Tag Archives: Niagara Falls

Postcard from Niagara Falls

12 May

If you find yourself traveling in the Buffalo area, you might think, Hey, maybe I should duck over and see Niagara Falls while they’re so close. And that’s a good thought to have — they’re pretty spectacular. But if you’re not from around the area and trying to find parking, you’ll probably end up in the official State Park parking lot, which costs $10.

Seems like a decent chunk of change to go glance at some water, right?

Not to worry! The State Park parking lot gives you 20 minutes of free parking, which is plenty of time to get a Niagara Falls experience.

Take a parking ticket, and park in a spot that gives you easy exit access. This is important because if you’re running short on time, the last thing you want to do is coast through the parking lot and get stopped by tons of cars pulling in and out of parking spaces.

Now, you book it.

The main access to the Falls is through the visitor’s center. Walk in and go down the stairs that are either on your right or left. Avoid the store at the bottom and walk to the back and out the door. Viola! The falls are right there!

Head over to the railing and look to the left. There’s the falls! Marvel at them, wonder what they look like from the Canadian side (sorry, but they’re better), take some pictures and selfies. Head back quickly–your 20 minutes are almost up and you want to be able to walk like you’re a normal person and not on some non-existent Amazing Race.

That’s it. Head back in, avoid the crowds, head back up the stairs and out of the visitor’s center. What? You wanted a souvenir? Pull four quarters and a penny out of your pocket and make yourself a pressed penny (I know, pressed penny aficionados. Four quarters). The machine is downstairs, next to the door that goes out to the falls. You’ll have time for that.

Once you’re out of the visitor’s center, start walking quickly back to your car. Check your parking ticket–are you still in your 20 minute window? Good! Don’t even bother trying to pay for parking. Even if you’re under 20 minutes, the machine will try to tell you that you owe money. Don’t let it confuse you.

Get back to your car–even if you have to run at this point–and hightail it to the gate. Stick your ticket in the card reader, and congratulations, you’ve just gotten a free quick side trip to Niagara Falls.

 

Postcard from Niagara Falls

23 Mar

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On Friday I flew from Boston to Buffalo where my friend Evil picked me up, and we drove up to Toronto, saving a good $200 in airfare. This was a bonus, since travel for derby can get expensive–and no, we don’t get paid for working games. We tend to do it for fun and a tournament patch, and last I checked, no store was accepting roller derby tournament patches as payment.

At any rate, a road trip meant some fun. We checked off some mandatory places: Wegmans, a place to eat beef on weck. Then we went to Niagara Falls to see the majesty and play some Ingress.

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I’ve only seen Niagara Falls one other time, and it wasn’t partially frozen over then. This was flat out impressive. The trenches in the ice dams on the river had to be at least ten feet deep. If it hadn’t been so cold out, I could’ve stared at it for hours.

Pro tourist tip: If you’re here in March, no lines, no waiting, no fee to get on the observation bridge. You can’t go in the tower, and you may freeze quickly, but it’s free!

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