New York Vacation: September 2014

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Tuesday, September 9 - Niagara Falls

Upon checking weather forecasts, we decided this would be the best day to make the 3 hour drive to Niagara Falls. It was more cost effective to pass up the EZPass option offered by our rental car company and just pay the tolls ourselves as there are actual people in the tollbooth areas.

While the falls are spectacular, they are surprisingly smaller than we thought. Based on Ginger’s prior boat experience, we skipped the Maid of the Mist “boat right up to the falls and get all wet even with a full poncho on” option. We did however opt in for the Cave of the Winds tour. Why it’s called that we don’t really know, but if you’ve seen the Thompsons Water Seal commercials filmed at the falls, yep, that’s where we were. This tour is not of Niagara Falls itself but rather one of the sister falls just walking distance away. You take an elevator several stories down to the base of the falls and then ascend a series of decks putting you almost literally IN the falls. Yes, you will get wet if you take this outing, but it’s worth it.

Photos of Niagara Falls (30 images) Photos of American Falls / Cave of the Winds (16 images) Photos of around Goat Island (11 images)

After walking around the grounds to dry off a bit we headed back to Ithaca -- the scenic way!

The day was still a bit young, so on our way back we watched for any points of interest. Leavin North out of Niagara Falls, we skirted Lake Ontario on Highway 18, barely able to make out the Toronto skyline across 20 miles or so of water. Later we came across the Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse off Lake Ontario in Golden Hill State Park. Due to the lake's size, it's not all that great of a view since all you can see is water, but the lighthouse was a cool thing to come across. Neil later realized the significance of this spot: it's the farthest North he's ever been in the United States.

Photos of 30 Mile Point Lighthouse (8 images)

We made it through Rochester around 5:00 and an hour later ended up taking scenic highway 89 all the way down the Western shore of Cayuga Lake back to Ithaca, arriving just before dark. After stopping at the hotel for a little bit, we ate at the BoatYard Grill, an Ithaca favorite dinner spot.