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new york and niagara falls trip: niagara falls

In my last post, I detailed the New York City portion of our trip. Once we were done in the city, we got our rental car out of it’s happy parking spot (no, it wasn’t broken into or anything silly like that), and got on the road to Niagara Falls. For details on the trip, read more!

Tiff wasn’t quite as scared on the way out of NYC as she was on the way in, but I still quite enjoyed it! We had a pleasant drive across the state, and didn’t have any issues crossing the border to the Canadian side. However, when we arrived at the Holiday Inn by the Falls, we found out that they had given away our room (which was guaranteed for late arrival) to another guest, and that the hotel was entirely full. The staff was quite rude, and basically said there was nothing they could do to help us, besides getting us a room at some crummy hotel next door. We said thanks but no thanks, and left. (This is the last time I’ve stepped into a Holiday Inn – I know that they are individually run, but if a reservation does not mean they reserve a room for you, I will not stay there any more.) We drove up the road to the Niagara Falls Fallsview Hilton. This hotel actually had a competent person staffing the front desk; the night manager was understanding about our situation, and found a room for us. It wasn’t a great room (dual beds, overlooking construction of their new tower), but it was at least a place to stay. However, he was also able to book us into one of their best rooms for the remainder of our stay – all at very reasonable prices. The view from the nice room was unbelievable; it was actually the best vantage point we found for both the US and Canadian falls.

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The hotel we were supposed to stay at

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The hotel we ended up staying at

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Our first, quite mediocre room at the Hilton (but at least it was a place to sleep!)

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The nice room in the Hilton, and the view from that room

We did a lot of exploring around the area; we gave the bellman at the Hilton a few fairly hefty tips, and he gave us some excellent suggestions on where to go. One of the highlights of the trip was the Whirlpool Jet Tour. The boats are essentially Jet-Skis on steroids – they fit a bunch of people, can do fun stunts like a 360-degree turn on the nose of the boat, and have plenty of power to be able to explore the river immediately downstream from the whirlpool formed where the river turns. You can pick from either a covered boat (you stay dry) or a uncovered one (you get soaked). We picked the covered boats, since I wanted to take some pictures. Turns out the picture-taking opportunities in the boat weren’t that great.. I was able to get lots of pictures of water splashing over the boat, but that’s about it. If I were to do it again, I would have gone with the uncovered boat. In any case, we had a blast! We walked down to the river afterwards (word to the wise – if you decide to take that stroll, bring water — I didn’t, and almost passed out on the way back up), and we took some pictures of the boats playing in the river.

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Our trip on the Jet Boat

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Boats playing in the water

We also had dinner one night at the restaurant in the Hilton, and found a curious thing called ‘Ice Wine’ which we had never tried before. We tried it out, and it was, well, impressive. We took a look at the bottle, and noticed that it was from a winery in the area – Konzelmann Estates. We decided to take a trip up there, and took a tour of the winery. It was quite impressive.. they were also a little overly-generous with the wine tastings (we paid for 3, and got to try every kind of wine they offered); it certainly worked on us, because we ended up bringing 17 bottles back home with us!

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The Konzelmann winery

Eventually, we made our way back across the border, turned in our rental car in Buffalo, NY, and flew home. It was a great trip, ad one we’ll remember for a long time (especially as we sip the Konzelmann wine — we only bring it out for special occasions!)

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