Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cyber-cousins at the Falls

Niagara Falls. What a weird town.

We have been for day trips a few times over the years, but this last weekend Arthur and I stayed overnight to have a visit with 3 other mom/kid duos. These were some of the E-mail Mommies and their kids, the Cyber-cousins. The moms and I have been e-mailing since 1996, when we were all pregnant! When I went to New York in 2007 I met up with some of them. At that time Helen wrote a super write-up of what this group is and means. I have known these women for 17 years, but met 2 of them for the first time this weekend, and another for the first time since about 1999.

Three-quarters of us met at the hotel and wandered through a park to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch. On the way the kids all took a zillion pictures of flowers. All doing the same thing, each in their own way. This was when Arthur first sighed that we should have brought the big camera. The fourth family joined us for lunch after battling traffic and we all had a good chat. It's weird... we all are quite familiar, though we'd never met. We end up having a lot more in common than just 16-year-olds.

After lunch, it was off to the Maid of the Mist. We have never done this before, but with only me and Arthur it seemed like half-price! And it was so cool, we will likely insist on doing it again one day with the whole family.

rainbow in the mist
Everyone gets a blue plastic poncho to keep them dry. This turns out to be necessary, in fact, as we did go into the spray! Here we are up close and personal with the American falls.

This is Maddie, who stayed drier than the rest of us. 

This is what she might see! Camera hidden under protective blue plastic!

Arthur, post boat ride, perhaps wondering what he has got himself into. Did I mention the three others his age were all girls?

Here we are: the slightly damp, accidentally colour-coordinated moms.

After our adventures, we had a bit of a chill-out in the hotel before setting off for dinner. The original plan was to go up the Skylon tower, get a great view and have a really expensive meal. But we figured that would be immoderate of us, so we went to Margaritaville! And perhaps indulged immoderately in teasing our children and making them accept pirate hats and balloon princess hats and swords and magic wands. They even got the crayons out after a while. 

The next morning people had to start on long drives home, long lines at the border and all that jazz, so things broke up around 11 am. I look forward to a meeting one day of all of us! There are about 20, including one in Australia and one in New Zealand. We'll have to do it soon before the kids start wandering off on their own! 

I'm not sure whether there was a morning train, but we had tickets on the 5:45 pm train, so we had a few hours to kill. 

I asked at the hotel how to get to Lundy's Lane and Drummond Street. Oh, the guy said, that will take maybe an hour to walk to! When he heard we were looking for a thrift shop though, he said we would come to one closer in if we just headed out on Lundy's Lane. So we trekked off through the touristy part of town, up the hill towards the 1812 battlefields and, we hoped, the thrift shop. The tourist centre is full of chain restaurants, "attractions" like Ripley's Believe it or Not and a wax museum, and hotels. We approached the area where the actual residents must spend time, but I still didn't see a bank or a grocery store. (I spent $4 to use an ATM in town!) We finally saw the shop the man in the hotel mentioned, after about half an hour, and noticed that it was exactly at Lundy's Lane and Drummond! Sheesh. 

I like to look at crockery and doodads in thrift shops but Arthur heads straight for the T-shirts. This time he found the holy grail of used T-shirts:

I got myself this cute little set (almost too cute and little; could be a challenge in the morning to get a spoon in the sugar bowl's wee opening) made in Occupied Japan. I love ceramic fruit and veg!

Finally we just diddled around town; we did some tasting in a hot sauce shop and then tried to get into the casino (no go; the bouncer kinda knew that Arthur was not 19) and eventually even walked to the train station. On our way we saw lots of old houses just waiting for someone to invest a load of money to fix them into nice B&Bs. And quite a few nice B&Bs, mostly full up. 

And a butterfly on a butterfly bush. 

It was great fun, really. Niagara Falls is a great place to go to look at a big waterfall, but after that, things get a bit weird. Eating and monsters will only entertain people for so long. Someone needs to come up with the next generation of amusements. But if you are with friends, even friends you have never met before, it is all good fun!


  1. That is indeed the ultimate used T-shirt. And the rest of the trip looks marvelous too!

  2. oh, what a wonderful story mary!! i love that you've all kept in contact for 17 years, what a fun fun trip y'all had!!

    (and yes, arthur's tshirt is also perfection!)


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