Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dunkirk Travelogue 2008 - Part 7

The Tourists

Sunday was our final day of our trip before the long drive home on Monday. Since it was my son's first time up to New York state, we knew where we had to take him: Niagara Falls. I had taken my wife there when she and I went up for my 20th reunion - that was her first time as well as my first time visiting the Canadian side of the Falls. We figured my son would enjoy it.

We hoped in the car and left Dunkirk at about 9am, grabbing some Tim Horton's donuts and beverages to eat in the car along the way. The trip up didn't take too long at all - about an hour to get us to the Peace Bridge. We had to sit a little bit in line to present our identification before entering Canada.

If you've never been, the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is very much a tourist center, with lots of attractions and businesses and restaurants to attract the visitors to the natural wonder of the Falls. You have your wax museums, your botanical gardens, your casinos and hotels. We had one singular thing in mind though, and that would be the famous Maid of the Mist boat trip that takes you up close and personal to the Falls.

There were a lot of people there that Sunday morning, including some large tourist groups from Asian countries. Also a lot of people speaking French, my guess they were native Canadians. The lines moved pretty quickly though and soon we donned our blue plastic ponchos for the trip. We found a spot by the rail and were ready to experience the fury of the Falls.

My son loved it! He thought it was one of the coolest things he had ever seen. Score one for the parents.

What could make the day any better for him? How about having some real chicken wings in a real wing joint in Buffalo, the home of the wings? So, that's what we did on our way back to Dunkirk. We took a slight detour to Sheridan (thank you, GPS, for getting us there very easily) and stopped at Duff's. For the three of us we ordered twenty mild-medium and ten medium. On Duff's scale of flavor, the medium are hot so we dared not venture to their hot or, heavens forbid, nuclear sauce. Add a huge helping of fries and some blue cheese and celery and you've got a meal that any native Western New Yorker like myself would love.

We got back to the hotel in Dunkirk late in the afternoon. My son spent some time in the pool while my wife worked out in the gym. I started to get the car packed up with most of our stuff so that our departure in the morning would go smoother.

Monday morning, we were up at 4am and on the road, again with Tim Horton's food to go, by 5am. Unlike the trip north, our return trip was pretty uneventful. Stopping for the usual breaks, gas, and an hour for lunch, we still managed to get home by 4:20pm - so we made pretty decent time. No unexpected delays. No surprises.

All in all, our trip to Dunkirk was a rousing success. We all had fun even if we were a little worn out from the whirlwind nature of the trip. Next time we go up that way, especially if we drive, we'll plan it so we can stay in town for a full week with bookend weekends. I'm just getting too old to do it as quick a turnaround as we did it this time.


KC Ryan said...

Hey, Martin!

I finally finished reading about your trip - sounds terrific!

I love Duff's too, and I do sorta miss Tim Horton's (sort of, because I can't really eat donuts like they're going out of style anymore, and we have a Dunkin' on every thrid block in case I do get the munchies).

And Niagara Falls - and the Maid of the Mist! (Since I used to live right over in Amherst, about 15 miles away at tops, I've ridden the Maid quite a bit. Cool! Hope you got to go on the walk behind the falls - that's pretty cool too.

And Niagara on the Lake is just a few miles past that if you ever get up that way again you really ought to stop in to Canada's version of Carmel by the Sea. Really worth the trip.

Sound slike you all had a great time!


Martin Maenza said...

We had a great weekend, even if it was a lot to do in a 72 hour period (plus driving a day's worth).