This was certainly the experience my husband and I shared when we first spotted the falls upon arriving to Niagara a few months ago, after crossing the Canadian border from the Buffalo airport in New York. While I have seen the falls several times when I was younger (as a synchronized swimmer for 11 years, we seemed to have endless competitions in the Buffalo area), this was certainly different. First off, I was older and more appreciative of the scenery than ever before. And with that older-ness, came access to the casinos, bars and other nightlife-esque activities that the husband and I so well enjoy.
But first, I have to tell you about a particular early morning hour that nearly threatened to derail our trip completely. I'm not a morning person, at all. I don't feel like I get a better start to my day by waking up earlier than normal, I don't rise and "shine," and I completely disagree about the early bird getting the worm.
Either way, my dear sweet husband had already been working in the Niagara area for several days and I was flying up to meet him. Thoughtful as he is, he booked me on a 5:45am flight to Chicago, where I was to catch my connecting flight into Buffalo. Now, we've already discussed that I don't do mornings. Well, neither was my mom, who I was staying with in Dallas prior to leaving for the airport. She and I drearily woke up, got dressed and left the house. But then we drove straight the airport and out the other side upon arriving (we got confused and missed our turn, it was still dark outside!).
The delay caused me to miss check-in by five minutes. I felt my eyes getting misty. No way did I just get up at 4am to sit at the airport for seven hours. I was on standby for the next flight out just after 7am, but it was jam-packed and there were already a list of other people standing-by as well. It was quickly becoming a painful realization that the 9am flight was my only option, which would cause me to miss my connection in Chicago, meaning I wouldn't get to Buffalo until nearly midnight.
It was a nail biting-hour as I perched on the edge of my distinctly uncomfortable airport chair and watched the stand-by list click through several names of folks that had been cleared to board. My initials still hadn't come up and I was beginning to worry. So I got up and stood next to the desk, my bag at my feet—feeling that this would somehow prompt things along and I would be closer to the gate so that when my name appeared I could haul for the plane. (Because that's totally how it works, right!?)
Miracle of all miracles, I made it on the first flight. I was the happiest I'll ever be at 7 in the morning, buckling myself into my tiny little airplane seat and hauling out my Julie & Julia book that I'd been reading all morning while awaiting the verdict—it get me occupied and in decent spirits.
My husband couldn't believe it and was thrilled to see me in the flesh when he wheeled around to pick me up at the Buffalo airport. His bags already packed into the rent car—and he himself thoroughly done with work for the week—we hauled for the Canadian border to begin our vacation.
The hotel more than met our expectations, it had tremendous views of the falls. We stood out on our balcony for nearly half an hour gazing at the water and relishing the fact that we'd made it!
The next day we headed directly down to the falls, a short 10 minute walk from our hotel, to embark on the Maid of the Mist boats that take you right up to the fizzing, rumbling mountains of water. The boats are another experience I'd had the privilege of doing several times, it was especially fun for the two of us together. Plus, who doesn't look
Afterward, we grabbed a slice of pizza at Boston's (just up the street from our hotel), then hit the road for Toronto, a comedy club, wineries and later a B&B. Which leaves us at part II coming next, stay tuned!