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C'est la Z

Waterfalls - a trip report

No, this post is not about the Waterfall development model. Devorah and I had a chance to take a little vacation up north.

First stop, Niagara Falls.

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We did the Canada side 9 years ago when we did our Erie Canal bike trip (you can read about that by checking out some of my early blog posts). This time, the American side. My take is that the Canadian side is more polished and all private attractions - think Times Square or Disney. On the American side, the town itself is somewhat run down but the attractions are all state park making them well maintained and affordable. We did the "touristy stuff" - Maid of the Mist and Cave of the winds, both of which were well worth it and also things like Whirlpool State Park and the Niagara Power Project along with a few other attractions. We got a nice dinner at the Niagara Culinary Institute and an okay one in Lewiston. There were a few things we didn't get to do and I'm not sure there's enough to merit a return trip but we really enjoyed the day and a half we spent at the falls.

Next up was half a day at Old Fort Niagara about 25 minutes north of the falls;

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Lots of cool history from both the war of 1812, revolution and the French and Indian war. We're such a young nation so it was cool to see standing structures from pre-colonial times.

From there we drove in to Canada. On Doug Peterson's suggestion we stopped at the Welland Canal which connects Lake Ontario to Lake Erie. It's much wider than our own Erie Canal and ultimately connects the midwest to the port of Montreal and beyond.

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The image on the left is the cement barge St. Mary's Cement II being pushed by the pusher tug The Sea Eagle II. Using this site I was able to track it going over to Cleveland. That website is really cool - on it you can track all the boats. It also has an API so you can have your students use it in class projects.

The image on the right is the same boat a couple of minutes later after the lock emptied and lowered. Really cool.

We settled in that evening in Hamilton Onntario.

Hamilton is known as the Waterfall Capital of the world.

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It didn't disappoint. We didn't get to the two biggest falls - Webster and Tews but we spent a long day of walking the trails and did get to see six or seven of them including the Devil's Punchbowl, Albion Falls, and Felker's Falls. It's pretty cool that we're still in the city but are on these hiking trails. We could probably have done another day or two just hiking the rest of the falls and another day to see other local attractions like the botanical gardens.

Our last stop was Letchworth State Park.

Letchworth is truly a hidden gem just as the Ithaca area state parks - Treman, Buttermilk Falls, and Taughannock but more so.

Beautiful waterfall and gorge views. You can go on a hardcore hike or just drive from view to view. At the south end you've got the three major waterfalls and at the north end the Mount Morris Dam. There's also some pretty good food at the Iris Inn which is at the south end of the park. We didn't stay there but if we go back, I think we will.

If you haven't been and get a chance, you won't be disappointed. There's a reason Letchworth is called the Grand Canyon of the East. Not nearly as big or majestic but just as beautiful in it's own right.

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We'll probably head through this way again we still haven't but want to get to Toronto. When we do we'll probably spend additional time in Hamilton and Letchworth.

Now it's back home and try to get in a few more restful days before the semester begins.

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