The Beauty Around Us

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

Posts from the ‘Ontario’ category

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 layers, as it was only 36 degrees when we left home en route Niagara Falls.

Approaching Peace Bridge

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 dew rag that came off, as I removed my helmet.  I needed two hands to put the dew 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 dew 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.  We drove through Niagara Falls to 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.

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.

Griffis Sculpture Park

Griffis Sculpture Park

Griffis Sculpture Park

Griffis Sculpture Park

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 NY State Empire Passport provided free entry to the park.  We made two brief stops, while in the park.

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

We 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.

Entry to Canada Turnstile

Walking 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.

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


I love the sunburst in this photograph of Horseshoe Falls!

Horseshoe Falls

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

American Falls

Horseshoe Falls

American Falls

Seagull flying across American Falls

Canadian Geese



I never tire of seeing Niagara Falls!

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.

I 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.

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

This is the view of falls from Rainbow Bridge.

American Falls

Horseshoe Falls

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.

Our 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.

Horseshoe 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.

Fallsview Casino Resort

We watched this fountain for several minutes.


American Falls

Skylon Tower

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

Looking down Murray Street

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

American 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.

The tallest building is Embassy Suites, where we spent the night.

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

Can you tell that I liked this water fountain?

Falls illumination

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

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.


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.

This 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.

Vantage Point 1 was at the brink of American Falls.

Vantage Point 1 was at the brink of American Falls.

Vantage 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.

American Falls and the Observation Tower

American 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.

The 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.


One 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.

Bob 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!

An Ontario Thanksgiving

It is rare that Bob and I spend the Thanksgiving Day holiday at home. In fact, since we married in September 1998, we have spent only one Thanksgiving Day holiday at home. The majority of our Thanksgiving Day holidays have been spent in Virginia at Bob’s brother’s house or in New Hampshire at his sister’s house. Last year we spent Thanksgiving Day at Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia. This year we decided to spend the Thanksgiving Day holiday in Ontario, Canada.

Both Bob and I worked until noon Wednesday, November 23 . At approximately 1:00 PM we left home en route Niagara Falls, Ontario. When we left Warren, the sky was heavily overcast giving the day a gloomy look. As we approached Buffalo, New York, the sky began to clear.  By the time we reached Canada the sky was blue, and the sun was shining brightly.

We crossed into Canada via the Peace Bridge. It was a speedy crossing; no delay. We followed the QEW to Niagara Falls. We arrived at our hotel (the Best Western Cairn Croft Hotel) around 3:30 PM.  While checking in, I asked to purchase a shuttle pass. On June 30, during our last stay at this hotel, we purchased a shuttle pass. We found the shuttle very convenient and planned to ride it again this visit. However, we learned that the shuttle stopped running, for the season, on September 4. The hotel desk clerk assured us that we would have no difficulty finding parking by the falls on Thursday, as it is a weekday and not a Canadian holiday.

We retired to our hotel room for about 1 1/2 hours before going to dinner. We chose to dine at the Swiss Chalet, located a couple blocks from our hotel. We enjoyed rotisserie chicken dinners. Bob added BBQ ribs to his chicken dinner. We shared a slice of vanilla cheesecake on a graham cracker crust topped with strawberries in syrup. After dinner, on our walk back to the hotel, we stopped at a pet store, where we contemplated bringing home a present for our kitty.

An Ontario Thanksgiving
Don’t you think Patches would like this Kitty Nest?

On Thanksgiving Day we visited Niagara-on-the-Lake, where we spent about an hour browsing the shops and taking pictures. Bob purchased a pair of polarized sunglasses for $6.00 and a Christmas present for me that I picked out (a lighthouse bird feeder!).

Prince of Wales Hotel at Niagara-on-the-Lake

Bell Tower at Niagara-on-the-Lake

George Bernard Shaw statue at Niagara-on-the-Lake

We have visited Niagara-on-the-Lake several times. This is the first time that we saw this statue. I enjoy seeing something new whenever we return to a place that we have been before!

We made a few photo stops, along Niagara Parkway, on our drive back to Niagara Falls.

Brock’s Monument in Queenston Heights Park

We met a couple who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. They climbed to the top of Brock’s Monument, while on their honeymoon. They wanted to climb to the top of the monument again, to see if they would be able to do it. The monument, though, was closed for the season. I didn’t even know that you could climb to the top of this monument. That climb is a *must do*. The view towards Lake Ontario in the north and Niagara Falls in the south on a clear day would be magnificent!

The Niagara Whirlpool and Whirlpool Aero Car

We have stopped at this attraction several times over the years. I have yet to ride this car across the Niagara River. I might become brave enough one day to step on board!

We returned to Niagara Falls in the early afternoon. The hotel desk clerk was correct in her determination that parking near the falls would not be difficult to find. Paid parking was plentiful. We could have parked for free at IHOP, where we ate breakfast; however, we didn’t feel like walking from there to the falls. As we planned to entertain ourselves at the casino, we opted to park in the casino garage. We learned that parking would be free if we gambled using a players card. If we didn’t gamble parking would have cost CAD$20. Our first stop in the casino was at Guest Services, as we did not have players cards. We spent a couple hours in the casino. It would have been less expensive to pay for parking! We ate dinner at the Market Buffet, located in the casino. It wasn’t a traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner but good nonetheless.

After dinner we walked down Niagara Parkway, enjoying the Winter Festival of Lights displays as well as the lighted falls.

the American Falls

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Mickey Mouse

Winter Festival of Lights displays and Skylon Tower

We returned to our hotel around 7:00 PM. We planned to drive around Dufferin Islands to see the Winter Festival of Lights displays there, but forgot!

We had an enjoyable Thanksgiving Day holiday, although the weather could have been warmer! I’m thankful, though, that we didn’t see any snow and ice, as was the case 6 years ago!

A Winter Wonderland

From the Archives …

As winter approaches, my thoughts turn to the beauty of ice and snow. Bob and I experienced this beauty firsthand during an overnight visit in December 2005 to Niagara Falls, Ontario (Canada). This was our first visit to Niagara Falls in the wintertime.

We arrived at the Embassy Suites Hotel in the late morning on December 18th. As expected, our room was not available (check-in time is 4:00PM). The desk clerk told us to check back around 12:30PM, as a room could be available at that time. We left our car with the valet and walked down to the falls. Parking at Embassy Suites Hotel is by valet only, and it cost us CAD$20 to park. We enjoyed walking along the walkway beside the falls. Our walk took us through a winter wonderland of ice- and snow-covered trees, lamp posts and railings.

This is the path that we walked on from our hotel to the falls.

Bob and I, with the American Falls in the background

Horseshoe Falls

I’d be careful standing underneath those ice-covered trees!

We returned to the Embassy Suites Hotel at 12:30PM. We were able to check into our room at that time. Our “room” was a two-room Whirlpool suite — a living room with pull-out sofa and a second room with one King-sized bed and a 2 person Whirlpool. We could see Horseshoe Falls from the bedroom.

View of Horseshoe Falls from our hotel room

We rested for a little while. Then we went to Casino Niagara by shuttle bus. We received complimentary shuttle passes, for use throughout our stay, as part of our hotel package. We spent $20 at the casino but won our money back, so we broke even. After winning our money back we returned, by shuttle bus, to our hotel. It was only 4:00PM; however, we were hungry. The only meal we had eaten was breakfast at the Bob Evans restaurant in Jamestown, New York, at 8:30 that morning. We decided to eat an early dinner. Our hotel package included dinner for two (up to CAD$40) at either The Keg Steakhouse or TGI Friday’s Restaurant, both of which are located at the hotel. We chose to eat at The Keg Steakhouse. We were seated at a table alongside floor to ceiling windows and had a spectacular view of the American and Horseshoe Falls. We enjoyed the view while we ate our steak dinners (cost: CAD$71).

We timed our visit to Niagara Falls to coincide with the 23rd Annual Winter Festival of Lights. 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. After dinner we drove to Dufferin Islands (located about 1 mile from Horseshoe Falls), where we enjoyed a wide variety of animated lighting displays from the comfort of our car. We wanted a closer look at the animated lighting displays at the base of Clifton Hill; however, there was no parking near the displays. We returned to our hotel. We could have taken a shuttle bus (or walked) back to the display area; however; we didn’t have time to do this as we wanted to see the Hydro-Testlatron fountain laser show in the rotunda at Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort Galleria at 7:00PM.

The Hydro-Testlatron Fountain

Hydro-Teslatron Fountain Laser Show was impressive.

The water volume gets turned up, and the fountain appears to grow increasingly out of control.

The water churns and foams and emits a fiery orange-red color.
Electrical charges shoot across the glass dome and down the rotunda walls.

Audience members sitting on marble benches around the perimeter get a buzz, to add to the fun. Guess where Bob and I sat while watching the show? Yes … on one of those benches 🙂

After watching the laser show we returned to the hotel and attended the Evening Manager’s reception. The reception, which included snacks and two alcoholic beverages, was included in our hotel package. After we finished our drinks we retired to our room. We relaxed in the whirlpool and then went to bed. We returned home from Niagara Falls the next day, on December 19th.

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