Saturday, July 26, 2014

Niagara Falls

As I said yesterday, we stopped by Niagara Falls on our way home from our Indianapolis trip. This was the first time we had a real chance to visit the Falls, even though we've driven through Buffalo a number of times. I expected a kitschy tourist trap, which it is, but the Falls themselves are well worth the trip.

We noticed a white plume of smoke rising in the distance as early as south Buffalo. There are a lot of factories and power plants in the area so I figured it was just a big industrial site, but as we drove across Grand Island and into Niagara, we realized that it was actually the Falls themselves! It's an amazing amount of water.

We arrived after dinner and in a freak rain storm. Luckily, our hotel was across the street from the park where the Falls are located, so we were able to slosh out between showers and see the American Falls lit up with colored lights. We could also watch the nightly fireworks display from our hotel window.

The next morning we got up and headed over to do the Maid of the Mist boat tour that takes you right into the spray at the foot of the waterfalls. Kate HATED the blue ponchos they gave us. She thought it made her look ridiculous and pouted the entire time!

Here is a montage of photos of Kate looking bummed...

At the foot of the much larger Horseshoe Falls, the spray is so heavy it's like being heavily rained on. They sold rubber sandals to people whose shoes had been waterlogged. Pro Tip: wear flip flops!


American Falls

Horseshoe Falls
(The red boat is CANADJUNS! Plotting our overthrow, obviously.)

After the boat ride, we had the option to walk up this wooden walkway to view the American Falls up close from the side. Kate refused to walk up, so we recycled our despicable blue ponchos and headed back up the elevator to the top viewing platform.

Maggie Jane, Fearless Adventurer, was thrilled to walk up, so she and Mike forged bravely ahead alone. She loved every minute of it.

After lunch we walked over the pedestrian bridge to Goats Island in the middle of the Niagara River to see the rapids and the Falls from the top.


Horseshoe Falls from above
I had slight anxiety watching my babies hang over this rail watching all that water rush over the edge!

On the way back there was a nice little field of clover to run in. We promised Kate an ice cream and she really perked up.

Adventure Buddies

It was a great trip. We had a wonderful time, loved seeing everyone, had no flat tires, and no one strangled anyone else (let's not talk about that ear infection/pink eye combo). We didn't even have to stop on the side of a mountain in West Virginia to make a tantruming child do a time out this year! We're making a list of all the other amazing places in America we want to take the girls to see next. They'll love it.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Road Trippers, Vol. 4

This summer, as we have done every other summer since Maggie was six months old, we loaded up The Little Corolla That Could and drove halfway across America to visit family and friends. Mike and I both love road trips, and now we also love that the girls are getting to be quite the little backseat travelling companions. They hung in there beautifully - even across Ohio! - and they seemed to really enjoy the trip, despite the fact that Kate ended up with a scratch on one eyeball, a slight case of pink eye in the other eye, and an ear infection! Good times.

Our first stop is always an overnight stay in Pittsburgh with my college BFF, Val. Her kids are about the same ages as mine, so they were all immediate, fast friends. I was impressed with how well they got along, even though they were tiny the last time they saw one another and probably don't really remember. My girls are missing Noah and Annalise already.

The main portion of these trips is always spent in Indianapolis at the home of my aunt and uncle, who are the most gracious of hosts. Indy is midway between home and home, so my parents can also drive out and meet us in the middle. They usually bring my grandmother with them, but she was unfortunately not up to the trip this year. We missed you, Grandma the Great!

Kate specifically requested to, "swim and swim and swim," which we did and did and did.

This tiny butterfly landed on Mike's shoulder...

...and then it jumped over to Maggie!

It didn't take the girls long at all to get very daring in the water.

The past couple of trips, we've gone to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, the largest children's museum in the world, but this year we decided to visit the zoo instead. Indy has a great zoo! We've been going to both since I was a little kid.

The new orangutan exhibit

Peeking at zebras

Although Kate was strangely-for-her not into it, Maggie was super excited to Race a Cheetah! She ran fast, but a cheetah is faster (the little red lights on the line above light up at the point where a cheetah would've passed you, based on their average land speed).

Kate rode the seahorse on the carousel...

...and Maggie rode the seal. Picking out the animal they liked best was apparently more important than sitting together!

Stealing Dad's Hat

The sharks were too smart to swim close enough for Maggie to grab them.

On the way home, we stopped in Niagara Falls, NY, which we have never done on all our other travels because we either had a moving truck full of all our worldly possessions or a tiny baby child. Stop back by tomorrow and I'll try my hardest to have our photos of our day at the Falls posted. We had the most perfect weather and Mike got some beautiful shots!

"We really love staying in hotels." - Maggie