Category Archives: History

2chicks Canada ~ Having a Tea Party!

Niagara on the Lake is History come alive. But sometimes it’s just plain fun history. Like Alice In Wonderland kind of fun. Mad Hatter Tea Party kind of crazy.

This is a two-parter blog post. First the tea party, because we just couldn’t resist. Our next blog post on Niagara on the Lake, will be “History alive”. But isn’t that kind of the same thing? So we shall just begin at the beginning.

It all starts with the Shaw Festival and their play, Alice in Wonderland. Here is the link including dates and showtimes. This really is something you wouldn’t care to miss. Surely you’d better hurry and not be late…for a very important date!

The Shaw Festival across from Fort George. Everything old is new again.

Secondly, all in strictly proper timing, we’re sure, Beau Chapeau has the most felicitous of window dressings. You will be missing out if you don’t drop by for a look-see. And while looking you may just want to stop inside and find the very hat you’ve been looking for, from a by-gone era or not.  (3 slide-show below. Click arrows if you’re still late)…

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See how that crazy Mad Hatter worked on his tea-potion to blend the old and new? What a guy! Gotta tip your hat to him. 😉

Lastly, nothing like a sample of the real deal. A real tea party, done up in Mad Hatter style. An homage to the Shaw and the Carroll, Alice and the Queen.

Let’s stroll down the Avenue to meet the Prince: Prince of Wales that is, the dreamy little Hotel hosting this gem of a party in their very own Tea Room.


Step back into yesteryear and enter the upside down world of the Hatter. The Queen will be sure to greet you. The Queen of Hearts, that is.


She will beguile you with her charms and entice you with the aroma of sugar and spice and everything nice.

For your pleasure, another quick slide-show, below, 4 photos.

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With a tower of tea sandwiches, pastries, buttery croissants and muffins set before you, who would not surely be happy? Mouth watering house made scones with devonshire cream and strawberry jam? Specialty teas? Served by a Queen? Oh my!

All in all, if in Niagara on the Lake and you see a cute little rabbit dashing down a hole, we would suggest that you “begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end, then stop”.






2Chicks Canada, MadHatter peek…




Just a sneak peek at our blog to come. A Mad Hatter tea party? Sounds like fun to me. Niagara on the Lake, Ontario. Soon…more to come!

Old Fort Niagara


There is a stately beauty about her. Noble, strong, statuesque. She is the Old Fort Niagara, the oldest continuously occupied military site in North America.

She is ready for you to call on her, when you visit Niagara. She’s just down the lane at the end of the Niagara River, where it meets Lake Ontario.



Happy Easter!



Our Lady of Victory National Shrine & Basilica

I couldn’t wait to post this one…a day early.

A popular pilgrimage and destination, and close to Niagara. If you enjoy glorious old churches, made in the grand way of by-gone days, and you’re visiting the area, you will want to add this to your itinerary. If like me, you’re from around the area, please take the time to visit. It will be worth your while.

Have a blessed and Happy Easter!


Three Sister’s Islands ~ Niagara’s hidden gem

There is a corner, on an island, among the trees. You can hear the rushing waters of the rapids, and the thunderous roar from beyond your view, and if the wind is blowing just right, the mist may kiss your face. The place is Three Sister’s Islands, set above the mighty cataract. And if you’ve heard of Niagara ~ you may very well never have heard of these Islands, nor of the girls they are named after: Asenath, Angeline, Celinda Eliza and their little brother Solon. These are three daughters and a son, long gone, yet there are four islands, above the Horseshoe Falls, that are called by their names. (*See bottom of page).

 {I heard this song on the radio, just before this was pressed…. & I Felt  it in those waters. Maybe you will too}…


Refreshing and relentless, on it’s way to a hefty plunge.

There are those of us who remember, in the not-so distant past, when we could still run free, and stick our toes in the dangerous rush of rapid, before the fences were placed solid, and the pristine paths were poured. But we made room for you, the far off soul, not familiar with our slippery and sultry siren, who called out our names, but we would not heed.


The water’s changing color beckons, cool and clear, deceptively calm in places…


…brash and bold in others.


Seagulls remain unaffected by the water’s impatience, and sit placidly in place, hopeful of a meal.


Well-worn paths, from years of use, will soon be overgrown, set behind wire and stone.


Even rock is eroded by the relentless power of the water’s downward trek to the gorge, creating miniature islands in the river.



Billows of white, like crashing waves, plummet, repeatedly as the land declines toward the great drop.



Each and every step offers another facet of their personality, as if the islands are mimicking the sisters, themselves.


And then we emerge, past the protection of the crannies and the coves, to face a full on onslaught, a deluge of froth and foam; an International border clothed in lacy white.


And if we turn our heads to the right, towards the sound of a torrent, we can see the rising cloud as the Sisters saw…


…and the Alabaster City as they could not see…


And back at the beginning…a pretty path…


…and a trolley car…


…and a gleaming trolley stop…


…But we can still see the flowers beneath the ancient stones…


…and the bridge…


…and we all have a place to picnic…

For we are sharing of our beautiful bounty, and we have made a place for all to see, and enjoy…


…and we can still remember…¤t_category_id=162

Me and my 'Rooster'; a substitute 'chick' for the day!
Me and my ‘Rooster’; a substitute ‘chick’ for the day!

Rochester ~ A Stone’s Throw from Niagara

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The gardens at the Sonnenberg Mansion, on Lake Canandaigua, near Rochester, NY.

Rochester, New York, is an easy thruway drive of under two hours from Niagara Falls. It has a different vibe than Northern Buffalo and the Niagara area, including the hilly terrain, and it’s a great place for a very doable day trip.

This weekend was a fun one for the 2chicks. We had a family wedding in Rochester, New York, so we went a bit early to do some exploring! One of the ‘chicks’ was in the wedding party, so the other one took the ‘rooster’ to do some of that sight-seeing… feel free to tag along…

Our favorite stop was the Sonnenberg Garden and Mansion, State Historic Site. Located in Canandaigua, about a half hour from where we were staying, this is definitely a worthwhile place to spend a half-day. A Victorian Era Private Home, we found it to be very tourist-friendly, with guides available with historic information and tid-bits, and encouraging people to take photos inside (not oft the case). There’s more ‘wiggle-room’ for exploration than some places allow as well.

So please, enjoy the Sonnenberg Tour.

A view of the mansion from the gardens.
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The front entrance.
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The rose garden as seen from the Mansion balcony.
A Rooster and a Chick. 😉
The greenhouse and surrounding gardens.
Love us some orchids!
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We happened to attend the day of the Arts at the Gardens Event, 2015.

A view of the fountain from the Mansion.



High Noon Cafe at Sonnenberg, located near the greenhouses. They have reasonable prices and good food.
High Noon.
A fruit Gazpacho. Very good!
A tasty seafood crepe and fresh tomato-basil salad.



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A delicious shrimp dish with brown rice and a side of steamed vegetables.

Back in Fairport (a village/suburb of east of Rochester) we went to Chakara Restaurant. They are rated the number one restaurant in Fairport, and perhaps they deserve that rating…at least our tastebuds thought so.

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Their won ton soup was one of the best we’ve had, anywhere!

Rochester is located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. At the Northern end of the city lies a lovely park: Ontario Beach Park. There is a fishing pier, a public boat launch, an historic operating carousel, public beach picnicking facilities and more. We enjoyed strolling and relaxing there after the wedding festivities.

One of only fourteen operating antique menagerie carousels in America, “The Duchess” Dentzel carousel is accompanied by a Wurlitzer Military Band Organ.

Some kids enjoying themselves on the colorful carousel!
I went for a ride on this cat. Bad boy!
High traffic in the waterway leading to the lake.
Volleyball Tournament every weekend.

Back in the city, downtown Rochester, we met up with the other chick and her rooster, for a lovely Sunday Brunch. The Owl House is a hidden gem, but known to those on the lookout for that unique spot to eat fresh made-from scratch foods. It has a varied menu including a good selection of gluten-free and vegan/vegetarian dishes. We would highly recommend it!


The Spring Scramble with sourdough bread and tofu ricotta. (The ricotta is delicious, but a bit spicy, be warned).

Thanks for joining us on our Rochester adventure!

The happy bride and groom...and a sneaky brother!
The happy bride and groom…and a sneaky brother!

Niagara Parks Part II


This is Part II of the Niagara Parks piece. We are so fortunate to be living in one of the most beautiful areas on earth. We hope you enjoy the photos and learn a bit more about Niagara and its parks and then come on over to inspect them for yourselves.

Queen Victoria Park

Queen Victoria Park is the park in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, where people go to see the Falls – all three – The American Falls, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe. It is maintained by NPC – the Niagara Parks Commission, and is truly lovely, in itself.


This exquisite pond is located directly across from where one views the American Falls.

Niagara Falls, USA as seen from Niagara Falls, Canada
Niagara Falls, USA as seen from Niagara Falls, Canada

In the same vicinity, is the Oakes Garden Theatre. This is a great place to sit and have a picinic, take wedding photos, or to walk around and check out the gardens.


Nestled in behind the theater, and through a gate, lies a secret garden. Yes, really. Many visitors miss this gem.



And, here I am, (one of the two chicks) sitting at a restaurant right next door, called the Secret Garden. I honestly can’t give a review of the menu, as I’ve only had drinks on the terrace, but the link is here,


Fort Niagara 

Back over on the American side, one really must see Fort Niagara. The Niagara River empties into Lake Ontario at this juncture. There is a lighthouse, the Fort, the River, The Lake a swimming pool, picnic area, snack bar and more. It’s a great place to spend the day with the family.


The Fort Niagara Lighthouse offers tours and a gift shop.


There is an old road that follows the river and makes for a great walkway, with beautiful views along the way.


You can even stop and take a moment to reflect.


Public Dock – Youngstown, NY

Just down the way from Fort Niagara, are the Youngstown Public Docks. we like it there. When you’re at the Fort, you can see sailboats emerging from upriver, and coming out into the open waters of Lake Ontario. But going to the Docks, you can see these boats up close at waters edge. It’s also kind of handy if you happen to have a boat. 😉




Lewiston’s Waterfront Park

At the river’s edge, in Lewiston, downriver from Niagara Falls and upriver from Youngstown is a quaint little park. Lewiston has their docks down at the water below, but up some steps and at the end of Center Street is this park. The Silo Restaurant is there, picnic tables, a couple of bench swings to watch the sunset over Canada. One of our favorite things are the spectacular statues by sculptor, Susan Gessler.

Susan Gessler's sculpture, Freedom Crossing at Lewiston's Waterfront Park.
Susan Gessler’s sculpture, Freedom Crossing at Lewiston’s Waterfront Park.

Peace Garden – Lewiston, NY

Back up the hill, on Center Street lies a quiet little nook, behind the main buildings. It is a peaceful place with flowers and sculptures and a table to play chess on. A small oasis during a tour of the historic town of Lewiston.

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Lockport Cave Entrance/Lockport Canal/Town of Lockport Nature Trail

Alright folks. You got me. Have you ever been someplace and don’t really know where it was? I googled until my eyes crossed and then called the Lockport Library where a very kind research librarian helped me. (Heck, they live there and don’t know what it’s called.)

The Erie Canal runs through the town of Lockport and there are trails meandering all around the canals, here and there. There are walkways and ruins, and woods and hiking and picnic tables, oh my! In the midst of that is an attraction called the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat ride. Near the entrance is a park-like area. We choose to call it a park!

Famous "upside down" railroad bridge. Railroad companies built the bridge this way to limit size of ships going through canal to force companies to use rail transport for goods.
Famous “upside down” railroad bridge. Railroad companies built the bridge this way to limit size of ships going through canal to force companies to use rail transport for goods.

There is the famous ‘upside down’ railroad bridge. It’s an interesting story:


There are all kinds of photo ops, with ruins and scenery and historical buildings. Such a fun place to go!

Hyde Park – Niagara Falls

Hyde park is New York State’s largest park aside from Central Park in Manhattan. It has a lake for fishing and boating, bocce ball, tennis courts, a golf course, a swimming pool and a baseball stadium. We take walks quite often through this park, and it’s one of our favorite ways to exercise. With the holiday weekend upon us, it is also good to mention that every year, they have an impressive fireworks show over the lake for the 4th of July.



Niagara has a treasure trove of parks and green spaces, and we hope that you’ve enjoyed touring it with us! Stay tuned for part three…