5/29/14 Thursday in Lockport, NY (Niagara Lazy Lakes-ROD)
We’d agreed to meet Vern and Beth at 10:30 am on the Canadian side of the Rainbow Bridge. My concern was that once we were there we wouldn’t be able to communicate (international roaming charges). Having scouted our route Tuesday, we had a good idea of the time it would take. Sure enough we arrived by 9:55 am.
NOTE: We’ve heard from friends that you can drive down via Niagara Pkway to Dufferin Islands Park and park free there. Of course you get to walk back to where the action is.
We didn’t drive, but walked the pedestrian part of the Rainbow Bridge which has a great vantage point. There was no one at the point where we passed through a barred gate that wouldn’t let you back in once through. My photos: The first shows the pedestrian side on the right and cars at the USA customs on the left.
Not knowing how they’d arrive, John stood by the road searching for them while I kept lookout near where we exited the Bridge. Meanwhile Vern/Beth arrived at 10:15 am and were circling the area trying to find a spot to park (without paying). They’re as frugal as we are. Around 10:22 am Beth spotted John and he waved me over. They drove into this Duty Free Store lot where John was standing. Now we’re together BUT this was only free parking if you bought at their store. Vern explained kindly that this was an accident, so the lady held up the gate where it says “no exit” so we could leave without going onto the Rainbow Bridge to the USA. Vern drove us to the parking at their Niagara Park ($18). This was too far for them to walk to the Bridge to meet us. Here are Vern/Beth and Vern insisted on taking lots of photos of John & I, this time with our camera.
At this point the weather was not helpful-gray, cloudy, with the wind blowing lots of mist at us. I’d say the American side offers close experiences with a variety of falls while the Canadian side offers beautiful views from across the way, having distance on its side. Unfortunately the views were so misted at this point, they weren’t as nice. We even went upstairs in the Visitor Centre (Table Rock) where you can see through lots of glass windows but rain on the windows and mist below didn’t help.
Horseshoe with old Power Station
Beth pointed out an old ship that ran aground at the top of Horseshoe but could never be plucked out.
Horseshoe with American in the distance and the Maid of the Mist close up.
Note: The Canadian side is much neater and prettier (lovely Secret Garden near the Rainbow Bridge) than the American side. There are even elevator cars taking you up the hill behind the Visitor Centre for free.
It seems less crowded too, but that may be because the Park is a long walk along the opposite shore from the Falls. We got a great map of the Canadian side at the Visitor Centre (you won’t find any on the American side). They offer a package as well: Adventure Pass ($49). It included the Maid of the Mist/Hornblower, White Water Walk, Niagara’s Fury (IMAX-sensation of falls), Journey Behind the Falls (need your own poncho?) . Plus free rides on the WeGo bus-a much nicer looking ride than our trolleys.
Since we’d already spent our wad on the activities on the American side and taken what photos we could of the falls, we drove on to other attractions:
Whirlpool Aero Car-where you ride over the Niagara River at the Whirlpool, a place where the water is caught in a circular shore line to then move on at a 90 degree angle. Note the building at top right, at the end of the cable lines. That’s on the Canadian side, believe it or not! That is the path of the Aero Car. We drove on to the other end of the Whirlpool Aero Car run, to see it traveling back to it’s original send off point (red roof).
On our way again we paused to look at the American Niagara Power Plant.
Then on to the “Flower Clock” where a nice Asian gentleman offered to take our pictures. The clock part was working, so you can tell it was around 12:30 pm. We were getting hungry.
Thus our next stop was the town Niagara-on-the-Lake. It’s like Leavenworth,WA, where they’ve fixed up the businesses and plantings so it’s a lovely place to visit and shop. We ate at the Irish Pub. Great food, atmosphere (real Irish Pub brought over in pieces from Ireland) and service.
On our way out of town Beth & I insisted on stopping to take photos of the lovely pink horse chestnut tree. I’d only seen some on the American side from the trolley so now I got the chance to take their pictures.
Next stop, Pillitteri Winery. Loved their bottles. They make ice wine – sort of a liquor wine, very sweet and rich.
On to the Welland Canals Parkway, where they use 5 locks to get boats from the lower elevation Lake Ontario to the higher elevation Lake Erie.
Back to Niagara Falls for a chance at pictures in the sunshine! Here is the American Falls.
Now you see the Bridal Falls with the structure for our “Cave of the Winds” adventure.
At this point John and I were pretty “Niagara’d” out, so Vern and Beth drove us to the Bridge and we parted with heartfelt goodbys. Going through US Customs was easier than the Canadian one which surprised us. Next, we had to pay $.50 each (they had change machines) to continue across the Bridge.
At home, we had leftover supper after my nap, then TV. We plan to take it easy the next few days before we move on to Parish, NY.