embark. It was breezy at the base (probably always is), and the flapping ponchos made it sound even more windy.
The line looked quite long from the top of the elevator, but we ended up not having to wait at all to board the boat. Whether that was because they let a huge number of people on the boat, or because it was later in the day, I’m not sure. It was probably a combination of those factors. The top of the boat filled up immediately, but there was plenty of space to spread out on the bottom, so we stayed there. We probably got a little less soaked that way too. Within three minutes of boarding, we were off!
All in all, the trip was probably only 15-20 minutes, but it’s one of those trips that didn’t need to be any longer to be worth the $17. Getting up close to the falls was an experience like no other. Plus we got to keep those awesome ponchos.
After debarking, guests are allowed to walk up a stairway off to the side of the falls. It seems similar to the Cave of the Winds on the other side of the falls, but less close, with less chance of a soaking.
After exploring around the base of the falls we made our way back up to the elevated pathway and took in the impending storm. It was a great sight to see half of the scene shadowed and the falls under sunlight. Even better was the fact that it was still plenty warm out.
The storm never did break, and the clouds were already clearing out as we made our way back to Goat Island (after a lengthy diversion to find the aquarium, which turned out to be closed). The Cave of the Winds excursion (shown below) looked like a lot of fun, but maybe that’ll be for next time.
After the falls we drove into Buffalo, where buffalo wings were invented apparently (this goes to show how often I eat buffalo wings). There are a couple stories of where these were actually invented, but the most popular one references the Anchor Bar, so we headed there.
WINTER NIAGARA… DUN DUN DUN
Back in February I did in fact take my camera with me, so most of these pictures are higher quality than the ones above. It’s a shame you can’t see anything. Overall, the trip was pretty miserable. Back then I parked on the American side, also for $10, and made my way over to Goat Island instead of the other way around. Even with the cold temperatures though, it was an amazing sight in winter.
Okay, so there you have it! A double whammy post to make up for a year of inactivity. I truly hope there will be some more posts throughout this summer. The weather is getting warmer and I already have a few places in mind I’d like to visit. Thanks for reading!