We couldn’t possibly be in the Buffalo area and not visit Niagara Falls. I am told that the Canadian side is prettier but, for various complicated reasons, I am unable to cross an international border right now so we had to plan our trip around staying on the American side. I have seen so many images and so much footage of Niagara Falls and it is so very commercial and touristy that I felt there was a risk I would be underwhelmed by seeing the Falls for myself. However, I was neither disappointed or deflated.
Niagara Falls is in fact a gathering of three waterfalls, a fact which I had not really appreciated before my visit. In order of viewing them from the American side, there was the American Falls, the Bridal Falls, and the Horseshoe Falls. The latter straddles the international border and is the most powerful waterfall in North America. Wanting to see the Falls from as many perspectives as we could, we decided to get tickets for the Maid of the Mist. We were given blue ponchos and headed aboard the boat. It was actually really cool to see the Falls from water level, to experience the roar and strength of the spray, in order to really appreciate the power of the Falls. The Horseshoe Falls in particular was so powerful that we had to turn our faces away from the water at times. It was also kicking up so much spray that our view, once we were as close as possible, was like peering into dense fog. It might be a super-touristy thing to do but it was actually pretty awesome.
Having disembarked from the Maid of the Mist, we took in two further perspectives of the Falls. One of these was a flight of steps that took us up the crags alongside the Falls and the other was a viewpoint high above the Falls. While I cannot say I was overwhelmed by my visit to Niagara Falls, I definitely was not underwhelmed. It was very impressive and I was really glad we had made the trip. Let us just say that I was sufficiently whelmed.