New York, Where We've Been

Niagara Falls

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Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls lies between Lake Erie to the south and Lake Ontario to the north. The swiftly flowing Niagara River flows in between the two Great Lakes and in the center is the ever flowing, ever powerful Niagara Falls. 

The Niagara River splits Canada and the U.S. border so while the falls can be viewed from the American side, the better view happens when you cross the river into Canada and look at it from the other side.

The American side of Niagara Falls is state park. There are tourist attractions, lots of greenery, and all over just a nice area to enjoy the scenery. The Canadian side is a bit more touristy with food carts and tourist rides and attractions.

There are actually three sets of falls in Niagara. The first is the American Falls. This view is what you can see from standing out on the Observation Platform on the American side. 

The second falls is Bridal Veil Falls. That’s the smaller falls just to the right of the American Falls that can be seen in the upper right corner of the picture. 

The third is Horseshoe Falls. These are the falls someone would be most familiar with when referring to Niagara Falls. 

Although you can see Horseshoe Falls from the American side, the view is limited, so we decided to cross the bridge (pedestrian walkway on Rainbow Bridge) into Canada.

From the Canadian side, the full view of the American and Bridal Veil Falls can be seen. This is a panorama of 25 different photos that have been stitched together. On the right side is Cave of the Winds. It’s a walking platform that allows you to get up close to Bridal Veil Falls and experience fierce winds and the surety that you will get wet.

During the late 1800’s, this land was privately owned and buildings were installed on top of the falls. The water was diverted to run inside the buildings for industrial and power generation use. While a good initial idea in concept, it ruined the view of the falls. A campaign was started that bought up the land, turned it into a state park, and restored its original beauty for all to enjoy. However, the concept of damming the falls to hydroelectric power was still in the forefront of their minds. 

They instead diverted 20% of the water underground through a pipe system. That pipe runs underneath the city, to a few miles downstream where it is used to spin the turbines that produce the hydroelectric power. 

The original Niagara Falls looked a little different than what we see today. In 1678, this sketch was made by Father Louis Hennepin on an expedition towards Chippawa. Erosion has helped to changed the face of Niagara and will continue to do so in years to come.

We walked over to Goat Island (American side) the next day to see the American Falls from the other side and Horseshoe Falls up close.

Do you see how calmly those birds are wading in the water above the falls? They’re either seemingly unaware of the possible demise or they have sure footing. Either way, I wouldn’t want to be standing so precariously close to the edge, even with wings!

This is the American Falls from Goat Island with the Observation Tower in the background. If you buy the ticket, this observation tower leads down to the Maid of the Mist ride that will take you on a boat ride into the mist of Horseshoe Falls. 

The sun was out and mist was in the air. It was a beautiful day for a full rainbow above the falls.

We donned our yellow plastic ponchos and headed out on the Cave of the Winds platform to get soaked.

And took the tour on the Maid of the Mist into the spray of Horseshoe Falls.

We had an extra day at Niagara after all the tourist spots were hit so we decided to head downstream. This is a neat little area just north of the falls called Whirlpool State Park. The river widens and while the water gushes in, it also slows down and creates lots of tiny whirlpools as the water circles around and is churned together.

Even further down is the hydroelectric plant where the diverted water from Niagara Falls flows into. There is enough energy produced here to power one-quarter of the state of New York and Ontario.

Inside the power plant, there was a very interesting discussion between Tesla and Edison. Edison was adamant that D.C. power was the way to go to provide electricity to nearby cities, but Tesla argued that it was A.C. that would be able to make the long journey. Naturally, Tesla won. 



AA Royal Motel and Campground

We went to this campground because of its proximity to Niagara Falls. It’s a small campground and the turns are tight, but we fit in a pull thru just fine.

The prices are higher because of it being close to a major tourist destination. When I originally reserved the spot online in February, I read that it was $56 a night, but when we arrived, we were charged $68/night plus $5/night/kid. So either prices went up or we were charged summer prices. We were also only on 30 amps for that price.

The man who checked us in was very nice and gave us some pamphlets for Niagara Falls.

They apparently have very good free guest wi-fi here. We were able to check it and it came in at 116 down, 37 up. 

Our Verizon phone signal was at 2 bars. With the cell antenna, we got 4 bars on both AT&T and Verizon. Starlink was coming in at 13 down, 6 up.