Niagara Falls has never been one of my favorite destinations. I have visited four times the first visit going all the way back to the 60s when I was a kid. During this visit the American side of the falls was actually shut off for repair! With this caveat in mind my most recent trip to the falls was in retrospect very rewarding. Rita’s mother was staying with us for a few months on an extended holiday from Brasil. She had always dreamed of going to Iguazu Falls but had never had the opportunity. Hearing her story I planned this trip to Niagara, a poor substitute for Iguazu but the best we had.
We drove to Niagara from our home in New Hampshire arriving at the border and crossing into Ontario. I had booked a room in the Embassy Suites on the 17th floor overlooking the falls. The view was spectacular and we spent many hours staring out the window the next few days whenever we had free time in the room. I think the view was actually better than ground level at the edge of the falls. We had dinner at the Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse & Wine Bar across the street from the hotel. This was a typical Brazilian Rodizio restaurant. In a rodizio there is a large salad bar with several hot and cold options but the main attraction is skewers of meat which the waiters bring around to your table. These include all kinds of meat; lamb, chicken, pork, beef, sausage. You have a card on your table and the waiters will continue to come with their skewers until you flip your card over saying stop. Brasa was a higher end rodizio and was very good in terms of both service and quality.
The next morning we had the breakfast buffet at the hotel before setting out to see the falls. The buffet was good and filling and had a lot of options and variety. A short walk brought us to the Falls Incline Railway which brought us directly down to the edge of the Canadian side of the falls. We took the requisite photos and marveled at the shear volume of water flowing over the precipice just feet away from us.
We then took a drive along the shoreline road and this reminded me why I am not such a big fan. The encroachment of the urban sprawl right to the edge of the river takes away the beauty of the natural splendor. The American side is more subdued being surrounded by a park but the throngs of people and the view of the city of Niagara Falls in Canada detracts from the experience.
Lunch was had at the Boathouse Family Restaurant where we had well cooked meals set in a nice outdoor eating area. The restaurant is away from the falls slightly upriver and provided a nice quiet alternative to the city.
The next morning we had breakfast at Denny’s and a return home. Rita’s mother returned to Brasil and not to long afterwards passed away after a short illness. Rita was not able to go home to see her mother before she passed but heard from family members how pleased she was to have seen the falls. She had told many people that seeing the falls was one of the highlights of her life. Rita and I treasure the thought that we were able to give this kind and loving woman such a memory and experience. We will never stop missing our parents when they pass but precious memories shared will never fade. Let us hope we build memories with our own children that last for generations to come.