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A Round Up Of Our USA & Canada City Adventures

Published On Saturday 16 Sep 2017 by Sticky Beak
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Well what a holiday that was! Our flight was from Heathrow to Washington's Dulles Airport and we then had a few days in Washington D.C to start things off.



London

The Man Bird and I had looked at a few Hotels near Heathrow Airport and had eventually settled on the Sheraton Skyline as the Hotel we wanted to spend the night in.


The lovely reception staff got us swiftly booked in and the porters had our cases in the room in the blink of an eye. Our room was lovely and spacious and the bathroom was stocked with all the necessities; yes, I know, I can be a tad picky but some things are just vital and toiletries are on that list. A couple of minutes later there was a knock on the door and the first of the many incredible surprises of this adventure appeared; a pristinely laid out trolley with three platters of sweet treats for us all. All I can say is a massive thank you to the Sheraton Skyline at Heathrow team; you got our holiday off to a very memorable start :)


After a long drive from our nest to Heathrow we all headed down to the pool for a bit of family rest and relaxation. The Chick settled herself at one of the poolside table and loungers with a Frappucino whilst The Man and I proceeded to embarrass her with an impromptu game of water volleyball; well, there was an inflated plastic ball already in the pool, just begging to be used! The changing room might be the only one there, but it can easily accommodate 2/3 people, so it was ideal for us as a couple.


We also ordered a glass of wine each from the poolside server as we dried off in one of the towels provided at the pool cabana. You could feel “holiday- mode” beginning to kick in as we relaxed in the tropically landscaped pool space, along with other hotel guests.


After a quick shower and freshen up we headed downstairs for an early dinner in the Sports Bar and Grill. read more The food was delicious and there was a great atmosphere in there; obviously the big screens were dotted around showing the sports coverage but they somehow managed to be unobtrusive. With it being a Sunday we had already had a roast lunch at The Tribal Elders nest, otherwise a top-notch curry at Madhu’s restaurant would’ve been on the cards; the menu looked so amazing!


We couldn’t have wished for a nicer hotel to stay in at Heathrow; the Sheraton Skyline was superb, not least thanks to their incredible pillows. Having travelled a fair bit in my lifetime I can testify to the power a good nights’ sleep has in helping you maximise your holiday. My head and neck were supported in all the right places with the Sheraton Skylines’ pillows and the medium-firm mattress took care of my weary limbs.


A great nights’ sleep saw us all waking up bright-eyed and bushy tailed, so we went downstairs to take care of the most important meal of the day; breakfast. There were a number of counters ahead of us, all laden with every imaginable breakfast item and a huge range of fresh juices to select. We filled our little tummies in the knowledge that it could be a fair while until we ate again, and I have to say that the food was all delicious.


The Sheraton Skyline offer a car-park service too so we paid for our car to stay there and just grabbed the Hoppa bus to the terminal we needed (and the same on the way back).


Every single moment of our stay at the Sheraton Skyline Hotel, Heathrow was seamless; I would definitely recommend this hotel to my readers without hesitation. Put it this way, whenever I travel from Heathrow in future I won’t be staying anywhere else but here. 10/10.


We girls had a good fuddle in the Duty Free section, stocking up with a new perfume each (I even treated His Nibs to a new aftershave for his jollibobs, good wife that I am!). A glance at the departure gate told us where we needed to be and we found ourselves a seat to wait for the boarding process to begin.


Our flight over to Washington Dulles airport with United Airlines was nice and smooth other than a patch of turbulence we encountered about 2/3rd of the way in, but even that wasn’t too bad. We had economy plus seats so His Nibs had all the leg-room he could possibly need, and we were near to the amenities tooJ. The Captain got us into Dulles airport on time and we went to the appropriate carousel to pick up our cases. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a speedy luggage pick up in my life; literally we were walking towards the carousel and our cases were winging their way round the corner. Result! read more


Washington DC

We had transfers booked from Dulles airport to our hotel in Washington, the Loews Madison, and in no time at all the driver had us at our destination. First impressions of Loews Madison as we pulled up at its front door were very positive, and this was further enhanced by the smartly attired doorman who opened our doors and took our luggage inside. The reception staff were very friendly and swiftly checked us in and saw our suitcases taken up to our rooms.


Our room was immaculate when we stepped inside; Chickadee bagged herself the queen size bed she wanted and set about unpacking her clothes. I had a peek in the bathroom and did a little squeal of excitement when I saw the massive shower; this beauty could easily fit three people in! The hairdryer was more than capable of drying even the thickest of barnets in no time and the toiletries were all top quality.

Excitement got the better of us and we headed out to go see some of the sights; the White House was top of the list as you can imagine. As soon as we stepped outside the hotel doors the humidity just hit us; BAM! If you haven’t encountered humidity before let me tell you this, it is the most energy-sapping thing you can imagine. Just walking down the street at a stroll has rivers of sweat trickling down your back and as for styling your hair? Forget it, you are never going to win that battle even armed with John Frieda’s’ Frizz ease.


Another tip I can give you is to wear natural fibres like silk, cotton, or linen; these keep you far cooler than synthetic fibres. Oh, and don’t underestimate just how much walking you will do; I took a step counter with me and died when I looked how many miles we covered each day. Bear in mind that that was with using the hop on-hop off bus to save time too; our Skechers trainers were worth their weight in gold!


There is some amazing architecture to admire in Washington D.C and the best thing is that you don’t have to crane your neck to do so. Thanks to legislation, skyscrapers aren’t permitted in D.C. :) When we got to the White House a lot of barriers were in place ready for the Independence Day celebrations, but even so we were still able to see a lot of the monuments up close. The security staff and police were out in force but they were all very polite and didn’t mind giving us directions when we asked. In fact every single person we came across in D.C was very friendly, not stand-offish at all, and really helpful with tips on the best way to see the city etc.


At this point we were starting to get hungry and hadn’t thought about where to eat that night, so we left it to fate to show us the way. We turned around and began walking back to our hotel and got about halfway back when we said that a drink was much needed. It was then that fate intervened; as we turned the corner we could see a restaurant on the corner ahead with its awning stuck out; Joes Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab restaurant was like an oasis in the desert.


Sometimes Lady Luck really does come through and this was definitely one of those times; the steak was honestly like velvet and so flavoursome, probably the best The Man Bird has ever had. The Chick and I both had seafood options; the expression on her face when the Jumbo Prawns came out was priceless! Not only is the food and venue superb at Joes, but the service is fantastic too; our server Deja was lovely. read more


When we got back to the Loews Madison the doorman, Euwie, welcomed us with a huge smile as he held the door. Over the time that we stayed there Euwie always had a friendly word or smile for us and came to my rescue when the weather wasn’t behaving by lending me an umbrella; my hero :)


Independence Day is really something to behold in the Capital, everywhere you looked there were flags flying and the streets were filled with families enjoying their holiday day. The shops had some incredible bargains, so we made the most of it (much to His Nibs horror lol!) and then went to be spies for the morning at the International Spy Museum read more. As well as the spy experience they have an amazing display of spy-abilia and stories of historical spy missions that have shaped modern day life.


We had the foresight to book a table for dinner on Independence Day before we left England, so we headed over to the Founding Farmers for our dinner reservation read more. All I’m going to say is Red Velvet Cake. If you love Red Velvet Cake, you need to go to Founding Farmers in Washington D.C, trust me on this one. I couldn’t help but snigger at the district it’s in though; Foggy Bottom. Foggy Bottom! Who on earth came up with that one?! I couldn’t help myself dear reader, I just had to giggle. Sorry Mummy Bird.


The White House fireworks were beyond amazing; the sky was filled with illumination. At one point I remember thinking “they can’t possibly fit another firework in the sky”, it was that full of sparkles. At one juncture in the evening the display clearly wasn’t satisfying enough for some evil winged cretin as it took a chomp at me; a delicious moment for its jaws no doubt, days of swelling and relentless itching for me. Wherever I go in the world, the critters just love me.


The Big Bus Tickets read more we purchased were an absolute god-send. Not only are they great value for money, but they saved time for us as well as giving us respite from the humidity. There are three different loops to do, and one of them does The Pentagon and the shopping Mall at Pentagon City read more bonus :)


Although Washington D.C is the capital city of America it doesn’t feel rushed; sure you can see the hustle and bustle of the busy streets but you aren’t shoved around at all. Every single person we met was very friendly, and incredibly proud of their town and country.


We did a night time river cruise down the Potomac River on the “Spirit of Washingtonread more and what an incredible time we had. Over the previous few months we had been tweeting with Entertainment Cruises and when we boarded the vessel, there was a bottle of chilled Champagne waiting for us; thank you Courtney, for arranging this special treat for us :) Richard the D.J was a force of nature; his energy and enthusiasm were amazing, and he kept us all entertained royally.



After the dinner there was a choice of entertainment; you could go to the other decks to play a variety of games or admire the scenery, or you could have a boogie on the dance-floor. Stop the Press! His Nibs actually can bust a move or two, although it’s very rarely seen. The Chick has got some footage of this event, so we can relive the glory of it for years to come :)


Life is all about balance and where there is a positive, there must be a not-so-positive; cue the day we left D.C and headed up to The Big Apple. We said our farewells to Euwie and all the other staff at Loews Madison and went to catch our Amtrak train at Union Station blissfully unaware of the chaos of the day ahead. Union station is a wonderful building to behold and for such an immense station was very well signed which meant we found our platform in no time at all.


As we waited we grabbed a coffee and went to sit at our platforms waiting area; it wasn’t long before we got talking to a lovely American couple and the time flew by. We went and found our seats on the train and chatted excitedly about our plans for New York; and that’s when it started to fall apart. The journey from D.C to New York is about 3 hours, and we were still waiting at Union station when we should’ve been in New York; huge thanks (NOT!) to the dingbat who left a “suspicious package” on the rail track, you absolute Muppet!

New York


Anyhow, with that incident out of the way we disembarked the train and hailed a yellow cab (eeek, so exciting) from Penn Station to our hotel, The Manhattan on Times Square. We just caught the end of rush-hour traffic so it was a little slower than usual; we‘d got tickets for a Baseball game at Yankee Stadium and time was looking more than a little tight. Time was about to get a whole lot tighter, unfortunately.


The taxi pulled up in front of The Manhattan on Times Square Hotel and one of the doormen took our bags from the boot and wheeled them into the lovely smelling, and looking, lobby area.We rocked up to the reception desk and handed over our reservation information; the lady looked, and looked again, before saying “I’m sorry, your reservation has been cancelled”. Eh? Come again, ex-squeeze me, baking powder etc etc. What do you mean the reservation has been cancelled? It flipping well hasn’t, let me assure you!


Fair play to the lady on reception though, she popped us into a vacant room, took a swipe of our credit card for the interim and said it would get sorted for the morning. We didn’t have time to argue, it was literally a case of dump the suitcases on the beds (once we’d managed to get them past the cleaning trolleys that were blocking the corridor) and head straight out to catch the subway up to the Bronx where Yankee Stadium is. We did manage to call our Travel Counsellor Louise Cutting, despite the awful time back in England; she said not to worry because she was on the case and would get to the bottom of it for us. read more


The Subway was absolutely heaving with fans of both teams eager to get to the game, ASAP. It’s only a short walk from the subway to the stadium thankfully and there were plenty of marshals around shepherding folks to the correct gate. We had got seats “up in the gods” which were covered over; this turned out to be a huge bonus later in the evening. The Man Bird went and fetched us all a Hotdog from the food stands on the next level down; the game had already started by this point and a great buzz was in the air. What struck me was the fact that fans of both teams were wearing their teams’ colours and sat side-by-side with no hassle or argy-bargy; why can’t this just be the norm at any game? read more


I have absolutely no idea as to the rules of baseball, so I was just cheering every time the ball got whacked and there was some action; I think Chickadee was wishing I’d shut up or that the ground would swallow me up! In the distance I could see some horribly black-looking clouds heading our way and all too soon they poured their contents down on Yankee stadium. The grounds men swung into well choreographed action, pulling waterproof covers onto the play-area to protect it from the deluge as much as possible.



Across the stadium all I could see was people scrambling up to the higher seats where shelter could be had; it was like watching rats deserting a sinking ship! Unfortunately what was happening on the opposite side of the stadium was happening on our side too; we were all suddenly getting up close and personal with complete strangers. Despite the rain the humidity didn’t diminish at all and with bodies packing tight together, it was getting a tad hot in “Yankee Heights”.


The rain continued to pour down and some of the folks took it as an opportunity to stock up on beers and ‘dogs downstairs. As soon as we got chance, and the rain was easing, we decided to make our way back to the subway station and get some rest; it had been a long and eventful day.


Now the one thing I should bring to your attention is the fact that the rooms are always going to be smaller than average in New York just because of the price of real estate per square foot. Given that fact, I was quite pleased with the size of our room; even with two double beds in there was room for our cases on the floor. It’s just a shame that everything else about the room was dire; not least the beds that squeaked if you so much as looked at them never mind actually lay down on them!


We all had a horrendous nights’ sleep thanks to the distinct lacking of sound-proofing either between rooms or out onto the very busy streets below and no air-conditioning. And just when we thought things couldn’t get worse, guess what? They did. His Nibs had discovered some dried on vomit around the loo roll holder, as well as mould in the bathroom and cracked floor tiles; to say we were not happy with the standard of our accommodation would be the under-statement of the year. We went downstairs to see if the problem had been sorted; it hadn’t. We called Louise and gave her the full run-down of our experience so far at the Manhattan on Times Square; she had been told that the problem had been sorted but said she would get back onto Hayes and Jarvis. Good Luck with that Lou, we couldn’t find a number for them anywhere, not even an emergency one!


The Man Bird decided that enough time had been wasted and disruption to our plans caused, and went to see the hotel manager. Result? We got moved to a different room; it still wasn’t fantastic but at least there weren’t other people’s bodily fluids to deal with. However, the fire hazard that was trolleys in the corridors was still very evident; there were at least three of them just down our bit of the hotel. They weren’t easy to move, and you could only just wheel your suitcase past them; imagine trying to escape a fire in the dark, in a corridor full of smoke, with hundreds of people panicking around you. You get the picture. Not acceptable in any way, shape or form is it?


Determined not to dwell on the negative we headed out for a satisfying breakfast of pancakes, French toast, and bacon and eggs before making our way over to Central Park for an early morning horse-drawn carriage ride read more. Our driver Ibrahim and his mare Isabella gave us a fantastic tour around the park; Ibrahim pointed out the most expensive real estate around and also some of the areas in the park that featured in films. His Nibs and I had our photo taken in front of the fountain that featured in the sit-com “Friends”, something we used to love watching together back in the day. Thank you to Central Park Sightseeing for arranging this incredible experience for us, it’s something I always dreamed of doing since I was a little girl :)


We saw the “Charging Bull” and “Fearless Girl” sculptures from our tour bus; good job we were up high as we wouldn’t have seen it from ground level, the crowds are just too big. The 9/11 memorial and museum are essential places to go and visit, but be prepared for a few tears; the emotions of this city are still very raw and tangible.


In place of the iconic Twin Towers there now stands the One World Observatory read more, an equally impressive structure that proudly heralds the indomitable spirit of New York and the freedoms it stands for. We had also booked a table in its restaurant, One Dine read more, and what a view we got! As we sat at our booth table and looked ahead, the Empire State Building faced us straight on. We couldn’t have asked for a better placed table; even better, the food and service were both great too.



Back at “Hell Tower” as we had now called the Manhattan on Times Square the situation regarding our room had been resolved, although we weren’t told exactly where the fault lay. Someone at either Hayes and Jarvis or Team America had staggeringly naffed things up, and no-one quite wanted to admit it was them; we’ll get to the bottom of it though, trust me.


It had been a busy old day and we flopped on our (creaky) beds and switched on the T.V for a bit to drown out the noise of the streets below. At least the air-con was working :). Those of you who have ever been to a rap or hip-hop concert will know that there is often some imbibing of Cannabis/ Ganja/ Weed at these events and can recognise its distinctive smell. This unmistakeable whiff began to drift into our room, so I went into the corridor to figure out its origin. Jeez, I should’ve taken a facemask with me, it reeked in the corridor and the room next door to ours seemed to be its locus of origin. They kept us awake for a large chunk of the night, but let’s just say that they didn’t get the lie-in they wanted; two can play games, guys :)



Some good old New York super-strength coffee gave us the wake-up we needed as we went over to The Empire State Building. This is quite possibly the shiniest, most immaculate building I’ve ever seen; every surface was polished to perfection and gleamed brightly. We couldn’t help but be amused as we walked around the observation deck on the 86th floor and stood straight in front of the One World Observatory; a complete 180 degree view from the one we’d enjoyed whilst dining at One Dine the previous night.


New York was also very humid and the walking tour of little Italy, SoHo and Chinatown was hard going, even despite our fantastic guide Joel being great company. The Cannoli at Ferrara was just amazeballs though :) The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space museum is well worth a visit, but after walking around for so long we cheated and grabbed a cab back to the hotel!


The Lady Liberty was on our list of sights to see and she was as beautiful “in the flesh” so to speak as she appears on the T.V. Another place I have wanted to visit is Katz’ Deli where “that” scene from the film When Harry met Sally was filmed. It was possibly the busiest deli I’ve ever seen; even at 2.30pm it was rammed to the hilt with diners and those taking their infamous sandwiches out. I just had to have classic Pastrami on Rye and what a whopper it was! His Nibs had Corned Beef and that was equally huge; our Chick had seen the size of stuff being brought out, so she opted just for a portion of fries. read more


No trip to New York is complete without a bit (OK, a lot!) of retail therapy; Bloomingdales was the first place to get the Beak treatment, followed the next day by a trip to the Mills at Jersey Gardens. Woodberry Common is the usual tourist destination for shopping outlets as it has the largest amount of designer names, but I did some research and found that Jersey Gardens had more of the designers I liked so that’s where we headed.


The Port Authority Bus Terminal runs a service to the Mills at Jersey Garden so we just hopped on the subway from Times Square over to PABT; easy peasy. There was a queue at guest relations for the discount coupon booklets you purchase for $5, but we were fortunate enough to have been offered a V.I.P pack and didn’t have to queue. It isn’t often I feel sorry for The Man Bird but after carrying the amount of bags The Chick and I accumulated, I really felt the pain his arms must’ve been in!


After a (hard/great - delete as applicable) day out shopping, we were all in need of some top-notch sustenance, and where better to go than the Black Barn Restaurant at Madison Square Park. Located in a very chi-chi area of town (Chelsea Clinton lives nearby) this is THE place to see-and-be-seen;. Chef Owner John Doherty and the lovely Gina Doost kindly gave up their time to meet and greet us and give us a tour around the staggeringly beautiful venue. We opted to dine in the more relaxed Tavern side of the restaurant and the buzz from the bar area and relaxed seating was incredible to witness; some of the clothes were to-die-for, and not just the ladies fashions either.


Our time at the Black Barn was one of those occasions that I sorely wished I could re-live time and time again; none of us wanted to leave. Every single moment in Black Barn was wonderful, if you ever visit New York this has got to be on your list of must-visit places; the food was superb. read more. The only thing that got me out of Black Barn was the knowledge that we had a very early start in the morning to catch our flight from New Yorks’ Newark Airport up to Toronto’s’ Lester Pearson Airport.

Toronto


Despite warnings to the contrary, our Air Canada flight was pretty much on time and the crew were lovely. The weather was a little less humid than down in America, but still stickier than us Brits like. Luckily our hotel in Toronto, The Chelsea, was all over the humidity and blasted it out of the water with efficient air-conditioning. A silky smooth check-in saw my little Flock soon ensconced in a beautifully appointed room with all mod-cons, and an equally fab bathroom. read more


We unpacked our belongings and it wasn’t long before our room looked like home; plenty of wardrobe space for all our newly acquired purchases soon got filled, but we did behave and leave The Boy Wonder with a couple of hangers!


Never ones to languish in our rooms for too long we were soon on the move again; this time to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto. One of the things that terrify me are Sharks, I blame the film “Jaws”. It seems that these creatures can sense my fear as every time I come across them at an aquarium they gravitate towards the area I’m standing in, much to the amusement of my Chick. This time was no different, they all began to glide creepily towards me and I swear to god that they show me their rows of teeth on purpose. Seriously Mr Shark, I don’t need to see them quite so clearly you already terrify me enough from a distance without being so close I could touch them *shudder*.


The Culinary Adventure Co had organised an early access V.I.P tour of the St. Lawrence Market, home to a plethora of food and drink sellers, so our first morning saw us meet Kevin and his daughter Taylor for this gastro adventure. Kevin personally knows a lot of the stall holders and has worked hard to build up relationships with them; it’s these deep friendships that enable Kevin to give his guests a tour with a personal touch. read more

All the stall holders and traders took time out of their day to come and talk to us and let us sample their products. Before we went into the market building itself Kevin took us for a coffee at Balzacs coffee house, then we munched on possibly the most decadent chocolate pastry I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat. The star attraction though was a Pea-Meal Bacon morsel from Carousel Bakery; this also had egg and a gooey layer of cheese in it, which really turned it into the breakfast of kings :) Pea-Meal bacon is a speciality of Toronto and is so soft in comparison to other bacons, and less salty too; this means that you have a deliciously melt-in-the-mouth experience when you bite into it.


I lost count of how many stalls there actually are in St Lawrence Market, but it is spread over two floors so you can imagine that there are a fair few. If you go to Toronto you have to go and see this place for yourselves, and definitely have a goodie or two whilst you’re there :)


Another must do thing is to visit the Eaton Centre for a spot of retail therapy, there are some great shops there. MAC cosmetics and Victorias Secret were top of our hit-list and both got our serious attentionJ Saks Fifth Avenue is located on one side of this huge shopping centre and it is just a shoppers’ paradise; I could’ve spent an entire month in there, seriously.


Time was not on my side for shopping that day however; there was another pressing engagement to attend in the afternoon. The very dashing and oh-so-charming Aaron of Go Tours Canada had arranged for the Flock to go on a deluxe tour of the Distillery District. The site of an old distillery is now home to over 100 independent traders, making every kind of food, drink, arts and crafts. It is a traffic free area, so you can wander around and really appreciate this beautiful site and browse to your hearts’ content. I would definitely advise going on a tour of this district with Go Tours though, as they really give you the inside scoop behind the scenes and go in-depth into the history of the site. read more



The next day was a whirl of activity; we went up the CN Tower, took a cruise of Toronto’s harbour and Islands, and went to see Casa Loma, Toronto’s only castle. These are all incredible sights that any visitor to this beautiful city simply must see. Toronto literally has something for everyone; sporting fans can watch the Toronto Blue Jays play baseball or go inside the Hockey Hall of Fame, music fans can grab a ticket to concerts that are happening, there’s a vibrant theatre culture if that’s your bag, and architecture buffs won’t be disappointed either as they go around the city (I loved the flat Iron building!). After visiting Casa Loma we had a short bus ride and walk down to Eva’s Chimneys; if you haven’t heard of these before, trust me you need to try one! read more



Perhaps the best way to describe a chimney is to say the outer is like one of those fresh cream horns we get in England, you know, the ones that are a hollow triangular cone with a sugar coating and filled with fresh cream. Anyhow, at Eva’s they make them fresh and when we went in the shop there was row upon row of freshly made chimneys in various states of making. The next stage is to choose your toppings or choose from the delicious combo’s on the board behind the serving counter. I had peanut butter in mine, topped with Vanilla ice cream, peanut pieces and a pretzel; total heaven! As you bite into the chimney you get an explosion of tastes and textures that is quite over-whelming, but over-whelming in the best way imaginable :)

Niagara Falls

We had another early start the next day as we were on the move yet again, this time up to Niagara Falls. Our driver, Rick, was the loveliest chap you could wish to meet and was full of information about the local area; he only lived a short drive from Niagara himself, so what he didn’t know wasn’t worth knowing. read more


During our holiday we had, in the main, been very fortunate with our accommodation but the room we had at the Radisson Fallsview Hotel and Suites was truly beautiful; not least because of the breath-taking view of the horse-shoe falls themselves. Yet again we were spoiled with a welcome gift pack from the hotel management team; Peanut Brittle and tinned boiled sweets, a lovely pen and a delightful bound notebook/ journal. I shall use the journal in the future and every time I do it will remind me of this incredible hotel, thank you :)


At the base of Radisson Fallsview Hotel and Suites is a Tony Roma’s restaurant; this venue specialise in Ribs and Seafood, as well as doing their own Onion Loaf. Our flock decided that this sounded just the ticket for a great relaxed family meal, and it turned out to be the right decision. Our server Chris was a really nice lady, who made our evening very enjoyable. The food was great too; very tasty, and plenty of it!


During our time at one of the wonders of the world (the Falls themselves) we were determined to see them from every way possible; daytime, night-time and behind them. We didn’t see them from the air in a Helicopter; instead we viewed them from way up high in the Skylon Tower as we dined in the restaurant there. The night-time trip was a “light mist” experience meaning that you do get wet, but not soaked from head-to-toe, perhaps due to the flow being diminished to power the hydro-electric turbines. Seeing the water lit up in different colours made them look quite ethereal and magical, a very memorable experience. The day time boat trip up to the base of the Falls with Hornblower Niagara Cruises is described as “full mist” which is a polite way of saying that you’ll look like a drowned rat, even when wearing the robust waterproof poncho provided to you! Funnily enough you don’t seem to notice the soaking you’re getting at the time; you’re just too mesmerised by the Horse-shoe Falls themselves.


Ripley’s Odditorium and Louis Tussauds exhibits were on our to-do list, and they were both great fun. In Tussauds I actually got to sit in a DeLorean, and how many times have I dreamed to have one of those in my Blog? Whilst we were in the Clifton Hill area we took the opportunity to sample another Canadian treat, the “Beaver Tail”. A Beaver Tail is basically a doughnut outer (so no jam) flattened out into a tail shape and then spread with whatever concoction you fancy; I had plain Cinnamon sugar on mine, His Nibs had chocolate spread and caramel. read more


Our final day was spent a short bus ride out of Niagara Falls at the fabulous Marineland where we got an opportunity to feed the Beluga Whales read more



Canadians are every bit as friendly as their American counterparts; I have to say that we didn’t meet a single person that wasn’t lovely to us on our entire trip. New York was by far the “buzziest” place we visited and easily the most typical city environment; Toronto and Washington D.C had more charm to them and just as much to do, albeit different things.


Both countries are incredible and merit separate visits of you can’t combine them. It was a full-on, energy packed holiday, one that has left us all extremely tired on getting back home. Would I change a single thing though? No, I wouldn’t; except the hotel in New York, but the staff were lovely there.


No incentive was provided to visit this venue read more