Archive for the ‘ New York ’ Category


If like like ‘Kamping,’ you’ll love Lake Placid KOA

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

After several years of road tripping around North America, I’ve done my fair share of camping. I absolutely love the outdoors and enjoy backpacking and camping in remote areas. However, given my position as a travel blogger, sometimes I need to be connected…while also staying fresh with a daily shower—for those times, a KOA is a great choice.

Earlier this summer I spent several days at the Lake Placid KOA, which I found to be one of the largest, and, nicest I’ve come across. In my opinion, this KOA’s greatest asset is its proximity to the Ausable River.  I spent a great deal of time hiking along the banks of the river…climbing boulders, fishing and taking pictures.

KOA’s are great places to take the kids, and the Lake Placid location is no exception.  There is a sports center where you can rent a bike or a canoe, a large game room, heated pool and a ton of activities.

The Lake Placid KOA is set among tall pine and white birch trees in the gorgeous Adirondack Mountains countryside. This campground features spacious RV sites with a separate tent area, as well as Kamping, furnished and deluxe cabins.

Lake Placid KOA information:

Season: May 1st through October 21st
Reservations: 800-562-0368
Location: Google Map
Website: Lake Placid KOA

Have you ever been to the Lake Placid KOA? If so, please share your experience with my readers and me.

Fort Niagara: Past the ‘Falls,’ back in time

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Niagara Falls is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, receiving some eight million visitors per year.  There is a good reason so many people visit Niagara Falls year-after-year…the sight is simply awe-inspiring.  Just beyond the Falls however, is a historic site that is equally as impressive—just in an entirely different way.  Fort Niagara is one of the oldest military installations in the nation and receives a paltry 100,000 visitors per year. I think so many people are focused on the ‘Falls,’ that they neglect some of the other amazing sights in the area, such at Fort Niagara.

I was fortunate to have an opportunity to go on a private tour of Fort Niagara with executive director, Bob Emerson. Bob is incredibly knowledgeable on all things relating to the Fort.  I was so enamored by the historical significance and architecture, that I could have stayed all day exploring and listening to Bob’s stories and information. While there are often live re-enactments and other living history events going on at the Fort, I think I may have been there at a time of increased activity. I was impressed by how many men were dressed in solider uniforms, performing marching exercises and other period activities. (Be sure to watch my video and you’ll see what I mean).

Visitors are able, and encouraged, to immerse themselves into this historical site. As I made my way across the Fort grounds toward the fortification area, I crossed a drawbridge being guarded by armed soldiers…with muskets at the ready. As we walked into some of the fortified areas, I was struck by the size and scale of some of the buildings—no question in its heyday, Fort Niagara would have been a bustling place. The unique collection of original military architecture and fortifications from the 18th and 19th century will fascinate visitor’s young and old.

The history of Old Fort Niagara spans more than three centuries. Over the years, Fort Niagara was controlled by three different nations, the British (red), the French (grey) and the Americans (blue). Consequently, you’ll see soldiers at the Fort in three different uniforms representing their respective countries. The French established the first post in 1679 and built the impressive “French Castle” in 1726. The Britain gained control of the Fort in 1759; during the French and Indian War—they maintained control throughout the American Revolution. However, in 1796 they yielded it to the U.S.. The British captured the Fort during the War of 1812, however ceded it once again in 1815—after which time it served as a peaceful border post. Located at the mouth of the Niagara River, the Fort controlled access to the Great Lakes and the westward route to the heartland of the continent.

If you’re planning a trip to Niagara Falls, do yourself a favor and carve out some time to make the short drive to Fort Niagara, I have no doubt you’ll be as impressed as I was.

If you’ve ever been to Old Fort Niagara, please leave a comment below and share your experience with my readers and me.

Visiting Fort Niagara Information:

Admission: Adults $12, Children $8
Open: Year-round, only closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years
Hours: 9am-5pm, except July and August when they are open until 7pm
Address: Click here for Google Map
Phone: 716-745-7611

[Video] Niagara Falls by land, water & air

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Niagara Falls is one of those iconic natural wonder sights that nearly all of us have on our  bucket list, including myself. This past summer I was finally able to check it off during my time on the Rand McNally and USA Today’s, “Best of the Road.” The nearby town of Lewiston was vying for “Best Food” in small town America. We arrived in the area a day early so we could do a bit of exploring around the famed Niagara Falls—let me tell you, it did not disappoint. I do, however, have to leave Niagara on my bucket list because I want to go again…next time it will be in the winter.  From the pictures I’ve seen, it looks completely transformed from the summer months, giving visitors a whole new experience.

Niagara Falls State Park is quite expansive, so if you go, be sure to bring your walking shoes as there are more than 400 acres to explore. Niagara is the nation’s oldest state park (1885), and while scores of visitors will enjoy the powerful and awe-inspiring sight of the Falls, that’s just part of he experience. Niagara Falls State Park is home to lush terrain and protected wildlife with over 15 miles of hiking trails to explore, as well as a host of attractions.

Here are some of the Niagara highlights I experienced:

  • Niagara Scenic Trolley Rides – Tired of walking, hop on the trolley for a wonderful tour of the park.
  • Niagara Cave of the Winds Tour – Take an elevator ride to the bottom of the falls for a whole new vantage point. Don’t miss “hurricane ridge” while you’re there.
  • Maid of the Mist – This boat ride will get you up-close and personal with the falls…an unforgettable experience.
  • Niagara Discovery Center Hiking Trails – The Discovery Center features miles of Niagara Falls hiking trails, plus hands-on interactive displays and a 180° multi-screen theater experience.
  • Niagara Whirlpool Jet-Boat Ride – This is an activity that will get the adrenaline going!  Travel up the Niagara River in a custom built jet-boat and experience the excitement of going through class 5 rapids—then, gain speeds up to 60mph while doing a 360 turn in the middle of the river.

Niagara Falls is actually a series of three waterfalls that straddle the international border between Canada and the U.S.  Before visiting, I had no idea there was more than a single waterfall.  As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until I took a Rainbow Air helicopter ride and got a bird’s eye view that I learned of the other falls. Getting an aerial view of Niagara really puts the grandeur into perspective.

If you’ve been to Niagara Falls before, please leave a comment below and share your experience with my readers and me. Click the following link to see more pictures of Niagara Falls. If you enjoyed this post and video, please share it with friends and family. If you really liked it, you can help support the content by buying me a cup-a-joe…your support is much appreciated.

Lewiston sings about culinary prowess

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Located in upstate New York, near Niagara Falls, Lewiston is one of the most charming small towns I’ve ever had the privilege of visiting. I was lucky enough to experience the VIP treatment while in Lewiston as the town was selected as one of the stops for “Best of the Road.” Lewiston was vying for the “Best Food”category in small town America, and let me tell you…justly so. Lewiston was the smallest of the six communities on our tour, so I wasn’t sure what to expect–but whatever it was, Lewiston exceeded it.

While The Silo is probably the most popular or famous restaurant (its Haystack sandwich was featured on the Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food”) in town, you can click the following link to learn about five other restaurants not to miss in Lewiston. One eatery that just missed the list, and deserves an honorable mention, is the Water Street Landing with its fantastic deck overlooking the Niagara River. Lewiston is so proud of their culinary prowess that they love to sing about it.  Don’t miss the video below to see what I mean.

In addition to many outstanding fine dining options, Lewiston also has a plethora of casual dining choices as well:

This list just scratches the culinary surface of Lewiston, and are only the places I visited.  If you have a favorite not mentioned, please leave a comment below.

Lewiston is not just a place for mouth-watering food, they also have a thriving art scene–from visual, to performing arts. The community has a spacious area dedicated to cultural activities and events called, Artpark.   Artpark is an intimate, but well-known venue attracting some of the biggest and brightest bands on the music scene. Public art sculptures can be enjoyed throughout the park, which is frequented by residents and visitors even when special events are not taking place.  Located right on the banks of the Niagara River, I discovered some great trails that follow the shoreline in either direction, just be careful not to fall in as the current is extremely
powerful on this stretch of the river.

Lewiston is also a community rich in history…some notable facts include:

  • Freedom Crossing – The last stop on the Underground Railroad which encompassed a secret network of trails and homes that helped slaves escape from the southern U.S. to Canada in the early to mid-1800s.
  • First major battle of the “War of 1812.”
  • And, the invention of the “cocktail” took place in Lewiston. Click here to see a video story reenactment of Catherine Hustler from Hustler’s Tavern.

There is no denying that the main attraction in upstate New York is Niagara Falls, but if you’re in the area, do yourself a favor and stop by Lewiston for a dose of culinary, visual and performing arts.

Click the following link to see more pictures of Lewiston. If you’ve been to Lewiston, or are from the area, leave a comment below and let my readers and me know what you enjoy most.  If you found this post/video helpful and/or entertaining, please share it with your friends and family, it really helps.