There’s a lot to see in the USA. Some of the best stuff is known only to those willing to invest the time to get there. In the world of heavily visited tourist attractions, whether for the history, nature, or marvel of human engineering, certain places are worth braving the crowd to see with your own eyes, especially if you are visiting during public holidays. One such place is the Niagara Falls, which I am sure is one of the must-see places for anybody visiting the US.
The waterfalls are a big draw card for sure, but I’m glad to have visited the surrounding hidden gem which is just as scenic. Part of our tour included a stop at Old Fort Niagara and Niagara whirlpool, which they call as ‘Niagara in depth tour’.
The history of Old Fort Niagara dates back to the colonial wars in North America. The French built the fort on the banks of River Niagara which inlets to Lake Ontario. The fort fell to the British in the 18th century and eventually the American forces occupied it towards the end of 18th century. It remained an active military post well into the 20th century, for it controlled access to the Great Lakes and the heartland of the continent. We met reenactors recreating the lives of the yore. Few pictures from the fort:
We stopped at Niagara Gorge on our way to the falls. River Niagara in its gorgeous emerald hue runs between US and Canada and forms a whirlpool at the outlet.
Now the main part of the trip, an excursion into the basin of Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls State Park offers many attractions such as cable car ride, jet boat ride, helicopter ride, etc. We chose one of the most sought-after tour the Maid of the Mist. The journey begins at the Observation Tower, which offers a good view of the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls from afar, the bridge connecting the US and Canada, and the Niagara River flowing away peacefully from the falls.
Niagara Falls is a collective name of three Falls – American Falls, Horseshoe Falls, and the Bridal Veil Falls. From the Observation Tower, we have to ride an elevator to board the double-deck Maid of the Mist Boat donning blue rain ponchos (Blue for the US guests and Red for the Canadians). The boat ferries past the base of the American Falls, and to the basin of Horseshoe Falls. I don’t know where the Bridal Veil Falls was! 😕 The joy of getting close to the Horseshoe Falls, one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, can only be described as breathtaking. It seemed like a larger-than-life miracle of mother nature.
A bright day guarantees a rainbow. Dispersion of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light – phenomenon you learnt in school. 😉 Of course, there is no dearth for water droplets around the Falls and if the Sun is cooperative enough you can see a beautiful spectrum across the river, sometimes two. If you are standing in the right spot you can capture some amazing pictures.
I heard during the weekends the Falls are lit up with beautiful coloured lights and have a spectacular fireworks display. If you are staying overnight at Niagara you could as well plan an evening visit. The state park has a variety of restaurants and food courts offering varied cuisines and souvenir shops.
It could be a perfect weekend getaway especially if you are living on the east coast. Different people have different opinions about the best season to visit Niagara and on which side of the Falls offers a better view. Be it from the US or Canada or any time of the year, I believe nature never disappoints and the grandeur of Niagara Falls never fails to impress.