27 DEC 2018: We spent our first honeymoon in Niagara Falls. This honeymoon capital of the world welcomes eight million people every year. They come to ooh and ahh over what should be a wonder of the world. This time we’re here because we belong to Trustedhousesitters and came across a request for a couple to care for two cockapoos in a lovely home that has a hot tub and it was just a few blocks from the falls. It seemed a perfect way to spend Christmas. The appeal was not only the dogs, but also the destination.  

We could go every day, or even twice a day to see this breathtaking sight. Way back in 1885 the Government of Ontario recognized the importance of this natural wonder and insured that the land next to the falls should be preserved - and they have continued to do so. The gardens are simply breathtaking and this time of year the decorations are stunning too.

We tend to visit twice a year, more often if we have Australian visitors who get off the plane asking if they can visit the falls. There is always something new to see winter or summer or anytime in-between.

Once we stayed in at the Charles Hotel in Niagara on the Lake. It was a great get-a-way, but the best part was riding our bikes along the Niagara River corridor for two days.

The Wonder Pass took us on the Journey Behind the Falls. You need to dress warmly, but it is so worth it, winter or summer. Niagara’s Fury never gets stale no matter how many visitors you bring along. People are fascinated to discover the ancient story of the formation of Niagara Falls through this multi-sensory experience.

We never miss the Floral Showhouse. The flowers are always stunning and always different no matter when you go. Counting the butterflies and seeing if some will land on us makes the time fly at the Butterfly Conservatory.

Yes, we’ve done the Helicopter Tours, Imax Theatre, and the Skylon Tower but still to come is the Niagara Sky Wheel.

I’ll be passing on the MistRider Zipline which gets great reviews and is a good price. People complain that waiting in line up to an hour is too long when they’ve already reserved. They have a night zip which sounds very appealing. The attraction isn’t running again till Spring, nor are the Hornblower Niagara Cruises.

The Niagara Park Wonder pass has great saving for your clients, and includes WEGO bus transportation and the Falls incline, and $5 off parking, not to mention 11 other discounts. Guests may not want Clifton Hill, but they all want to go to Niagara Parks which have grown far beyond Queen Victoria park at Horseshoe Falls.

The winter Festival of Lights transforms the whole area with millions of gorgeous lights and animated displays until the end of January. New Year’s Eve includes a free concert with all Canadian Talent, in Queen Victoria Park and two fireworks displays - 9pm and midnight.

We had dinner at Elements on the Falls, again. Our Falls view table was spectacular and so was the food. Holland-born executive Chef Elbert Wiersema has worked with local producers to produce signature dishes using Canadian and local products. The fixed menu is a great buy and included three choices of starters, choice of four mains, and choice of two deserts for $45. This doesn’t include the tax and service fee. I took away memories of the fabulous vegetables, and yes of course the deserts. Chef Chris brought us out a tasty bit of smoked Duck breast and sirloin to try while we were waiting for our starters. Michelle has been on the wait staff three and a half years, while Nitsa has been suggesting dishes for 34 years. They both added a special touch to our evening.

Elements closes in early January for a total renovation that will take four months. When it reopens It will be renamed Table Rock Restaurant.

Some of our guests love the busyness of Clifton Hill, and its many choices of attractions. Tell your clients to buy a Clifton Hill Fun Pass to save money.

Exploring the 56 kilometers of the parkland found along the Niagara River is always new. There are always things we haven’t seen, and the people watching alone is special. The White-Water Walk is accessible, and the boardwalk offers incredible views the turbulent waters of the Niagara River.

The dogs showed off their own neighbourhood, and then were content to doze on their bed while we set off every day for a new adventure.

This has been a wonderful way to greet a new year. Happy New Year to all of you.



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Sam Ion

The expert on All Inclusives, Sam delivers up-to-date info on alternate Wednesdays in her column Not Just All Inclusives.

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