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Old 20th May 2010, 09:55   #1
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Default Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati

The only constants would be us and our ride. Or so we think. We would like to come back changed - adding bit of New York to ourselves. Don't we add a bit (sometimes more) to our lives from the places we visit. I do or at least I feel so.

I did all - went to Red River Gorge in chilling -15 degrees centigrade, some weekends travelled 100 miles just to visit a park (a garden) when I have beatiful parks just next to my home... but the insatiable desire of long drive brings me to my next trip - Cincinnati to Niagara Falls to New York to Cincinnati.

The google maps say 1485 miles (around 2400 kilometers). This may not be as long as a trip when compared to some of my Indian travels but long it surely is.
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-new-york-trip.jpg

The trip starts on Friday (5/21) morning. I have convinced myself with the idea of keeping this thread updated while on the go - kind of Live updates (once a day). But if not, I will update the log after returning on 5/30.

Meanwhile, I thought what better place than team-bhp to receive ideas/suggestions. Any pointers to things I should not miss in Niagara and/or New York; including must have dining experiences (not of USD 1000 kind)?

P.S.:
-I am visiting only the US side of the falls.
-the existing travelogues by bhpians were referenced anyways.
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Old 20th May 2010, 11:24   #2
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Why don't you add atlantic city to your itinerary as well?
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Old 20th May 2010, 13:53   #3
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akbaree word of advice, while in NY please don't take the city tour bus. It's a complete rip off and not worth the money. Pick up a Metro pass for 8.75$'s and a metro map , explore Manhattan all by yourself.

You have trains numbered 1,2.. 5 and the last point is BOWLING GREEN in lower manhattan. This where most of the city tours begin from.
Just follow the metro map and you can get off at stations where ever you plan to visit. BTW the pass is valid for 1 day.
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Old 20th May 2010, 18:48   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Why don't you add atlantic city to your itinerary as well?
I got the same suggesion from few other friends as well. For some reason, Casinos don't attract me. May be because I don't have the money . Is there anything else worth visiting Atlantic City?


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akbaree word of advice, while in NY please don't take the city tour bus. It's a complete rip off and not worth the money. Pick up a Metro pass for 8.75$'s and a metro map , explore Manhattan all by yourself.
Thanks Riju. I am exploring this option and may decide to do just this. Do you think I will miss the open bus experience of the Hop on Hop Off tours?
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Old 20th May 2010, 19:55   #5
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Originally Posted by akbaree View Post
Thanks Riju. I am exploring this option and may decide to do just this. Do you think I will miss the open bus experience of the Hop on Hop Off tours?
I dont think it was worth it. There are different tour operators there and I made use of the GrayLines one. On the 1st day I opted for the Uptown loop and Downtown loop which some 30 $'s and brooklyn loop for 50 odd $'s. The gentleman at the counter offered it for some 70 $'s which included all the 3 loops.

You could hop off and Hop back on anytime during the trip. But then I somehow felt that it was expensive for a complete 3 hrs drive. Take the metro map for trains 1 and 2 , it covers most of the places in the Uptown and downtown loop. For Brooklyn I dint see anything worthwhile except for the walk along the bridge. Maybe for this loop you could take the bus.

If you still plan to take the tour bus and decide on the GRAYLINES bus, look out for this chap, was an excellent source of entertainment.

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dsc_6332-large.jpg
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Old 20th May 2010, 21:25   #6
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Who Who Who Who Dey! Don't forget to pack some Skyline (Chili)!
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Old 21st May 2010, 08:11   #7
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Thanks again Riju for your inputs.

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Originally Posted by GreaseMonk View Post
Who Who Who Who Dey! Don't forget to pack some Skyline (Chili)!
I never realized Skyline is so popular. I will have to go there once I come back.
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Old 21st May 2010, 15:09   #8
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Helicopter ride in Niagara, costly but good experience (I missed it), you can get some spectacular views from there. We will enjoy the snaps taken by you.

If you are missing India, go to Jackson Heights while in NYC
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Old 22nd May 2010, 08:43   #9
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Helicopter ride in Niagara, costly but good experience (I missed it), you can get some spectacular views from there. We will enjoy the snaps taken by you.
I would need a real nice camera to shoot anything from up there. Moreover my very limited money can be put to many other uses. Would give this a miss. And even the NY helicopter ride.

Quote:
If you are missing India, go to Jackson Heights while in NYC
I miss India just so much but not so Indians - .
And at Niagara this evening, 70% of the crowd was Indian. In the crowd I could hear at least 8 Indian languages and as we came out of the park, there were umpteen Indians distributing cards for their restaurants. If it was not for the HRC, I would have thought I was in some Indian hill station.

P.S.: I am trying to put together my day 1 post.

Last edited by akbaree : 22nd May 2010 at 08:44.
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Old 22nd May 2010, 18:40   #10
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Default Cincinnati - Headlongs Beach

As I was wrapping things up in office on Thursday, a phone call from my boss almost crippled my Friday’s plan. Now I have two important phone calls to attend on Friday – at 10:30 and 12:30. It’s annual appraisal time in my office and though we had finalized the ladder, something came up.

Back to the drawing table, the new plan meant leaving at 5:30 in the morning.

It seems it rained that night. You can also see the effects of hydrophobic Meguiar Next Gen wax work that I did a week back.
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7351.jpg

Getting up early is the only thing I dread and if you think the picture below is shaky – it is also how I was feeling…
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7352.jpg

But it was imperative that before 10:30 I reach my first destination of the day - so that I can take the calls. The appraisal calls are generally heated exchanges as all supervisors want the people who work for them at the top. So taking these calls while driving was to be avoided… and for the leads who worked for me, least I can do was to leave in time. We were decked up at 5:45 and ready to roll...
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7356.jpg

My wife cursed me for last minute changes but poor she – had to tag along.
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7357.jpg

The rains were lashing on us as if they all need to fall right now. The visibility on some sections between Cincinnati and Columbus was down to less than 50 meters. But my energy drink put me on steroids. Actually the initial sleepiness of starting early was gone immediately as we hit I71 NB. The fun of driving took over.
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7359.jpg




The RainX effect… you literally feel as if you are travelling in space and rain drops on your windscreen are stars. My poor P&S camera cannot take good videos but notice as the car goes under the bridge



While we were having these hallucinations of travelling thru space, my son happily dosed off…


We crossed Columbus in no time or so we felt.
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7365.jpg


The rains receded a bit but the sky remained overcast.
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7373.jpg

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7374.jpg


And then at 10:15 we reached our first destination – Headlands Beach. We had decided to follow the sign below instead of taking I90 EB from Cleveland. We followed this trail for another 100 or so miles before rejoining I90 to Buffalo.
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7470.jpg


P.S.: My trip log is my car and the car is valet parked. I will upload the logs later.

To be continued…

Last edited by akbaree : 22nd May 2010 at 18:45.
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Old 22nd May 2010, 19:25   #11
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wonderful akbaree, keep them coming !! NYC, Niagra is in my list soon. Will take your help.

Abhi
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Old 23rd May 2010, 10:14   #12
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Default Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail - I

While reviewing maps, I observed roads that run closer along Lake Erie then I90. And that got me started. From the OHIO atlas, I was able to find a scenic byway – Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail that runs along the lake.

Some research and things took shape. The trail is divided in two sections. Roughly - areas to the west of Cleveland are part of west section and east of Cleveland are part of east section. The west section has more points of interest but this time we were trailing east section.

Our first destination – Headlongs beach – is a public beach. With one mile in length, it is one of the largest sand beaches in United States.
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7378.jpg

When we reached, the large parking area looked deserted. There were people biking, jogging, running but the beach looked desolate.
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7433.jpg

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7435.jpg

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7432.jpg

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7430.jpg

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7443.jpg

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7445.jpg

Except for these seagulls… and a few sunbathers
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7387.jpg

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7395.jpg

Looks like perfect sea shore. Isn’t it? But the similarity ends there.

This is Lake Erie. It isn’t any sea or ocean shore. This lake empties its fresh water in to Lake Ontario creating Niagara Falls. The water was annoyingly calm. And surprisingly sweet. After all it is a fresh water lake. Amazing it is – a lake shore that is a sand beach and a sand beach that is hit by no oceanic waves or sees no tides and has sweet water.

But the water was cold and all we could do was this… so much for a swim at the beach.



I remained on the phone for couple of hours but it was a very satisfying call.
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7382.jpg

With swimming ruled out, my wife decided to collect pebbles as souvenirs.
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7399.jpg

And my son decided that he is not the one who will stay behind. He left the collection part to his mom and just want to give her more options.
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7398.jpg

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7422.jpg

And there’s some thing about fun – once you start having it, you are spoiled. See my Nikon takes so much abuse. Actually the lens zoom mechanism now has dirt stuck somewhere and makes weird noises as it zooms in out. But is working fine so far and I hope it doesn’t die on me during this trip.


A quick brunch and we were ready to leave…
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7447.jpg

To be continued…

Last edited by akbaree : 23rd May 2010 at 10:16.
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Old 23rd May 2010, 10:56   #13
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If the helicopter is costly, try the hot air balloon at Niagara falls.

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So nice to see Lake Eerie. Brings back fond memories. Hope you've packed your tripod as well. The lighting on the niagara is terrific in the evenings.

You mentioned about the uneasy calm of lake eerie. Wait till you reach the Niagara rapids. The same lake transforms in to a rampaging river to go over the falls in to Lake Ontario.
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Old 24th May 2010, 10:17   #14
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Default Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail - II (Day 1)

We shacked the Coastal trail for another 70 miles before joining I90. The views were simply breathtaking.
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7457.jpg

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7485.jpg

Who wants to wish for a paradise when we have so many of them here on our earth? Lucky folks – and the whole trail is full of such beautiful homes. I hope you are able to see the lake in the back drop (some details were lost when I exported the photograph to lower resolution to upload). I wonder how beautiful it would like in winter with frozen icy Lake Erie as your backyard. And did I say most of the homes have a boat parked in their garages. So they take the opportunity seriously. I love them.
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7459.jpg

We also saw a haunted house
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7460.jpg

Although this town was deserted when we passed, it had the definite aura of great place to hang around during the season that starts somewhere in middle of June.

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7463.jpg
There are great deal of boat camps, camping (at Lake Erie) grounds, fishing, and other water sports options. And the trail is rich in museums as well – IIRC some 200 of them (including the ones on west section). This was an important area during the war with British. And did I say it has significant geological sites from the last Ice Age?

And many golf courses as well…
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7476.jpg

We wanted to shout and say we were here…
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7472.jpg

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7466.jpg
Yes, that washed out sign read – No Parking. But ours was just a emergency stop – we would have died without a picture there.

At I90 as we entered New York state, we hit our first traffic jam – some accident. Ah, we left the coastal trail behind us…
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7488.jpg

But we made to Buffalo anyhow
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7490.jpg

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7493.jpg

The hotel check in was simple. After taking a much needed bath, we were headed to Niagara falls to see the fireworks and illumination…

To be continued...

Last edited by akbaree : 24th May 2010 at 10:25.
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Old 24th May 2010, 10:55   #15
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Default Illuminated Bridal Veil Falls and Fireworks (Day 1)

The view point for American Bridal Veil falls was just 5 minute walk from our hotel. As we reached there, the place was full of people and 80% of them were Indians. I later realized that we are visiting in what is called shoulder season. The actual season begins middle of June and ends in August. May, first fortnight of June and September are considered as shoulder season.

Here are some pictures I took of the illumination - Bridal Veil Falls… (no tripod, sorry).
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7498.jpg

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7501.jpg

They were changing the color focus…
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7514.jpg

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7523.jpg

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7521.jpg



Tip
  1. If you can, please carry quarters with you. They have binoculars at every view point in Niagara Falls State Park. You may not like to use them but in case you feel like, quarters will come handy.
  2. If you are planning to enjoy illumination (from American side), go to Cave of Winds. The entry is allowed till 9:00 PM and it is the best place to view illumination in all its glory (we missed it as we didn’t knew it and no one tells you that).
As we were leaving, I took this picture of the rapids. They look better in the night.

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7526.jpg

And here are some pictures of the fireworks…
Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7507.jpg

Cincinnati - Niagara Falls, NY - New York - Cincinnati-dscn7509.jpg



P.S.: While taking pictures of the fireworks I realized that sometimes in taking pictures we forget to enjoy. And I stopped. Some things are too good to be sacrificed for taking pictures. May be I can make a special trip just for taking pictures but not this one. I was also surprised about the trigger happy crowd. Most of the times I was feeling that it is lightening badly due to flashing cameras – although I was not sure what they were shooting with their flashes on.

End of Day 1

To be continued...

Last edited by akbaree : 24th May 2010 at 11:01.
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