Vacation Destination: Niagara
looking for a summer vacation destination, have a look at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada and
surrounding area. It's one of the most beautiful places I know.
The natural beauty of the Falls is plentiful, and the very friendly Canadians
go all out with quite colourful formal gardens
(to make up for the long, white winters?), winery tours, historical fort
tours, and all sorts of other stuff. You can view the Falls from the
American side at Niagara Falls, New York, but the view is
much better and the people are more interesting, I think, on the
Canadian side at Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.
the excellent restaurant with the shops in the Niagara Parks pavillion just across the street from the Falls on the
See hires. images and streaming video of the Falls at http://www.fallsview.com/Stream/StarDotTechCamStill.shtml
Be sure to visit the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Its look is
very much that of a British colonial town, which is exactly how it
started. It's a few miles, er, ah, kilometers (no crazy US customary units in Canada) up the Niagara river from the
Falls. See photos of Niagara-on-the-Lake at http://www.niagaraonthelake.com/gallery/
To the degree possible, avoid the downtown area of Niagara Falls, Ontario, a chintzy tourist
trap, except for the area right next to the Falls. That town does,
however, have some beautiful images of the Falls and the area near the
Falls at http://www.city.niagarafalls.on.ca/about_niagara_falls/photo_gallery/index.asp
Oh, and be sure bring your U.S. passport, now
required to get back into the U.S. :^( In
days gone by, you could go back and forth across the border by stopping and,
without paperwork, just talking to the Canadian/US Customs folks
for a few minutes. No more.
you're across the border, consider going on up to Kingston and Ottawa. There's a
fort at Kingston that's quite
interesting. It still operates in its late 1700s mode, employing
young men hired for the summer from the nearby colleges and high
schools. They perform military drills, fire the fort's cannons,
and generally give the impression of an operating 1700s British fort.
They're dressed in the British uniforms of that period, and (attention
gals!) they ALL seem to be quite handsome.
Ottawa, Canada's capitol, offers
tours of parliament buildings, some really neat canals and locks for small
boat fans, and more beautiful scenery throughout the town. If you can
afford the time, go on up to the very European city of Montreal in Quebec (that's kee-BEK, by the way). Learn a French phrase or two
before you reach Montreal, and you'll cut the
ice quickly with the locals. Many of Quebec's people speak both
English and French, but the French was once suppressed and looked down
upon. If you'll give them a phrase or two of French in a
greeting--even BAD French--they'll realize you're an Anglophone who's
trying and will usually be very accommodating, even if they don't happen to
speak English. You can return to the US through Vermont and go down the
coast of New Hampshire where roadside
restaurants specializing in the world's best clam chowder will delight you.