Well, we had quite the adventurous weekend.
On Thursday morning Evan and I drove to the Buffalo airport to pick up these two cheeky American cats.
Fabian and Paula. I mentioned in my last post (and several other times) that Paula and I met through our blogs a few years ago and decided that we needed to be real friends. Evan and I met her and Fabian for real a little over two years ago when we stayed with them while we were in Florida, and we had such a good time. We had been talking a lot about them coming to visit us in Ontario, so I was really excited we could finally make it happen. The four of us have only met once before but I feel like we have known them forever. Fabian said this too. It is a cool thing.
I was absolutely giddy as soon as we picked them up, and when I hugged Paula at the airport she was all “Did you just wrap your leg around me?!” Yes, yes I did.
It was convenient to get them in Buffalo because it’s only about a two hour drive from us, and they had never seen Niagara Falls, which is right on the border. So that was the first leg of Paula and Fabian’s Great Canadian Adventure.
That stuffed parrot is Alan Barkin, and I know Paula is planning on explaining him so I will just briefly tell you that Alan was spending his days in a crane game until they rescued him, and now he is living the life.
Our first stop was the hotel, the Marriott Fallsview on the Canadian side, where we were staying (not to be confused with the Marriott Gateway on the Falls, they are two different hotels). We all bunked in one room to save moolah, and we obviously needed a room with a falls view, because who knows when any of us will be back! Here was our view:
After checking in we hit the street. If you’ve never been to Niagara Falls, please know the view is beautiful right from the street.
None of us had eaten lunch yet so that was our first activity on the agenda. We went to The Secret Garden since we were over in that area and we noticed they had a patio. With interesting trees.
Fabian and I both ordered the ham and cheese croissant with fries, and I poutined my fries because poutine.
It was Paula and Fabian’s first poutine experience (first Molson Canadian experience also!) and sadly it was not the best example of poutine. The gravy wasn’t great and the cheese was just shredded cheese and not cheese curds (very important), but they got the idea. The croissant was okay, though for some reason both Fabian and I expected it to be warm and melty and it was cold and dry. Warm and melty would have been better, but what can ya do. Evan loved his fried eggplant sandwich though, so I might dabble up in that if I go there again. And I’ll tell you where the Secret Garden redeemed itself for me, the dessert.
Just insanely good. An ice cream sandwich with two homemade chocolate chip cookies and cookie dough ice cream.
After lunch we headed over to the Hornblower, the new boat formerly known as the Maid of the Mist. It was definitely a must-do for us, Evan and I haven’t even done it before!
They hand you some pretty sweet pink ponchos before you get on the boat, since, you know, it is misty.
The Hornblower goes by the American falls first, and there was a pretty rainbow.
And then heads over to the horseshoe falls.
I kind of felt like we were in the middle of a hurricane.
The entire tour is about 20 minutes or so, but definitely worth it. It’s a good time and I am glad we did it!
I saw a sign somewhere that said Niagara Falls is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, but it actually is not, though many people feel it should be. It is still quite a natural wonder even if it is not one of THE natural wonders.
After the Hornblower we walked around the falls for a while, looking at all the touristy things and taking advantage of all the photo ops.
We went to the very end of the street, where the falls start, and I think watching the water rush over the ledge was a highlight for me. It is really crazy how fast it flows over the rocks.
Pictures do not do it justice. It is amazing and I feel like everyone needs to see it at least once.
We had a fairly late lunch, so after our walk we hit up Spyce Lounge for some pre-dinner drinks. We had a perfect people-watching spot on the patio, with a view of the Fallsview Casino.
There are no people to watch in the above photo, so you’ll just have to trust me it was good for that.
I eventually switched to beer, but I started with a Caesar.
Because it’s a drink and a snack all in one!
We stayed for a few rounds and then hit up Coco’s for dinner. It was a bit chilly but we were all on the same page about sitting on the patio. Any time I can patio, I will patio.
We all shared two kinds of pizza, the Americana (which was really funny because the exact same pizza at Spyce Lounge was called the Great Canadian, so they may want to sync up on that…)
And also a margherita pizza. I was really impressed with both, definitely would recommend eating there. I also recommend Copacabana Brazilian Steak House, we went there one year for my friend Joanna’s birthday (the time we met Vanilla Ice) and it is EXCELLENT. But we’ve all done the all-you-can-eat Brazilian meat before so we decided to switch it up. And Paula and I both agreed that if we ate too much meat we wouldn’t be able to drink, and that would be no good.
We hung out on the patio drinking and catching up until the place closed down, and then we walked to the falls again for night viewing.
Obviously much better in person.
We ended the day with a stop in the casino, just to check it out.
In the morning we pretty much just got up and got ready to go, as we were headed to Evan’s cottage and wanted to have most of the day there. I truly do think that one day in Niagara Falls (not including Niagara on the lake) is enough time to take it all in, unless there is anything specific you want to do (like a wax museum or something). And we even had a celeb sighting! While we were waiting for the hotel valet to bring us the car Joey Pantoliano (The Matrix, The Sopranos, Daredevil, etc) walked right by us. I don’t think I ever would have recognized him but Evan spotted him immediately. He totally recognized Evan recognizing him, but he was on the phone so we didn’t chase him down or anything. Just took a sneaky picture of his back.
Hard to tell in this photo but he was looking pretty snazzy. Evan, our resident researcher, found out later for us that he was there for a Comic Con Ottawa, and so was Jason Priestley! I wish I had known that earlier because I may have done some stalking. Joey Pants was definitely a good ending to our Niagara time though. On to the cottage!