Why Visit Niagara Falls

In North America, there are several sites that every human should witness before they die. The Grand Canyon, the Great Lakes, the giant sequoia trees of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Monument Valley in Utah, and—of course—Niagara Falls. You don’t have to throw yourself over the Falls in a barrel—as daredevil teacher Annie Edson Taylor did in 1901—but Niagara Falls should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list.
Here are five reasons why.
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1. It’s a Natural Wonder of the World
There are few places that bring home the awesome power of Mother Nature quite like the breathtaking Niagara Falls. To give you some idea of the sheer power involved here, take into account that, every minute, 189,600 tons (tons!) of water flows over the Falls. That’s 750,000 gallons per second—which is why it has been a major energy source for both America and Canada for over half a century. In fact, Niagara Falls produces more electricity in New York State than any other source. Best of all, it’s clean hydroelectricity and kind to the environment.

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2. It’s an American Institution
The 400-acre Niagara Falls site is the United States’ oldest state park and has viewing platforms in both Canada and the U.S.A. And while 140 acres of the Park are under water, the other 260 benefited from the landscape design of Frederick Law Olmsted—otherwise known as the visionary who designed Manhattan’s also-world-famous Central Park. The Niagara State Park was planned with the idea of immersing visitors in nature as much as possible and therefore has a multitude of footpaths and trails—one of which grants access to the Niagara Gorge.

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Top Attractions in Niagara Falls

Millions of tourists visit the Niagara Falls every year, and that’s no surprise considering the myriad attractions and activities that await the visitor. If you have never been there or this is your first trip in a long time, here are some ideas for your itinerary:

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The Niagara Falls Maid of the Mist Boat Tour

The Maid of the Mist tour will take you to the majestic American Falls, and from there your boat will take you to the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. You may have seen the Falls in pictures and on TV, but it’s another thing to see and hear the roaring waters up close.


Visit the Fallsview Casino and Resort

The Fallsview Casino Resort is a huge complex with a 1,500 seat theater, shopping centers, a health spa and tons of space for conferences and meetings. And that is just for starters as the resort also has numerous first class restaurants, a five star hotel with more than 360 rooms, 150 gaming tables and more than a thousand slot machines. Best of all, the complex offers you a view of the Niagara Falls.

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Caves and Cruises in Lockport, NY


A fun and interesting way to spend the day in Lockport, NY, is by getting a little adventurous.  Taking a tour on the man-made water power tunnels of the Lockport Caves and Underground Boat Rides is a great way to experience the history of the Erie Canal, while having a true one-of-a-kind experience.

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The historic Erie Canal Locks numbered 67-71 were constructed in 1838. According to the tour operators, you will also “view ruins from an earlier industrial age, walk safely through a water tunnel that was blasted out of solid rock in the 1850s, viewing stalactites, flow stone, various geological formations and artifacts left behind by the men who built the tunnel in the early days of the Erie Canal.”  It was an interesting experience, and the walk up a dimly lit tunnel into the cave itself was eerie (in a fun way) and exciting, leaving you wondering what was around the next corner.

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After your walk in through the tunnels and introduction via knowledgeable tour guide (part of which is done in the pitch blackness to give you a feel for what the workers dealt with). you will ride an underground, one-of-a-kind, longest in the USA below ground boatride. Lit only by small and sporadic lights, this ride is calm and spooky (adventurously so!) and made me think of the boat ride from Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory- with less orange people or psychedelic effulgence.
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Good Eats – Lockport, NY

Lockport, NY has quite a lot to offer a traveler, not the least of which is delicious food.  When you are traveling with children, it’s good to know places to stop at that are good, clean, won’t break the bank, and have food everyone will enjoy.

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There are 2 “must visit” food stops for anyone with kids- or a mouth- who happens to find themselves in Lockport, NY.  If you are hungry-hungry, and you want more then just a little something, make sure you visit Sweet Sixteen Cafe on Main Street.  The owner is on the premises much of the time, and actually “gets her hands dirty” so to speak.  She is a very funny, gregarious person, and will chat with you while you order (and it might take you some time to choose, the varieties of food and desserts they offer are limitless, and sadly, your stomach is not).  The smell will assault you as soon as you walk in- in the best possible way.  The aromas of baked goods, soups, and hot beverages was almost too good- if there was such a thing.  All I know is I didn’t wait for lunch to order dessert, that came first.  The cupcakes were AMAZING and come in lots of flavors and several sizes.
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Looking For Haunted Happenings?

If you are like us, you love a good scare this time of year.  Whether you prefer a light hearted haunted house, or a true spine tingling experience, there are plenty of places to give yourself a good fright no matter what your scare-level may be.

If you prefer a family experience, plan a visit to Coney Island for Luna Park’s Halloween Harvest, taking place every Saturday and Sunday from 12pm onward in October. Activities range from rides and games, picking pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch, pumpkin painting, and seasonal foods. A full program of FREE activities is available, complete with trick or treating, scavenger hunts, “spooky” character illustrations, balloon artists, meet and greets and photo ops with costumed characters, and daily entertainment at the Air Race stage. There are also contests and prizes.


The 4th Annual Coney Island Children’s Halloween Parade will take place on Saturday, October 26th, beginning at 11am. The parade is free, and attendees will be treated to free entertainment at MCU Park, featuring live music and entertainment including magicians, face painters, and costumed characters.

“The Sideshow”, a must see Coney Island attraction, is in October replaced with the HAUNTED Sideshow. It’s just like the Coney Island Circus Sideshow that Coney Island visitors have come to know and love since 1985, but just a little bit scarier, offering a perfect tie-in for Fall-Time-Fun in Coney Island. HAUNTED Sideshow performers include Serpentina, Princess Pat, Alejandro Dubois, and Leo the Human Gumby. The show features each Saturday and Sunday in October, including Columbus Day from 1pm to 8pm.
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After a week-long voting contest on Facebook, Coney Island fans select Dreamland Plaza as the name for the brand new pedestrian plaza located at the southern end of West 12th Street, adjacent to the famous Riegelmann Boardwalk. The contest was posted last Monday on the popular ConeyIslandFun Facebook page (www.facebook.com/coneyislandfun), which has over 190,000 followers.  Along with the winning name, other possible names included Tilyou Plaza and Ward Plaza. From the start Dreamland Plaza was the crowd favorite, generating 83% of total fan votes.

“We were hoping to capture of piece of Coney Island’s rich history with the name of the plaza, and are very pleased with our fans name selection. The plaza is meant to be a public space for our visitors and residents to enjoy, so we couldn’t think of a more perfect way to select a name than by turning to our fans, for which the plaza is ultimately for. This plaza is part of the Alliance’s initiatives continue Coney Island’s transformation, and offer additional public spaces within the Coney Island amusement district”, said Johanna Zaki, Alliance for Coney Island, Director of Operations.
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The Art of Getting Lost

Recently, I was on a trip in Upstate NY with my son. We were forced to take a detour, and wouldn’t you know it- there were no signs to tell you how to get back on the main road. My GPS was also failing me, and wanted me to turn about and take the closed off road. It was raining, and I was starting to run late for a tour- this was getting aggravating.

My five year old was pretty happy in the backseat, telling me about the things he was seeing out the window. I have to admit that I was not really listening, but was trying to figure out where I was and how to get where I wanted to be. I pulled over, and yanked out my giant map, and pondered. As I put it back down in anger, I noticed something- There was a beautiful church ahead of me. I had been looking for a country church to photograph, and there it was, out in the middle of nowhere. And? It stopped raining. I took it as a sign that I should just go with it. And that is what we did.

country church
As we ambled onward, we found a roadside pumpkin patch that had the gourds in all shapes and [Read more…]

#FamilyTravel in Upstate NY @I_LOVE_NY @Rochester_NY

Little Man and I recently took a ride to upstate NY, and we had a great time. There is lots to see and do (and eat!) and [Read more…]