American Locations 2 – Niagara Falls, American side

This trip goes from Cincinnati, Ohio, to the Boston area, then up the New England coast into Canada, then back through the Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes Region of New York.

After leaving Erie, we drove east on I-90 out of Pennsylvania into New York. This was a scenic drive, frequently offering views of Lake Erie while passing through vineyard after vineyard. Grapes grow well here with all the lake effect moisture. What isn’t scenic is all the advertising for info on Niagara Falls, which begins as soon as you cross the state line into New York. No need to stop, you will find all the info you could possibly need once you get there.

Reaching the Buffalo area, we turned north on I-190 and left the downtown area to cross over onto Grand Island. As soon as we were back on the mainland, we exited I-190 onto Niagara Falls Scenic Parkway. We drove along the Niagara River toward the Falls. As we neared, we could see mist boiling high up into the air above the Falls.

We entered Niagara Falls State Park and parked, spending the rest of our time on foot. We walked along the Niagara River to 1st Street, where we walked across the bridge onto Goat Island. Hiking all over the island, we took the footbridge to Three Sisters Islands.

At last, we were ready to approach the Falls. Here is a shot of Niagara River taken from Goat Island Bridge looking upriver toward the 1st Street Bridge.

Another shot of 1st Street Bridge. See how much gets washed down the river towards the Falls.

You can see the river is already fast. It gets much faster. Here is a shot looking upriver to Goat Island Bridge.

Here is a shot taken from Goat Island Bridge looking downriver towards the American Falls. Of course, that is Canada on the other side.

Here is a branch of the river leading to Bridal Veil Falls.

The overlook on Luna Island for Bridal Veil Falls.

Here are some good shots of American Falls. In the first one notice the Maid of the Mist boat in the distance.

See the little yellow people at the bottom of the next picture? More about them later.

I like this picture. Totally calm on the edge of destruction. Of course, he can fly away to safety whenever he wants to. But it still looks cool.

Rainbow shots are always good. Here are my best ones.

Of course, we did all the touristy things. Such as the Maid of the Mist boat ride. Here is a boat passing under a rainbow.

Here is a close-up of one. They really pack people onto these.

Here’s what it looked like to us standing on the deck.

We got closer.


Then back out.

Of course, they were doing this from the Canadian side, too. They were wearing red slickers instead of blue. How else are you to tell Americans and Canadians apart? Despite the slickers, we got drenched.

We also got drenched taking the Cave of the Wind Tour. This lets you walk right into the waterfall. We wore yellow for this occasion.

Totally drenched.

I love the NO SMOKING sign. I’d like to see someone try to light a cigarette here, let alone smoke one. Even if they could, what possible harm could it do? Everything is soaking wet.

Finishing at the Falls, we drove down river to where the Niagara River empties into Lake Ontario. It’s about 15 miles. Pictured is the International Bridge into Canada.

The river remains turbulent for miles downriver from the Falls.

There is a bend in the river that creates a whirlpool. Fast boats race up the river from Lake Ontario to spin around in this whirlpool. We passed on this activity.

Fort Niagara is on Lake Ontario at the mouth of the Niagara River. We didn’t tour it this time, as I had done that years before. Here is an image I got off the Internet.

Here is a Wikipedia entry about the fort:

The history of Old Fort Niagara spans more than 300 years. During the colonial wars in North America, a fort at the mouth of the Niagara River was vital, for it controlled access to the Great Lakes and the westward route to the heartland of the continent. With the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, however, the strategic value of Fort Niagara diminished. It nonetheless remained an active military post well into the 20th century.

The three flags flown daily above the parade ground symbolize the nations which have held Fort Niagara. Each competed for the support of a fouth nation: the powerful Six Nations Confederacy. The French established the first post here, Fort Conti, in 1679. Its successor, Fort Denonville (1687-88) was equally short lived. In 1726 France finally erected a permanent fortification with the construction of the impressive “French Castle.” Britain gained control of Fort Niagara in 1759, during the French & Indian War, after a nineteen-day siege. The British held the post throughout the American Revolution but were forced, by treaty, to yield it to the United States in 1796. Fort Niagara was recaptured by the British in 1813. It was ceded to the United States a second time in 1815 at the end of the War of 1812.

This was Fort Niagara’s last armed conflict, and it thereafter served as a peaceful border post. The garrison expanded beyond the walls following the Civil War. Fort Niagara was a barracks and training station for American soldiers throughout both World Wars. The last army units were withdrawn in 1963. Today, the U.S. Coast Guard represents the only military presence on the site.

Old Fort Niagara was restored between 1929 and 1934. It is operated today by the Old Fort Niagara Association, Inc., a not-for-profit organization, in cooperation with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Admission fees, Museum Shop sales, grants, and donations provide support for the operation of the site. Membership in the Old Fort Niagara Association is open to all.

We drove back upriver to the Falls, then south back to Buffalo, where we got back on I-90 and continued east.

Next Location – Niagara Falls, Canadian side

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