Thursday, November 03, 2005

Niagara in the Fall

There are places on earth that defy description. Niagara Falls is one of them. Today our group from the 2005 SITE Conference were treated by the Niagara Falls Tourism Visitors and Convention Bureau to a day of wonderous exploration of the Niagara region.

1st photo: Niagara Falls from the air.

We left Toronto about 9:30 a.m. and drove through the splendorous fall landscape to arrive in Niagara about 11 a.m. The Hilton Fallsview hotel treated us to a reception where I got my first imaging view of the falls. The "ahh" effect from Hilton's falls view bar was audible. After a short tour of the Hilton, we moved on to explore the tunnels behind the falls at Journey Behind the Falls. The legendary Maid of the Mist boats had been pulled for the season only last week and we were disappointed to have missed that voyage.

The Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort, operated by the Canadian government, hosted us for lunch in grand tradition. Unlike casino resorts in the US, the Fallsview casino is separated from the main entry. You don't have to trudge through the bling and ding of the casino to get anywhere in the resort. Great feature for families bringing children along.

2nd photo: Splendorous fall foilage on the road to Niagara Falls.

Knowing the disappointment of not getting wet on the Maid of the Mist, the Niagara tour directors took us up for a bird's eye view in a ride with Niagara Helicopter Tours. Considering that I am married to a professional helicopter pilot, that I've never before lifted off in a helo is somewhat remarkable. To say I enjoyed the ride is an understatment.

3rd photo: The Niagara falls behind us: Denise Dornfeld, Madelyn Marusa, moi, Charmaine Peterson.

Moving along, our group headed downriver for a fabulous progressive dinner hosted by four of the Niagara winemaking region's most commercial wineries. We enjoyed canapes and sparkling wine at Jackson-Triggs; soup entree with a sparkling brut, a mild white and a fruity rose at Hillebrand Estates Winery; venison tenderloin with Yorkshire pudding and a rich red wine at Peller Estates, and concluded with dessert canapes and sparkling ice wine at Inniskillin. The sparkling ice wine was the most delightful taste of the evening and well-chosen for our international group.

4th photo: The wine aging cellar at Jackson-Triggs winery.

We rolled into our hotel at about 10:30 p.m. A couple of our group headed over to the casino to try their luck in Canadian gaming. That report is still outstanding. My room on the 24th floor of the Sheraton Fallsview hotel is incredible. It's very distracting to have one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world right outside my window. This report may have been more eloquent and descriptive, but like I said earlier--Niagara Falls defies description. You just have to see it for yourself.


Anonymous said...

Who are those remarkable beauties poised before the falls in cascading folds of "CRIME SCENE" yellow celephane? At first, I mused "their luminous beauty must be a trick of the light" but then I realized that there really wasn't any light (my personal preference when being photographed). Is the third lady from the left a former Hawaiian Tropics model?

RyanBruner said...

My family used to visit Niagara Falls every year. However, for my 3-year Anniversary (7 years ago), my wife and I decided to have a vacation there. We were miserable most of the time. THe place has grown so unbelievably commercial. I was horribly saddened to see that one of our favoriate places there (which was sort of like a mini-carnival in a building) had been razed, with a casino in its place.

Still, the site of the falls is worth it. Funny story, though. We stayed two nights in the Cairn Croft Best Western, which is where our family used to stay. Nice yet inexpensive hotel. But we decided to splurge, and spend one night in what was, at the time, the Days Inn Overlooking The Falls. How romantic to be there, looking down from our window seeing one of the modern marvels of Niagara: The Parking Lot. Needless to say, we were pretty upset, and wished we were back in the Cairn Croft. There were no falls in sight.

Ovation Leader said...

While looking across the Niagara landscape, I tried to imagine the falls in its natural setting. While the cities on both sides of the border have grown and changed to accommodate the thousands of people who visit the area each year, the falls itself remains as breathtaking as ever.

Thanks for sharing your recollections, Ryan. I hope that next time you go, you'll get a really great view from the Canadian side. For a lovely Anniversary room, check out the Sheraton at the Falls hotel--they have fireplaces, jacuzzi tubs, and a little balcony in each room. Very romantic.


k. wilkens said...

Sounds like you had fun at the Falls! I've been there several times and always enjoy seeing the unleashed power of nature!