August 30 2010 by Bryson Forbes
I've travelled a lot in my life and have been fortunate to see some pretty amazing things, but one place that gets me every time is Niagara Falls. As I stand in awe of its sheer beauty and power, I have this recurring thought: Who was the first person was to stumble upon it? (My second thought is usually that I hope they weren't in a boat!)
This past weekend was a mini vacation for our family and we had three things on the agenda; see the Falls (my son Ethan's first time), take in all that is Niagara Falls (minus the gambling) and pop across the border to check out some of the back-to-school deals.
Friday afternoon, we got our stuff together and promptly hit the road. The drive from our home is almost exactly an hour with no traffic. I was a little nervous leaving at 6 p.m. but was delighted as we rolled into the Best Western Fallsview at 7:15 p.m. The hotel was fabulous and buzzing when we arrived. We didn't know prior, but Pink (yes the rock star!) and her husband Carey Hart (of Motocross fame) were checking in the next day for the official opening of their first Canadian location of Hart and Huntington Tattoo, a tattoo parlour that's literally attached the lobby of the hotel.
One of the things I like best about Best Western is how friendly and courteous everyone is--from the front desk agents to housekeeping to everyone in between. Without exception, everyone I've met goes the extra mile, and the gentlemen who checked us in was no exception. He explained, for example, what the chaos was all about and what we could expect during our stay. He also noticed that we had two youngsters in tow and made sure we got a room facing south with a balcony, in case we wanted to check out the fireworks show from our room later that night.
We dropped off our bags and headed out on foot to check out the Falls. (The hotel's location is perfect--a 10-minute walk from the Falls, Clifton Hill and the casino.) As soon as we arrived, a real Kodak moment ensued as we watched my son's first reaction to the spectacular view. Priceless! If you haven't been lately, a new lighting system makes a huge difference when viewing the Falls in the evening...and they even change colour which the kids really enjoyed, as well.
Later, we had a nice dinner with a view of the Falls and made it back to our room by 9:45 p.m. which was just in time to see the amazing fireworks show. They started right at 10 p.m. and we were treated to a perfectly framed show right from our hotel room balcony.
Day one of our mini vacation was a huge success, and both my wife and I agreed on a few things: 1) We couldn't believe that less than five hours earlier we were sitting at home, 2) We were amazed how much we did in those five hours, and 3) It really did feel like we were on vacation.
Niagara Falls is clearly a favourite site of mine. What's your favourite wonder of the world?