The Hornblower: It Was Worth the Drive to the Airport

On July 14th my husband and I departed for the airport to fly to Buffalo. From there, we were going to rent a car and head to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. My husband did not comment when I arrived 15 minutes late from a PAReads meeting in West Chester. He had already packed the car with our suitcases, so we headed to Norristown to pick up my sister and brother-in-law. Of course, there was bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway and the Blue Route. My husband drove, gripping the steering wheel until white-knuckled while muttering, “We are never going to make it.”  My husband – the eternal pessimist (although he says he is only being a realist).

Niagara Falls 2c Hornblower Falls Tour (74)

I tried to tell him that we would make our plane, that F Terminal is not that busy, that we were all TSA precheck, that we were not checking any bags, that the plane could be delayed, that all that mattered was that we were there before 6:30 to board.  Then I shut up. No response from Ralph as the minutes seemed to tick by in a deafening tone. And then, we were moving. We found a spot at the parking lot, hopped the shuttle, and made it to Terminal F. Yes!  It was not crowded. The plane arrived, and we made it to Buffalo. After a short flight, we arrived and piled into our car rental. About an hour later, we were crossing the border.

Niagara Falls 3e View from Observation Tower (American Side) (5)

We woke up early the next day, ready for fun and adventure. After walking the beautiful path from the Welcome Center to the ticket line for the Hornblower (the Canadian version of Maid of the Mist), we were pretty hot (and I would learn later, that I was getting a good sunburn!). Even though it was about 75 degrees at 9:30 a.m., the sun reflected off the sparkling water.We had stood to take photos of the Horseshoe Falls and the Bridal Falls. Now we were walking down a long ramp with many turns and out onto the dock to board the boat. We all donned out melon-red ponchos. Ralph and my brother-in-law Willie were not sure if they would use their phones or cameras to take pictures. It was obvious we were going to get wet. The air was filled with chatter in many languages – French, German, Spanish, Japanese, and English. Then  the Hornblower arrived and after it emptied, we piled on.

Niagara Falls 2c Hornblower Falls Tour (62)

Our plan was to head to the upper level, starboard side and as close to the front of the boat as we could get. We succeeded!  As we approached Horseshoe Falls, the air became filled with mist and the sound of the water conveyed its incredible force. I was in awe!  We had such a good view, but occasionally, I found myself closing my eyes due to the driving waves of water. It was an incredible experience. The beauty of the falls and all its splendor is something to add to your bucket list if you’ve never been – and I would suggest a stay on the Canadian side.

Niagara Falls 2c Hornblower Falls Tour (64)


We returned and did all the other attractions – The Cave of the Wind, the whitewater walk, the aerocable car across the Niagara River. Eventually, we made our way to Niagara on the Lake, a charming town where we will stay next summer. We hope to rent for at least a week and enjoy the vineyards, ice wine slushies, fresh fruit from the farm stands, Lake Ontario, and a possible return to Niagara Falls where we will ride the zipline(?????????)!



9 thoughts on “The Hornblower: It Was Worth the Drive to the Airport

  1. Your photos are amazing!! Definitely adding this destination to my bucketlist!
    Hats off to your husband, too. I know that feelings as I’ve traveled a few times recently and the security lines were crazy long. You remind me I need to take time to be TSA pre-checked because I am a white-knuckle worrier!


  2. Sounds like a wonderful trip, Lynne! Niagara Falls is a must see! Ice wine slushies sound delicious! We did some of the vineyards when we were up there. Niagara on the Lake is a cute town. Did some shopping there too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You look happy in that red poncho!
    We did the Hornblower when we were in Niagra Falls last month. What an experience! Isabelle was stiff as a board, clinging to us in the beginning. By the end of the 20-minute ride, she was ready to go on again. (I’ll send you some photos so you can have a good laugh.)

    Liked by 1 person

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