The Beauty Around Us

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Posts from the ‘Ontario’ category

A Mini Getaway

We spent the night of Sunday, December 6th, in Niagara Falls, Ontario. We departed Warren PA at approximately 10:00 am. We drove to Niagara Falls via NY Route 5. We crossed the Peace Bridge into Canada and followed the Niagara Parkway to Niagara Falls. We arrived at our hotel, Embassy Suites, around 1:00 pm. The regular check-in time is 4:00 pm. When I made our hotel reservation, I requested an early check in. The hotel was able to check us in upon our arrival.

Our spacious, luxurious two-room suite was on the 23rd floor (room 2316), with a view of Horseshoe Falls.

20151206_183836470_iOS 4x6Horseshoe Falls
(view from our hotel room)

Soon after checking in, we ate a picnic lunch in our hotel room.  We had picked up the grocery items for a picnic lunch at a grocery store, en route Niagara Falls.

We stayed in our room, relaxing, until 4:00 pm at which time we rode the elevator down to the 9th floor to The Keg Steakhouse for dinner.  Our hotel accommodation included a $30 (Canadian $) dinner credit for The Keg Steakhouse.  Bob and I both ordered chicken entrees. My dinner was Supreme Chicken Breast, which was pan seared and roasted.  My dinner was served with twice baked potato and broccolini. Bob’s dinner was Seafood Chicken Deluxe, which was boneless chicken breast accompanied by scallops, shrimp, and crab meat, and served on garlic mashed potato and steamed asparagus.  As we ate dinner, we admired the view of the American and Horseshoe Falls as the sun set.

20151206_213114733_iOS 4x6This was our view, while eating dinner at The Keg Steakhouse.

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We watched the sky change color, as the sun set, while we were eating dinner.

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After dinner, we dropped by the complimentary evening reception (held across the hall from The Keg Steakhouse) to pick up a double Scotch and pickles (for Bob) and a snack mixture for me to take to our room.

Around 5:45 pm we left the hotel for a walk alongside the falls. We rode the nearby Falls Incline Railway to Table Rock.

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Falls Incline

We timed our visit to Niagara Falls to coincide the Winter Festival of Lights.  The Winter Festival of Lights is an annual event.  This year’s event began on November 21 and will continue until January 31, 2016.   The principle lighting area for the Winter Festival of Lights is a five-kilometer route stretching from Queen Victoria Park at the base of Clifton Hill along the Niagara Parkway to Dufferin Islands.  We saw only a small fraction of the illuminated displays, as we walked along Niagara Parkway from Table Rock to Murray Street.

_LG19299 4x6Illuminated display at Falls Incline Railway

_LG19307 4x6Illumination of Horseshoe Falls

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Skylon Tower
and
Illuminated Displays

_LG19321 4x6Illumination of American Falls

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Skylon Tower
and
Illuminated Displays

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Murray Street
and
Illuminated American Falls

_LG19326 4x6Murray Street Pedestrian Bridge
I loved the snowflakes and big horn sheep displays along Murray Street!

It was very nice to walk alongside the falls in December and not get cold and not get wet! We climbed Murray Street and then walked back to Embassy Suites via a walkway between our hotel and the Fallsview Casino Resort.

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Fallsview Casino and Galleria
The casino lights changed colors, from green to blue to red to red and green.

We returned to the hotel around 7:15 pm.  Back at the hotel we made use of the Jacuzzi and spent the remainder of the evening in our room.

At 7:00 the next morning we took the elevator to the 9th floor, where we enjoyed a complimentary breakfast.  In addition to breakfast items that we are accustomed to when staying at Best Western Plus hotels, Embassy Suites provided made-to-order omelets as well.  Bob and I ordered omelets for breakfast.

We walked to the Fallsview Casino a little later in the morning to play the $25 (Canadian $) free slot play that we had received as a promotional item from the hotel.  We played and lost.  We departed the hotel, en route home, soon after our return from the casino.

Our mini getaway was a very relaxing time.  Perhaps we will have an opportunity to return to Niagara Falls before the Winter Festival of Lights ends.

 

Lots of Miles for a Lunch and Dinner Date

Bob and I spent the day, Saturday (8/29), mainly on the road. We left home (Warren, PA) around 8:30 am.  We drove to Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada. We crossed into Canada via the Peace Bridge and followed the QEW to Niagara-on-the-Lake.  We had a picnic for two at Paradise Grove, located just south of Niagara-on-the-Lake along the Niagara River.

20150829_155951240_iOSOur picnic table

We found this picnic area by driving south on Queen’s Parade, turning left onto Ricardo Street. The picnic area was on the right.

After lunch we drove a little farther down Ricardo Street and parked at the Navy Hall, just down the hill from Fort George. We had just gotten out of the car, when a Canadian man approached us to ask if we had jumper cables. His motorcycle wouldn’t start. We did have jumper cables with us. This man and another pushed the motorcycle over to our car. Bob connected the cables to our battery, and the rider connected the cables to his motorcycle battery. The rider turned on his ignition, pressed the starter button and the motorcycle roared to life immediately. Afterward, the rider made the comment that he just realized that we were from the States…not that it mattered.

After Bob had jumped the motorcycle, we checked out the Navy Hall.

_LG17745 4x6Navy Hall

According to a Wikipedia article, “Navy Hall is a wooden structure encased within a stone structure that was the site of …Ontario’s…first provincial parliament, from 1792–1796. It is a unit of Fort George National Historic Site…  It sits on Ricardo Street near the shore of the Niagara River, near Fort George, and across the river from Fort Niagara. …After Parliament left, the building was used as a dining hall by officers from nearby Fort George. Destroyed by U.S. artillery fire in the War of 1812, some of the fort’s buildings were re-built by the British, and today’s Navy Hall is the only one remaining of that reconstruction. It…became.a barracks for British troops in 1838, during the Rebellion of 1837-38. It served as a medical commissary during World War I for Canadian troops… During the 1930s, it was moved to its present site by the Niagara Parks Commission and encased in stone…”

 

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Simcoe Memorial on the grounds of Navy Hall

John Graves Simcoe was the First Governor of Ontario from 1791 to 1796.  On September 17, 1792 he presided over the first provincial parliament.  You may read more about Simcoe and his wife by clicking here.

After walking the Navy Hall grounds, we walked up the hill and to the right to the entrance of Fort George.

_LG17752 4x6Fort George

The official website for the Fort George National Historic Site provides the following short summary about Fort George: “Overlooking the Niagara River, Fort George was built between 1796 and 1802. This fortification served as the headquarters for the Centre Division of the British Army during the War of 1812, and played a pivotal role in the defence of [Ontario]. Fort George saw action during the Battle of Queenston Heights, was destroyed and captured by the Americans during the Battle of Fort George, and was reclaimed by the British seven months later.” We have passed by Fort George on past visits to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Saturday was the first time we went as far as the entrance to the fort.  It would have been a good day to visit Fort George on Saturday, as over 200 years of Niagara’s military history was being commemorated.

_LG17753 4x6A tank approached, while we were standing near the entrance to Fort George!

Inside the fort were displays featuring uniforms, weaponry and period military vehicles from the War of 1812, First and Second World Wars, and more. Demonstrations were being held throughout the day. The demonstrations included fife & drum, artillery and tactical.  Neither of us were willing to part with the C$11.70 each to step foot into the fort. Perhaps another day …

From the Navy Hall we drove a short distance along Ricardo Street, where we found parking near Nelson Street. We put 5 quarters into a parking meter for 50 minutes. Later we found that we could have parked on Nelson Street for free, as the parking meters were broken! We walked down Nelson Street, alongside the Niagara-on-the-Lake sailing club marina, to the Niagara River and a waterfront trail.

_LG17754 4x6Niagara-on-the-Lake Sailing Club Marina

_LG17755 4x6Niagara-on-the-Lake Sailing Club Marina,
as seen from gazebo near waterfront trail.

_LG17756 4x6Across the Niagara River is Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown, NY.

The waterfront trail was entered via a gate that had a sign that read “no exit”. The Niagara River was to our left and a residential area to our right. Private property signs were posted everywhere, except on the trail. We walked to the end of the trail, which was quite short,

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We could see a lighthouse at the end of the waterfront trail.

We turned around at the location where we saw the lighthouse and took the trail back to Ricardo Street.

We still had time on the parking meter, so we walked the short distance to Melville Street, at the base of which is the whirlpool jet dock. Just past the dock, there was a nice view across the Niagara River of Old Fort Niagara.

_LG17762 4x6Old Fort Niagara

We returned to our car (18 minutes still remaining on the meter) and continued our drive along Ricardo Street. We passed by Queens Royal Park, from where we had seen Old Fort Niagara in past visits, and turned left to make our way back to Queens Street. We turned left onto Queens Street and followed it to the Niagara Parkway, passing by the clock tower, the Prince of Wales hotel and lots and lots of flowers along the way.

_LG17764 4x6Niagara-on-the-Lake Queens Street
Clock Tower

_LG17766 4x6Niagara-on-the-Lake Queens Street
Prince of Wales Hotel

_LG17768 4x6Queens Street
Niagara-on-the-Lake is a very lovely town!

We followed the Niagara Parkway to Niagara Falls, not making one stop along the way.

In Niagara Falls we stopped at the duty-free shop, where Bob purchased two bottles of whiskey. I took one picture of the falls from the parking lot.

_LG17772 4x6the American Falls,
as seen from the parking lot of the duty-free shop

We crossed into New York via the Rainbow Bridge. We didn’t stop in Niagara Falls, NY. Once on I-190, I asked Bob if he would like to go to Erie, PA for dinner (and to check out the Once Upon a Child store for vintage Fisher Price Little People accessories to go with a play house that I purchased recently at a garage sale). Bob readily agreed.

We arrived in Erie around 4:30 pm. We ate dinner at Texas Roadhouse. After dinner, we went to the Once Upon a Child store. We didn’t find any Little People accessories. We fueled up at the Sam’s Club and headed back home. Upon arriving home, I checked the trip odometer.  The odometer showed that we had driven 327 miles for a lunch and dinner date 🙂  What a great husband and a wonderful life we have!

 

Memorial Day Weekend: Saturday

On Saturday, May 23, we spent the day riding. We left home at 8:30 am. I had put the liner back in my leather jacket and dressed in layer, as it was only 36 degrees when we left home en route Niagara Falls.

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We crossed into Canada via the Peace Bridge. We had no delay crossing into Canada; however, the border crossing guard was a bit brusque. After we (and others) had entered the lane to his booth, he closed the lane.  I believe his brusqueness was due to his desire to take a break or to end his work shift.  The guard had us remove our helmets, not an easy task when one hand is holding passports. He could see I was having a little trouble handling my helmet and handing over the passports to him. He made no effort to help ( e.g. he did not step closer to reach the passports). I had trouble putting my helmet back on.  I was wearing a doo rag that came off, as I removed my helmet.  I needed two hands to put the doo rag back on, so I just put on my helmet.  I stuffed our passports in my jacket pocket.  We stopped soon after getting on Niagara Parkway so that I could put on my helmet properly, with doo rag underneath it. Bob placed our passports in a locked cubicle on the dashboard.

We drove along Niagara Parkway to Niagara Falls, enjoying the beautiful views of Niagara River along the way.

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We drove through Niagara Falls to Rainbow Bridge  Please click on the image above to watch a drive-by video of Niagara Falls, as we rode along Niagara Parkway and over the Rainbow Bridge.

The crossing into the United States was more hectic than the crossing into Canada. There were cars and people EVERYWHERE! Niagara Falls State Park’s parking Lot 1, located near the Niagara Falls Visitor Center, was full. Niagara Falls State Park’s parking Lot 2, located on Goat Island near the entrance to the Cave of the Winds tour and Top of the Falls Restaurant, was full as well.  We were directed to another parking lot somewhere on Goat Island, but the line was very long entering that parking lot.  We decided not to go for a walk in Niagara Falls this trip.  I much prefer visiting Niagara Falls off season, or at least not on a holiday weekend!

We began our ride back home.  We traveled by way of Route 219.  We made a fuel stop in Springville, NY and ate lunch at the nearby Ponderosa Steakhouse.

Prior to arriving in Ellicottville, NY we stopped at Griffis Sculpture Park–the largest outdoor sculpture park in the United States. For over 42 years, the steel sculptures of Larry Griffis, Jr. and other international artists have been residing in the woods, fields, and even ponds of Griffis Sculpture Park. The 400 acre park is located eight miles outside of Ellicottville near Ashford Hollow, NY (Cattaraugus County). Griffis Sculpture Park is split into two sections, the Rohr Hill Road Site and the Mill Valley Road Site. We visited the Rohr Hill Road Site, where a majority of the sculptures are visible from the road.

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We wandered about the meadow and the woods of the Rohr Hill section of the park, while I snapped pictures of some of the sculptures.

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Who would have thought that you could find something so beautiful in a meadow in the middle of nowhere!

Rather than take Interstate 86 home, we drove through the Allegany State Park via ASP Route 1.  Our Empire Passport provided free entry to the park.  We made two brief stops, while in the park.

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We stopped at the Red House Administration Building, where we purchased a bottle of water at the Gift Shop.

_LG15469 4x6We stopped alongside Quaker Lake.

From Allegany State Park we took Routes 280, 321 and 59 home.

We returned home at 5:45 pm. Our trip odometer indicated that we put approximately 280 miles on the motorcycle.  By the way, it began to reach a comfortable temperature around 3:30 pm!

Niagara Falls Day Trip

It was much easier for me to get up at 6:00 am this past Sunday morning than it was a week ago.

We departed home shortly before 7 am en route Niagara Falls. This time we remembered our passports. We made two stops on our way to Niagara Falls.  Our first stop was in Jamestown at Tim Horton’s for breakfast for Bob.  I ate breakfast at home, before we left.  Bob ordered coffee and bacon wraps for breakfast. Our second stop was also at Tim Horton’s.  We stopped at the Tim Horton’s along Route 60 in Fredonia, NY. I bought steeped tea for me and donuts for Bob and me. I could have done without the apple fritter, and Bob could have done without the maple-dipped donut. Both of us are putting on weight and neither of us like it!

Upon arriving at Niagara Falls State Park, we parked our car and went to the Visitor Center to go to bathroom. After our bathroom run, we walked across the Rainbow Bridge into Canada.

_LG12888 4x6Entry to Canada Turnstile

_LG12889 4x6Walking across Rainbow Bridge to Canada

We walked all the way to the brink of Horseshoe Falls. I didn’t take many pictures, while walking to Horseshoe Falls. In fact my first waterfall picture was taken at the brink of Horseshoe Falls.

_LG12893 4x6At this point, we are nearing the brink of the falls.  Our hotel of choice, when we overnight in Canada, is the Embassy Suites..

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I love the sunburst in this photograph of Horseshoe Falls!

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Horseshoe Falls

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I took lots of pictures, as we made our way back to New York.

_LG12906 11x15American Falls

_LG12907 11x15Horseshoe Falls

_LG12918 11x15American Falls

_LG12937 11x15Seagull Flying Across American Falls

_LG12942 11x15Canadian Geese

_LG12950 4x6Squirrel

 

_LG12962 11x15I never tire of seeing Niagara Falls!

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One of our last stops before returning to New York was a bathroom break.  This Red Hat Society display was inside the ladies’ restroom.

Before crossing the Rainbow Bridge back into the US, we stopped at the duty free shop and purchased 2 liters of whiskey. A similar purchase was made the weekend of February 22.

_LG12975 11x15I will say it again.  I never tire of seeing Niagara Falls!

We departed Niagara Falls around 11:30 am and stopped for lunch at Aunt Millie’s in Irving, NY. Bob ordered steak and eggs with home fries and rye toast. He really liked the Smoked Chipotle Tabasco Sauce that was on the table. (I purchased a bottle of that Tabasco Sauce for Bob at Walmart yesterday.)  My lunch was Chicken Parmesan with a side order of spaghetti. A tossed salad and garlic toast accompanied my meal. We should have stopped there, eaten only our main entrees. But, no, we had to order dessert. Bob got a cinnamon roll for dessert. I got a Reese’s brownie/cookie.

20150329_174503498_iOSMy Reese’s Brownie/Cookie

After a couple bites, we boxed our desserts to be savored later.  I paid dearly for that brownie/cookie, after savoring it later.  I experienced an upset stomach and the worse heartburn.

With the exception of our sugary indulgences, it was a very good day. Even though it was a chilly Spring day, we enjoyed the sunshine and our walk in Canada.

Niagara Falls Weekend Getaway (Saturday, Part 1)

We were up by 5:00 on Saturday morning (February 21st), which wasn’t surprising as we were in bed by 8:30 the night before.  Because of the early start to our day, we had accomplished quite a bit by 10:00 am.

By 10:00 am we had eaten a hot breakfast at the hotel. It was a snowy day, but warmer than yesterday.  We walked across Rainbow Bridge into Canada, took several pictures, and stopped at the duty-free shop for whiskey before walking back across Rainbow Bridge into New York. We walked to Prospect Point and all the way to Terrapin Point on Goat Island.  By 10:00 am we were back at the hotel, warming up. Warming up was better than the thawing out that we did yesterday afternoon, after our trek to Prospect Point!

In this blog post I will share some of the photographs that I took, while in Canada.

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Bob took this photograph of me, while we were crossing the Rainbow Bridge.

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This is the view of falls from Rainbow Bridge.

M2212275 4x6American Falls

M2212276 4x6Horseshoe Falls

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One last photograph of the American Falls, as viewed from Canada

 Stay tuned.  I will share the photographs that I took in New York on Saturday in my next blog post.

 

An Overnight Stay in Niagara Falls

We spent the night of Sunday, June 23, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Niagara Falls, Canada.  Our hotel accommodation was a room on the 37th floor, with a great view of both the American and Horseshoe waterfalls.

P6231582 4x6Our view from Room 3710

We spent our entire stay at or near the hotel.  We did not walk alongside the falls.  We have visited the falls so many times over the years.  It was nice for one time NOT to be among the crowd of people at the falls.  We had lovely views of the falls, though, from our room as well as from a walkway between our hotel and the Fallsview Casino Resort.

P6231608 4x6Horseshoe Falls
(view near the Niagara Falls Incline Railway)

The incline railway is currently being upgraded.  When the incline reopens, it will be enclosed and passengers will be able to ride it year round.

P6231584 4x6Fallsview Casino Resort

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We watched this fountain for several minutes.

P6231589 4x6American Falls

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Skylon Tower

The pedestrian bridge crosses over Murray Street.  We enjoyed the view of the American Falls, while standing on this bridge.

P6231597 4x6Looking down Murray Street

We returned to our room, after our walk.  I went straight to the window overlooking the falls.

P6231603 4x6American Falls
See the rainbow lying across Niagara River?

A manager’s reception was included as part of our hotel package.  After a short rest in our room, we rode the elevator to the 9th floor, where the reception was held. We enjoyed complimentary alcoholic beverages and snacks.  We didn’t eat too many snacks, as we planned to go straight to dinner from the manager’s reception.  We ate dinner at TGI Friday’s, which was located in the hotel on the lobby level.  Bob ordered a fish dinner; I ordered a chicken dinner.  We both enjoyed our meals.  The portions were hearty, so another walk was in order after dinner.

P6231614 4x6The tallest building is Embassy Suites, where we spent the night.

When we returned to the hotel, night was beginning to fall.

E6231608 4x6Can you tell that I liked this water fountain?

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E6231614 4x6Falls illumination

At 10:00 pm we enjoyed a fireworks display from the comfort of our room.

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Neither Bob nor I had seen fireworks over the falls before. The sight is something we will not forget!

Fireworks displays are held, weather permitting, at 10:00 pm every Friday, Sunday and on select holidays  through Sunday, September 1st.

I will share one last photograph with you.  This is the view that greeted me, when I opened the curtain on Monday morning.

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What an enchanting view to wake up to!

Before checking out of our hotel on Monday morning, we enjoyed a complimentary hot breakfast.  We had a choice of made-to-order omelets or a variety of selections from the buffet.  Breakfast was very good and made even better because we sat alongside a floor-to-ceiling window with a view of the falls.

We crossed over Rainbow Bridge into New York.  Our hotel package included $50.00 free slot play at the Seneca Niagara Casino.  It wasn’t our lucky day; however, we didn’t spend any of our own money playing the slots.

What a nice night away, one that I hope to repeat some day in the future!

My Birthday at Niagara Falls

Bob and I celebrated my birthday (February 23) in Niagara Falls.

We opted to spend the night in Niagara Falls, rather than drive up and back the same day.  We spent the night at Comfort Inn The Pointe in Niagara Falls, NY.  The hotel is centrally located.  We were one block from the Seneca Niagara Casino, and the entrance to Niagara Falls State Park was right outside our front door.  We were within walking distance of several restaurants, both in New York and in Canada.

Soon after checking into our hotel, we went for a walk.

photoThis mural was painted on the side of a building near our hotel.
Can you tell how happy I was to be in Niagara Falls on my birthday?

We went for a short walk to Prospect Point, where we viewed the falls from two different vantage points.

P2230080 4x6Vantage Point 1 was at the brink of American Falls.P2230081 4x6

P2230082 4x6Vantage Point 2 was the view of the American and Horseshoe Falls from the Observation Tower.

We went for a short walk because it was lunch time, and we were hungry.  We ate lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe.  While we were eating lunch, Bob asked if I wanted to walk over to Canada.  I thought it a good idea; however, we did not bring our passports with us.  Well, little did I know!  Bob did bring the passports with him.

After lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, we walked across Rainbow Bridge into Canada.

P2230093 4x6American Falls and the Observation Tower

P2230096 4x6American Falls

So, Saturday was my birthday.  Are you wondering how old I am?  In Canada, after taking a couple photographs of the falls, Bob and I walked toward the corner of Clifton Hill and Falls Avenue — the location of a clothing store in which I wanted to shop.    As we approached a crosswalk, a lady caught my eye and smiled at me.  When I smiled back at her, she told me that she liked my hat.   The three of us ended up walking in the same direction for a while.  I learned that she was from Australia and in Canada on business.  She thought Bob and I were from Canada because of the hat I was wearing.  I told her that we were from Pennsylvania and that we purchased the hat in Canada.  In fact we were on our way to the clothing store in which I purchased the hat.     I also mentioned that we were spending the night in Niagara Falls to celebrate my birthday.  She asked me how old I was.  When I told her that I was 57 years old, she did a double look at me.  “No”, she said; “you don’t look a day over 40!”  Such a sweet lady!

The Australian lady parted ways with us at the clothing store on the corner of Clifton Hill and Falls Avenue.  We made a small purchase in the clothing store.  When Stacey first saw my Canadian hat, she wanted it.  Now, Stacey will have her own Canadian hat.

Our final stop, before walking back over Rainbow Bridge into New York, was at the duty-free shop.  I took these two photographs from the parking lot of the duty-free shop.

P2230098 4x6The bridge you see is the Rainbow Bridge.  The tall building to the left of the bridge is the Seneca Niagara Casino.  Our hotel was to the right of the bridge, near the tall brown building.

P2230100 4x6One last glimpse of the American and Horseshoe Falls

Bob purchased a bottle of Maker’s Mark at the duty-free shop.  It was a 1 liter bottle of whiskey that was priced lower than what is available at home in 750ml bottles.  This was the first time that we made a purchase at the duty-free shop, while on foot.  One of the shop attendants walked us to the border crossing, ensuring that we left Canada with Bob’s bottle of Maker’s Mark.

P2230105 4x6Bob took this photograph of me, soon after we returned to New York.  It had been at least a couple hours since we had sat down.  It felt good to sit!

Later in the day we walked to the Seneca Niagara Casino.  I had hoped for some birthday luck.  No such luck.  The one-armed bandits were not kind to us.

We ate dinner that night at TGI Friday’s.

Bob spoiled me very well for my birthday by spending the night in Niagara Falls with a birthday lunch AND a birthday dinner.  I am a lucky girl to have such a sweet man for a husband.  Thank you, Bob, for a wonderful birthday weekend!

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