Niagara Falls 2009 (Ontario Road Trip) – Blast from the Past Post

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Ontario 2009

This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!  These posts are usually heavy on the photos, but lighter on the narrative text.  

In 2009, Ken and I took a week long road trip to Ontario, Canada. We drove from our home in Northern Virginia to Niagara Falls, where we spent four nights, followed by three nights in Toronto. This post covers part 1 of our trip to Niagara Falls!


We left our home in Northern Virginia and began our drive to Niagara Falls. We attempted to avoid interstates and drive some “scenic” roads. We thought there might be some lovely fall foliage since it was early October. And we were right!

Fall foliage on our drive up to Niagara Falls

We crossed into Canada via the Peace Bridge near Buffalo, NY. The line was pretty long to get into Canada, although this may be more streamlined now. This was still fairly close to the time when passports became required to cross into Canada. (And there are other options now too, like Passport Cards).

Crossing into Canada

By the time we arrived in Niagara Falls, it was late evening, and we checked into our hotel, grabbed some dinner, and rested after our long drive. By the way, we stayed at the Sheraton on the Falls. We had some fantastic views from our hotel room!

View from the Sheraton on the Falls View from our hotel room at Sheraton on the Falls View of Rainbow Bridge from Sheraton on the Falls

Maid of the Mist

We started our Niagara Falls trip in classic fashion. The Maid of the Mist. I had been to Niagara Falls a couple of times when I was a kid, but we never went on the Maid of the Mist. Ken went to Niagara Falls as a toddler, and actually has home movie-film footage of him crying his eyes out on the Maid of the Mist. To be fair, it is quite loud and wet!

Maid of the Mist sign

As you stood in line to board the boat, everybody looked the same in their blue ponchos!

People wearing blue ponchos waiting in line for the Maid of the Mist

Even standing in line, there was some lovely scenery of the dock area along the Niagara River!

View of the Niagara River while waiting in line for the Maid of the Mist View of the Niagara River while waiting in line for the Maid of the Mist

We boarded the Maid of the Mist and we were on our way!

American Falls from the Maid of the Mist Getting up close to the American Falls

It was getting difficult to see with all the, well, mist! So we just kind of held up our cameras, snapped photos, and hoped for the best! We got some close up photos of the base of the American Falls. The birds certainly didn’t seem to mind the mist!

Birds standing at the base of the American Falls Base of the American Falls Base of the American Falls

From the Maid of the Mist, we also saw people on the platforms for something called “Cave of the Winds” We’d do that a few days later!

People at Cave of the Winds as seen from the Maid of the Mist

The rest of the boat ride to the Horseshoe Falls (also called the Canadian side), was wet, loud, and amazing!

Riding the Maid of the Mist Riding the Maid of the Mist Riding the Maid of the Mist Riding the Maid of the Mist

Even with our ponchos, we were soaked!

Ken and I on the Maid of the Mist

And with that, the Maid of the Mist turned around and we were docked!

End of the maid of the mist ride - at the dock

Journey Behind the Falls

After drying off from the Maid of the Mist, we just got soaked all over again at Journey Behind the Falls. We bought our tickets, took the elevator down the base of Horseshoe Falls 13 stories below, and walked “behind” the falls!

View of Horseshoe Falls from Journey behind the falls

There were cave-like tunnels connecting the different lookout points, and there were some small areas to get a view of the water coming down in front of you.

Tunnel view of Horseshoe Falls from Journey Behind the Falls

 

Tunnel view of Horseshoe Falls from Journey Behind the Falls

It was wet! Mostly from the falls, but also because it was a fairly overcast and rainy day too!

Journey Behind the Falls Journey Behind the Falls Journey Behind the Falls Journey Behind the Falls

Journey Behind the Falls gets mixed reviews online, and I’m not sure why! I thought it was fantastic, and relatively reasonably priced compared to other attractions in Niagara Falls.

Views of Niagara Falls at Night

Niagara Falls lights up in stunning fashion at night! We walked around with our tripod for a long time taking some shots of Niagara Falls!

View of Niagara Falls (American Falls) at night View of Niagara Falls (American Falls) at night View of Niagara Falls (American Falls) at night View of Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls, at night View of Niagara Falls (American Falls) at night Ken and I at Niagara Falls at Night

Cave of the Winds and the American Side of Niagara Falls

Cave of the Winds is on the American side of the falls (meaning we had to cross the border), and gives you the opportunity to view the view the American Falls at the base! We also walked around top of the Falls!

View of the American Falls View of the American Falls

There is an elevator you can take to the base (different from Cave of the Winds), which we did. We’re not sure how we missed them handing out ponchos!

Base of elevator you can take to the bottom of the American Falls Walking around the base of American Falls Walking around the base of American Falls Walking around the base of American Falls Walking around the base of American Falls

Once again, we were soaked. Are you sensing a theme from this trip at all?

Ken and I at base of American Falls Walking around the base of American Falls Walking around the base of American Falls

Next, we made our way to Cave of the Winds. Not only were we provided ponchos this time, but sandals also!

Sandals provided at Cave of the Winds Ken in his poncho at Cave of the Winds

Cave of the Winds consists of a number of wooden platforms right next to the American Falls. You can get so up close!

Cave of the Winds - Niagara Falls Cave of the Winds - Niagara Falls Cave of the Winds - Niagara Falls Cave of the Winds - Niagara Falls

Water sloshes over the sides, and the constant moisture makes the steps kinda grimy!

Water coming over platforms at Cave of the Winds Green grime on platforms at Cave of the Winds

I was happy to have the sandals! But man, that water was COLD!

Wearing sandals on a cold day at Cave of the Winds View of the Base of the American Falls from Cave of the Winds

Just in case you could manage to light a cigarette in the insanely wet and windy conditions, just remember, no smoking!

No smoking sign at Cave of the Winds

The “Hurricane Deck” is kind of the grand finale of your walk. I think it gets you closest to the falls. It is crazy fun! Again it’s one of those, “I can’t see anything, so I’m just going to hold up my camera and hope for the best!” spots.

Hurricane Deck at Cave of the Winds Hurricane Deck at Cave of the Winds Hurricane Deck at Cave of the Winds

After we were done at Cave of the Winds, I took this picture of my jeans. I was soaked. You can see the wet/dry line. I definitely recommend wearing some sort of weatherproof pants, or bringing your own heavy duty poncho.

Wet jeans after Cave of the Winds at Niagara Falls

Wearing wet clothes is a huge annoyance to me. Seriously, I was one of those kids that would bring three changes of clothes to an amusement park in case I got wet on a ride. I checked the gift shop after Cave of the Winds, but they didn’t have a single pair of sweatpants or any other type of pant that I could buy. So, we just walked around for a little bit more until I started whining enough to go back to the hotel so I could change my clothes.

Here are some photos looking from the top of the American falls down onto the Cave of the Winds platforms.

View of Cave of the Winds from the top of the American Falls View of Cave of the Winds from the top of the American Falls View of Cave of the Winds from the top of the American Falls

And we just took a few additional photos from the American side.

American Side of Niagara Falls American Side of Niagara Falls American Side of Niagara Falls

Whew, we did a lot more in Niagara Falls than I remember! There’s more, so I guess I’ll split this into a two-part series! I’ll post about part two of our trip to Niagara Falls next week!


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