Niagara Falls, Letchworth State Park and Artisan Cheese

August 15-21, 2019 — We started this third week of August out by completing our time in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. From there we traveled east to visit three waterfalls in a state park then on to the grand finale of waterfalls – Niagara Falls. 

This was our second time being in Niagara Falls but the first since becoming full-time RVers. Our first visit was about ten years ago while on a four day weekend vacation. During that trip we visited both the US and Canada side of the falls and did a boat trip from the US side. We were on a tight schedule and didn’t have the luxury of spending a great deal of time taking in the sights like we do now. 

This visit to the falls was a completely different experience. We stayed several nights in nearby St. Catharines, Ontario and were able to visit the falls and surrounding area twice, both times from the Canadian side. We chose to not repeat the boat ride so we had no lines to stand in or tickets to purchase. Instead, we spent several hours wandering around the falls at our leisure. 

Being able to take our time and just enjoy the falls for what they are was so much more enjoyable than our previous visit. We did less this visit but got more pleasure out of it. 

This less is more concept extends to much of our RV life and one that is likely difficult for outsiders to understand. We often get asked “don’t you miss _____?” and our answer is always the same – no. 

Follow along below for a pictorial of our less is more RV life during this third week of August.

All nights this week were free stays with two nights at Harvest Hosts sites and five nights at two Boondockers Welcome locations. 

Mile Driven - RV
Miles Driven - Car

Castel Grisch Winery in Watkins Glen, New York overlooks Seneca Lake from the east. The winery is one of many in the Finger Lakes Region that participate in the Harvest Hosts program offering member RVers free overnight accommodations. We especially enjoyed this host site as it is situated on a long, private drive off the main highway offering a very quiet night stay. The staff at the winery were extremely welcoming and friendly and their wines were excellent. Our favorite was Seneca Dream Red, a semi-sweet with flavors of strawberry and grapefruit. Yum!

We made lots of new friends while at a Boondockers Welcome host site in central New York. 

Letchworth State Park in Castile, New York, aka the “Grand Canyon of the East”, is home to a huge gorge with walls up to 600 feet tall. At the bottom of the gorge is the Genesee River which flows over three major waterfalls providing spectacular scenery for visitors. This park easily makes the list of one of the most beautiful state parks we have been to. 

Our last night in New York state was at Freedom Run Winery, a Harvest Hosts site in Lockport. The winery name stems from an 1800’s folklore story stating that fugitive slaves ran through the area under cover of night against the backdrop of the Niagara Escarpment which guided them to the Niagara River then across to Canada and freedom. 

Niagara Falls as seen from the Canadian side. No words can adequately describe the beauty and power of these waterfalls. 

The 36 mile long Niagara River flows north from Lake Erie and empties into Lake Ontario. Niagara Falls is part of this river and it serves as a border between Canada and the United States. The photo below was taken from a bike path that parallels the river on the Canadian side for most of its distance from Fort Erie, past Horseshoe Falls to Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake. We enjoyed walking several portions of this path and would love to return someday to bike it in its entirety. 

Queen Street in Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario is a floral paradise. So pretty!

Wine and flowers are a great combination! Shaw Cafe & Wine Bar on Queen Street in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. 

We broke up the trip across Ontario from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the Sarnia border crossing with a stop over at a Boondockers Welcome host site. The hosts are retired dairy farmers that now rent out their cropland to a neighboring farmer. Our host graciously took us on a tour of the local area with stops at a dairy farm and artisan cheese factory. We highly enjoyed learning about agriculture production in central Ontario and sampling the many offerings at Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese. Our favorite was 5 Brothers Firm Cheese that is a hand crafted washed rind cow’s milk cheese that combines traits from Swiss Gouda and Appenzeller varieties. 

What a great week! Stay tuned for next week as we cross back into the United States and make our way north though Michigan. See you then!

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