New Journal Entry
Our first stop, Amish Door Restaraunt, did not turn out to be the one I remembered driving past on my way to Massilon one evening. The food was home-cooked, but only ok. It was also not directly facing rt 30. Somewhere on rt 30 there is an AMAZING restarant from which you can smell baked bread for a half mile in the evening.
We ran into construction in New York and arrived after 9 PM. We got a room an the 14th floor with a "fireplace" (pretend fire, switch on the side of the mantle) AND a jacuzzi. (I am glad I booked directly through the Marriot web site - the discounters did not have a significant reduction in cost and we heard someone who had booked through one arguing with the desk clerk about not getting the room he asked for (discount rooms are "best available").
THE VIEW WAS AMAZING at the Fallsview Marriot. The Falls were already illuminated for evening when we got into the room. Most of the outside wall is window. The blackout curtains are on the outside of the sheers - When the sun rose not only did it shine into the room it also reflected off of the Niagara River and the mist. Blinding! Our room looked across the horseshoe falls and also at the American Falls. During daytime the view is even more spectacular. The beds were very comfortable, although the comforter was narrow and difficult to share. No blankets to be had, just sheets and comforters. The room was spotlessly clean and pleasingly decorated. The jacuzzi had a window that could be opened to the rest of the room, and the sink was in the same room. The rest of the bathroom, including a small shower was behind an inner door.
Waste of time asking at the hotel for tourism information, except to ask for a map of the immediate area. They denied that there is local transporation and tried to sell their $133 per person tour package. Knew better. (Can go out the back door, pay $2 Canadian to take the Incline down the hill and walk across the street to Table Rock. Parking fills up before noon if you drive down, and costs $18. The Park Service people-mover bus, for a minimal fee, runs along the Niagara River from this point down to the Maid of the Mist and beyond to the Rapids Aerocar.)
I read in earlier reviews not to eat at the hotel, too expensive and not worth it. We went to Fridays at 10 PM for dinner. They are nearby and open 24 hours. Service was slow. My fish and fries was unexpectedly very good. Fridays has a entrance just beside the back entrance of the Hotel - don't know why.
Had breakfast at Perkins. Walked toward the river. Went to the IMAX - dull 20 year old movie about the falls, and various people who have survived falling or walking over them. Informative but not worth the admission. They have many of the actual containers that people have survived going over the falls in the lobby. Went on the Maid of the Mist. Everybody should go on the Maid of the Mist once - it is a unique experience. Walked back to the hotel. Some family members napped. We went across the street to Table Rock and there was a wait for entry into the walk behind the Falls, so we ate lunch at the Table Rock Restaurant instead. Bought fudge. Line at Tim Hortons was tooooooo long. Had picture taken with a friendly Canadian Mounty. We all went to Pizza restaurant behind perkins for dinner. Very inexpensive and also very plain.
The kids were getting chilly so we went to look for sweatshirts they liked. They wanted to shop in the casino galleria, but it was not the kind of place to sell sweatshirts - and my oldest son asked how old he had to be to go in the casino.(older... 19) Followed crowd of people up the row of hotels along Fallsview Blvd till it dead-ended, turned right until we met Clifton Hill - lots of enterainment like Wax Museums & Ripleys Believe it or not, places to eat and tourist gift shops. Probably more than an hour and a half walk. At the bottom of Clifton Hill is the Maid of the Mist, but Clifton st would be very steep to walk up going the other way. Walked back to the hotel for the fireworks - they were far to the left over the American Falls and not all that easy to watch from our room. The hotel curves a bit so maybe some rooms have a better view of the fireworks, but then they would have a worse view of the Falls.
Slept late, had lunch again at Table Rock with the whole family. Apple pie is very good there. Went behind the falls. Two level observation deck at the bottom of the Horseshoe falls and two tunnels that open up to the back side of the falls. The face of the tunnels look like white spray. The Falls rumble is very loud so close. Checked out of hotel and drove up to the Aerocar over the Whirlpool. It is a good way to look at the rapids and the whirlpool, but also only a 10 minute ride.
All of the attractions in Niagra seem to have tour buses arriving and if you happen to arrive after one, you will have a delay in being allowed to enter. But the people on the tours have to line up together in a line and wait till the attraction empies out enough to hold them.
Drove to Toronto. Marriot Courtyard also looks new, a bit less luxurious and no view to speak of. Ask at the desk for a map of downtown. Many many people walking all over the city, lots of restaurants, bars, shops all over. Overruled for dinner, went to Ruth Criss's at the Hilton. Very good but too much $$$. Crowded streets had thinned out considerably after dinner. Did not walk about looking for entertainment. Did not go up in the CN tower.
Had free breakfast at the hotel, crowded buffet, big variety. Went to the Royal Ontario Museum. Very nice Chinese and Japanese ornamental antiquities, European furniture and a special Incan Gold exhibit. Some of the exhibits were closed, but we did not have time for all the ones that were open. Circled downtown Toronto several times before finding our way to the expressway out. Needed a better map, the directions out of town in this plan were confusing and they do not have road signs directing drivers to the expressways.
Drove home over the top of Lake Erie - all countryside and farmland. Got my first cup of Tim Hortons in Canada at Woodstock and it was much better than at home. Esso gas station there put a $100 hold on my MC/debit card for a $18 gas purchase - and took 2 days getting it finalized. Detroit/Windsor border crossing was not seriously backed up. They exhange Canadian money back to US right at the bridge toll booth, so we didn't have to worry about trying to keep just the right amount to eat and pay tolls - exchanged $11 CA that would have been wasted.