I’ve been a little quiet (at least online) for the past two weeks. Summer is the perfect time for little side trips and weekenders, and by mid-July it had been weeks since I slept a single weekend in my own bed. I’ll be sharing more on these adventures over the next week.
In the midst of all this travel, I got some sad news. My grandfather passed away. I packed up and drove home through the night, reloaded the car, grabbed my brother, sister, mom and the dogs and drove north to upstate New York to spend some time with family. As we turned off the highway onto State Road 20A (you know you’re in the country when…) I realized how long it had been. I have been up for a few holidays – fewer than I’d like to admit – but it had been years since I’d visited in the summer.
Their little town is absolutely perfect in summer. Not too hot, not too cold. The breeze is refreshing and rustles the wild flowers growing alongside the road. Field after field is bursting green and the blue skies seem to stretch on forever. And each village dotting the road is lined with old shop windows that could belong to a 1950’s movie set. The only clue that you haven’t gone back in time is the occasional Tim Horton’s.
After the funeral, the mood was fairly somber so my dad thought it would be a good idea to go for a drive. A handful of us piled into four cars heading north to Niagara Falls. This destination was especially exciting for me since I’ve never been and it was on my 25 for 25.
There are plenty of spots to catch an amazing view of the falls. Since we didn’t have much time we skipped the Maid of the Mist and opted for the Observation Tower. From here you can see panoramic views of all three falls from the American side. Instead of paying the $17 per person for the boat ride, we each paid $1 (to cover the elevator).
You can head down in the elevators (super claustrophic especially when taken with 16 cousins/aunts/uncles) to the lower level where the Maid of the Mist boards. There is a path on the left heading up to the Crow’s Nest, a spot just under the gorge close enough to get sprayed by the mist. Make sure to grab a poncho before climbing up the path.
The park surrounding the falls is dog friendly, but the observation deck is for two-legged friends only. We sort of took this sign as a suggestion. And when an attendant inquired about our “services dogs” we just smiled and nodded. I mean they could be service dogs if they wanted. While Jack was on cloud nine, I’m not sure Lucy appreciated the impromptu shower she got from the mist.
When we headed back up the elevators, it was so windy on the Observation Tower deck my clothes were almost dry after just a few minutes.
We finished our visit with a picnic lunch and hit the road before the storm that had been brewing in the distance blew over our way. Next time I’d like to check out the Canadian side or book a helicopter tour for aerial views.