There is a lot to see and do in the Buffalo area, and we did by no means see or do it all. But with our wonderfully hospitable, excellent tour guide, Molly, we did a lot. Molly grew up in the area and now spends her summers here. Here we are waiting to go aboard the "Maid of the Mist" at Niagara Falls: Liz, Molly, Nan
Of course, Niagara Falls was our first destination. On the way we drove by decaying remains of Bethlehem Steel and other industries.And the still functional General Mills plant....where Cheerios are made.
Past two Lady Liberties on top of the old Liberty Bank building.
Past some bridges.
And over some bridges...sure glad Molly was driving us around in her car.
From afar we could see the mist rising from the falls.As we crossed over the Niagara River above the falls we saw the turbulent rapids.
And finally the falls. American Falls on the left foreground, Horseshoe Falls in the background.
Looking down at the line boarding the Maid of the Mist, the boat that will take us up close and personal.Into the mist we go...
Damp became an understatement...
The American Falls
People in yellow slickers lined up for the Cave of the Wind tour behind Bridal-veil Falls
Horseshoe Falls...here's where the mist became a drenching.
Click on the video to see wet Nan
Wet Molly....she loves this stuff!
We learned there are many species of birds here.And we were entertained by a few of them at lunch.
Gulls feet walking overhead.
From there we followed the river to see the gorge and whirlpool below the falls.
The Niagara River Gorge
Here the water funnels into a bend in the river and creates a giant whirlpool.
The whirlpool. Notice the tram ride one can take over the whirlpool.You might think this is obvious, but there was a report on the evening local news about swimmers being rescued from the gorge. I wonder if they were prosecuted.
Saw this black squirrel dumpster-diving.
And this gray squirrel diving in a bread wrapper.
Was surprised to see this Wood Stork flying over the gorge. According to the guide book, his presence here is "accidental." Wood storks are not normally found this far north. Guess he didn't read that.
A little farther down the gorge, past the whirlpool, is a place called Devil's Hole. This sign tells of some historical events that took place here during the French and Indian War.
And another sign explains the natural phenomena that created Devil's Hole.
Just beyond the dried-up outlet is a power plant. See the boat coming up the river?
It's a jetboat taking tourists up to the whirlpool.
Still farther down the river, near Lake Ontario, is the remains of Fort Niagara. We decided not to pay the entrance fees to see it. It was a British fort during the French and Indian War.
The town's fire hydrants are painted like little British soldiers.
On to more adventures...
Molly took us to a nice park where the dogs had a great get-together with Molly's friends' dogs. Then Molly And her friends went running with their dogs; Nan and I went walking with ours.
Ok, who remembers playing a Kazoo as a kid? Or maybe you still do?
Did you know that the original Kazoo factory is located in the little town of Eden, just south of Buffalo?
They are still making kazoos in the same building.
Not only that, they are still using the same machines.
This sign reminded me of other musical instruments of my childhood...the Chiclets box and a blade of grass.
My kazoo was the original #19.
I don't remember all these other styles.
There are 18 steps to making a kazoo. The process was explained on story boards near the machines. I won't bore you with all 18 steps.
Some famous people have played the kazoo, like Leonard Bernstein...
and Dagwood Bumstead.The Kazoo Factory made the evening news a few years ago.
I liked this sign in the gift shop.
Some novelty kazoos...
Of course we all bought a kazoo (still a bargain at $1.99 each), but I'm sorry to say that we completely forgot to record our kazoo band in concert.
We found two more unique places to visit in the town of East Aurora, a little east of Buffalo.
The first was Elbert Hubbard's Roycroft. I knew you'd ask:
We strolled the Appian Way to the Copper Shop.
Paved with stones in memory of master craftsmen of Roycroft. The name Roycroft means King's Craft or Royal Craft.
In its heyday, about 1910, Roycroft Community was comprised of over 18 buildings with over 500 artisans and workers.
A clock in Roycroft Inn
"Fences are for those who cannot fly." Elbert Hubbard
And from there we descended upon Vidler's 5-10 cent store, which fills an entire city block. You can see "Vidler on the Roof."
Inside was everything you need.
And a few things I didn't know I needed...
(I probably should have bought some seafood doohickeys for when we get to Maine...)
Some of the other storefronts were interesting too.
The first time I've seen a town that named its alleys. I saw at least 3 alleys decorated with name and plaque like this one.
We finished the day with dinner at Tina's Italian Kitchen, where Nan insisted on treating us all. Enough food to eat and take home for another meal.