The first of our rather long bus rides started our day! We set off from Washington DC in the early hours of the morning and made our way through Pennsylvania to New York state to the little town of Corning to visit The Corning Museum of Glass.
The drive here was actually really nice because I got to see some small town America. We drove past the kinds of houses you see in movies with American flags hanging from the front door and big green front lawns. It was exciting to see this coast of America and I had already noticed that is was very different to what I’d seen of the West Coast. San Diego to Los Angeles was very brown and orange whereas this was more green.
We arrived at the glass museum and were treated to a live glass blowing show where they showed us how they made vases and gave us a little bit of history. Pan, our tour guide then gave us a tour of some of the areas of the museum and show us the first ever piece of glass!
After the guided tour we were free to roam the museum for about an hour. It was kind of random that this museum of glass was in the middle of nowhere but quite cool. Most of the people that live in the town of Corning are involved in the glass factory in some way. The factory at Corning is actually where they make gorilla glass, the type of glass that makes up your iPhone screen.
Then it was back on the bus to Niagara Falls! On the way there we drove through Buffalo which seemed like a very sleepy city where nothing much happens. I was so excited to arrive at Niagara and experience a natural wonder of the world. Once there we headed straight for the Maid of the Mist which is the boat that takes you right up close to and almost under the falls. There were people on our tour that chose not to do this and I couldn’t believe it! What a missed opportunity!
We were given our ponchos and we went down the lift to the shore to wait for our boat. It was really cool to think that just across the river it was actually Canada! We got on the boat and chose to stand on the top layer which ended up being a great decision. We were taking a few photos of each other and were about to try and take a selfie when I heard another couple speaking in a New Zealand accent! I went up to them and asked if they were kiwi’s and they were! They were actually also doing the same tour as us but were on a different bus! What a small world! So they took our picture for us and I took one for them. They’d just been on a big holiday around Europe and the U.S. East Coast was the last leg of their journey before heading home. We actually ended up seeing them in two other stops along the way! We just kept bumping into them!
ANYWAY! Back to the falls. The Maid of the Mist was probably one of my favourite experiences of not just this trip but my whole life. When you get really close to the falls the water starts pouring onto you and yes it’s freezing cold and yes you get soaking wet but something about it feels magic. It was a spiritual experience for me and it (once again) made me a bit teary eyed. The force of the water coming down on you is just indescribable, it’s something I’ve never felt in my life and may never feel again. If anyone if thinking of traveling up to Niagara I would recommend it a thousand times over. You can’t miss it.
After the boat ride we chose to also walk up the side of the cliff right next to the falls. We were still wearing our ponchos but we managed to get completely and utterly soaked. You get SO close to the water at the very top it’s actually hard to stay standing up. It was actually quite nerve wracking but DEFINITELY worth it. Here’s us after the experience feeling on top of the world. Words can not describe!
After the Maid of the Mist we watched a short IMAX movie about the history of the falls and were free to roam about the complex. We made our first souvenir purchases of the trip (You will see us wearing these the next day). I mostly got mine because I had been wearing the same clothes for 3 days because of the whole lost luggage debacle (Erica kindly let me wear her dress for a few days though, that’s the dress you see in these photos).
That evening we were treated to a Native American show where they taught us a little native history of the area and we saw some native dancing. We got a photo with one of the dancers afterwards! Everything was fluro, not the most authentic costumes but oh well.
This was my favourite day so far but we needed our rest once again because of the early start and the longest. bus ride. ever. the next day!…