The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Niagara-on-the-Lake ON’

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.

Bob took this picture of me photographing the flowers at Simcoe Park.
Simcoe Park Flowers
Vendors 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.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is a beautiful city.
In the summertime, everywhere you look are flowers and more flowers!
Prince of Wales Hotel
The banner that reads “150” is to commemorate
the province of Ontario’s 150th anniversary.
A horse and carriage crosses Queen Street.
The Memorial Clock Tower is seen in the background.
the 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.

the Memorial Bell Tower
More pretty flowers along Queen Street
Viking 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. My new lighthouse bird feeder has two light options: white or multi colored.

Statue 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.

Queen’s Royal Park; Old Fort Niagara in the background.
Lots 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.

Old Fort Niagara (NY)

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

Old Fort Niagara
Old Fort Niagara

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

Sailboats on Lake Ontario
Some of the sailboats were very colorful!
Colorful Sailboats

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

Toronto Skyline

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


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.

Our 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.

Navy 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…”


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.

Fort 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.

A 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.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Sailing Club Marina

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

Across 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,

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.

Old 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.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Queens Street
Clock Tower

Niagara-on-the-Lake Queens Street
Prince of Wales Hotel

Queens 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.

the 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!


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!

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