Niagara Falls Trip Report: August 2015

View from Skylon looking toward the Clifton Hill area HPIM2053 HPIM2054 View of the newer Fallsview Casino Our hotel, the Hilton Fallsview HPIM2057 HPIM2058 HPIM2059 HPIM2062 HPIM2063 HPIM2064 HPIM2066 HPIM2067 HPIM2068 HPIM2069 HPIM2070 HPIM2071 HPIM2072 HPIM2073 HPIM2074 HPIM2076 HPIM2077 HPIM2078 HPIM2079 HPIM2082 HPIM2083 HPIM2084 HPIM2085 HPIM2086 HPIM2087 HPIM2089 HPIM2090 The flower clock Birthday dessert at the Skylon
Arriving in Niagara Falls, ON:

If you are coming up from the NY area, cross over at the Peace Bridge, much shorter lines, fewer tourists use this bridge. Then take the QEW to 420. Coming back over however, we waited for 30 minutes to enter the USA. Try to stay near the middle of the pack and don’t get caught in the RV line.

Hilton Fallsview:

Hilton—no complaints at all, would not hesitate to stay here again. Be sure to join the Hilton Honors program so you can get the free WiFi and use the Hilton Honors line at the front desk. We were able to bypass a very long line upon checkout. As others have posted, be sure to ask that all VOLUNTARY taxes are removed from your bill at checkout.

We decided to not worry about trying to find the cheapest parking around, we just used the Hilton self-park for $30 per night. Quick, easy, painless, no hassle; sure beat trying to drag our luggage from the casino or some lot down the street.

We booked a room with two queen beds, but upon arrival, we asked about a king bed, and they upgraded us to a Jacuzzi suite. It had a king bed, Jacuzzi tub, shower, in room safe, coffee maker, mini fridge, hair dryer, and a great view of the falls. Our room did overlook the casino and casino parking garage, but we still had a great view of both the American and Canadian falls. Upon checkout, I noticed a $50 upgrade charge that had not been mentioned, but I thought it was well worth it considering the great room we got and chose not to argue about it.

Dining:

Skylon Tower revolving dining room. Biggest lobster tail I have seen in a long time; I had the seafood symphony and Estelle had a surf and turf (New York strip steak and smaller lobster tail). Great service, surprisingly great food for a touristy type of place. Fabulous deserts and of course the view of the falls. I made our reservation at 8pm so later during dinner we could see the falls light up at night.

We also ate at Kelsey’s on Clifton Hill. Had a great time, ate on the patio, listened to live music, had the won-ton nachos. We did not realize it is a Canadian chain of restaurants similar to Applebee’s; we would definitely go back.

We also highly recommend Coco’s near the Skylon and Fallsview Casino. Again, we dined outside on the patio, listened to live entertainment, had great wood fired pizza, and watched people walk by.

Misc:

Clifton Hill area—lots to do, especially for families with children. Reminded us of the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area. Sidewalks were very crowded in the evening.

WeGo bus system. Very easy to navigate. Passes for 24 hours are $7 CAD, or you can by a 48 hour pass. You cannot buy just one ride. We got our passes in our hotel gift shop.

Casinos—we learned they are owned by the same company, so if you get a player’s card, it will work at both casinos. The one in the Clifton Hill area is the older one and does not have craps. Alcoholic beverages are not comped if you are gaming like in Vegas. One afternoon at Casino Niagara we had fun listening to an Elvis impersonator.

If you plan on doing the Journey Behind the Falls or the Hornblower (same as Maid of the Mist, only it leaves from the Canadian side) take a tour which includes these attractions. You will be glad you did when you see the long lines that you get to walk right past. We used Viator and it worked out great.

Cell phone use—we had Sprint 3g or LTE the entire time with roaming turned off. WiFi free at the Hilton if you are an Honors Member but not great coverage; in the room, we sort of had to move around the room to find just the right spot to get WiFi connectivity.

General observations:

In my opinion, this area is not a honeymoon destination unless you already have a family. You must love to be around families and children everywhere if you go to Niagara Falls. If you are looking for an adult getaway, this is not it.

Use a major credit card (one that does not charge foreign transaction fees) whenever you can. You will get a much better exchange rate than paying in US dollars.

I knew I shouldn’t have let Estelle drive the barrel.

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Erik from Wisconsin (VW Commercial guy) Visits Mystic Mountain Ocho Rios Jamaica

Happy is a state of mind. Watch as our friend Erik Nicolaisen (VW Super Bowl Commercial) entices travelers from Wisconsin to find their happy on a Jamaican bobsled at Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios.

Thanks to Jamaica Tourist Board for sharing!

Related: Our Votes for Best Super Bowl 2013 Commercial
Related: Things to Do in Jamaica
Related: Jamaica Travel Information

Come Visit the Birth of the Park Model at Yellowstone National Park with Globus

Yellowstone

By: Globus

Every 90 minutes or so, hundreds of onlookers gather to admire the gush of Old Faithful, the world’s most famous geyser – a spectacle that remains as enthralling today as it was back in the summer of 1870, when Cornelius Hedges, a member of the scientific party to study the Upper Geyser Basin, first beheld it.  After spending weeks on a grueling horseback trip to reach the remote Yellowstone plateau, the American adventurers were so astonished to see the 100-foot-high explosion of sparkling water that they threw up their hats and shouted for sheer joy at the sight.  That very same night, Hedges apparently proposed to his fellow expedition members while sitting around a crackling campfire that this volcanic hotspot in the Rockies, which has 250 geysers and 10,000 geothermal features, should be protected from development and turned into the world’s very first “national park.”

Lobbying for the preserve in Washington, DC would be a long and complicated process, but on March 1st, 1872, Congress did pass the bill that protected Yellowstone: A staggering two million acres would be “set apart as a Pleasure Park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”  This was a unique concept, and one that would be copied around the world.  But in 1872, the idea was still experimental, and Congress made no provision for management of the park or protection of its wildlife: The first superintendent, Nathanial Langford, had no salary, no staff, no budget and was only able to visit Yellowstone twice in his five-year tenure.

Destinations have stories. Globus and Island Time Travel bring them to life.

Know someone who loves to travel? Great last minute gift idea!

Wine tasting

Sex and the City Tour in New York

Moulin Rouge shows in Paris

Universal Studios tickets

Swimming with dolphins

Viator has gift certificates!  Know someone who will be going on a cruise?  Great Christmas or honeymoon gift idea.  These certificates can be used to purchase any of the thousands of things to do on Viator.com.  Gift certificates are available in all Viator currencies: US, Australian and Canadian dollars, British Pounds and Euros.  For those last minute gifts, this is a great solution for anyone you know that loves to travel.