I had such a great time with my friends! It's been about 10 years since I've been to the Toronto/Niagara Falls area - and wow, have things changed!
When we started planning the trip, I wasn't as excited about the Niagara part - you've seen running water once, you've seen it a thousand times. I will admit I was completely wrong. It was gorgeous and there's so much to do. I could spend a week there.
We stayed at the Vacation Inn in Niagara Falls. It was a great deal - about $112 each for 2 nights, 2 breakfasts and 1 dinner.
Although it wasn't a swanky hotel, the rooms were clean, the front desk folks were really nice, there was a pool and you could walk to the falls in about 10 minutes. Plus, parking was free.
Our hotel restaurant was Biffy's. To the right is a picture of me, Tina and Ian posing with a painting of the owner's father. (Sadly, not Biffy.) If we look a little weird, it's because we were trying to pose exactly like the painting! (I think we failed.)
Lord of the Rings - The Musical
Although many people have made fun of my need to see Lord of the Rings (the musical), I'm really glad we went. Our tickets were for Friday night and it was only about an hour and a half trip to Toronto.
The set and special effects were so amazing I can't even describe them. Everything fit perfectly with the tone of the books. There were battle scenes, elaborate costumes, stage tricks. The music was very ethereal and fit the scenes perfectly (although you won't be singing any of the songs in the shower!)
The plot was a little thin, however, if you're going to see the stage version, you probably already know the story. All three books were part of this production so to fit everything in, some parts had to be shortened. A few scenes felt rushed.
Maid of the Mist
A favorite part of the trip was the Maid of the Mist ride on Saturday afternoon. I wasn't sure what to expect.
While we were waiting for the boat to launch, Ian says, "I bet there's going to be lots of screaming." I thought he was crazy. Screaming? At Niagara Falls? Please!
There was lots of screaming.
We were all packed on a tiny boat, wearing giant blue plastic bags to protect us from the elements. (Since I was wearing a white T-shirt, I was grateful for the added layer!)
I was surprised at how close to the falls we got. The wind whipped around, the mist from the falls completely drenched us - it was definitely an adventure on the high seas! The picture is one Liz and I took of ourselves (surprise, surprise).
We also visited the super-cute town Niagara-on-the-Lake Saturday evening. If I had to pick the perfect town to live in, this would be it.
Quaint houses, tiny shops, wineries, old-fashioned restaurants, horse-drawn carriages...even the parking meters were cute!
We visited the Peller Winery Boutique where Liz and I sampled an icewine trio. (That's a photo of Liz to the left.) I've never tried icewine before. I can see why it's a dessert wine - it was so sweet. Very tasty, but sweet - and potent!
And All the Rest!
I was amazed at how much stuff there is to do at Niagara Falls - parks, hiking, golf, wine tours, shopping, casinos, restaurants, movies, family activities. You name it, you can do it!
You can easily spend hours just watching the water - it's breathtaking.
The only downside - we forgot to pack sunscreen and didn't realize it until way too late. Ian, Liz and I ended up with royally red sunburns (Tina lucked out!) Mine even blistered, which means a dermatologist visit is coming soon!
If you want to look at some of my pics from the trip, I put together a little photo album - one of the Maid of the Mist trip and one with some other stuff. I still have one more to go - but it's themed and takes more time. (It'll be worth the wait, I promise!)