On our way back from the wedding in Hamilton, we stopped in Buffalo to have lunch at the Anchor Bar, the original home of buffalo chicken wings! We each ordered a single order of wings (mild for Jor, medium for me). I added a side of anchor chips (deliciously seasoned potato wedges), and Jordan added a side of stuffed potato skins. It was a delicious lunch!
CAVE OF THE WINDS @ NIAGARA FALLS
After our lunch at Anchor Bar in downtown Buffalo, we drove approximately 30 minutes north to Niagara Falls State Park! I've been before when I was much younger, but Jordan had never seen it! We parked on Goat Island, which is the best place to park if you want to be right in the middle, close enough to see Horseshoe Falls and American Falls without too much walking (for us it was more a matter of limited time than not wanting to walk). While 2/3s of Horseshoe Falls is technically in Canada, you still get a nice view from the US side. We didn't bring our passports so heading to Canada wasn't an option this time. American Falls is entirely in the US, but the best place to view it is definitely the Canada side! That's actually why we decided to do an additional tour so we could try to see the Falls better. American Falls from the US side is pretty underwhelming simply because the observation points are not really built out in a way that gives you any kind of view. If you head off the island, there is another observation point on American Falls that has a bit more of an observation deck, but from the Goat Island side you are not going to see much.
Parking was $10 for the day and there was no fee to actually enter the park, which surprised me a little. There are tons of food and drink options right there in the park, but you're going to pay a looooot more. We were lucky we packed a bunch of snacks and drinks in a cooler for our roadtrip so we didn't need to buy a $4 bottle of water.
After viewing the Falls from above at both points, we took the Cave of the Winds tour that brings you down to the base of American Falls onto a set of redwood decks. Apparently these decks are torn down every winter and rebuilt every spring because of fears of winter ice compromising the strength of the decks. They even have a tour in springtime where you can watch them assembling the new decks! What's super crazy is that the decks are not bolted down with anything or to anything. They are simply wedged into rocks and balanced by other beams. When you're on the tour, look down if you dare! See what's holding you up!
The "tour" is $17 per adult and that includes a fancy pair of recyclable kicks and a sporty yellow poncho. They provide bags for your other shoes. You take an elevator down to the river level and there is a small tunnel that leads outside. From there it's a short 2 minute walk to the start of the first deck. Everything is self-guided and you can stay as long as you want. Just deposit your poncho in a recycling can and head back to the elevator when you're ready to go back up! At one point, the deck brings you right up under the falls, this is called the Hurricane Deck! Jordan and I tried to keep our phones as dry as possible and took them out to snap a few pics. Jor even took a short video of me standing right under the falls! It was so intense!!
Enjoy a few of our shots from the day: