After 2 1/2 days of cold rain and dark skies, a dry line passed over Austin friday afternoon. Saturday morning snapped open like a crisp, sunny Texas winter day. With blue skies and temps quickly climbing through the 50’s. The weekend was off to a great start and people were getting out, after being rained in for a few days. Continue reading Winter Rain and Bull Creek→
After a long, hot and drought stricken summer in Austin, it seemed fitting to visit Niagara Falls in New York. The season is starting to change and crowds should be less. It’s a natural wonder of the world…it’s gotta be seen.
The plan was to fly to Buffalo and take the #40 NFTA bus to Niagara Falls, New York. Then walk across the Rainbow Bridge and up the hill to our room. But the plane was delayed by two hours and it put an additional strain on the wait time for the next bus. By the time we got there the visa office had closed, 1:30pm on Friday, and we got denied. So we stayed on the American side.
The falls are surrounded by a magnificent state park that has trails to several different views. The grounds area by Horseshoe Falls is immaculate and well known for hosting wedding photo-shoots. Two were underway at the time we walked by. The weather was perfect for this crisp September day and Niagara State Park is sure to produce wonderful backgrounds for photos. Those lucky couples definitely scored some killer shots for their wedding.
In the immediate area surrounding the park entrance, the American Falls are just to the left. We stood there and soaked in the view and contemplated the immense amount of water flowing. It’s a trip! There is an observation tower nearby that is also an elevator down for the Maid of the Mist. For nine bucks you can have access to a viewing platform and of course a boat ride into the mist of Horseshoe Falls.
The trip is pretty quick, but well worth the money. It beelines for American Falls, and then heads over to Horseshoe Falls. With the wrap around effect of Horseshoe Falls, you can really lose yourself in the power of all that water.
After the the boat ride, there is a foot trail to the edge of the American Falls that is a must see. There’s a small dead-end area that allows for a snapshot of a person with part of the falls directly behind. It’s a squeeze to position yourself and your model, but it’s a must have in the collection of snaps. There’s also lots of interesting and robust plant life on the rocks at the bottom of the falls. It’s a very crisp and ionized area!
At night the park is almost as crowded. Lots of people roam until midnight hours to view the colorful falls lit by Canadian spotlights. Tiny flashes pop in the darkness as people pose for night shots almost as vigorously as in daylight. A really good shot is a challenge, but with some of today’s digital cameras I’m sure plenty of people were pleased with their take.
Unfortunately, outside of the park area, there’s not much to do! If you like Indian food, then you have your pick of dozens of grub spots. Otherwise all we found was the Denny’s in our Hotel and a nearby bar/grill that only has fried foods. There’s a Hard Rock Cafe, but on a Saturday night, it was too loud and obnoxious inside. It would have been fine anywhere else, but right next to an awesome State Park, it really was out of place and just not a pleasant atmosphere.
During the day, if you get hungry in the park, be prepared to spend 6 bucks for a hot dog. It’s not that far to leave the park area and find that greasy spoon place for a beer and some fried pizza balls at the same price. Or maybe some of their fried chicken breasts. Did I mention they have beer?
Considering our next stop is New York City, it definitely weighs down upon my outlook on the small scene at Niagara Falls. But hey, we’re here for the water, not the scene. I found it was actually refreshing to visit a small town next to such a huge natural wonder of the world.
Not very well hidden, in a small college town centered in Texas, there’s a bit of spring water that will knock your aqua socks off! The area here, and in New Braunfels, gets more rainfall than most of the rest of Texas and it shows. The clear spring water from Aquarena Springs flows generously and chilled waterfalls dot the way.
Katya and I paid a visit to the area during a hot Labor Day afternoon. It was a partly cloudy day and the water got chilly fast, when the sun dipped below the trees. Considering the holiday weekend, but factoring in the small size of San Marcos, it was a comfortable sized crowd that gathered.
The sign says, no alcohol, but we weren’t alone in cracking open a few beers. Keeping the area clean and safe comes first. With some careful planning, accommodations can be made to skirt any hassles. Both, the law and from a guilty conscience. Think smart, and you deserve a beer while soaking your feet in the spring water.