The Basics of Niagara

 

Morning Light on Niagara Railing… with the American Falls in the background.  Early morning is the most beautiful time at Niagara Falls… while other tourists sleep, you have the whole place to yourselves.

Welcome! I’m glad you’ve found this site and I hope it’s fun and interesting for you. My name is Greg and I’m a US citizen living in Ohio with my wife and two teenage daughters. I discovered Niagara Falls in 1983 while on a visit with a girl I was dating. Although that relationship fell flat, my relationship with Niagara Falls had only just begun and would ultimately bring a lifetime of happiness.    

Niagara Brochures at the Angola New York Service Plaza… one of our traditional stopping points on our way to Niagara Falls.

In 1986 I met the girl who would eventually become my wife, and as a young couple in love we visited Niagara Falls together. After we were married and our daughters came into our lives, we introduced the falls to them as well. They have practically grown up there, and love the place just as much as my wife and I do. After all these years, my wife and I are still very much in love, and the fond memories of our early life together are reborn whenever we visit the falls.                                                                      Niagara Falls can lead to Wedding Bands! It did for us at least. My wife was sleeping while I snapped this photo while waiting in traffic on the Peace Bridge. To Niagara Falls in particular, and on road trips in general, Jen and I are at our happiest when we are traveling.                                                                                                     Waiting in traffic on the Peace Bridge, before entrance into Canada, I snapped this of my hand on the steering wheel. My wedding band means more to me now than it did even on my wedding day.

Seeing, but never quite believing.  My daughters at the falls in the early morning

We consider ourselves lucky to live close enough to this incredible place to visit as often as we do. The four-hour drive we take has become an enjoyable cruise on the highway for us, full of traditional stopping points… places where we eat lunch or look through gift shops, even places where we picnic along the Niagara River just before arriving at the falls. The mood is always happy and upbeat… my family loves road trips in general and Niagara trips in particular.                                                                                                                       Serving up another Coffee For The Road! This pretty young girl was so cheerful at her job I couldn’t resist snapping her photo as she worked. Ten minutes later we rolled back onto the highway, and she became a memory. Whoever she is and whatever she does in life, this passing motorist will always wish her well.

Feeding the Canada Geese and their brood beside the Niagara River. The cracked corn is healthy for the geese, and only cost about 3 dollars at our local feed store. One of our fun and inexpensive traditions at Niagara Falls.

For us, our trips to Niagara Falls have become the Tried and True, always providing great value and wonderful memories for our family. We’ve been there enough times to know what’s worth the price of admission and what’s not. With every return trip we try to discover something new we haven’t seen or done before. Most importantly, we keep our eyes open for activities which are fun and rewarding yet don’t cost a cent of money… and that is key to keeping a Niagara Falls vacation affordable… and satisfying.    

Befriending a nice Canada Goose… The price of her happiness? A handful of corn!

For the last twelve thousand years, Niagara Falls has been a spectacular consequence  of gravity and erosion… it is what it is. It doesn’t matter that humans have erected museums, arcades and restaurants around it. Love it as we do, or consider it a Tourist Trap as some folks do, it flows day and night without stopping and without a humanly care.

Your visit to Niagara Falls will largely be what you make of it. It costs nothing to view its splendor from a railing or a park bench, but all too often a tourist will look for five minutes, become bored and say, ‘OK, we’ve seen the falls — now what?’    

Chicks waiting for treats… Under the watchful eyes of Mom & Dad! Niagara Falls… so much beauty, in so many unexpected ways.

People today suffer from the unfortunate mindset of  ‘Here I am — Entertain Me.’   It comes from an obsession with emerging technology and an insatiable desire to own or take part in the Next New Thing.  It’s unfortunate because it robs people of the ability to just relax and make their own happy times. 

My family and I have learned to slow down while at Niagara Falls… we’ll sit on a park bench, open our pack and bring out chocolate chip cookies or Twizzlers to eat… and just let Niagara Falls happen.  Pretty soon a brave sparrow or squirrel will arrive at our feet demanding a nibble or two, and soon thereafter we’ll have a crowd of critters fighting over bits of cookies while we smile and laugh at their antics.  Eventually we’ll notice that an hour or two has passed without spending a single dime for a most enjoyable time down by the falls.    

 
 
 

Meet ‘Twizzler’, a bossy squirrel we met down by the falls. We named him after his food-of-choice, strawberry-flavored Twizzlers. He completely ignored the healthier crackers we threw to him. As soon as we said ‘No More!” he was off to solicit the next group of tourists!                                                                                                                A Niagara Falls Freebie, and a true Gem in its own rite… The Niagara Glen Nature Area. Twelve thousand years ago, the falls began here with a roar, but now all is quiet except for the twittering of birds and the rustling of squirrels. Serenely beautiful. The house-sized boulders will amaze you.

Just remember…  when you’re at Niagara Falls, relax and enjoy yourself.  The falls are beautiful, and you’ll miss their roar when you leave.  While at the falls, no one will be hounding you to file something, you won’t need to take the garbage out or weed the garden or get the bathroom tile re-grouted. Take a nice stroll and enjoy the sights, and save your money for an activity or two that seems worthwhile.  Above all, come back often… there’s so much to see and do at Niagara Falls that it’s impossible to experience it all at once.  Plan on coming back to learn the grounds as we’ve done, and discover the Places at Niagara which are off the beaten path and which cost little or nothing to enjoy…. it’s worth it.    

Many things to do at Niagara Falls… Some great, some not. Some of the best are what we’ve discovered on our own. My ‘Places At Niagara’ site is here to help!

I’ve snapped a lot of photographs of Niagara over the years and I’ve made them a slide show on my home computer. I’ve always wished there was a place online which I could share them with other Niagara Falls Devotees. One day it occurred to me to start my own blog about Niagara, then the idea went even further when I realized I could share our experiences and maybe even help a first-time visitor or two.. and the blog you’re now reading was born!    

Arriving at the falls on the Canadian Side… This is what you see as your car nears the Clifton Hill Area.  Twenty minutes later we were walking down to the falls, hotel keys in our pockets!

We hope you have fun here and are inspired to visit Niagara for the first time or to return if you’ve been to the falls already. This Blog will explore some of the Places At Niagara which are often missed by visitors who rely only on tourist brochures for information on what to do during a stay. This Blog will also give some common sense pointers about planning a Niagara Falls vacation that maybe you wouldn’t have thought of on your own. If you have any Niagara questions, just email me at gregnold@roadrunner.com and I’ll  do my best to advise. Come back to this site often, as I intend to make this a dynamic and evolving site to keep the interest and my readership high.    

Take care and Have Fun!! — Greg June 23, 2010

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2 Responses to “The Basics of Niagara”

  1. Hey Noldy, you have just made my day. Your decription of the falls took me back to our summer days at the train tressel. Paul

    • Paul! What a nice surprise! However did you find my site? I’m not sure I ever told you about it! I’m very glad you found Places At Niagara… it’s still a work in progress and its a shame I’ve had to cease work on it for awhile now, but that will soon change… Save it to your Favorites and keep checking back. Better yet, you and Sonya bring your passports, come up to Ohio and we’ll take the drive and I’ll show Niagara Falls to you in person. How could I ever forget our summers at the trestle Paul, throwing rocks into the water below, laying pennies on the tracks when the trains came. Can you believe we used to sit on the edge of that trestle, feet dangling a hundred fifty feet in the air while talking about who we wanted for our girlfriends? We were NUTS! I get a nervous twitch just thinking about it. Paul, you have just made MY day! Please don’t be a stranger… Let’s keep in touch. 35 years have passed since those wonderful summer days… you and I have always been the best of friends… I am forever grateful for all the bike rides we took, going to ParmaTown or just to the clubhouse for french fries. I had a childhood like no one else had, simply by hanging out with Paul Voska! Take Care Paul, you and everyone in your family. Please drop me an email anytime! gregnold@roadunner.com

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