The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts from the ‘Ontario’ category

Thanksgiving 2017

Based on posts that I have seen on my Facebook news feed, Bob and I spent Thanksgiving Day differently than most of our Facebook friends and family.

We spent Thanksgiving Day in Niagara Falls (Ontario, Canada).

We departed home on Thanksgiving Day at 8:00 am.

Our first stop was in Jamestown NY at Bob Evans restaurant. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast. Bob ordered a Border Scramble Omelet.  I ordered a Farmer’s Choice Breakfast. A woman stopped by our table, shortly before we were done eating, and gave us a $3.00 off coupon. How nice!

We were back on the road at 9:05 am.

We took a different route to Niagara Falls. Instead of driving over Grand Island, we came up the east side of the Niagara River through Tonawanda NY. I noted a few points of interest as we drove through Tonawanda: the East Hill Foundation, the Herschel Carrousel Museum, a U.S. Marine Corps Memorial, and a U.S. Navy Seabees Memorial. We returned home via the same route.  Please keep an eye out for a subsequent blog post about our stop in Tonawanda.

We arrived at Niagara Falls, NY around 11:30 am. Having time to kill before we would be able to check into the Embassy Suites hotel, we stopped at Niagara Falls State Park. We have an NY State Park Empire pass card that provides free admission into NY state parks. We did not need the pass card, as admission was free at Niagara Falls State Park both on Thanksgiving Day and on Black Friday. We took a brisk walk to Prospect Point, where we enjoyed an overlook of the falls. Our walk was brisk because it was a bit nippy outside!  It did feel good, though, getting out of the car after the 2 1/2 hour drive from Jamestown.

We entered Canada via the Rainbow Bridge.  There was light traffic at the border crossing, so we arrived in Canada very quickly.

After a short drive up Clifton Hill and Lundy’s Lane (when we found it), we made our way to the Embassy Suites hotel.  We arrived there at 1:00 pm. Check-in time is at 4:00 pm. Our room was ready, so we were able to check in immediately. Our room was located on the 19th floor, with a view of both the American and Horseshoe Falls. Being a Hilton Honors member has its advantages. We received two bottles of water upon check in.  At the tour desk we purchased two 24-hour WEGO passes at a cost of CA$7.50/ea.  The WEGO bus service is an excellent choice for transportation, while in Niagara Falls.

What a great afternoon / early evening we have had. Using our WEGO passes we rode to Casino Niagara, arriving there around 3:40 pm. We enjoyed Thanksgiving Day dinner (turkey & trimmings) at the Market Buffet, located at Casino Niagara. Our hotel package included several perks. One of the perks was a $30.00 off coupon for dinner for two at The Keg Steakhouse. We opted not to eat at the Keg Steakhouse. It cost us the same, or perhaps even less,to eat at the Market Buffet than it would have cost us at the Keg Steakhouse. Another perk was free slot play. We used CA$25 free slot play at Casino Niagara.  We didn’t gain any money, but we didn’t lose any either! We walked from Casino Niagara to Table Rock, stopping often to take pictures of the illuminated falls and some of the Winter Festival of Lights displays.  Please enjoy the Smilebox slideshow that I created of photographs taken during our walk.

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At 6:15 pm we watched a short fireworks display over Horseshoe Falls.

If the video does not appear in your browser, please click here for the direct link.  In addition, please click on HD for best video quality.

We returned to our hotel, via the WEGO shuttle bus. Soon after returning to the hotel we hung out for a short time at the hotel bar. Bob ordered a double rye whiskey, and I ordered a Diet Cola. Both of our drinks were complimentary, another hotel package perk.  At one point in time I reached for my glass to get a drink of Diet Cola.  It wasn’t Diet Cola, though, that entered my mouth.  I wasn’t paying attention and picked up Bob’s glass accidentally.  Yuck! Yuck!  I do not like rye whiskey, not at all!

At 8:10 pm we watched a second fireworks display from our Fallsview room. I didn’t capture any photographs of the fireworks.  I did, however, capture a couple photographs of the Falls illumination.

_LG25233American Falls
(as seen from Embassy Suites hotel, Room 1901)

_LG25236American and Horseshoe Falls
(as seen from Embassy Suites hotel, Room 1901)

We went to bed around 10:00 pm and awakened too early the next day.  It was 4:00 am.  Neither of us could get back to sleep, so we got up.  We read our hometown newspaper on line, checked out some Black Friday online sales (no purchase made), and skimmed through Facebook news feed.  At 5:00 am we returned to bed and slept until 7:00 am.

We awakened in time to see the sunrise over Horseshoe Falls.

Soon after getting up, we went to the 9th floor for a hot, complimentary breakfast.  Our food selections included made-to-order omelets, scrambled eggs, bakery items, pancakes, potatoes, sausage, ham, a variety of juices and other hot and cold beverages.

After breakfast, we relaxed in our room for about an hour. Then we packed up our stuff to check out. We waited for over 20 minutes for an elevator. It seemed like the elevators were passing right by our floor. I finally called the hotel operator. I didn’t even get to finish my statement to her that several of us had been waiting for an elevator on the 19th floor before she told me that she would send an elevator to us. Within a minute an elevator stopped at our floor.  The elevator was packed, but Bob and I and two more adults and two children (with our luggage) managed to squeeze in.

Before leaving Canada we drove around Dufferin Islands, where we saw several Winter Festival of Lights displays.





Perhaps Bob and I will have an opportunity to return to Niagara Falls before the Winter Festival of Lights ends to see the displays lit up.  The festival ends January 31, 2018.

We crossed over the Rainbow Bridge into New York.

Please keep an eye out for my next blog post about our drive back home.



A Canadian Daycation: Lunch at Walker’s Country Market and Niagara Falls, ON

This blog post continues our daycation to Canada this past Saturday.  In my previous blog post I wrote about our visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake.

We departed Niagara-on-the-Lake around 11:30 am and began our drive on Niagara Parkway to Niagara Falls.

About half way between Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls we stopped for lunch.  We ate lunch at Walker’s Country Market. This is a great little lunch place, off the Niagara Parkway, right next to the Living Waters Wayside Chapel. We purchased two turkey sandwiches (Oven Roasted Turkey Breast with cranberry orange sauce, mayo, walnuts, and romaine lettuce on multigrain whole wheat bread) and two peanut butter ganache brownies for lunch. We sat outside on bistro-style seating and ate our lunch. We would definitely return here for lunch, if in the area. I give Walker’s 5 stars! Next time I would hope that we would do a bit of browsing at the market. There was also fresh produce, jams, maple syrup, ice cream and more available for purchase.  Note to self: box lunches can be purchased at Walker’s Country Market.  A picnic-style lunch at Niagara-on-the-Lake would have been nice!

After lunch we took a few pictures of the Living Water Wayside Chapel.


Living Water Wayside Chapel

According to Internet sources, the Living Water Wayside Chapel is the smallest chapel in the world.


Living Water Wayside Chapel (interior view)

We were back on the road at 12:14 pm and arrived in Niagara Falls at 12:45 pm.

We parked in the Bird Kingdom parking lot ($3.99 for 2 hours).  We walked from there, just past the Hornblower Niagara Cruises entrance.  On hindsight I wish we had parked closer to the falls, as I may have been able to walk all the way down to Horseshoe Falls and back.  My arthritic knee was not very cooperative, while in Niagara Falls.

_LG23042The Falls at Niagara Falls

_LG23045the American and Bridal Falls

_LG23049People, people EVERYWHERE!

_LG23055Horseshoe Falls

_LG23060MistRider Zipline to the Falls


We would have had a good vantage point to watch riders on the zipline.  We stayed at this location for a while and stood alongside the cliff (where all the people are), waiting for someone to ride the zipline.  No one rode the zipline, while we waited.  When I asked if anyone would be riding the zipline soon, I was told that the tailwinds were too strong.

On the way back to our car, we walked through Oakes Garden Theatre.

_LG23072Oaks Garden Theatre

_LG23075This spotted seagull posed for me.

_LG23076Oh look … a wedding party!

We found a fish pond.

_LG23077Goldfish at Oakes Garden Theatre

_LG23079This bridge crosses over the fish pond.
What a tranquil setting!

We stopped at the duty free store before crossing the Rainbow Bridge into New York. We made our purchases at the duty free store, namely bourbon and maple filled cookies. We returned to the USA at 2:30 pm. The U.S. Border control guard asked Bob to remove his sunglasses, asked him how tall he is and how much he weighs. She said our last name is a common name, and some people with that name have done very bad things.

Niagara Falls, NY was too crowded for a pleasant visit.  We will visit Niagara Falls, NY at a later date.

We decided to drive to Erie PA for dinner. We ate dinner at Texas Roadhouse. We had a 15-25 minute wait to be seated. It was worth the wait. Our dinners were good, although we brought enough home with us for another meal for each of us. Neither of us were as hungry as we thought we were.

We were back on the road at 7:50 pm.

We chased Saturday night’s sunset. We saw the setting sun, as we drove over the Interstate 86 bridge that crosses over Chautauqua Lake at Bemus Point, NY. We exited Interstate 86 at Bemus Point. We couldn’t find anywhere to park, as the Bemus Pops Concert series was happening that evening.

LJG23081Sunset at Bemus Point, NY
I snapped this sunset picture from inside our car.

Bob thought he could make it to the Interstate 86 Chautauqua Lake Rest Area before the sun set. We made it there in the nick of time.

LJG23084Sunset at Interstate 86 Chautauqua Lake Rest Area

LJG23085Sunset at Interstate 86 Chautauqua Lake Rest Area

I posted these three sunset pictures on Facebook, while on our way home from the rest area.  My Facebook friend Christi C. said it best, when she made the comment “You chased the sun till it dipped below the world and said good bye for the final time today!”

It was a very long day.  We departed home at 6:00 am and returned home around 9:30 pm.  We drove 340 miles.   It was a long day, but what a wonderful day we had!

A Canadian Daycation: Niagara-on-the-Lake

Our daycation began at 6:00 am on Saturday, July 29. We spent the day traveling to Niagara-on-the-Lake and back home.

Our first stop was a fuel stop at Mobil in Jamestown, NY. Bob attempted to use the Plenti Speedpass app to make a fuel purchase. He received an error “try again later”. Needing fuel, Bob used his Plenti card for the fuel purchase and received regular points rather than the promotional points offered via the Plenti Speedpass. We have until the end of August to purchase at least 10 gallons of gas two more times to receive enough points for $20.00 in free gas. As long as the Plenti Speedpass works properly for our next two fill ups, we shouldn’t have any difficulty meeting the requirement.

Our second stop was for breakfast at Bob Evans, located across the street from the Mobil station. We had a couple minutes of excitement, before entering the restaurant. After stepping out of the car in the parking lot, a hawk in pursuit of a crow nearly took me out as they both swooped by my head! Bob saw the hawk and crow swoop by my head. I didn’t see the birds, until they had flown past me. I did hear a loud screech close to my ear, though, which startled me. The hawk and crow proceeded to a nearby tree, where they took a brief intermission. Soon the crow took off with the hawk continuing pursuit. A second crow entered in the chase as backup. Both crows escaped, last we saw.

For breakfast, Bob ordered a Border Omelet with rye toast and hash browns. I ordered a Western Omelet with wheat toast and home fries. Breakfast was delicious and filling.  We were back on the road shortly after 7:00 am.

At approximately 8:30 am we crossed into Canada via the Peace Bridge. The Canadian border control guard asked Bob questions about guns e.g., does he have a concealed carrying permit (yes), are there any guns in the car (no), what guns does he own. This is the second time this year that Bob has had questions posed to him regarding his concealed carrying permit and guns, when crossing the border into Canada.

We drove to Niagara on the Lake, via the Niagara Parkway.  We parked at Queen’s Royal Park, where we paid for two hours of parking (cost $3.22).  We checked out the view of Old Fort Niagara from Queen’s Royal Park.  We walked a couple blocks to Queen Street and then through Simcoe Park.

IMG_20170729_101339Bob took this picture of my photographing the flowers at Simcoe Park.

_LG22985Simcoe Park Flowers

_LG22987Vendors were setting up for a jazz festival in Simcoe Park.

According to this web page, the jazz festival is an annual event.  This year marks its fourth year.

Leaving Simcoe Park, we continued our walk along Queen Street.  We made several photo stops.

_LG22989Niagara-on-the-Lake is a beautiful city.
In the summertime, everywhere you look are flowers and more flowers!

_LG22992Prince of Wales Hotel
The banner that reads “150” is to commemorate the province of Ontario’s 150th anniversary.

_LG22993A horse and carriage crosses Queen Street.
The Memorial Clock Tower is seen in the background.


A horse and carriage is making its way down Queen Street.
The Memorial Clock Tower is seen in the background.

_LG23000the Memorial Clock Tower

The Memorial Clock Tower, or Cenotaph, has stood in the center of Queen Street since June 3, 1922.  The Clock Tower was built as a memorial to the town residents who were killed in action during the first World War.


More pretty flowers along Queen Street

_LG23004Viking Shop

We stopped in The Viking Shop, where we purchased a solar lighthouse bird feeder.  This is the third lighthouse bird feeder that I have owned since 2012.  The other two bird feeders were destroyed by bears!  For now, at least, I plan to use my new lighthouse bird feeder as a decorative piece in our yard.

This is my new solar bird feeder.  It has two light options: white or multi colored.

_LG23006Statue of George Bernard Shaw

You might be wondering why there is a statue of George Bernard Shaw in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  The city is the home of the Shaw Festival.

We made our way back to Queen’s Royal Park, which is located along the bank of the Niagara River, where the Niagara River empties into Lake Ontario.  We spent 30 minutes or so enjoying the view from Queen’s Royal Park.

IMG_20170729_112859From Queen’s Royal Park there is a fantastic view of historic Fort Niagara, located in Youngstown NY.
Bob took this picture of me with Fort Niagara in the background.

_LG23032Lots of people were enjoying the trail at Queen’s Royal Park.

I captured some very nice photographs of Fort Niagara with my Olympus 40-150mm and 300mm camera lenses.

_LG23022Fort Niagara (NY)

Here are close-up pictures of some of the fort structures that you see in the above photograph.

_LG23019Fort Niagara (NY)

Fort Niagara (NY)

_LG23013Fort Niagara (NY)

We saw lots of boats from our vantage point at Queen’s Royal Park.

_LG23010Sailboats on Lake Ontario

_LG23011Some of the sailboats were very colorful!

_LG23029Colorful Sailboats

From Queen’s Royal Park the Toronto skyline across Lake Ontario can be seen on a clear day.

_LG23036Toronto Skyline

We arrived in Niagara-on-the-Lake at 9:50 am and departed the town, en route Niagara Falls, around 11:30 am.



Surprise Day Trip to Niagara Falls

Bob played hooky from work on Monday, April 10, and surprised me with a day trip to Niagara Falls (Ontario, Canada)! He says we need to get one more use of my passport before it expires! That was a surprise too, as I didn’t realize that my passport was expiring in a few days!

We departed home, en route Niagara Falls, around 8:15 am. We made a fuel stop at Mobil in Jamestown on Route 60 at 8:50 am. Fuel, at $2.49/gallon, was $0.20/gallon less in NY than at home.

We made another stop at Tim Hortons in Fredonia NY for steeped tea…so much better than a tea bag in a cup! Then we hopped onto the New York State Thruway.

We arrived in Canada at 10:25 am via the Peace Bridge. The Canadian border guard questioned Bob at length about guns…are there any guns in the car…do we have guns at home…did he have a concealed weapon permit…why do you have a concealed weapon permit and no concealed weapon. It was the first time that we encountered this line of questioning, when entering Canada.

We followed Niagara Parkway into Niagara Falls. We didn’t make any stops along the way.

In Niagara Falls we paid CA$10 to park along Niagara Parkway for an hour. We walked partway to Horseshoe Falls, stopping often for photo opportunities.

_LG20812Horseshoe Falls

Bob and I in front of the American and Bridal Falls

Before leaving Canada we stopped at the Duty Free shop, where we purchased two 1 liter Jim Beam Black bourbon and two boxes of Maple Cream Cookies.

Monday was one of the best days ever! I am happy that Bob took off work and surprised me with a trip to Niagara Falls.  Our daycation was not yet over either.  We spent some time in Niagara Falls, NY as well, before returning home.  I will share details and photographs of our visit to the American side of the falls in another blog post.

On This Day in 2007 – Niagara Falls Day Trip

The date was May 5, 2007.  We spent the day in Niagara Falls.

After parking the car in Niagara Falls State Park’s Prospect Parking Lot, we walked to Prospect Point for a quick close-up peek of the American Falls.

NiagaraFalls200705_115American Falls

NiagaraFalls200705_117Bob at Prospect Point

After our quick look at the American Falls, we walked across the Rainbow Bridge into Canada.  Our first stop was at the casino, where we quickly lost $65.00 (I lost $40.00; Bob lost $25.00.).  Bob did win back his $25.00 but lost it again.  We walked from the casino to Horseshoe Falls and back (zigzagging along the way so I could see this flower or that statue or a different view of the falls).

NiagaraFalls200705_127Canadian view of American Falls

NiagaraFalls200705_129Daffodils and the American Falls

NiagaraFalls200705_137Horseshoe Falls

King George VI

This statue of Britain’s King George VI,
located in Queen Victoria Park, stands 10′ high.

UntitledKing George VI gazes upon the American Falls.

NiagaraFalls200705_138Carriage rolls by the American Falls

We ate a late lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe.  Bob ordered a Hickory Smoked Pulled-Pork Sandwich; I ordered a Hickory BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger.  Our meals were good.  We have never had a meal at Hard Rock Cafe that we didn’t like!  After lunch we walked across the Rainbow Bridge and back into the USA.

NiagaraFalls200705_157One last view of Niagara Falls, as we walk across the Rainbow Bridge back into the USA.

This is one of many day trips that we have made to Niagara Falls over the years.  I hope one day to share the falls with our granddaughters.

60th Birthday Celebration (Part 2 of 2)

We spent approximately 24 hours in Niagara Falls, Canada, as a continuation for my 60th birthday celebration.  You may read about the first part of my birthday celebration by clicking here.


We awakened early the morning of Saturday, February 27, after a good night’s sleep. How soothing it is to fall asleep to the sound of falling water! Bob got up around 4:00 am, which is usual for him. I got up at 5:00 am.

We watched the sun rise around 7:00 am.

LJG10033 4x6
We watched the sun rise from our hotel room at Embassy Suites Niagara.
We were on the 28th floor, room 2801.

LJG10034 4x6
The sun was a pink glow and lasted for only a short time, as it was quite cloudy at sunrise.

Shortly after sunrise, we went to breakfast. Our Embassy Suites Niagara hotel deal provided for a complimentary hot breakfast. One of the many choices for breakfast was a made-to-order omelet. Sides includes sausage, home fries, French toast, coffee and tea, juices, cereals, fruit, and pastries. It is impossible to go away hungry from breakfast!

At 10:00 am Bob telephoned the Valet and asked that our car be brought up from the parking garage. Within 15 minutes the car had been brought up; we had loaded it with our overnight bag, my tripod and our Internet devices; and we had checked out of the hotel. Valet parking costs CA$35 but is very convenient. The valet will bring your car to you any number of times during your stay, plus it can remain parked at the hotel from arrival until 4:00 pm on the day that you check out of the hotel.

At 10:22 am we hopped onto one of the WEGO Blue Line buses, which stopped in front of our hotel and rode it to the Sheraton on the Falls bus stop on Falls Avenue. From there we walked to Bird Kingdom. According to its website, Bird Kingdom is the “largest indoor free-flying aviary in the world.” This was our second visit to Bird Kingdom.  Our first visit was a number of years ago, in November 2008.  As we did in 2008, we enjoyed our visit very much.

We began our tour of the Bird Kingdom by walking through the Old Museum.  We didn’t spend much time in the museum, in which the history of the Bird Kingdom building is told via displayed photographs.

IMG_20160227_105038 4x6This photo opportunity was provided in the Old Museum.
I don’t know what the Daredevil Barrel had to do with the history of the Bird Kingdom building.
It did, though, provide a good photo opportunity!

 The Explorer Base Camp allows the visitor to get up close and personal with exotic birds, animals and reptiles from around the world.

_LG10036 4x6This is a Chinese Softshell Turtle.

(Bob took this video)

_LG10038 4x6A White Cockatoo greets visitors.

_LG10039 4x6

_LG10040 4x6
Yellow-Headed Amazon

_LG10042 4x6
Green-winged macaw

_LG10044 4x6The Blue-and-Gold Macaw waved hello to us.

_LG10046 4x6
Blue-fronted Amazon

In the Small Bird Aviary we saw small birds that flew freely about us.

_LG10050 4x6a Zebra Finch in the Small Bird Aviary

In the Night Jungle we saw bats, owls and some non-flying creatures of the night.

_LG10055 4x6a Boobook Owl

_LG10057 4x6an Egyptian fruit bat

The Main Aviary features a 50,000 square foot tropical rainforest and a 40 foot waterfall.  The Main Aviary is home to a diverse collection of birds from around the world.

IMG_20160227_112102~2 4x6Our visit to the Main Aviary started at the top level.
(Bob took this picture.)

_LG10059 4x6

_LG10058 4x6
Scarlet Ibis

_LG10062 4x6

IMG_20160227_112344 4x6
We walked behind the 40 ft. waterfall and down to the jungle floor.

_LG10063 4x6Pied Crow

_LG10065 4x6Blue-and-Yellow Macaw

_LG10069 4x6Victoria Crowned Pigeon

_LG10072 4x6Pied Imperial Pigeon

_LG10073 4x6Guinea Turaco

_LG10077 4x6Swainson’s Lorikeet

_LG10079 4x6Nicobar Pigeon

_LG10084 4x6Golden Pheasant

IMG_20160227_114008 4x6

_LG10086 4x6
Eastern Rosella

_LG10087 4x6Giant Wood Rail

_LG10089 4x6Ring Teal Duck

_LG10090 4x6
Silver Pheasant

_LG10094 4x6
From Bird Kingdom we hopped onto one of the WEGO Green Line buses and rode it to Table Rock.   A WEGO Green Line bus stop is just outside the front door of Bird Kingdom. We had close to a 30-minute wait, so we walked to the next stop (Niagara Parkway/Victoria Park) along the Green Line bus route.

IMG_20160227_115941 4x6As we were walking to the bus stop, Bob took this picture of River Road to show the lack of traffic.

At Table Rock I photographed Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls.

_LG10099 4x6Horseshoe Falls at Table Rock

IMG_20160227_122810 4x6Bob took this picture of me, while photographing Horseshoe Falls.

_LG10101 4x6American Falls

Also, at Table Rock, we walked through one of the gift shops, looking but not buying anything.

From Table Rock we rode the Niagara Falls Incline back to Embassy Suites. We could have hopped back on a blue line WEGO bus and saved CA$2.75 each. The incline is a fun experience and was a much faster choice to return to the hotel.

_LG10104 4x6Approach to Falls Incline from Table Rock

_LG10106 4x6
Falls Incline

Back at Embassy Suites (at top of incline) we asked that our car be brought up from the parking garage. Within 15 minutes of our request we were on our way back home. We made two stops on our way home.

Our first stop was at the duty free shop. We used some of our casino winnings from the day before to purchase the following: a 1-liter bottle of Bulleit bourbon, two boxes of maple cream cookies, a bag of biscuits and wafers and two kits to grow crystals at home. We plan to give each of our granddaughters a crystal growing kit as part of their Easter present.

Our second stop was for lunch at Aunt Millie’s in Irving, NY. Bob ordered a beef on weck with French fries for his lunch. I ordered a small meatloaf dinner. For dessert I ordered a slice of peanut butter chocolate pie, and Bob ordered a Brownie Tower. We took home a small piece of my peanut butter chocolate pie and half of the Brownie Tower. That Brownie Tower was huge!

We returned home at 5:00 pm. What was for dinner? Bob finished my peanut butter chocolate pie, and I ate about half of what was left of the Brownie Tower.

This was a wonderful way to celebrate my birthday.  It was a good time, too, to go to Canada.  My friend, Lorraina, left a comment on yesterday’s blog post.  She wrote that I “didn’t mention the great rate and the extra money [we] got for [our] U.S. money… did notice that didn’t you?”  Yes, Lorraina, we did notice how strong the U.S. Dollar is compared to the Canadian dollar.  The currency rate for one Canadian dollar was approximately $0.74 U.S. dollars during our visit.  The favorable exchange rate and the promotional hotel rate made our overnight stay in Niagara Falls quite affordable.



60th Birthday Celebration (Part 1 of 2)

I celebrated my 60th birthday on Tuesday, February 23.  On that day my Facebook news feed exploded with birthday wishes. I can honestly say that my most enjoyable day on Facebook is on my birthday. I counted over 250 birthday wishes from Facebook friends.  When I mentioned to a friend that I didn’t know how I felt about entering this new decade in my life, he told me “You are entering a new decade many have not been able to achieve. Accidents and other life events have kept many from experiencing a day like yours. Celebrate!!” A little while later, I stumbled upon this picture.


I decided to embrace the new decade and live it well, to the best of my ability.

We went to Red Lobster for my birthday dinner, which turned out to be the first of THREE birthday dinners. On our way home from Red Lobster we stopped at Dairy Queen for dessert. We ordered Blizzards, buy one get one free.


My birthday celebration continued on Friday and Saturday. We spent approximately 24 hours in Niagara Falls, Canada. We departed our home in Warren PA at approximately 12:30 pm on Friday and arrived at the Embassy Suites hotel around 3:00 pm. Our hotel room was on the 28th floor, room 2801. We had a corner suite. Our hotel room was comfortable, but it was the smallest suite that we have stayed in at Embassy Suites Niagara.


Our hotel room floor plan
(photo obtained from Embassy Suites Niagara website)


This is the floor plan of my preferred suite, which we reserve when the room rate is affordable.

Preferred hotel room floor plan


Our hotel room had a city view, as well as a view of both the American and Canadian waterfalls.

_LG10001-1 4x6
City View

_LG10002-1 4x6Falls View

At 4:00 pm we attended Embassy Suite’s complimentary evening reception. Light snacks (pickles, raw carrots, pretzels, potato chips and a Cajun Mix) and beverages were provided. Soft drinks were unlimited and free of charge. One alcoholic beverage each was provided free of charge. Bob ordered a double Scotch, using his and my free alcoholic beverage voucher. The manager’s reception was held in the lobby from 4:00-6:00 pm.

Sometime before 5:00 pm we stopped at the concierge desk and purchased two WEGO 24-hour passes for bus transportation throughout the city. The passes cost CA$7.50 each. Also we picked up two CA$25 vouchers for free slot play at either Fallsview Casino or Casino Niagara (Embassy Suites promotional item).  Another promotional item included with our stay at Embassy Suites was a CA$30 voucher for two dinner entrees at TGI Fridays or The Keg Steakhouse or Outback Steakhouse (two locations: across the street from our hotel or on Victoria Avenue).

We decided to eat dinner at the Outback Steakhouse on Victorian Avenue and to use the free slot play at Casino Niagara. We hopped onto one of the Blue Line buses, which stopped in front of our hotel and rode it to the Victoria Ave/Clifton Hill stop. It was a short walk from that stop to Outback Steakhouse. Dinner was excellent. Bob ordered the 11 oz Sirloin Steak dinner entree, and I ordered the Alice Springs Chicken dinner entree. I drank water with my dinner; Bob drank coffee with his dinner. The cost of my SECOND birthday dinner, after the $30 discount, was approximately CA$45.

It was about a 10-minute walk from the Outback Steakhouse to Casino Niagara. It was an entertaining walk, as we walked past several Clifton Hill attractions. Just before arriving at Casino Niagara we came upon the Upside Down House attraction. I said to Bob “Look at that! It’s an upside down house!”

IMG_20160226_180826Bob took this selfie of us in front of the upside down house.

Bob and I didn’t visit any of the Clifton Hill attractions, including the Upside Down house.  Bob says that he visited Clifton Hill attractions many, many years ago.  I haven’t ever visited any of the attractions.  I do enjoy the sights and sounds, while walking Clifton Hill. Perhaps one day I will visit some Clifton Hill attractions.

We soon reached Casino Niagara.  After a stop at the Players Advantage Club desk to add our free slot play to our casino cards, we went in search of slot machines to try our luck. We found penny slot machines and luck was on our side. We walked out of the casino a little richer. Bob won CA$31.90 and I won CA$24.95.

When we left the casino, we just missed the bus back to our hotel. We had a 40-minute wait. Rather than stand at the bus stop, we went for a walk. We caught the bus at the Sheraton On the Falls stop on Falls Avenue.

Back at the hotel, I photographed the waterfalls illuminated by colored lights.

_LG10016-1 4x6Falls Illumination

I sat in front of the window for a while just watching the changing of the colors and listening to the falling water.  We went to bed around 10:00 pm, and I fell asleep to the sound of the falling water.

My birthday celebration will continue in my next blog post.

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I'll give you a piece of my mind

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An English Girl Rambles from 2016 to ....

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