Lake Ontario, Niagara Falls and Lake Erie – 7/23/14 – 8/4/14

Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls from Canadian Side

Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls from Canadian Side (Maid of the Mist looks like a toy boat)

We had a long drive from Vermont to the Syracuse Camping World for a diagnostic appointment for our side camera that had been damaged. We hoped to get it submitted to our warranty company, then drop the MoHo back off for the work to be done later in the week.   It was a bit of a cluster and 2.5 hours later, we hooked back up and drove the 45 minutes to Cherry Grove Campground in Wolcott, NY. It was a smaller park with what seemed like a lot of seasonals who park their rig, then come back to it on the weekends or for vacation. It was Monday, so even though the park was fairly full, no one was there. The owner couldn’t have been nicer and already we had a much better vibe than the last place. One interesting thing that we have never encountered is that they charged $3/day for A/C usage. The park was so reasonably priced, this didn’t bother us, just interesting. It had been a long day, so we just “kenneled” in for the night.

We did a quick drive through Syracuse University

We did a quick drive through Syracuse University

Our pet turtle at the campground

Our pet turtle at the campground

The next day, we set out to explore and check out the Finger Lakes region, which is full of wineries! Who knew? This wasn’t even on our radar as we had mostly picked this stop to get the RV maintenance done.  We decided to focus on the west shore of Seneca Lake and just randomly picked our first stop, White Springs, which was a wine/brewery combo. The next stop was at Billsboro, and we had a fantastic young gal helping us who gave us some great recommendations for the rest of the day. We made it to 3 more plus a stop for a delicious lunch. Glenora had great views, Hermann J. Weimer was our favorite and we had a good chat with the very knowledgeable pourer and our last stop, Anthony Road, was just ok. This area is really known for its Rieslings, which is not our favorite, but we did enjoy the drier ones, especially since it was a hot day. We would love to return here when we have more time, as there are more lakes with many more wineries to explore. It kind of had a Lake Chelan feel, but on steroids!

Lake Seneca, Finger Lakes

Lake Seneca, Finger Lakes

Doing some damage at Hermann Weimer

Doing some damage at Hermann J. Weimer

On our last day, we decided to head to Fair Haven Beach State Park on Lake Ontario. The weather wasn’t great, but our goal is to at least dip our toe into all five of the Great Lakes, so this was our first. We walked around the park area, did our toe-dip, then had a picnic lunch looking out at this huge ocean of a lake. The wind really started to pick up, so we packed up and headed back to the MoHo. We were supposed to drop it off back at Camping World in the morning, but since we had yet to hear back from our warranty company and CW was not responsive, we canceled. We have come to the conclusion that our warranty company is a complete scam as we have never had any luck making contact with them let alone with them approving a claim. This is a long saga that we are both completely irritated with, so our next step is to cancel with them and find another company. We were set to drive to Philadelphia in the morning for our flight to Seattle (see previous blog), so now we had nowhere to leave the MoHo. Mike checked with our campground and they were willing to let us leave it there and plugged in for only $6/day. Awesome!

Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario

We had an outstanding trip home to Seattle and successfully surprised our friends at the annual Camp Cameron Pool Party. We left the campground in Wolcott on Wed. the 30th and made the drive to a KOA on Grand Island, NY just 7 miles from Niagara Falls.   A friend, Sandy and her husband Gene, who we had met in Everglades City, FL in January were working here for the summer, so we were excited to see them. We got settled and did a much needed grocery run, and prepared for the monsoon weather about to hit. Sandy came over that night and we split a few bottles of wine and had a great time catching up on the past 6 months.

American Falls (left); Horseshoe Falls (right)

American Falls (left); Horseshoe Falls (right)

Friday, we drove the 7 miles into Niagara Falls and we weren’t sure what to expect. The town itself was very touristy and many of the viewing paths were under construction, but we walked through it and finally got our first glimpse of the American Falls. Wow, impressive! Walked over to Goat Island to see Horseshoe Falls (Canadian Falls) and we felt this was the best view from the American side. We looked down on Cave of the Winds and everyone was getting completely soaked, so we opted out on that. We then walked back to the mainland area for a quick hotdog from one of the many vendors, then ventured over the Rainbow Bridge across the border to the Canadian side. MUCH better views and the area seemed cleaner and so much more inviting. We walked the whole boardwalk all the way down to Horseshoe Falls where we could look straight down on the water coming over, the most impressive view yet. Luckily, it wasn’t too hot or humid and the mist from the Falls felt great. We were going to head back and do the Maid of the Mist, but decided we didn’t want to fight the lines and we were tired after walking over 8 miles. We felt like we saw every possible angle of the Falls (except from the water). This iconic landmark is a must see for everyone and we would highly recommend the Canadian side for the best viewing experience! We were hungry, so headed into Buffalo and the Anchor Bar, birthplace of the chicken wing. This has been on Mike’s list for years! Bellied up to the bar and I got salad/pizza while he had a 20-piece wing order. They were meaty and the right spice, a solid 7.5 out of 10 on his “wing scale.”

American Falls

American Falls

Looking down on Cave of the Winds

Looking down on Cave of the Winds (people are in yellow ponchos)

On top of the American Falls

On top of the American Falls

A little misty at Horseshoe Falls

A little misty at Horseshoe Falls

Maid of the Mist

Maid of the Mist

Horseshoe Falls

Horseshoe Falls (notice the rainbow)

View looking down Horseshoe Balls - feel the power!

View looking down Horseshoe Falls – feel the power!

Wing hat at the Anchor Bar

Chicken wing hat at the Anchor Bar

Since we had knocked out our must-sees of the area, we weren’t quite sure what to do the next day. Decided to head into the Niagara Falls Wine District. We hit 4 wineries and learned that this area is still developing and working on their niche. We did try some ice wine (I didn’t really care for it) and we were told that the neighbors to the north in Ontario are really the ones doing it right. It is quite an expensive and arduous process to produce and they are still working to master it. We got back to the MoHo and ended up at Sandy and Gene’s RV sitting outside chatting for the next 6+ hours. We ordered pizza and had a great evening and really hope to meet up with them again sometime this winter.

We said our goodbye’s the next morning and got on the road to Erie, PA. We found a great spot right on Lake Erie, Lampe Marina Campground and the price was right at $30/night. We originally were looking for a place closer to Pittsburgh, but we just couldn’t pass up this spot. The big city of Pitt will have to be another trip. This was the most relaxing stay we have had in a long time. We used the bikes everyday and really just enjoyed the setting of the park. In fact, we didn’t spend a penny other than the cost of the park for our 3-day stay, making all meals at the MoHo. There was a long pier out from the marina area where fishing was the main attraction and lots of boat traffic into the bay. We had a big thunder and lightning storm the first night, which was kind of cool, but the rest of the time was nice.

View from our campground (Pesque Isle State Park point in background)

View from our campground, Lake Erie (The tip of Presque Isle State Park in the background)

The campground sat right on the Lake

Our campground sat right on the Lake (Our MoHo is the 2nd from the right)

On our last day, we loaded our bikes in the car and drove 30 min’s to Presque Isle State Park. From the campground, we were only about a 50-yard water crossing, but to get there by land, we had to drive the long way around.   The park is a 3,200 acre sandy peninsula on Lake Erie with a 13-mile loop and many hiking trails, fishing spots and sandy beaches. We parked at Beach #8 and set out on the loop on our bikes. It was bit toasty out, but the trail had many shady spots and great viewpoints to check out. We made it out to the point where we could look back and see the MoHo just a short distance away. Back at the car, we loaded the bikes back in, changed into our suits, grabbed the cooler and chairs and walked out to the beach. The sand was dark and a bit gravely, not the white powder you would find at an ocean beach. But, other than that, it seemed like the ocean. It was pretty crowded, but we found a spot, had our lunch and took a dip (#2 down of the 5 Great Lakes!). We hung out for awhile and were both cooked, so packed it up and headed back to the car. Drove back to the MoHo and enjoyed our last night at this park complete with campfire and Mike cooking ribs. Off to the Cleveland area in the morning.

Bike ride in Pesque Isle State Park

Bike ride in Presque Isle State Park

Cooling off in Lake Erie

Cooling off in Lake Erie

Great Lakes factoid: The Great Lakes contain 21% of the world’s surface fresh water and 54% of the world’s liquid fresh water by volume. These lakes are HUGE!

5 thoughts on “Lake Ontario, Niagara Falls and Lake Erie – 7/23/14 – 8/4/14

  1. Christine Tabbert

    this is an Amazing travelog i think you should publish this!!! met you in May in Williamsburg and have really enjoyed reading your very well written blog and gorgeos photos!! THANK YOU and enjoy it really sounds like you are!!!!!

    Reply
    1. Traci Post author

      Thanks Nancy. We just walked into Canada and saw that side of the falls. It was beautiful over there! Didn’t make it any further in though.

      Reply
      1. Nancy

        Well, if you are able… the ride up to Niagra On The Lake is beautiful and the town itself is even more spectacular! Lots of beautiful wineries as well.

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