Day 1,454 of Traveling the World | Washington, DC | October 16, 2021

A TV journalist turns toward the camera and says, “Now, from Washington this morning….” and you think very seriously: government, lawmakers, lobbyists, infighting. But we discovered a very friendly, whimsical, and sometimes playful side to this amazing city. Every museum guard/greeter, server in a restaurant, and hotel worker enthusiastically greeted us with a smile, spoke to us at length, and thanked us profusely as we left. We found whimsy in restaurant menus (fried chicken with a glazed donut? – who does that?) and swings where there normally would be plain old boring benches! It has been a marvelous week in the country’s capital.

Our first photos are of the National Building Museum, which neither of us had ever heard of. We saw it on Google Maps, on the path from our hotel to the Smithsonian, so we decided to stop and see it. Are we ever glad we did! It is a magnificent room with gigantic brick columns (covered, of course). The room has been used for inaugural parties and political rallies. We passed a woman with two small children, playing on the floor adjacent to one of these towering columns. If she comes here often, what a great memory that will be for her kids! Sitting on a bench in front of the fountain was magical, as it was so quiet in this gorgeous space with few visitors. We also – finally! – got to the top of the Washington Monument! Over the past four visits to Washington, it has been closed for renovation, cleaning, or a special event every single time. We held our breaths as we approached, sure that it would close just as we got there. You must book your tickets online the day before, as only a limited number of visitors are allowed in the elevator at one time. They are still “free,” but with a $1 booking fee. And if you don’t nab your tickets within a few minutes of their 10:00 am availability, you may have to wait another day. We were surprised that the inside doors were actually vault doors!…very thick and heavy. We were also surprised that the elevator was built in from the beginning. It originally hauled freight and stones to the top, then switched to passengers once it opened in 1885, when it was the tallest structure in the world! (The Eiffel Tower eclipsed the monument just three years later, as it was twice as tall.)

There was still a good deal of fencing around the city, and many streets, sidewalks, and access ways were blocked off. In addition, many government buildings had giant planters along the sidewalk so that cars or trucks couldn’t be driven into the buildings. We “only” went to four museums this time (mainly because so many are closed early in the week, but all are open on weekends) – the National Building Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Museum of Natural History, and the Spy Museum. The Spy Museum had lots of interesting information, along with maybe a dozen short films on various spies and missions. There was enough info to keep you in there for an entire day, although we didn’t have that much time!

We enjoyed many of the restaurants we went to, particularly the unusual flavors in two Middle Eastern restaurants. There are photos below from a Mexican restaurant along the waterfront, Mi Vida. It was beautifully decorated, and they take a risk by serving food that is fairly spicy, although we greatly enjoyed it. All in all, it was a most enjoyable week in Washington, and we are left with a good impression, great memories, and satisfied appetites.

The National Building Museum. Who even knew it existed! FABULOUS columns and serenity.
A pretty fountain in the middle. It was heaven to sit and enjoy the quiet, as not many other people knew it was here!
The arches and design are dizzying.
An American Icon, the Washington Monument
View from the top of the Washington Monument toward the Lincoln Memorial
View from the top of the Washington Monument toward the Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin
Near the White House and Capitol, there were fences and warnings everywhere
We couldn’t even approach this statue, as canine dogs were in use!
A guard house, road barriers, STOP! and an arm barrier.
Many government buildings had these gravel-filled planters along the curb to prevent a Timothy McVeigh-like truck from getting close to the building. These planters surround FBI Headquarters.
This elephant is the “greeter” for the National Museum of Natural History. Photos of him abound on the internet!
…but few bother to capture his “better” side!
The Hope Diamond, one of the world’s most famous gems. From India, it is 45.52 carats, surrounded by 16 white diamonds. There are 46 more diamonds on its chain. It is renowned for its flawless clarity and deep blue color.
Sleeping Beauty,” in the Spy Museum. This is a motorized submersible canoe from WW II. It glides along the surface, then dives underwater, where the pilot, wearing an oxygen mask, operates unseen by enemy ships. The design evolved into crafts used today by US Navy SEALs.
Spy Museum. This shortened ice climbing axe was used to kill Leon Trotsky, in Mexico, as ordered by Lenin. It still has a bloody fingerprint!
Looks pretty good, doesn’t it? It is a blow-up tank, used to trick the enemy into thinking there were far more tanks than were actually there and to fool the enemy into thinking the attack would be in a different location than where it was planned.
Just more of the beautiful architectural ornamentation that we like so much.
And more ornamentation! We don’t know what it represents, but this looked so pretty atop a building.
The handsome Smithsonian’s Arts + Industries Building. Its pediment stone is titled, “National Museum, 1879.”
This gorgeous piece of furniture in the National Gallery of Art is the Pier Table, built in Boston, 1815-1825. It is made of mahogany and inlaid with marble and semiprecious stones.
This ornate, inlaid side chair is from Baltimore, 1815-1825. National Gallery of Art.
One of the pretty fountains with a statue in a central court in the National Gallery of Art.
“Odalisque,” Augusta Renoir, 1870. We like all of the Impressionists, but went wild over the dizzying colors and patterns that Renoir captured – on fabric, no less! And her expression is one of a very world-wise, weary woman, which is difficult to depict in a painting.
Another lovely small court with a statue and fountain, an oasis in the middle of the museum.
A view of the Potomac River, along with an advertisement for a concert: Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. Yeah. We suspect not many of our readers have heard of them, either.
A pretty, fabricated tree in the lobby of Mi Vida restaurant at the Wharf.
The colorful bar at Mi Vida.
Woman, lounging on cow. Ben & Jerry’s on the Wharf.
Thrasher’s Rum, a bar. The other side says, “Make rum, not war.”
Lots of seafood stands near the water, like all wharf areas around the world.
Washington does a lot to make the city friendly, such as these picnic-tables-with-swings-as-benches!
The Recreation Pier…with even more swings! So fun!
The Natural History Museum gave the names of many of the plants that surround it. Have you ever heard a cuter name than Snowflake Candytuft???

Day 1,448 of Traveling the World, Chagrin Falls and Berea, Ohio. October 10, 2021.

Charming. Small Town America. Chagrin Falls and Berea are the definition of friendly, charming small towns. We are here in Chagrin (as the locals call it) for the second time, attending their marvelous documentary film festival. The films we have seen have been powerful and interesting. We have learned a lot! You can see a lot of the town in the photos below. A lot of effort is put into their being so adorable! We have said that it is like stumbling into a charming tourist town like Carmel, California, and you enjoy every second.

The Opening Night film was “War on the Diamond,” about the long-standing rivalry between the local club, the Cleveland Indians, and the NY Yankees. In 1920, Yankees pitcher Carl Mays threw a pitch that hit Ray Chapman in the head. Spectators said it was such a loud crack, they thought the ball had hit the bat. Chapman died the following day, the only baseball player to die as a direct result of playing in a baseball game. It has created a century-old rivalry (but isn’t every team a rival of the Yankees?). So, the first two photos are from opening night, as the film was sponsored by the Cleveland Indians. Next up is a photo of the fabulous Morgan Crawford, never too busy to say hi and help out with questions and problems. She has been a marvelous asset to the festival.

We got to Berea thanks to Gerry Nemeth, who teaches a class on game shows. We attended a documentary on Tiny Tim (which was very good, but all positive, none of the darker chapters!), and got into a conversation with Gerry, who, out of the blue, asked if we ever watch the game show Jeopardy. Since we are missing it this week (and it is killing us!), at that moment we had up a website that gives that day’s scores and statistics. So we told him we were the biggest fans, had met Ken Jennings, and had attended tapings of the show four different times. We then showed him what was on the iPad, and he laughed incredulously. He TEACHES a class on Game Shows in Berea, Ohio, and the next day was doing a class on Jeopardy. So after the movie, he asked what we were doing the next day, and we told him, of course, watching documentaries. He said he wished we could come to his class to talk about our Jeopardy experience of viewing and attending the tapings. We asked what and where, and said we’d love to come!

So we went, and it was a nice class of about 30-40 senior citizens. They played a mock game of Jeopardy, and then he introduced us as nomads that he had met the night before, who sold all their personal belongings to travel the world, blah blah blah. So we got up and talked about Jeopardy tapings, then asked if there were questions. First one: How long have you been homeless, and do you have an RV, or what??? So we answered, and ALL the subsequent questions were concerning our travel and way of life. Jeopardy was left in the dust! Very funny, but they were very interested, excited, and responsive. It was so fun to share our lives and our story! Gerry didn’t mind at all.

Last week, our post was on the Big City, the Big Apple, New York. But all big cities are made up of small communities, areas, and individuals, who are all mostly friendly and down to earth. Chagrin Falls and Berea are likewise made up of very nice folks, so today we are celebrating Small Town America. A toast!

Second from right: Cleveland Indians Slider, inspired by the Philly Phanatic. Don’t ask about the others, though. One or two appear to be hot dogs. We know nothing about sports or mascots!
Our very own Mike, with some Cleveland Indian face-on-a-stick. He is probably a household name around here, but again, we know nothing. NOTHING!
Morgan Crawford, one of the Film Fest organizers at breakfast in Town Hall. She is one of the nicest people we have ever encountered who actually makes a film festival happen and work!
Projected from two cameras across the street. Anyone entering Chagrin Falls this week certainly knew what was happening in the village!
All of the stores were already getting ready for Halloween.
A pretty display window.
…and another…
…and another…
The deck of 17 River Grille, overlooking the Chagrin River and Falls.
This was a very popular place on Saturday night!
So creative!
Velvet skeletons, anyone? How about velvet pumpkins?
Part of a jewelry store display
Very pretty!
LOVE the name!
A Face Plant!
A glimpse of Chagrin Falls’ main drag.
So many shop windows are decorated, that we wonder if there is a contest…
The Falls at night, with yet another restaurant looking festive.
A little square adjacent to the river and falls. Everyone was out and about!
The local hardware store is in on the action.
The hardware store decorated five windows in all!
This looked cute, and quaint.
The front of 17 River Grille, looking so bright.
The Adult Ed class on Game Shows in Berea. A truly friendly group of people!
Three contestants playing a round of Jeopardy. The woman in the blue shirt is the middle contestant of three. The prof is Gerry Nemeth, seated with the orange shirt and baseball cap. He made their ingenious buzzers, which light up when someone buzzes in. Almost all of the answers were correct!

Day 1,441 of Traveling the World, New York City, NY. October 3, 2021.

We ♥️ New York! Every single day has been fun! Just walking the streets has been great. The busy-ness, the crowds, the museums, the traffic, the restaurants, the stores, the Time Square billboards, the gorgeous architecture of the late 19th century buildings, the rush….have all been simply marvelous. We can’t get enough of it, so much so that, rather than returning to Chicago later this month, we have rerouted so that we get to spend another 2.5 weeks here in late October/early November. It feels like there is still so much to see and do.

One of our favorite days was a stroll through Greenwich Village, which was delightful beyond words. There are shops beautifully decorated with silk flowers, shops with interesting names, shops selling unusual items, enticing restaurants, etc. It was a fascinating, slow, and thoroughly enjoyable day. We ate dinner at Old Tbilisi Garden, a Georgian (as in the country Georgia, formerly part of Russia, i.e., no black-eyed peas and chitlins) restaurant, which was unusual and good, particularly their borscht, which we had been craving.

The rest of the photos capture little pieces of our walks around Times Square, the East Village, Central Park, Midtown, the Lower East Side, and the Garment District (where our hotel is located). The days were beautiful and weather-perfect. In fact, the only rain we encountered after six weeks on the road was a driving day, from Connecticut through New York. The temperatures here have been in the upper 60s/low 70s, so yeah – perfect. We feel pretty Covid-safe here. Every museum, movie theater, subway ride, live theater, restaurant, retail shop – every enclosed, indoor venue – requires proof of vaccination and that masks be worn. Because sidewalks are crowded, most people wear masks outside, as well. It is a great place to visit right now. We can’t wait to return, even though we haven’t left yet!

A typical Greenwich Village street scene.
The first of many pretty shops in Greenwich Village.
Lingua Franca, Greenwich Village.
A closeup of the mannequin with flowers in her hair.
White Horse Tavern, Greenwich Village.
A store named “Something Navy,” Greenwich Village.
We love “Delightfully Disoriented,”
Porto Rico Importing Co., looking like little has changed on its facade in over 50 years! Only different faces on the folks on the benches, with some now wearing masks.
Also in Greenwich Village, we are SURE that nothing here has changed in a long, long time!
…but of course! This area reminded us of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District, and both were known for their Hippie Culture.
Murray’s Cheese shop, Greenwich Village, with some cheeses going for as much as $40 per pound.
Goorin Bros., Bold Hatmakers, looks like a shop out of a Dickens story.
A coffee shop coming soon…Do Not Feed Alligators. The connection to coffee escapes us, though.
We love the name of this store!
These types of signs were everywhere.
JFK recounted this after meeting Jackie at a party. Who knew asparagus could be a romantic memory??
Metropolitan Fine Arts and Antiques, 6th Avenue. Doesn’t it look like a little jewel box in between those two tall buildings?
Marriott Essex House, across from Central Park…gorgeous Art Deco ornamentation! They…just…don’t…do…that…any more.
This peek into Central Park is timeless, and everything there looks like this!
Quotes about Central Park during the pandemic.
In Times Square: We’re just 75 years since the gas chambers. So no, a billboard calling out Jewish hate isn’t an overreaction.
Grace Episcopal Church on lower Broadway. We were there for an organ recital.
Outside Gothic Renaissance on 4th Avenue.
Broadway! An adorable sign.
For the City that Never Sleeps…we were diverted from this area of Times Square as multiple police cars and fire engines blocked off pedestrian and vehicular traffic. We never did find out what the problem was.
Mannequins in a shop called Inked NYC on West 22nd Street.
Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes!!!!!
?????? We have no idea!
Sonny Angel. We have no idea!!!
Is she not adorable?
What’s real? What’s a reflection?
She’s…..a skirt!
Love this!
We didn’t try one, but loved the name. $6/brownie, so slutty but not cheap. Most items were more expensive.
The band on stage after curtain call for “Come From Away,” which was outstanding. Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, West 45th Street.
Atrium at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. It was small but interesting.
Cooper Hewitt Museum
Lillie’s, East 17th Street. Gorgeous!
…and across the street from Lillie’s, Beads of Paradise, featuring global jewelry. We loved their dazzling window display.
…a long explanation for a simple concept…
Leopards?? We wanted to bring our aardvark!!!
We have always said, Let’s go/see/explore….there will be plenty of time to sleep once we die!
…a little more fattening, though…
One of our favorite new restaurants, Raclette (meaning scraping). Cheese is scraped over meat and veggies, almost like a fondue. Fabulous!
Here is the raclette on our meal!

Day 1,435 of Traveling the World, Ogunquit, Maine. September 27, 2021.

Busy, popular, beachy, as cute as can be, and no free parking. That is our assessment of Ogunquit, Maine. We drove through three years ago, on our way south along the coast, with no time to stop and enjoy. So we booked a few days here this time. Ogunquit is the east coast version of Carmel, CA, a quaint village with cottages, B&Bs everywhere, and a cute retail shopping area with unique stores and many restaurants. The only drawback is that street parking is sparse, and only for 30 minutes, so not long enough to have a meal or walk the area. Parking lots charge $10-25 to park for a few hours. The one we parked at warned us to be back by 6 PM or our car would be towed.

We drove all over, randomly, and ended up on a winding coastal road toward York, Maine, which was heavily wooded with huge estates and all the charm you would ever want to encounter. We ended up the first day at the area’s notorious “Scoop Deck” ice cream shoppe. You can see the enormous menu in one of the photos! The funny/silly signs that follow are all from the Scoop Deck! Enjoy them, since you can’t enjoy the ice cream….until you visit Maine! By the way, be sure you visit in the summer. A few of the businesses were already closed for the winter. Those of you from the east coast are probably used to that, but it still seems a little strange for those of us from Southern California, where the air is always warm, the water is always cold, and the only differences between seasons are the decorations.

Lots of Adirondack chairs around Ogunquit!
This looks exactly like the Maine you picture in your head, doesn’t it??
Another seascape.
There were lots of pretty businesses like this around Ogunquit.
See? Lots of them!
Like Nellie Littlefield’s Inn (we love buildings with turrets!), most hotels and inns that we passed in Maine were full, with “No Vacancy” signs lit.
A whole shop devoted to crumpets?? We LOVE this town!
Pretty flowers and a beautiful carved Pizzeria sign to boot.
It is hard to tell what is in the shop and what is reflected from the street, but this was a really pretty window display.
Ogunquit “remedies” refer to the local pharmacy.
“FUNATIC” – ? So fun!
In an Ogunquit shop window!
So there!
The famous Scoop Deck ice cream menu. Yes, they did have every single one, except the sugar-free, which had sold out. Hmmmm….does that tell you something??
Who knew that people needed ice cream tips? It seems to us we knew all of this since we had our first ice cream cone!
Said like a true 5-year-old! We think Clark is very wise!
You got that right.
Overall, we found Maine to be very welcoming to everyone.
How funny, and how sweet!
You can’t say you haven’t been warned.
The END. They are kidding, of course.

Day 1,429 of Traveling the World, Rockland, Maine. September 21, 2021.

Rockland, Maine, and Camden, Maine, host an annual documentary film festival each year in late summer/early fall. We have attended twice in the past several years, and so decided that we would do so once again on our road trip. Everyone has to show proof of vaccination, and masks were required at all the indoor venues. Both cities are on the gorgeous coast of Maine, and are quintessential fishing and tourist meccas. Cute restaurants and shops line the Main Street. Rockland has two art museums and over 20 art galleries, so it is a particularly rich setting for a film festival.

The best film of the weekend was by an Academy Award winning director, “The Rescue,” about the Thai boys’ soccer team that was trapped in a cave for 18 days in the summer of 2018. It was an extraordinary film, with very moving footage of the boys when they were discovered and their novel method of rescue. You need to see the movie when it is released to see the real story of their removal from the cave!

One of the movie venues was a drive-in theater, the Shotwell Drive-In. It didn’t exist the other times we attended, and we were surprised that anyone would create a brand new drive-in theater in this day and time. We found out that it was built last year due to Covid, a very inventive response to the pandemic. We enjoyed the (now) unusual experience of a drive-in and we hope it continues far into the future.

Boats docked off the Rockland shore.
Like all marinas, there is so much to do!
Yes, the water looked this blue in person, too…
The Strand Theater in Rockland was a primary venue for the documentaries
A staging area at the newly established Shotwell Drive-In
Chairs set up for outdoor viewing as well as in your car – viewer’s choice! They made sure they parked small cars in front, trucks and SUVs in back.
This was a half-trailer, creative living room setup for VIPs and directors at the Shotwell Drive-in
A lounge area at Journey’s End in Rockwell, set up as a temporary theater
Inside Journey’s End, a boat shed turned into a wonderful theater. The woman in the middle answering audience questions is Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, who directed the documentary “The Rescue” along with her husband, Jimmy Chin. They won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2018 for another fabulous story, “Free Solo.”
We exited Journey’s End in early evening, and everything was already lit up. It looked gorgeous.

Day 1,423 of Traveling the World, Boston, Massachusetts. September 15, 2021.

Steeped in the history of the founding of the United States, Boston feels different than other cities. It is more colonial feeling, has more statues and building plaques, has a “Freedom Trail” marking the major sites of the American Revolution. Oh, it also has sleek, modern skyscrapers and a presidential library, but we have been struck by all the gorgeous old buildings and churches and their power to evoke a sense of patriotic pride.

We have been to Boston several times and this time tried to do some new things, as we had been to JFK’s presidential library and had walked the Freedom Trail several times. So this time, we ventured out onto a ship to throw tea overboard! The Boston Tea Party Museum was excellent. Costumed actors made the audience part of the action, and we were able to do some rabble rousing and experience the colonists’ outrage at taxation without representation. We got to see the one remaining actual outer box from the Boston Tea Party, which over the centuries had been home to a family of cats, a checkerboard, and a dollhouse until it was donated to the museum as a prized historical object. Children of the families who owned it regularly took the box to school for show and tell. It is interesting that the importance and value of historic objects becomes so much dearer with the passage of time, and now we look upon the box with an almost-reverential gaze, as it is part of our American heritage. (No photo of it, as photography was not allowed inside the museum.)

As we were visiting sites like Boston Common, Boston Public Garden, and dining at the Union Oyster House, we inadvertently became aware of TV and movie filming taking place around us. It was interesting to see all the preparation and equipment necessary to film a few minutes of action. We went out for breakfast on Newbury Street and were delighted with all we saw on the street as we walked to the Public Garden. Such a pretty and busy street! For our meals here, we made it a goal to only eat dinner in historic buildings, to eat seafood (as it is so fresh and ubiquitous here), and to eat clam “chowda” (as the Bostonians say) daily. We have succeeded!

We walked the downtown enough to finally know in which direction to head to reach different areas. As usual, we found people and workers to be very friendly. Shutdowns during the worst of the pandemic have made people happy to be out again, whether working or traveling. Massachusetts has one of the country’s highest vaccination rates, but masks are required everywhere when you are indoors. Sadly, this wasn’t true in the less-vaccinated states we drove through.

Starting whimsically, rather than historically….loved this pretty Teuscher Chocolatier window display on Newbury Street
Typical scene as we walked down Newbury Street
A pretty and old building with turrets and leaded glass
Church of the Covenant, a National Historic Landmark, dating to the Civil War
We saw it on Newbury Street!
Yes, there are still horse-drawn carriages operating in Boston
An unusual fountain with a pergola (left) in downtown
This building, along with the pavement marker in the next photo, is the site of the Boston Massacre
Pavement marker
Union Oyster House, the oldest continuously-operating restaurant in the US.
The interior of the Oyster House still looks like an earlier time
Poor things
He is taken out for consumption
There is a long list of celebrities who have dined at the Oyster House, including President Kennedy, who had this favorite booth. We made sure to sit in the booth so we could claim a little history for ourselves!
An odd little fact…
Very interesting to be in rooms and buildings “where it happened”
He holds the menus as you enter The Oyster House
Equipment and cameras outside the Union Oyster House, filming “Spirited,” a retelling of A Christmas Carol starring Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Spencer, and Will Ferrell. The red brick building on the left is the Oyster House. See the tiny windows at the tippy top? – See the next photo!
We took this shot from that window, inside. We wondered why there was “snow” on a hot summer day. Then we noticed green screens at each end of this alley, and realized we were privy to a movie being filmed.
The Boston Tea Party Museum and Ship
Winding up to throw that tea into the harbor
During the Boston Tea Party presentation, there was a LOT of “Fie!” and “Huzzah!” and yelling and stomping, as we were at a meeting to defy King George III and to finalize plans to dump tea into the harbor.
Go, Abagail! She was a woman ahead of her time!
Rowes Wharf Plaza looks magnificent as you head to the downtown waterfront.
Faneuil Hall. Along with adjacent Quincy Market and market buildings to the north and south, this marketplace is a formidable shopping and dining presence in the historic downtown area.
Boston Public Garden. This scene easily could be from the early 20th century.
Boston Public Garden.
As we were enjoying the views and tranquility at the Public Garden, a filming crew moved in and set up Director’s chairs, cameras, tents, and equipment. They are filming a TV series about Julia Child, titled “Julia,” all around Massachusetts, as Julia lived there. The series will be on HBO Max, and stars David Hyde Pierce and Bebe Neuwirth, among others.
Seven of the ten trucks and trailers servicing the TV series, outside the Public Garden and across the street from the bar that inspired the TV show, Cheers.
The Cheers Bar
Boston Common, which is adjacent to the Public Garden
Park Street Church fronted by Brewer Fountain in Boston Common
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Day 1,421 of Traveling the World, Niagara Falls, New York. September 13, 2021.

Those Falls! You just can’t get enough of them when you are in Niagara Falls. We stayed on the New York side this time, as usually we visit the Canadian side. We found the town to be very quiet, with not too much going on. All the activity was in Niagara Falls State Park, which had quite a few visitors, more than we had seen around the city. In contrast, the Canadian side has Clifton Street, filled with Vegas-style lights, restaurants, museums, fudge shops, mini-golf, arcades, and even a gigantic Skywheel, which can be seen in some of the photos. The New York side is quite calm in contrast. Buying tickets for the Cave of the Winds and the Maid of the Mist were the longest lines in the state park. We were in the Cave of the Winds about 10 years ago, and you can see people experiencing it in one of the photos. Easy instructions: 1) Put on the yellow or blue rain poncho; 2) Climb the stairs adjacent to the waterfall; 3) Get wetter than you have ever been in your life, outside of your morning shower. After we returned to dry land, we commented that it was the most MISERABLE/most WONDERFUL thing we had ever done!

On the American side, the waterfall has a height of 176 feet and spills 75,000 gallons per second! It can make the states experiencing drought positively jealous. Wherever you are, water droplets get you wet. It was quite a breezy day, so everyone got even wetter. We had dinner the first night at the only American restaurant with a view of the Falls, the appropriately-named Top of the Falls restaurant. Being in a state park, with overall moderate prices given its exclusivity, the food was surprisingly tasty and satisfying.

The second highlight of our visit here was having dinner at the Culinary Institute of Niagara Falls. For an incredibly low price of $25 for a three-course experience (menu below), we enjoyed a spectacular five-star experience. Each dish was balanced with contrasting flavors, which was especially evident in the desserts. The Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch had peanut butter mousse that, finally, was strong enough to stand up to the strong chocolate-flavored base, and also featured a smooth and creamy texture along with crunchiness. The Peach Cherry Galette was a bit tart, which made a great foil with the sweet and creamy ice cream, AND there was also a crunchy drizzle. Both were outstanding. Our server, Jennifer (if you are reading this – thank you!!) was really top-rate. Older than the other students, she had taught classes on vegan cooking, but was getting her certification in Hospitality. She was over-the-top friendly and super knowledgeable about each item on the menu. She gave us great tips for several restaurants in New York City when we are there next week. As we were leaving, the hostess told us that Jennifer had only been “on the job” for one week, astoundingly. Great job! As we left the restaurant we talked to the hostess for a few minutes about some of the other offerings. It made us wish we had the time to go back and sample more of the menu. Oh well, next time.

The ever-present rainbow also names bridges and streets in Niagara Falls.
You can see the Maid of the Mist venturing toward the waterfall!
There is a constant mist from the force of the falling water
The Maid of the Mist again, turning around before it hits the rapids.