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.