Upstate New York Adventure: Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is a city (apparently lol) in Niagara County, New York State. Niagara Falls State Park was recognized as the oldest state park in the United States. For the second part of our mini honeymoon, we drove up to Niagara Falls! 🙂

Can I just say — I googled Niagara Falls and these are new knowledge for me. LOL, let me share with you: Niagara Falls is a city (apparently lol) in Niagara County, New York State. Niagara Falls State Park was recognized as the oldest state park in the United States. The falls are shared with Canada. You can literally see Canada on the other side of the river. Niagara Falls has 3 waterfalls – the Bridal Veil Falls, American Falls, and a portion of Horseshoe falls.

Following our Green Lakes Park trip, we went further up to see the famous Niagara Falls! It is 7 hours away from New York City and around 4 hours away from Syracuse. After we checked out from the hotel at Syracuse, we drove up and arrived at Niagara Falls around 2pm. We decided to book a room at the Sheraton Niagara Falls. Going back a week before we left home, I was browsing through Groupon travel promos and I found a good deal for $70/night at Sheraton Niagara Falls. But then, Gerald saw a certain room that he liked so we decided to book that instead. We also had a special rate from Marriot Bonvoy, Marriot’s loyalty program, since we registered for it.

So we parked our car at the hotel’s parking lot. It cost around $20 per day. And since we were too early for the 4pm check-in time, we decided to take a stroll around Niagara Falls State Park. It was a ten-minute walk from the hotel.

We explored the park for two hours, did the trails and saw some views. Gerald wanted to take me down the river but we were worried that all the attractions might not be open during that time — but luckily, the boats’ operations went back on three days before we arrived! You have no idea how happy I was! I thought it would be a waste to travel seven hours and not see everything. So anyway — We immediately bought our tickets for Maid of the Mist Boat Tour for the next day. They have trips from 9:00am to 5:00pm. It was easy getting the tickets too! You just log on to their site and purchase the tickets.

the two hour stroll made us really hungry, exhausted and thirsty. We walked to find a place to eat and sit. We found this Chinese Restaurant called Royal Dragon by Rainbow Boulevard. It was the best Chinese food I have ever tasted. We had the Chicken Fried Rice – it was tasty, not too oily, a really good amount of serving for I think $12, we wished we just shared the meal. Also, the service was really good and they served the food really fast. Up until today, Gerald cannot forget about that place. I really hope they open a branch in the city.

Anyway, it was already 4:30pm and the hotel haven’t called us yet. The check in was supposed to be 4:00pm. We didn’t really mind since they said they are thoroughly sanitizing the place. We headed back anyway, and we were just in time! We were just happy to finally be able to lay down and rest — oh and by the way, we booked the Spa Suite so we were excited to see that too. To our surprise, our room was absolutely… just wow! —

I really thought it was expensive to be paying almost $200 per night, but Gerald was okay with it. He said it’s cheap to have a room like this. It’s just sad that I cannot have my breakfast buffet or room service, still! Originally, when you book this room, you’ll have access to the exclusive Club Lounge, daily breakfast and happy hour, as well as HydroSpa with VIP treatment for personalized experience. We just enjoyed the night together watching episodes of #90DayFiance with wine! It was the perfect first day in Niagara Falls.

As soon as we woke up, at 11am, we prepared for Niagara Falls! The hotel restaurant was closed, so we just went to Starbucks, which was down at the lobby connected to the hotel, and had coffee and some bacon and eggs sandwich. Oh, so if you want to go down the river and closer to the falls, please remember the following

1.You will be wet. The falls’ mist will get you wet, like it’s a shower. We didn’t really know what to wear, if there is anything proper to wear. So we just opted to wear shorts, shirt and sneakers. Maid of the Mist will give you disposal raincoats anyway, so you’ll be fine.

2. Wear your mask, and observe protocols. For the pandemic, at least. It was quite hard to wear masks and have them wet when we are on the boat. Take them out to take photos, then breathe. It was a little bit challenging, and I was super scared to drop my mask. LOL. Avoid staying on the edge and always watch your step. It gets a little bit slippery and the boat rails are safe enough to keep you on the boat, but it doesn’t hurt to be extra careful.

3. Maybe a good tip to stay at the back of the boat so see the Horseshoe falls fully. People are going to crowd in all sides of the boat but if there are two of you, stand your ground. The boat is going to turn around going back anyway, so you’ll see everything twice. As for me, I was just speechless and mesmerized, so I didn’t get to take really good pictures. I did take good videos though.

4. Stay for the viewing deck. After the tour, you will be led to the viewing deck to get a better view of the falls and the whole park. We had to stay for another 5 minutes because it was just so beautiful for me, I wanted to look at the view one more time.

So that’s it! We just went back to the hotel after that. Oh, by the way, that time, the restaurants upstate had indoor dining. But they were by reservations only. We ordered food at The Hard Rock Cafe but since they only take reservations and not walk-in, we cannot stay. I was looking forward to dining in an actual restaurant. But oh well, so we just did take-out. Since I was sad about Hard Rock, Gerald and I had some drinks at The Rainforest Cafe. They had some food too but Gerald wanted Hard Rock food. The next day was our check out day. We just had to go back to Royal Dragon for food on the road.

Maybe this is, to this day, the best place I went to since I came to New York. Maybe next time I can cross the borders! Hoping that will be soon.

Author: Jam Ibay

Proud Filipino who moved to New York to be with the love of my life, Gerald. Now navigating through the huge changes in my life.

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