Often when traveling we find that places are not always what we expect them to be. In our minds we have a picture or idea of how a place will look, but once we arrive we find that it is very different from our original sentiment. Upstate New York is a perfect example of this. While I knew that this part of the state was going to be rural, it was still very different from what I had pictured.
It consists of mountains, rolling hills, trees, farms, and small communities. The Adirondacks take up much of the north eastern part of the state and it’s definitely worth making a trip to see them. Lewey Lake Campground lies in the southwest part of the Adirondacks and it made a perfect home for us while we explored the area. This campground is very spread out, having sites on both sides of the road and in several sections made which it a little confusing at first, but we easily found a great spot right on the creek. We didn’t have neighbors the whole time we were there as the season was coming to an end which added to it’s serenity.
Being on the water was nice for us because the kids were able to catch frogs, play in the creek, and they even built a small lean to on the other side! We enjoyed listening to the sound of the creek flowing at night. Wood collecting was allowed too so we gathered enough to have several (free) campfires. There was a nice trail that started right from the camp where we enjoyed a wonderful family hike. A few small towns are located nearby and we were able to get some delicious pizza, a big salad and bread knots at Puterko’s Family Pizzeria one night. It was a really nice family owned pizza joint with great food.
Lake Ontario is located on the northern border of New York and I wanted to see it before we left the state. We found a campground close to Chimney Bluffs State Park which made our visit there only a short drive. There was a self service pay station located in the parking area, but it was only $5 and totally worth it for the view. It was amazing! Every time I see one of the Great Lakes I am taken away by their beauty and vastness. It really feels like being at the ocean (only without the waves and salt). My children refer to them as salt-less seas. There is a great hike which takes you along the cliffs for a great view of the lake. We detoured a little and walked along the shore where we had a snack and took some excellent photos of the cliffs. I was so glad we saw Lake Ontario from Chimney Bluffs because it is such a unique place.
Many places throughout the country and the world are built up as being amazing, some of these places are not all they’re made up to be, but some of them end up exceeding our expectations. Before leaving New York we had to make a stop at one of these amazing places. I’m sure that you have guessed it, Niagara Falls. I was not sure if this place would be all that it was built up to be, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Niagara Falls is actually a state park which I had not realized before planning our visit. The park itself is free to explore, but parking, along with any of the extras you might want to do all cost money. We spent two days exploring the park and were able to find a $3 parking lot a short walk from the entrance. Our first day we just walked around oohing and ahhing at the beauty of the falls. It was even more impressive than I could have imagined. We walked to every viewing platform and all the way to the three sisters islands. Other than a short bout of rain it was a great day.
For our second day we decided to go ahead and pay for tickets to ride the Maid of the Mist because we wanted a closer look at the power of those waterfalls. It was worth every penny. The kids were so excited, our daughter Journey was literally jumping for joy! The boat ride isn’t very long but being right in the waterfall surrounded by mist and hearing the water crashing down was an experience we will never forget. You can explore Niagara Falls with us in this video.
After departing the Maid of the Mist we got to climb the stairs and get very close to the bottom of the American Falls. It was like being in a huge storm! They light the waterfall up at night so we stayed in the park until well after dark to view this amazing feat. The color changing effect was so beautiful and not at all what I expected. Having the chance to experience this place was better than I ever could have expected. I wish we could have enjoyed all of the attractions offered at Niagara Falls, but if we always did it all we would have been out of money long ago. I was so glad we made the trip to see this magnificent place
Here are the links and more pictures for the places we talked about:
Lewey Lake Campground
Puterko’s Family Pizzeria
Chimney Bluffs State Park
Niagara Falls State Park
Maid of the Mist
Here is our video of our exploration of Niagara Falls