I wanted to share my photos with you from our New Year's Eve celebration. Our friends Stephanie (a.k.a. "Peanut"...who was a student participant on our European Summer Study Program in Salzburg, Austria - back in 2004 --she has been going with us every year since and now teaches an English class to young Austrian girls while she is there with us) and her fiancee Russell flew down from Boston to stay with us for a few days and be with us to bring in the new year (they plan to marry this year in July).
The next day we drove up to the Falls from Slippery Rock (usually only about a 4 hour drive - not bad as long as the roads are clear, and on this trip, they were just fine) and stayed at the Marriott Falls View (on the Canadian side of the falls) so that we would have rooms with views...and what incredible views we had (our room was on the 18th floor...on the left side - perfect!)...
Their first night here we stayed in Slippery Rock and of course... took them to North Country Brewing Company, our town's absolutely fabulous eatery and local micro brewery (we are so proud of this cozy restaurant that features hand-carved booths, hand-thrown clay mugs, a warm atmosphere, live music most evenings, and a delightful and delicious menu....Slippery Rock was a dry town until it opened, back in I think 2001). It is a block and a half from our house (and directly across the street from my office) and as the night was so bright, crisp and clear, we walked and enjoyed a leisurely stroll over to dinner... (my niece, Nicole joined us for the walking tour of downtown Slippery Rock...)
Did you notice the rainbow in the photo to the right, above??
You can see Stephanie here below, in front of our room window....fantastic!
It was so amazingly gorgeous...the view just got better, and better as darkness took over the sky and all the city lights came on....there were also lights directed onto the falls..and they periodically changed colors. I liked the view best when the lights were either on in all white or all light blue...beautiful, dreamy, strong and powerful. The rainbow colors were sort of cool, but after a while I could not get past the 70's vibe they seemed to give off. After a few margaritas (yes, I brought a blender with us, this was my first night off in 6 months, I was prepared to enjoy it!!) we started naming the colors....we named the green color "Bad Breath Green" and the purple, "Purple Haze"...etc. it was ridiculously fun (stupid * silly * fun!). We spent the evening just looking out the huge window (hung out in Vipin's & my room)...I never tired of the view...I packed cheese, crackers, mixed nuts, some beef sausage rolls, etc. (lots of goodies that I have received for the holidays in jam-packed gift baskets!!) and we brought mix for the margaritas, wine, tequila, and of course champagne....so we were set for the night!
It was perfect, and I highly recommend going to Niagara Falls for New Year's Eve. Know that the Canadian side has a much better view of the falls and things overall (day or night). Also know that there are much better things to see and do in the way of entertainment places (including the casino, game places, things for families, game places, etc.) and a better variety of restaurants on the Canadian side.
If you go.... you don't have to stay in a hotel room with a view...it naturally costs more to do so, and there will be no discounts due to it being a holiday, but for us it was what we wanted, and it was well worth it. We had our view - and this served as our entertainment for the evening (we could see people walking around down on the sidewalks and roads below, we could see the lights and colors, we could see the falls, we could see the traffic, we could see the police patrolling the area, etc....lots to look at)! We had music on in our room, we had the TV on (this year the channel was onto CNN with Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper..so funny...I'm a fan of Kathy's!) and we were WARM and snug inside..with our food and drinks! If you decide to NOT get a hotel room with a view, you can of course walk around to the falls and stand there and enjoy things...but...IT IS AND WAS SOOOOO COOOLD!! We did go outside for a bit (we just went across the street from the hotel) around 11pm to the Quizno's to grab some munchies and just venture out...but I'm glad we didn't need to go far...it was really too cold...and the sidewalks were not cleared very well (I was wearing high heeled boots and had to hold on to Vipin for dear life!). Like many places on a holiday, there are less people working, so I think maybe the sidewalks would have been cleared better, and are usually cleared on a regular basis, just not so much on December 31st after 6pm!!
Most incredible, there were fireworks at 9PM and again at Midnight...and that was quite a show! We just loved it!
The hotel is a spa hotel (and has a Starbucks and huge gift shop in the lobby area, and also features several restaurants...it has everything!!), so I think if I go again for New Year's Eve (and I really want to and I really hope to!!) I will schedule a massage or something for the next day, but this time we just slept in, enjoyed the wonderfully comfortable bed (and the sheets, which were amazingly soft - not always the case in hotels, but with Marriott you can't go wrong!) and the late 12 noon check-out. Then we drove around, went to the falls for a close up view (gorgeous...ice on the sides, sparkling... fantastic) and continued home via the beautiful quite drive along the Niagara Parkway (in Canada...where you drive along the riverside and can see many huge homes..there are also many places to pull off and enjoy the view), crossed over the Peace Bridge and then over the boarder back into New York, USA. The traffic on the parkway was so easy...almost non-existent, and the cross over the boarder was not bad at all (we maybe had to wait for 15 minutes or so - don't forget your Passports!!!).
My parents watched/babysat LuLu for the night so we stopped at their house (they left earlier that morning to go down to West Virginia) to pick her up, and my Mom had made a delicious pork and sauerkraut dish for us to take home (it's tradition to eat pork and kraut on New Years Day...at least in my family - and I always try and comply!)! We went home, got into our comfy clothes, watched the movie "300" and gobbled that meal down!! It was perfect. Good times.