[slogan]It is both terrifying and hypnotic to behold. [/slogan]
3,160 tons of water flows over Niagara Falls every second. The falls are made more spectacular at sunrise when the golden orb pushes through mile-high mist.
I first visited Niagara Falls in 2009. I was one week married and honeymooning in New York. On a road trip, the Hubs took a detour for a surprise trip to Niagara Falls in Ontario. I was a bit distracted during that whirlwind trip.
This summer, we decided to revisit the falls. This time I would fly my new drone over the falls. (That is, after I crashed it in a tree and a neighbor’s cherry picker was the rescue vessel.)
We arrived in time for Wednesday night fireworks and it was spectacular. The fireworks are launched in front of American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. The falls are illuminated nightly.
There are two sides of Niagara Falls. No, I don’t mean New York and Canada, but the kitschy side (I’m putting it nicely) and the serene side. Standing at the falls is an awe-inspiring experience. Fittingly, the surrounding area is a national park. It’s beautifully manicured and gorgeous when the daffodils are in full bloom. Queen Victoria Park stretches behind Horseshoe Falls (the big one) so it can be admired from the Niagara River.
The alternate side of Niagara Falls is the tacky casinos and American burger joints. Avoid that and head to these awesome spots instead.
Where to Stay
Stay at Sterling Inn and Spa, which is off the main strip, but still close enough to the action. Sterling is clean, modern, and has large rooms. The front desk was friendly and there is (paid) parking on site. The two-person jacuzzi is the perfect solution to a day pounding the pavement.
Sheraton On The Falls Hotel is another excellent choice when staying in the area, as it is closer to the action, since it sits right on the water, and features luxurious rooms, high-end dining options, a shopping concourse, and two swimming pools. What separates this hotel from others is the view, as many of the rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows that are perfect for gazing at the Falls. Many of the restaurants, both pools, the lounges, and the spa also feature views of the Falls that make the Sheraton unlike any other Niagara Falls hotel.
Where to Eat
Across the street from the Sterling is a modest restaurant with dynamite Indian food. Shiv Kirti is a casual diner with decent prices. I’m a creature of habit when it comes to Indian food so I always order the paneer tikka masala, but the fish pakora was a tasty surprise for an appetizer.
Dining with a view of Horseshoe Falls is a must, but of course it will cost you. Nevertheless, Queen Victoria Palace Restaurant is worth the splurge, both for the views and the food. We stopped there twice — once for quick drinks before I did a live Facebook broadcast (a drink is always a great idea first!). The second time we perched ourselves on the open-air balcony lined with fresh flowers and I had a divine Niagara harvest salad, chock full of plump berries, pecans, and goat cheese.
If you’ve got a car or an Uber driver, head to the chic and delicious Italian restaurant, Carpaccio. Order the linguine alla vongole with succulent clams and tender, roasted tomatoes in olive oil.
What to See
Once you’ve had your fill of the crowds, take a scenic drive to Niagara-on-the-Lake. The winding Niagara Parkway is a two-lane highway that weaves through countryside. New England-style architecture and flower-lined streets make up the quaint town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Wine shops, restaurants, and shops that most likely accept AARP cards. Baby Boomers stroll the clean, pedestrian friendly streets.