NEW YORK TO CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP
I have always LOVED to travel. Prior to COVID my family travelled as much as we could. My husbands job requires him to travel a lot, so my son and I would often go along with him. Vacations and weekends were also spent exploring new places. When my husband's employer required him to move from New York to California we decided to make a road trip out of the journey there!
First stop.....Niagara Falls, New York
213 miles - 3 hours
Niagara Falls is on the US (NY) and Canadian border along the Niagara river, which flows between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie (two of the Great Lakes). My family has lived in Central New York for the last 3 years. Shortly after we moved to New York we visited Niagara Falls on the Canadian side, also known as the Horseshoe Falls. It surprised me how impressed I was. To be honest, Niagara Falls wasn't on my bucket list, it was on my Mum's, which is why we went. But when I saw the falls I immediately realized what all the fuss was about. Niagara Falls is truly a magical experience.
I have been told many times that the Canadian side is "better" than the American side. I agree that the Horseshoe falls has more of a "wow" factor. The view of the falls is magnificent and you truly feel how the powerful the waterfall is. More than six million cubic feet of water falls over its crest line every minute. It's mesmerizing. Every evening at dusk, the Horseshoe Falls is transformed into an incredible, multi-colored water and light show. The glowing colors can be seen from near and far. It really is an incredible sight to see!
The American side of the falls is located in a beautiful park. It's an awe inspiring and unique experience of its own. We visited the Canadian side in November. It was cold! We visited the American side in May, so the park was in full spring bloom. We visited on a beautiful sunny day. We walked around the park with an ice cream and enjoyed the views whilst basking in the beautiful weather. I imagine autumn to be a beautiful time to visit too, when the trees change color.
We stayed at the Sheraton Niagara Falls. It was nice, they had an indoor pool and outdoor parking available right across from the hotel. When we stayed COVID protocols were still in place, which meant some of the usual hotel amenities were not available, such as room service. We arrived late and hungry. Since room service was not available we looked at what was available in the area. I will point out that my family's meal requirements make finding a restaurant difficult. I wanted outdoor seating to limit COVID exposure. We also don't eat meat, my son has a nut allergy and he is very very fussy! I made some calls to local restaurants and was advised that they would be closing by 9pm. I am not aware if this is usual for the area or if it was related to COVID protocols. In the end we ordered food for collection from the Rainforest Café which is located at the hotel. The inside of the restaurant is jungle themed, which excited my little boy when we picked up the food. Unfortunately, in my opinion the food is very overpriced. I think when you eat at the Rainforest Café you are paying extra for the uniqueness and ambience. Since we had take out, it seemed like we paid a lot of money for lukewarm, fast food quality meals.
1st part -173 miles 3 hours
2nd part -243 miles 4 hours
Our next stop was the beautiful village of Geneva-on-the-Lake in Ohio. We stayed at The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake. It boasts breathtaking views with its location on the southern shore of Lake Erie. We stayed in a room in the main building. But you have the option to rent a cabin, many of which overlook the beautiful lake. In the morning we had breakfast at Horizons restaurant at the lodge. We sat outside because the sun was shining and the view was incredible. For lunch we stopped at Ferrante Winery & Ristorante just 15 minutes from the lodge. They have a beautiful outdoor seating area with lots of shade options and views of the pond and vineyard. The food was good but the ambience was the highlight for me!
We then continued on to our next stop in Xenia, Ohio. Xenia is a city that feels like a small town. It is not surprising that it is known as the "City of Hospitality". With a population over 25,000, Xenia is friendly and people/family oriented. We stayed in a beautiful Airbnb in Cedarville. It was the perfect location to spend a few days resting and spending time with our friends who live in Ohio.