Ice and snow make for a spectacular Niagara Falls experience of a lifetime!
Niagara Falls here we come! Our trip of a lifetime left New York city on the early ‘Maple Leaf’ train. It was snowing – beautiful and white, light and feathery, crisp but so very cold!
Wifi was intermittent so no blogging for me!
Perfect, just relax!
We chose a train journey through the icy parts of North America with the thought that it would give us some time to chill out and see some of the countryside.
The Amtrack 3 day Niagara package included business class train fare and accommodation in Niagara Falls.
Bundled into the deal were tickets to the Skylon Tower, Niagara Fury and the Journey beneath the Falls tour and dinner at the Hilton Watermark Restaurant on our final night in Niagara Falls.
Whatever were we thinking?
As the ultimate winter experience we had been hoping for snow to complete our holiday dream of a ‘white’ Christmas on our trip of a lifetime.
Think about it. A couple of Aussies straight out of deepest hottest summer in northern Australia, (daily temperatures at 36+ degrees celsius with 80% humidity) arriving straight into Niagara Falls the week before Christmas!
WE GOT SNOW … AND LOTS OF IT!
Beautiful and white, light and feathery, crisp and oh so very cold … but one of the most exhilarating experiences we’ve had!
Lesson # 1 – Leaving the train station after arriving at the Canadian side of the falls, our first ice warning was Trevor’s skid down the footpath complete with bags in tow, on an iced up pathway.
Views over Niagara Falls
The Oakes Hotel Niagara Falls was a less expensive option but provided a comfortable king bed (our only ‘not-negotiable’) and whilst there were no restaurants in the hotel, there were plenty of options close by. Once in our hotel room we walked straight to the window to see what our view was like. We were in awe!
The sight from our hotel window overlooking the falls took our breath away.
Niagara was clothed in beautiful blue lights which highlighted the expanse of this massive flowing waterway and the rising mist.
We couldn’t wait to start exploring!
Rug up in Niagara Falls
We were prepared, or so we’d thought. We’d bought warm things in Australia which we thought would be sufficient to keep us warm.
Thick coats, gloves, beanies, scarves and a warm layer beneath our jeans were our base gear!
Day 1 = Minus 13 degrees centigrade! Freaking cold!
What to do first in Niagara Falls
After a great night’s sleep we set off on the short walk to the falls – our faces pinging with the cold.
Lesson # 2 – Without warning, my feet shot from under me and I crashed backwards onto the walkway – black ice.
As we walked around the edge of the Falls, light snowflakes were falling, melting and disappearing as they touched our skin. Such an exhilarating experience for those of us (me) who had never seen snow!
YOU WILL GET WET!
The Niagara Fury tour was a great experience – a simulator replicating the force of the water coming over the falls with a little reality thrown in.
The ‘Journey beneath the Falls’ tour took us below the falls through the tunnels and catacombs. It was fascinating to learn the history behind the excavation, and a great way to experience the historical aspects of discovering this amazing natural wonder.
It was cold; the deeper we got behind the falls, the colder we got!
Our days in Niagara Falls were filled with taking photos – photos of the Falls, fun selfie’s posing with the Falls in the background, ice and snow everywhere and taking as many ‘typical tourist’ snaps as we could!
WeGo the way to get around
We explored the rest of Niagara Falls via the ‘WeGo’ bus network which provided good access to all of Niagara’s tourist spots.
It’s the best way to get around, see all the key sightseeing spots and keep warm and dry at the same time.
The Skylon Tower Observation Deck delivered spectacular views of Niagara Falls and surrounding cityscape of the Toronto and Buffalo skylines, giving perspective to the massive waterway system of the Great Lakes.
Our food options in Niagara Falls
Lunch and coffee stops were usually at the Falls restaurant ‘Elements’. Piping hot butternut squash soup and hot chocolate! Delicious .. and just what we needed to thaw out!
Christmas carols amongst the other covers made the night pretty special!
Dinner on our first night was at Remmingtons of Niagara. Remington’s claim of being Canada’s only restaurant with singing Servers who provide live entertainment throughout the night!
We were pleasantly surprised … an exquisite steak with pepper sauce for Trevor and Maine lobster for me. We were in our ‘happy place’ .. beautiful wines to compliment and a lovely romantic restaurant to enjoy our very first night in Niagara Falls.
TGI Fridays was a great place to hang out and watch the ice hockey on the big screens with a plate of their famous Bourbon Sauce Ribs and a glass of red wine.
The R Bar and Eatery was a great place to escape the cold … and to our delight, we discovered the very best homemade ‘mushroom soup’ ever!
Spanish coffees have become our new favourite beverage – piping hot coffee laced with brandy, kahlua and a dash of cream.
Our final night’s in Niagara was at the Hilton Watermark Restaurant with views overlooking the Falls. A 3 course dinner was a great finish to our beautiful 3 day Niagara Falls experience.
Christmas in Niagara Falls is magical
The Christmas season is the perfect time to visit Niagara Falls, the atmosphere of this icy wonderland during the Christmas holiday season is magical and certainly a far cry from Christmas as we know them in Australia!