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Niagara Falls New York

Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of Sketchandtravel.com is pleased to have as our guest Kate Scaglione, the Director of Marketing & Communications, Niagara Tourism and Convention Center, Niagara Falls, New York.

Good day Kate and thanks for participating in our interview.

Norm:

Kate, could you tell our readers where exactly is Niagara Falls, New York and how does one reach it?

Kate:

Actually, our region is centered by Niagara Falls, NY but incorporates nearby towns as well. We call it Niagara USA and we are in western New York, right on the Canadian border.

The nearest major airport is Buffalo Niagara International Airport which is served by all the major airlines (we also have a smaller airport for private and charter flights.) If you live in New York state, Vermont, Ohio or Pennsylvania you are probably just a few hours drive away, easily accessible by taking I90 (the New York State Thruway) to I190. There is an Amtrak station in town and a number of tour operators serve the area.

Norm:

What is the Niagara Falls State Park?

Kate:

Designed by famed landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in America and one of the most famous, attracting visitors from all over the world.

At the Prospect Point end of the park you can board the Maid of the Mist boats for a close-up look at the Falls or walk along the base of them just feet from the pounding water at the Cave of the Winds on Goat Island. Terrapin Point and Prospect Point are just a couple of the favorite viewing platforms for fantastic views of the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and the Horseshoe Falls.

Visitors can stroll over the historic bridges at Three Sisters Islands for close-up views of the upper rapids as the river races toward the Falls. The park also features all the amenities you'd expect -- a restaurant, snack bars, gift shops, picnic tables, grills, hiking, nature trails and more. The park staff do a fantastic job of keeping it beautiful (and the Park Rangers are very knowledgeable and a great resource for visitors.)

Norm:

Why is Niagara Falls, New York considered a great honeymoon destination?

Kate:

It's true that the romance of Niagara Falls has led to its reputation as a mecca for honeymooners. Every year, more than 50,000 people honeymoon in Niagara. Thousands are married here. And many others come simply to bring a spark of romance to their relationship.

The region features a great number of couple-y things to do, in addition to the obvious lure of the Falls. There are horse-drawn carriage rides; romantic accommodations (including quaint and cozy bed and breakfasts); great little waterside towns with delightful shops and restaurants. The Niagara Wine Trail features seven wineries that offer tastings and special events in beautiful settings. You can even take a scenic cruise up the Erie Canal. Hiking and biking are very popular with couples here, especially in fall when the leaves are turning. For those who want a little more excitement, we have a new casino with fine restaurants and world-class entertainment.

But what makes our side so special for me is how close you can get to the Falls. There is nothing like standing within feet of the powerful falling water the sound, the feeling, it's a near-mystical experience and one that is certain to bring two people closer together.

Norm:

Are there any unique venues in the Niagara Falls area where couples exchange marriage vows and can you describe these venues?

Kate:

There are a number of great venues (including Top of the Falls restaurant at the State Park which has a magnificent view of the Horseshoe Falls;

***St. Paul's United Methodist Church with its intricate stained glass windows and several of our b&b's which will host small weddings.)

***The Falls Wedding Chapel offers an On The Brink package year-round that lets couples tie the knot right at the edge of the Falls.

***International Weddings & Carriage Rides will carry newlyweds in antique style as their horse-drawn carriage clip-clops along the upper Niagara River until it reaches the brink of the Falls. This is a truly magnificent ride (especially at night with the Falls lit up in a multitude of colors).

***More adventurous couples have chosen to be married in a helicopter over the Falls or in a hot air balloon. This unique perspective on one of the world's great natural wonders is something that, once shared, will never be forgotten.

Norm:

What is there to do in the Niagara Falls area pertaining to sports and cultural activities?

Kate:

Niagara is a haven for anglers, boaters and a host of other outdoor enthusiasts. Fishermen can enjoy some of the best freshwater sport fishing in the world with a multitude of species including salmon, trout, bass, muskie, walleye and more.There is great hiking and biking, boating and other outdoor activities, as well as 10 golf courses to choose from in our region.

There are a number of museums, including the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University (which features an astonishing collection of contemporary art), the Lewiston Museum (which focuses on history) and the Niagara Aerospace Museum where you can see an original X-plane and learn about the region's importance in the development of the helicopter.

During slavery, the Greater Niagara region played a vital role in the Underground Railroad as the final station for slaves escaping to freedom in Canada. The recently opened interpretive center, Freedom Crossing, tells this important story through historic photos, artifacts, stories, audio stations and artwork.

Located at the mouth of the Niagara River, Old Fort Niagara played a crucial role in the battle for North America and boasts 300 years of history. Today it is a living historical testament and a Registered National Landmark. Preserved as they stood in the 1700's, the Fort's structures include The French Chateau (the oldest building in the Great Lakes), several barracks, powder rooms, a bakehouse, an officers club with murals painted by World War II POWs and much more.

Norm:

Are there any romantic dining establishments in the Niagara Falls area and could you name and describe a few?

Kate:

There are a number of fine romantic places to dine. One of my personal favorites is Schimshack's, located on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment northeast of the Falls. The food here includes stone crab claws and ostrich filet, and the view is wonderful . Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio often ate here while Marilyn was filming Niagara. Water Street Landing also features a great view, overlooking the Niagara Gorge in Lewiston, NY.

The Landing often features live jazz and other music and is locally famous for their excellent Sunday brunch. Modeled after the Old Bell Inn in Finedon, England, The Red Coach Inn overlooks the spectacular Upper Rapids and is just 1,500 feet from the American Falls. The Red Coach Inn is Niagara Falls most distinctive historic structure, with its English Tudor exterior and its warm English country ambience. The Fireside Room features a roaring fireplace while the River View room offers the best look at the rushing water.

Norm:

How does one go about finding out more about Niagara Falls New York on the Internet?

Kate:

Just visit OUR WEBSITE

Norm:

How does Niagara Falls compare cost wise as far as lodging and food is concerned with other romantic destinations in the USA?

Kate:

Very favorably. Prices in upstate New York are much lower than in other parts of the country and I think that we also offer a better deal than the more developed Canadian side of the Falls. To save even more, visitors can come in the off-season, or take advantage of some of the special packages listed on our web site.

Norm:

When is the best time to visit Niagara Falls?

Kate:

Most visitors come in summer. I truly enjoy spring when the weather is a little cooler and also the fall when the colors of the foliage are spectacular. Though many attractions are seasonal and close in the winter months, some folks love to take the opportunity to visit at this time of year to see the Falls eerily surrounded by ice and snow and mist. It depends on what kind of vacation and season appeal to you.

Norm:

Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?

Kate:

Whether you are vacationing with the family, enjoying a romantic getaway or just simply could not resist experiencing one of the most breathtaking natural wonders of the world, Niagara USA offers something for everyone.

For more information, please visit OUR WEBSITE or call us toll free at 1-877-FALLS US.

We look forward to welcoming you to Niagara USA very soon!

Thanks once again Kate.