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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Quick Trip to Niagara Falls

On Tuesday, Mr and I hopped in the car and took off for a quick trip to Niagara Falls. We finally got to use our passports, after having them for 16 months!! I planned out our trip and included a bunch of stops at antique shops and thrift stores. I planned for the trip to be longer, and to include an excursion into Toronto, but Mr has a hard time being away from homefor too long these days, so we came home today.

I've never been to Niagara Falls, and was told by many people that the Canadian side was the best, so we stayed on the Canadian side at the Embassy Suites Hotel. I wasn't prepared for the additional parking fees! I saw that there was on-site parking,  but didn't see that the charge was $65 a day! We could have had off-site parking (2 miles away) for $35 a day, but I couldn't bring myself to spend that just for parking.

I remembered passing a welcome center when we first got into town, so I drove back and asked about cheaper parking. The attendant told me to check out the OK Gift shop that was located directly across the street from the hotel. I got a parking spot for $15 for the night, and it was less than a block of walking to get to the hotel! SCORE!! The best part was, I could see the car from our room!!

I specifically chose "off-season" to avoid the crowds (Mr doesn't like crowds), but it was swarming with people. The hotel was packed!!! We ended up on the 33rd floor, and we got a bunch of freebies and vouchers.

When I opened our room door, I walked in on the housekeeper cleaning it! She apologized profusely, and told us she was shocked that they gave us a key card since she hadn't reported the room as ready. She let us stow our bags in the room and we took off for the lounge on the 9th floor to use our coupons for free cocktails while we waited.

We got Sangria and sat and munched on pretzels and carrots while we took in the surroundings. I couldn't imagine what it would be like during peak season! People were everywhere! Our room was amazing! It was actually two rooms, the first had 2 pull-out couches, a table and chairs and a tv. Then a little hallway with a counter, fridge, microwave and mirror. Across from that was the bathroom, and just through the hallway was the bedroom.

Our room had 2 queen beds with another tv, dresser and night stand. It was very spacious, very nicely decorated and very roomy! I think it was bigger than our first apartment!! The falls view was great! The view out the window also included a view of the Tower Hotel, and into some of the rooms-that part wasn't so great, but once I closed our curtain a little, the problem was solved!

We used our dinner voucher and ate at the in-hotel TGI Friday's. I thought we should go early to avoid the crowds, but there really wasn't any need, by the time we left it still wasn't even half full. I wasn't prepared for how much higher the prices were. All of the menu items were at least double, if not more, than our local Friday's. The voucher brought it down to normal price. I wonder if they raise the prices, to give the vouchers, so it looks like you're getting a deal, when you're not really...

It was awesome laying in bed and watching the falls! Especially when it got dark and the light show started! The next morning, we used our free breakfast vouchers and enjoyed a huge buffet and made to order omlet bar. The dining area and buffet area were packed! I thought we might not find an open table! I finally found one for us and it had a great view of the falls!

We checked out, walked our bags to the car and then rode the incline tram down to the falls level and took the Journey Behind the Falls tour. It's a self-guided tour in the tunnels behind the falls. It was interesting and enjoyable, until a group of teens showed up and started yelling and screaming just to hear their voices echo.

Once we were done with the tour, we rode back up to street level and picked up the car and headed for New York! I found a few antique shops and a Savers for us to check out. The first stop was Savers and I couldn't believe my luck! I found a Florida state tablecloth for $7.99!!

The other stops were antique shops and I found 3 out of 4 bowls of the cinderella Friendship set, for $18 American. We stopped at a little dairy farm diner for lunch. I ordered a chicken wrap, and was shocked to see it was a buffalo chicken wrap-not what I was expecting at all!!! It was swimming in buffalo sauce, and was just too much. Mr got a burger and chocolate shake, I tasted his and his was amazing!

Then we stopped on the American side of the falls and walked our legs off! I got 12, 844 steps in that day! I really enjoyed seeing the falls from the American side and would highly recommend it to everyone. It just kind of rounds out the experience. On the way to NY, my gps took us a long, round-about way, on the way back it took us over the Rainbow Bridge. I was surprised to see a guy riding his bike over the bridge and standing in line next to our car with his bike, waiting for his turn to go through the security check-point. By the time we finally got to go through, I forgot to look to see what happened with the guy on the bike.

We parked and walked, and walked and walked. It was a LOT less crowded on the American side. There was a lot of construction going on, so it wasn't as nice as the Canadian side, but I bet when it is done, it will be just as nice!

The second night we used a Groupon that I purchased for the Best Western. It was $46 for a "couples Package" which was a room with a king-sized bed, a two person jetted tub and a balcony, looking over the parking lot! It was a pretty big hotel, just not as tall as the Embassy suites. There was an IHOP attached and since we got a voucher for $20 off, and we were worn out, we decided to just go there for dinner. BIG mistake! A pancake place isn't a dinner place. The food wasn't good at all. Live and learn! We had a voucher for free tokens at the casino, but we were too tired to walk over and use them!

This morning we were going to head to Toronto, but ended up heading for home instead. I found three places to stop at in London. We only made it to two of the three, because the road was closed for the other place. I enjoyed wandering around both places, and at the second place, I would have bought 3 Fire King red dot bowls, but their credit card machine was not working-wah, wah!

I had heard horror stories about coming back into the U.S., and super long waits, with tons of questions, and hassels... that couldn't have been further from the truth for us. I think we got the same agent that talked to us when we went over, he looked very familiar and only asked two questions and we were through! Smooth sailing the rest of the way home!

Tonight was the big marshmallow drop and moon glow egg hunt next door, so there have been tons of cars up and down our road, in and out of our driveway (which sets off three poopers barking-every time), not to mention the helicopter swarming over head, over and over again. It is quiet now, whew!

My oldest son and his fiance are coming for dinner on Saturday, because he has to work on Easter. What are you doing for Easter? I get Monday off (with pay) so I get an extra day added to my vacation! Now to start planning for our trip out west (in a couple of months), I'll be sure to add in several antique shops and thrift stores!!

Here are some pictures of the past couple of days...





















































































































I've never had such pale sangria before...I've only ever had dark red sangria


See how close the Tower Hotel is!?!?































The bowl on the left was DWD, but it doesn't look it in this pic

These were in great shape...too bad their CC machine was down! They missed out on a sale and I missed out on three great treasures!!
























It was a misty on and off rain on the way home. Once we got home, it was cool, and windy, but no more rain!