Barreling through Niagra Falls, Part 1

After having the pleasure of pushing through food poisoning (thank you rest stop somewhere in NY) I come bearing “Chantel takes on Niagara Falls”. This past weekend I made the 8 hour drive with some cool chicks from little ole’ Rhode Island to Niagara Falls. I am all about natural wonders and I was super excited to put Niagara Falls under my belt. I crossed the Canadian border hoping to see some crazy waterfalls right off the bat. I mean like cross the border and there are just rushing rapids everywhere I look. Yeah, that’s not what I got.

Instead it looked like I took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in Myrtle Beach. There were cheesy shops to take “antique” photos at; you know the type where you pretend to be some harlequin in a dusty, western saloon, flashy arcades and of course an endless sea of camera clutching, souvenir seeking tourists. Our hotel was smack dab in the middle of the Victoria Ave. & Clifton Hill area so about as touristy as it gets. Although, I will say, we got a killer deal, with vouchers to local establishments that were awfully convenient, THANK YOU GROUPON. After making my way through the sea of tacky tourist traps (i.e. Ripley’s Believe it or not 4D Theatre, Guinness Book of World Records Museum, Wax Museum) I couldn’t take the neon and fluorescent lighting any longer.

Epitome of tacky
Epitome of tacky

But alas, if you keep walking down Clifton Hill you’ll hit Oakes Garden Theatre. This gorgeous mid 20th century amphitheater is the entrance-way to Queen Victoria Park, the central area of Niagara Parks. It’s then you feel the roars of the falls rising from the ground and two enormous clouds of mist reaching their hands towards the sky. The falls themselves were a majestic sight to behold. Because of timing there was still a decent amount of snow around the falls. Among them some giant glaciers that had built up over the past winter. I could only have imagined what the falls looked like in the peak of winter. It would have certainly been a frozen spectacle worth seeing.

For a great photo op head up to Hecock point. Hecock point is an elevated structure dedicated to the 17 year old boy, Burrell Hecock that lost his life trying to save Mr. & Mrs. Stanton after the infamous “Ice Bridge” collapsed in 1912…uhh can you say hellooo hero. There you’ll be able to get a killer picture showcasing both Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.

View of the Falls from Hecock Point

The area at night has a different panache. It’s as if the tackiness is suddenly okay because all the signs are illuminated reminding oneself of a miniature Times Square. For a great view of the Falls at night, spend the $11 (P.S. both US & Canadian currency is accepted in this area, so if you really don’t want to convert your money you don’t have to) and take a ride on the Niagara Skywheel. This baby will take you up a soaring 175 feet above Niagara Falls. The gondolas themselves are quite spacious fitting 7 girls comfortably. The view of the falls lit up will remind you why you wanted to see this breathtaking natural wonder.

View of the SkyWheel at night
View of the SkyWheel at night

Maybe for a family with small children this may be a perfect getaway. But for 8 chicks trying to get down on a bachelorette party it seemed a little different than what we all anticipated. But stay tuned for Part 2 to hear more of what Ontario has to offer.

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