Our H.O.M.E.S Summer/Lake Ontario
This year, we celebrated the kid’s new-found freedom by taking the second trip of our H.O.M.E.S summer. We camped in New York, on Lake Ontario.
Lake Ontario lies below Lake Erie, at the base of Niagara Falls. It is bordered by New York, on the American side, and Ontario, on the Canadian side.
Lake Ontario is 193 miles long and 53 miles wide. It is the fourteenth largest lake in the world but, the smallest of the Great Lakes in surface area. It has an average depth is 283 feet with a maximum depth of 802 feet, which is second only to Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes.
I was worried about hauling a trailer full of camping equipment through customs, twice each way. What if the customs agents thought I had shifty eyes or something? I had a vision of them tearing everything open, and letting their drug dogs drool all over our sleeping bags and underwear. What a nightmare that would be!!! I packed my trailer as neatly as possible and used clear bins. The customs agents didn’t even glance at my trailer, way far less, tell me how nicely it was packed.
The park is lovely and quiet. Our campsite was perfect. It was a very deep site at the top of a cul-de-sac. We had neighbors to our left but, none on the right side of us, which meant that our camping and playing area was huge.
The number one thing that I wanted to do during our stay, was to spend a day at Niagara Falls, New York. Niagara Falls has always been one of my favorite places but, I have always spent time on the Canadian side. Exploring Niagara Falls N.Y. would be a new experience for me, and I love new experiences.
I purchased the Niagara U.S.A. Discovery passes online, before our trip. The passes gave us admission to 5 of the most popular tourist sites, plus all day access to the trolley system.
The first site that we visited was the Niagara Imax theater. I had seen the Imax feature several times and enjoyed it every time. The feature begins with what the first explorers experienced when they discovered the falls. They were in awe of the size and power of what they were seeing. It goes on to tell the native legends about the maid of the mist. The kids enjoyed hearing about the Niagara Falls daredevils. My favorite part is when you feel like you are flying over the falls.
Next on our tour was the Niagara Aquarium. It is a small aquarium but, has a variety of aquatic creatures. We had fun looking at the exhibits and watching the penguins, sharks, and sea lions.
The Niagara Discovery Center is a hands-on museum that focuses on how the Great Lakes were formed by the receding glaciers of the last ice age. I was fascinated by the displays and reading about the history of the Great Lakes and Niagara Falls. The kids went through the discovery center trying all of the hands-on exhibits.
The Maid of the Mist boat ride is always fun. I took Bree to Niagara Falls, Canada, a couple of years ago, and we went on the Maid of the Mist with my cousin, Chris. I was happy to see that Bree was eager to go on the ride again. It is so exciting to me to be right in front of a waterfall that is crashing 188 feet at the rate of 150,000 gallons per second. Niagara Falls is so powerful. I can’t believe people say; “it’s just a waterfall.”
Our last site of the day was the Cave of the Winds. You start out on the lower deck. As you climb to the upper decks, you get closer and closer, to Bridal Veil Falls. Being at the top, right next to the rushing water, is both intimidating and exhilarating.
We had a clear hot day for sightseeing. I was glad that we didn’t have to find our way from site to site or, worry about how far we would have to walk in the heat. Having all day access to the Niagara Trolley, made an already enjoyable day even more pleasant.
The Niagara U.S.A. discovery passes cost $160.00 for 2 adults and 2 children. It was, in my opinion, well worth the money. Would I recommend the Niagara U.S.A. Discovery pass to my friends? Absolutely!
Having this fort on the Niagara River made it possible to control access to the Great Lakes during colonial wars. The fort was built by the French in 1728 but, there were military posts at the site as early as 1679. Over a 300 year span, the French, the British, and the Americans have all occupied the fort. Fort Niagara’s last armed conflict was the war of 1812. The fort was restored between 1926 and 1934.
We thoroughly enjoyed walking through the buildings of the old fort, seeing the living quarters, and antiques. While Chase and Tiler had fun watching the musket firing demonstrations and pretending to fire the old canons, Bree enjoyed posing for a picture with a handsome soldier named Gavin.
I told Bree that Gavin was 200 years too old for her but, she just rolled her eyes at me…. What?
Sunday was a special day for me. My cousin Chris, and her family, Margo, Carrie and Carrie’s kids, Scotty, Logan, and Haylee came to visit from Toronto, and Niagara Falls,Ont., respectively. We spent some much needed time catching up while the second cousins swam and got acquainted. We had a cook-out and a nice afternoon. All too soon, it was time for our Canadian family to headed back across the border.
We ended our New York vacation with an evening of fishing, swimming, and watching the sunset over Lake Ontario.
I won’t be afraid to take my family camping out of state again. In fact, we have decided to take at least one camping trip out of state each summer. I’ve already made plans to camp with my friend, Shannon, at South Bass Island, in Ohio, next year.
I will continue to try to widen my horizons. I love taking my grandchildren to new places and, experiencing new things with them. I would like to be remembered for my love of family, nature, history, and of course, sleeping in tents!
I hope you are making special memories with your family this summer!
“Just living is not enough…one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”
Hans Christian Anderson
- The featured photo is of Chase, fishing in Lake Ontario
- Lake Ontario after sunset
- My family at Four Mile Creek Campground
- The beach on Lake Ontario
- The clear water of Lake Ontario
- The Maid of the Mist and the base of Bridal Veil Falls
- My grandkids at Cave of the Winds
- The castle at Fort Niagara
- Fort Niagara
- Inside of Fort Niagara
- Tiler and Chase with an old cannon
- Bree and the soldier
- Eating ice-cream at Fort Niagara
- Us, with my Canadian family
- Me, at sunset, on the beach between Lake Ontario and Four Mile Creek