Hello, friends, it’s Autumn in Niagara. The leaves have reached their peak in beauty, and we’d love to share them with you! We start our autumnal journey at the stairs that lead down to the gorge, by Devil’s Hole Park. Currently it’s a bit of a treacherous walk, but they have plans to fix them in the near future. (Notice that we hop up and down the gorge a few times, based on the order of our photos!)
One of our favorite trees along the path at the top of the gorge.
Such beautiful, rich colors. Don’t get to close to the raging waters!
A blanket of leaves cover the ground along the trail, on the banks of the Niagara.
A bird’s eye view of the Niagara Gorge. Looking across toward the Canadian side of the river, the colors are so vibrant.
After our Bird’s eye view, we dive back down for a closer look at the water!
We pop over to the Niagara Falls Discovery Center, where there is easier access down to the gorge. An elevator will take you to the bottom (Open from Spring through October 31st).
A patchwork quilt of orange, gold, yellow, red and green.
An adventurer brought their bike down the elevator, and went for a walk. Thank you for leaving it to ‘pose’ for the picture. 😉
The Rainbow Bridge connecting two countries, and a part of the Horseshoe Falls too.
Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Fall really is one of the best times to visit Niagara; the tourist population and the heat is down, and the beauty is up. So if you’re an adventurous person and you like to hike, the stairs are for you. But if you prefer beauty without all of the hard work, you can enjoy it just as much using the elevator.
So whatever season you choose to visit, you’re always welcome.
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).
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…
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. http://www.sonnenberg.org/
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.
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. http://www.cityofrochester.gov/ontariobeachpark/
One of only fourteen operating antique menagerie carousels in America, “The Duchess” Dentzel carousel is accompanied by a Wurlitzer Military Band Organ. http://rocwiki.org/Dentzel_Carousel
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! http://www.owlhouserochester.com/
Lovely flowers are placed around the park, especially by the entrance to Hoyt Lake, by the art gallery, and the beautiful rose garden as well. Japanese gardens are on the other side of the park. (Another post, yet to come).
Shakespeare in the Park, a summertime Buffalo tradition.
Weeping willows are an art unto themselves.
Olmsted’s glorious vision.
The end of the park gives way to less manicured gardens, and more natural growth.
Silver light slicing through sky and water as the sun begins its descent.
The sun setting over the statue of David.
A stunning replica of Michaelangelo’s classical statue of David. It stands 17ft high x 5.17ft wide x 3.5ft of depth, not including the base. http://buffalovr.com/david/
Arriving again at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
The sun getting low over the museum.
The Buffalo History Museum ‘bookends’ the Albright-Knox on the other half of Delaware Park.
The Niagara region is rife with vegetation and life. It’s beaming with beauty and verdancy. So much is accessible to the public for viewing, some in a natural state and some in more manicured park lands.
Here is a quick overview of a few of the Parks Niagara has to offer, featuring Devil’s Hole, Whirlpool State Park and Niagara Reservation State Park.
Devil’s Hole State Park has been a great source of Inspiration for our family. With it’s changing moods, with the seasons, diverse paths and trails, it seems to always present something for each of our tastes. Mom likes the above trail and the creative opportunities a stroll affords. The rest of the family likes the hiking down the cliff to the water’s edge: destination ‘wild water’ and unique rock formations.
No pictures of the lower path. Sorry. Everyone was too busy having fun! You’ll just have to come and experience it for yourselves.
And on a practical note, there are picnic tables, so bring a lunch.
Whirlpool State Park and Devil’s Hole are ‘next door’ to one another and accessible via a trail that runs along the top of the gorge. It is not a difficult connection, but it is not easy either. If you are looking for an easy walk, the Devil’s Hole trail is the easiest. Whirlpool’s has a hill you need to navigate and the connection between the parks has a stony and hilly trail.
Whirlpool Park has a lovely view of the Whirlpool, below on the Niagara River and of the Aero car that crosses the gorge, over the Whirlpool, from Canada to Canada.
We would be remiss if we did not turn the spotlight toward Niagara Reservation State Park. A constant beauty, showcasing the Falls, renowned world over, this Park is the number one destination of all tourists visiting from across the globe. A four-season reservation, no room for any hesitation, this is the ultimate destination! 😉
As we all know, the Polar Vortex visited the North East this winter, and decided to stay. We in Niagara Falls are used to cold and snowy winters, even more so is our well-known neighbor, Buffalo. (Remember the Blizzard of 1977?) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHdnpVDEE8o
While the Falls were not completely frozen, (as many people on the internet were claiming) they were quite close to freezing at one point. We picked a “warmer” sunny day to take these photos to share with you.
If you’re interested, here are some real facts about the how’s and when’s of frozen Niagara.
The pictures are mainly of the American Falls, taken from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. We hope that you enjoy them as much as we did taking them.
A good example of the freeze.
Notice how the Bridalveil Falls to the right, are more frozen than the rushing water on the left.
This is the Island that separates the American and Horseshoe Falls. Note that even it is affected by the extreme cold, in the form of these magnificent icicles.
An up close view of Bridalveil drama.
Like icing on a cake.
This structure was actually used in the 1958 movie “Niagara”, staring Marilyn Monroe. It was used as part of the set portraying a motel and individual cabins over-looking the Falls. Sorry to disappoint you, there never has been a motel this close, with such a vantage point. Looks good on film though.