My husband and I had wonderful honeymoon 22 years ago. We are tourists at heart; we are also very sentimental, romantic and probably a bit old-fashioned. On our honeymoon, we indulged in the bliss of visiting all the places of enchantment that we could access on a limited budget in our car. Of course, Niagara Falls, Ontario was a must-see for starry-eyed, somewhat naive newlyweds. Back the day before our day, everyone went to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon; I think it said so somewhere in the wedding vows. And we were determined to do this thing right.
The only drawback to an overland trip to Niagara Falls from the United States is the long, rather tedious drive over the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way). Unless, of course, you’re from somewhere near Buffalo, New York, in which case it’s just over the Rainbow Bridge. But if you’re from around the Buffalo area, you’ve doubtless seen Niagara Falls anyway.
So off we traveled, enjoying our OV (Old Vienna), Molson’s Golden, Moosehead and Labatt’s Blue beers in the little outdoor bistros along the way. Gas, beer and cigarettes in Canada have always been a little pricey. My husband, a smoker, had already found the delights of Players cigarettes, a then primarily Canadian brand that later had a brief heyday, stateside.
Arriving at the Falls for me was like entering Wonderland. We couldn’t afford to stay in Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotton’s infamous hotel in the movie Niagara. But we did ride that boat of enchantment the Maid of the Mist. We wore the regulation blue raincoats issued to us. At the time of our honeymoon, the Maid of the Mists boats weren’t going as close to the falls as they once did. I suppose no one wanted to be sucked into the huge vortex created by the rapids at the base of the Falls. We learned that some boats had suffered that fate, hence the caution.
We walked through the famous Scenic Tunnels that take visitors behind the raging curtain of water known as the Falls. We visited the Minolta Tower, the Skylon Tower, Tussuad’s Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum and the Niagara Falls Daredevils museum. We read with horror of the many folks who’d gone over the Falls in barrels or crossed the rapids on tightrope wire. Ironically it seemed that those who tempted Niagara on purpose usually lost their lives, while those who went over accidentally more often survived. But maybe I just like the poetic justice idea. We thrilled to the tale of the old recluse who had lived for years on an island right near the edge of the falls drop off.
On the American side, over the Rainbow Bridge are the American Falls. The larger and more breath-taking Horseshoe Falls are on the Canadian side. No matter what the weather, Niagara is a sight to behold. In clear weather the waters sparkle and roar majestically to end in a cloud of mist at the bottom. In foggy weather, the Falls are better heard than seen, lost in a land of mist and mystery.
No one in your family will regret or forget a trip to Niagara Falls.