Tag Archives: Niagara Falls

Goat Island Niagara Falls

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I had never been to Goat Island, the spit of land between the US and American Falls at Niagara before. We were in a hurry, The Canadian falls are plenty spectacular. We didn’t want to deal with customs. This time, since we were heading into the US anyway, I decided we should stop in. It was the end of daylight savings and we were up very early and out on the road. It was a good thing we did because Goat Island was a really special surprise and we ended up taking more than just a quick look.

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There are a number of reasons why the view from Goat Island is much nicer than the view from the Canadian side. On the Canadian side you can’t really see the cataracts above the falls. They are really visible and astonishing in their own right from Goat Island.

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The Canadian side is all mowed and groomed and carefully planned flower beds. Goat Island is much more parklike with a lovely walk through woods. There are delightful and natural little side creeks where water goes over shallow falls on it’s way to the big falls. You can get really close to both the American and the Canadian Falls. There is ample very low cost parking with plenty of room for RVs on Goat Island. On the Canadian side it costs $15.00 to park and you still have a pretty fair walk. The roads are narrow winding alleyways difficult to impossible with a trailer in tow. On the US side you pay $3 and you are right there. The RV parking is a long way back on the side farthest from the falls but it was free and there was a trolley to ride for $3. We chose to walk with the dogs. So the dogs had fun too. The Canadian side is really no place to walk a dog. On the Canadian side there is no where to sit and have a picnic with your family. On Goat Island it is parklike and lovely with lots of picnic tables.

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There were a lot of Japanese tourists and for some reason they were fascinated by our Trusty, who is an English Bull Terrier. Everywhere we went, when we hit a group of Japanese tourists they would squeal with delight and insist on taking pictures of and with her. Since she is a big ham anyway, she was delighted to cooperate, Poor Fred apparently does not fascinate in the same way so he had to just put up with being told to sit and then being ignored.

My conclusion is if you get to one place and only one place during a trip to Niagara Falls go to Goat Island even if it means facing customs. The Americans do it right.

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Niagara Falls

It’s a tourist Icon, a tourist trap, one of those places that is a touchstone of a nation. This is my third trip and each time I have found myself reflecting on my life and where I am.

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This picture was taken in 1974 and was my first trip to the falls with my brothers. It was a big event then.  We were on our way to Saskatchewan to visit my father’s family. I learned a lot about my family and where I came from. I also learned to read a map. I was 14 going on 45 and ready to be an adult. Of course the world did not yet take me seriously.

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In 1990, sixteen years later, I Dick and I went with my kids to Kingston to present our discovery of the waves that would later become the topic of our book Embryogenesis Explained. I was a young divorcee with three young children. Dick and I were early in our relationship so it was a scary but wonderful time for me. I was a second year undergrad. I had just published my first abstract.  It felt like my life had turned around and we were going to be okay.Kingston_0074

Now I am back again at the falls in 2015, twenty five years later. It has been a wonderful mostly happy rollercoaster ride. The kids are grown. They turned out fine and I am so proud of them. I have grandchildren their age. I finished the PhD and earned that big “Dr.” in front of my name. We are retired. The book is done and the story of the waves and their role in embryogenesis is complete. I carry 30 pounds more than last trip and I have a lot of well earned wrinkles and grey. Wow!

I won’t get into visiting the falls. There are dozens of websites about visiting the falls, what to see, where to get good deals, what the latest and best things are. I’ll just share some shots of this trip and hopefully I will have a chance to get back again someday and add a few more pictures to the set. I will say this. Hang on and enjoy the years because they sure do fly past quickly!

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