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Trip Report Niagara Falls - 2 Nights Family of 4

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We took a quick trip to Niagara Falls over Spring Break. We live within a 7 hour drive and we went off season so it was easy to make last minute plans. We stayed at the Embassy Suites Fallsview location. We got a room on the 33rd floor which had a spectacular view of the falls. The room had two queen beds and a sleeper sofa in the sitting room. Each kid had their own bed (nice). The bathroom was nice with a jet tub and separate area with toilet and shower. There was an additional sink in the hall between the two rooms (bedroom/sitting room) which also had a small fridge, microwave and coffee maker. I read that valet parking was overpriced ($60/night) compared to casino parking that was 1/2 a block away. We parked at the casino and were grateful we didn't have to wait for them to fetch our car whenever we went out as it was an easy walk to the casino garage $5. per use.

We got there at about 6:30pm and I had reservations at The Keg - a steakhouse at the hotel (9th floor). Dinner was solidly good. The waitress was slow and forgetful but the view was a nice distraction. After dinner we took a chilly walk around. Something to note when you get to the street level near the falls there are not a lot of options for getting back up to the hotel. We had to back track and go back the way we came instead of finding a new course back. Not a big deal just something to keep in mind.

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel also at The Keg which was transformed from a moderately good steakhouse to a crappy breakfast buffet. At least the view was in tact. The food looked good, tasted bad. I waited in line at the omelette station and was disappointed with the results. I don't know what went wrong I watched them crack the eggs, the taste was just off. The best thing I had was oatmeal with raisins and nuts. No one in our family liked the breakfast and the line to check in was ridiculous. The second morning we just walked in and served ourselves the minimum and got out quick. You can bring food back to your room. Another let down was the wait time for the elevators which was awful. Not sure how hotels can avoid that when the bulk of guests are heading to the same place at the same time.

The first morning we went to Bird Kingdom. It was a great place to spend time on a chilly morning. There was an interesting museum area included in the admission. There were two aviaries the first was small the second was impressive. The larger aviary reminded me of the one at the Central Park Zoo in NYC though I suspect this one was bigger. My daughter and I did a feeding for a small up charge. I was happy I had a hat on. two out of the four of us got pooped on luckily it was just rain jacket sleeves so the clean up was easy. We spent a good two hours there, well worth it.

After Bird Kingdom we drove to Niagara on the Lake. Our neighbors in Pennsylvania are from Canada and they have a home in the area and they recommended Peller Estates for wine. My husband was the only one in our party who drinks wine but we decided to go anyway for lunch. We stayed for lunch and it was fantastic. Sure it was pricey but it was a splurge that's what you do on vacation. The service was outstanding as was the food. My kids are 12 and 13 they got salmon and duck, I ordered soup and my husband got pasta with truffles. Additional appetizers and palate cleansers were brought to the table, each item more delicious then the last. My husband really enjoyed the 2015 Private Reserve Chardonnay that paired with his meal. A splurge on time and money which was enjoyed by all of us.

After lunch we decided to do the obligatory boat tour of the falls. We did the Hornblower 20 minute day time cruise and donned the red ponchos and pretended we were on an episode of Deadliest Catch....OK I pretended, in my head but it was cold and rainy so it seemed appropriate.

After our wet adventure we went back to the hotel to get warm. I made reservations for Napoli for dinner which was just OK. I will say we are Italian food snobs thanks to my 100% Italian husband. ALso the walk from the hotel to Napoli was bordering on sketchy. There seems to be a stark contrast between the immediate area around the falls and neighborhoods surrounding it. Just an observation no idea of crime rates or incidents just a gut feeling and I would be careful walking with my kids.

The next morning we walked from the hotel to the area behind the Sheraton on the Falls hotel. It is a carnival like atmosphere behind that property with a haunted house, wax museum, ferris wheel and mini golf in the summer. We stopped in Tim Horton's for bagels, hot chocolate and coffee. It was the longest line we encountered on our trip. I imagine that crowds here in the summer must be intense and while I longed for warmer weather I was grateful for thinner crowds.

By noon we were on our way back home. If we find ourselves in this area again we will carve out a couple of days for Toronto about an hour and a half away.

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