(Colden, NY) Hi 70 Lo 59 - We've been looking forward to today for a long time. It was a full day of playing tourist in Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Dom and Ellen both used to work in Buffalo, so they're really familiar with the area. Buffalo is a medium-sized city. The population is around 270,000, and dropping. Dom said the city started losing population when the steel mills started closing in the 80's. (He worked for Bethlehem Steel.) They drove us around many parts of the downtown and surrounding areas. One place we spent a little time in was Forest Lawn Cemetery. (You know how I like cemeteries.) The highlight of the visit was seeing the grave of Millard Fillmore, the 13th U.S. President. This is the third burial site of a U.S. President we've seen in the last month.
Jim loves chicken wings, and the Anchor Bar in downtown Buffalo is where Buffalo Wings were invented back in 1964. So we just HAD to go there for lunch! According to their story, owner Teressa Belllissimo had some friends of her son show up one evening after closing time. They were very hungry and, not having anything prepared, she rounded up some chicken wings (which up to that time were used mainly for soup stock) and deep fried them. The guests liked them so much that their word of mouth made them a hit. And the rest is history.
We got there about a half hour before they opened, so we passed the time by finding a geocache in the parking lot next door.
They finally opened the doors and we went in with the small crowd that had gathered outside. This woman was waiting for us in the entryway. Kiss anyone?
The place is decorated with hundreds of license plates and several motorcycles along the walls.
But the best part is the Buffalo chicken wings. This is Jim's plate before...
...and the after. Jim pronounced them EXCELLENT!!
When lunch was over it was time to head over the border to Canada. We looked at it as sort of a dry run for when we tow Tumbleweed over the border this Thursday. We went over the Peace Bridge from Buffalo. There was only a couple of cars ahead of us in our line. We had our passports ready, the agent asked us a few questions, and we were on our way very quickly. I feel much more at ease now about our crossing this week.
We had a nice leisurely drive along the Niagara River from our crossing point to Niagara Falls. It was about a 45-minute drive, but it would have been faster except, unknown to us, there was a huge Cure for Cancer Bike-a-Thon today and the route was right along the River Road we were on. We have never seen so many bicycles! It was a mess trying to get to the Falls because that’s where the riders were ending their ride. Theh closer we got to the Falls the more crowded it got. Once we got there this is what we saw.
We didn't think we were going to be able to find a parking space, but we finally got lucky and found one about a half mile from the Falls.
I was amazed at how gorgeous the falls are, and how LOUD they are! Jim said they sound like the world's loudest white noise machine. They are breathtaking! This is the American Falls, with the small Bridal Fall to the right.
This is the Canadian (Horseshoe) Falls. The two falls are a little too far apart to get them both in the same picture from where we were. We could see the mist from several miles away when we were driving up the River Road.
The boats are part of the Maid of the Mist fleet that take tourists very close to the falls. Everyone is wearing a blue raincoat.
Where DOES all that water come from?
Jim took my picture looking at the water going over the edge. I’m in the blue jacket with the sunglasses. (click picture to enlarge)
And this was my view. Photos just don't do it justice. It was an amazing sight! I took some videos but the files are too big to download to the blog. :(
This was a visit we truly won't forget.
As we returned to the U.S. over the Rainbow Bridge I quickly got this picture of both Falls (U.S. on the left and Canadian on the right).
On the way back Dom took us by the steel mill where he used to work. They're all closed and abandoned now, but it was great hearing his stories of better times in the steel industry. This picture is the area the steel mill workers lived. These houses were built by Bethlehem Steel to house their workers. Part of the mill can be seen in the background.
We had some dinner then headed back to Ellen's to pick up our car. We said our goodbyes with hugs all around. Thank you Dom and Ellen for being so wonderful to us this week and driving us everywhere and showing us so much!
We’re exhausted, but the day was a memorable one for sure. Thanks for coming along. I’ll post more pictures tomorrow.