What is so special about Niagara Falls?

Old Sep 28th, 2004, 01:46 AM
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What is so special about Niagara Falls?

Not long ago we met two Japanese couples on the flight from Europe who were visiting Europe but included a side trip to the USA just to spend two days visiting Niagara Falls. It was their first visit to the US that not included any other places but the Falls. What is so special about Niagara Falls?
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Old Sep 28th, 2004, 03:02 AM
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The massive volume of water that cascades over the falls is overwhelming. The river looks so powerful that I can't help but feel a little insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
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Old Sep 28th, 2004, 03:08 AM
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But why would anyone make a two day trip from Europe just to see the massive volume of water that cascades over the falls. There are so many fascinating attractions in the USA. Is Niagara Falls really a number 1 to see in this country?
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Old Sep 28th, 2004, 03:41 AM
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Yes, it is a #1 to see in the US in my opinion - it is one of the natural wonders of the world. People travel to Venezuela to see Angel Falls, or to Zimbabwe to see Victoria Falls so why not Niagara? Niagara Falls seems the easiest to get to over the three. And it is incredible! You can get within feet of the falls on various excursions, and even touch the falls on the hurricane deck of the Cave of the Winds tour.
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Old Sep 28th, 2004, 04:12 AM
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I think people have their own reasons - sometimes that even they can not identify - why the "have to see" something. I have met people with a few hours stop over in Boston and all they want to see is the "Cheers" bar.
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Old Sep 28th, 2004, 05:09 AM
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Hey, earlxx....have you ever seen Niagara Falls? It is an amazing site to behold. And believe me, I've seen it a gazillion times! The amount of water that flows over every second is mind boggling....after all, it has four of the great lakes sending their water down.

I have been to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and stood next to the Colorado River and it was unbelievably amazing. I have also stood at the bottom of the lower Niagara River gorge next to the rapids (strongest rapids in the world) and thought it was just as amazing!

Maybe they just wanted to stay in an old hotel with a heart shaped bathtub....who knows?
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Old Sep 28th, 2004, 05:14 AM
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It just depends on what you are into. If you love natural wonders, Niagra Fall is must (IMHO). However if you prefer shopping and great restaurants, you'd probably pick a different destination for your two days in the US. It's just whole different strokes for different folks thing.
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Old Sep 28th, 2004, 05:35 AM
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earlxx -

I;m with you. I have seen the Falls - on the way to Toronto - and it was fine for a day's amusement - but I would never do more than a day trip to see it. There are lots of waterfalls - this one is especially big - so what? To me there are about 500 other things in the US way more important to see - but chacun a son gout!
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Old Sep 28th, 2004, 08:32 AM
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We wound up tacking on a side trip to Niagra Falls after a few days visiting Cooperstown before going to stay with relatives. We thought since we were so close, let's check it out. So, five hours later, there they were.

The Falls were even more spectacular than I imagined. Awesome really. Just the power of all that water. And you can see the beauty, hear the power, and smell the clean water. It is a very sensory experience. Our hotel was near the falls, so you could hear the water rush from the room.

Like many natural wonders, there are many ways to experience and "see" the falls. You can see it from state side, during the day. Take the Maid of the Mist and be right in the wild and wet of the Falls. Cross the bridge and visit our northern neighbors and see the Falls from another, full frontal view. Experience Canada and their beautiful parks. Gaze at the falls at night with all the lights.

We found it to be a very cleansing, amazing experience. Like Yellowstone, or the Grand Canyon or Big Sur. You can breeze through all of these wonders in a few hours, or take your time and soak it all in over a few days.

Personally, our family LOVED our side trip to Niagra Falls. My parents honeymooned there so it has always held a mystique for me. It was truly worth our time. In fact, I was not ready to leave after our 24 hour visit. It is just too beautiful...
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Old Sep 28th, 2004, 08:56 AM
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Plus it's a lot of fun to go over in a barrel!
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Old Sep 28th, 2004, 09:00 AM
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What's more, the American side encourages barrel stunts! The Niagara river practically welcomes you to jump into the rapids with its lack of fences or guardrails...

(Please - no one take me seriously!)
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Old Sep 28th, 2004, 12:04 PM
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Why would they do it? Probably for the same reason that US citizens spend money to go to Munich so they can drink beer. Simple answer: because they think it is worth it and, IMO, it is!
Go and find out for yourself.
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Old Sep 28th, 2004, 01:20 PM
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Been there, done that. We enjoyed it but IMO there are more fascinating places in the USA. JMHO!
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Old Sep 28th, 2004, 01:40 PM
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earlxx says: Been there, done that.

But the people from Japan had not yet been there and done that. Now that they have, they may have the same opinion as you!!!

Different strokes for different folks!
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Old Sep 28th, 2004, 01:47 PM
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earlxx - I'm curious what spots you find more fascinating. I swear I'm not being sarcastic - I'd really like to hear your suggestions (2 days in the US, what do you do/see?). That would be a good thread.
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Old Sep 28th, 2004, 03:10 PM
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This thread reminds me of how Oscar Wilde described Niagara Falls during his USA tour: "A new bride's second big disappointment"
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Old Oct 10th, 2004, 08:16 PM
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Riding the Maid of the Mist into the horseshoe falls is exhilirating. You feel like you're at nature's mercy.
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Old Oct 10th, 2004, 09:31 PM
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My husband suggested going to Niagara Falls for many years before I agreed to go (having many other destinations on my list...). Even then, I planned a trip to Toronto with a stop by Niagara Falls on the way back.

Just for chuckles, I asked to stop by The Falls on the way to Toronto. Didn't want to leave. And, when we did get back there, didn't want to leave.

Like many, I presumed (based upon what I'd heard and read) that Niagara was the epitomy of "touristy" and "tacky". On top of that, I'd read that the water is "held back" and that the "falls are receding".

Actually, The Falls are a sensational Natural Wonder. Positively spectacular. And, there are so many ways to enjoy them, including just wandering up and down the walkways. It's a modern engineering wonder that the water is "held back" (or you wouldn't be able to see anything for the mist), which also miminizes erosion.

All the "tacky" and "touristy" stuff is nicely concealed behind the hill. And, the Canadian Parks Commission does a sensational job of preserving the natural beauty of the nearby areas, not to mention gorgeous landscaping, and providing terrific restaurants with wonderful food (at fairly reasonable prices) and panoramic views. The late afternoon rainbows could not be more magical and romantic.

There is sensational gourmet dining all about (beyond the "touristy" area). A drive all along the Parkway is dramatic for the scenery. And, there are many beautiful towns in the vicinity - notably, Niagara-on-the-Lake, also home to the Shaw Festival (fantastic).

We return every other year or so.
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Old Oct 11th, 2004, 03:46 AM
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I am with dikbooks on this one. We live near the US/Canada border and Niagra is a 5 hour drive from our home. All our European visitors want to visit the falls and we are happy to accommodate. We stay on the Canadian side, get a fallsview room with a balcony, leave our sliding glass door open at night and listen to the rushing water. There are lots of places to hike and explore, where you can find viewing spots that are all your own.

There are beautifully cultivated flower beds everywhere. I especially love the Niagara Park Botanical Gardens. This is wine country and we explore the surrounding countryside, doing random wine and cheese tastings. Once we were privileged to stumble upon a garden wedding at a winery. The string quartet serenaded us while we sipped our wine on a balmy summer evening. It is a lovely memory.
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Old Oct 11th, 2004, 04:43 AM
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earlxx, Is it the most spectacular site in the US? That's a personal opinion. But what is so fascinating? Not only the awesome power and beauty, but the stories of how the falls have motivated generations of peoples to do amazing things, some crazy, some noble.

The stories about the kooks, the industrialists, the artists and utopians offer a fascinating glimpse into the American character that is captured in few othe places in the US.

Niagra is a natural wonder as well as a history, science and sociology lesson, all wrapped up into one neat package.
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