Falling For Niagara
The natural wonder may seem like an old-fashioned honeymoon place, but it still provides a romantic and exciting getaway.
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One unique accommodation is the lighthouse keeper’s cottage at Thirty Mile Lighthouse (9691 Lower Lake Road, Barker, 716-795-3885, nysparks.state.ny.us) in Golden Hill State Park. There is a private picnic area with a barbecue grill, full kitchen, living room, old-fashioned bathtub and a magnificent view of Lake Ontario for $975 a week.
Castellani Art Museum on the campus of Niagara University (101 Old Falls St., Niagara Falls, 716-286-8200, niagara.edu/cam) is a renowned center for contemporary art with thousands of works by masters such as Picasso, Modigliani and Cassatt. One of its most prominent permanent exhibits is the multi-media “Freedom Crossing: The Underground Railroad in Greater Niagara.”
History is the focal point at Old Fort Niagara (Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown, 716-745-7611, oldfortniagara.org), a vestige of Great Lakes dominance that has survived three centuries, three wars and three countries. This summer commemorates the 1759 Siege of Old Fort Niagara, when the British and Iroquois wrested it from the French. July 3-5, more than 2,000 re-enactors will stage a full-scale attack and defense of the fort. Admission is $10.
Rich soil produces abundant produce, including grapes, and the 12 vintners on the Niagara Wine Trail are making good use of the bounty. Vizcarra Vineyards on Becker Farms (3760 Quaker Road, Gasport, 716-772-2211, beckerfarms.com) makes wines from local grapes such as Niagara and Catawba. On the last Sunday of each month, you can take a two-hour ride in a 1947 passenger coach to Spring Lake Winery (7373 Rochester Road, Lockport, 716-439-LAKE, springlakewinery.com) for lunch, music and samples of the signature late-harvest Riesling, Pinot Noir and Old Vine Zinfandel ($39 per person).
Pick your own berries, cherries and veggies at Murphy Orchards. Or have afternoon tea with all the trimmings or a light lunch ($8.95 to $11.95) in a charming mid-19th century house. Becker Farms, another you-pick operation, is also known for its fresh fruit pies and jam-inspired fudge.
Experience being raised and lowered on the Erie Canal’s only set of double locks during one of the two-hour narrated Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises (210 Market St., Lockport, 800-378-0352, lockportlocks.com, $14.50 for adults). And relive your childhood with a ride on a hand-carved horse on a 1916 carousel as part of a tour at the Herschell Carousel Factory Museum (180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda, 716-693-1885, carrouselmuseum.org; $5 for adults, $2.50 for children).
By the way, if you want to take a little side trip over to the Canadian side, you will now need to produce your passport.