• Nicole Griggs

A Detour to Niagara

Updated: May 24

We decided to drive the van up to #NiagaraFalls at the last minute for an astounding view and Buffalo wings at the famous #AnchorBar.

pounding water and mist from Niagara Falls seen from the Canadian side
The Canadian side wasn't open, of course, but it really do look like that

A thunderous base note thrummed deep in our ears as soon as we drove through the entrance of the state park. Mist clung to the air above the trees and we inhaled the scent of water as we stretched our legs in the parking lot. The drive was long and hot and we're all eager to get to the river, hoping proximity to the rushing current would help ease the heat.


It was about 90 degrees Fahrenheit in Upstate New York on the Canadian border and the thick humidity allowed Alex's and my hair achieve new levels of curliness. There aren't many people about, through the carefully designed infrastructure of the park is clearly for swollen summer crowds much larger than pandemic ones. We hurried to traipse down a set of stairs and rounded a corner led by an excited Lucy pulling at her harness and were stopped, struck still in wonder.

close-up view of the top of Niagara Falls from the American side
We still can't believe they let tourists get this close

Short Stops and Jaw Drops

I have rarely experienced a moment of awe so genuine from a natural sight that my jaw actually drops open. The only other time I can remember was when I was in Alaska and first saw the frozen greatness of glaciers. Standing at the edge of the observation path before the booming intensity of the falls, my jaw was truly on the ground.


Once we recovered from the shock of how close we were allowed to be to the top of the falls we couldn't stop commenting on how amazing the sight was #wordvomit. We walked as much of the park as we could, going up and down stairs and sweating profusely. It was too bad that the Maid of the Mist and the lower observation platforms were closed but the experience of the falls wasn't wanting for it. We slowly wound our way back through the park to the van, smiling at Lucy's twitching nose scenting the air and enjoying the lazily setting sun.

man and woman standing to take a selfie before Niagara Falls
Happy travelers (note the hair)

It was still fully light out once we remembered our stomachs. Since we were so close to Buffalo, we decided to stop off at the Anchor Bar, where #Buffalowings were first started, apparently. We grabbed some take out, watched some #Netflix, and got ready for another long drive.

Buffalo wings and Buffalo chicken sandwich in Styrofoam take out containers
Absolutely mouth watering food from the Anchor Bar

It's easy to see how a tourist could spend the whole day in Niagara State Park and the surrounding areas of upstate New York, but we decided not to stay too long. We had been invited on a hike the next day all the way over in Stratton, Vermont by some friends and we wanted to make it. So we drove until midnight, stayed over at a truck stop, then pushed on early in the morning.


We were tired but totally gripped by the excitement of being alone on the road for the first time. We could stop where and when we wanted. The feeling was infectious and kept us going until we reached the Green Mountain State the next day, rubbing tired eyes but happy with the infectious independence of our first real foray into #vanlife.


Thanks for reading and see you out on the road!

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