Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Niagara Frontier

 - by New Deal democrat

Just got back from the area where I grew up: the Niagara Frontier of NY and Canada. Normally you only hear of this area in winter when someone from the Weather Channel is standing out in a blizzard with a yardstick, but in the summer it is pretty awesome.  Typically the daytime highs from June through August are 70-85 F and lows in the 50s and 60s with lowish humidity.  Perfect vacation weather.

On the Canadian side there is a beautiful small town at the mouth of the river called Niagara On The Lake:

A nice few hours on a rainy afternoon were spent on this veranda sipping red wine:

On the American side there is the similar smaller town of Lewiston, NY.  Drank a toast there too.

And of course there is the falls:

and the gorge:

and the rapids just above the falls:

There is also a huge, ferocious whirlpool downstream where the river narrows to about 200 feet wide and makes a dogleg.

Riding the "Maid of the Mist" boat to the inside of the horseshoe-shaped Canadian Falls is awesome, leaving me and most of the other adults giggling and repeating "Wow!" just like little kids.

Then there's the local food.  Of course, there are chicken wings, reputedly invented at the (still-open) Anchor Bar in Buffalo, but the best are reputedly served at Duff's, and incongruous Mexian adobe style former cocktail lounge located in an affluent suburb.  Here it is as it looked in the 1950's:

I grew up a mile from this place and had never set foot inside until this past week!

Then there's Beef on Weck, a roast beef sandwich on a hard, salty Kimmelweck roll that stands up to au jus sauce and  isn't made anywhere else. And Ted's charcoal grilled hot dogs:

Nathan's, eat your heart out.  Not even close.

Here is a photo taken at the waterfront looking east to the downtown skyline of the much-maligned Buffalo:

And here is the west view from the same location:

Not too shabby, right? On the left side of the photo you can just barely see the NY shoreline stretching southwest.  On the far right is the shoreline of Ontario, Canada, where there are a bunch of nice sandy beaches only about 15 minutes from downtown. Since Lake Erie is shallow, in summer the water warms up to about 70 - 75 F, so it's great for swimming. On a typical summer afternoon there are dozens of sailboats out on the lake.

In wintertime, during those huge snow events, typically everywhere north of that lake shore - which is everywhere north of downtown Buffalo - sees bright sunshine and bright blue skies, while across the entire southern horizon from west to east is the snowstorm.

All in all, a great short summertime vacation.