More narrow historic locks to the left, wider modern locks to the right
We had to see the famous “Flight of Five” locks for which this town is famous. We had learned a lot about locks and even stayed in a lock house on our last trip, and I find the system of transportation interesting. The Lockport locks were actually in use, the historic five alongside the newer locks, and we watched a tourist vessel go through the modern side. It was so cool to see the locks operate as we remembered walking in the dry lock spaces on the disused C&O canal. We also had seen historic, rather narrow locks operating in Carcassonne, France when we were there last year. Those seemed to be for tourists as well. We heard that Lockport does host some commercial boats, I think it was under 20 per year and I could not find details, but I’m impressed that locks have any modern commercial uses after becoming obsolete at least 70 years ago with the rise of railroads and highways.
We biked into the city from the east along the Niagara river. The path was right next to the water for a while near the city borders. We could see Lake Erie. We were briefly on Unity Island, from which we could throw a stone into Canadian waters if we chose. We were near several bridges into Canada, and this old iron bridge (below) on the island. It was a nice place with fields and wildflowers, but unfortunately the path was closed so we had to go through a more trafficy urban area. The Buffalo neighborhood called Allentown had a colorful progressive vibe and was full of unique older houses with varied architectural styles. We stayed in a large apartment there for the night. We walked around and had a nice dinner at a Mexican bar/restaurant. Mr. Fantastic and the Fantastic dog set out on their own and found a dog park and an open mike comedy place which allowed Dogtastic to sit on Mr’s lap!
We stopped by the park next to the rapids upstream from the falls. Then we were there in the thick of it. I wasn’t excited to be heading to the tourist frenzy, but I was resigned to the plan. And I have to say, as uncomfortable as I am with large-scale, expensive tourist experiences, I concede that the Maid of the Mist was worth it. I have to report that it cost my family $95, or more than our daily budget in Thailand, for the 20-minute experience, but it was really neat. I’m particularly happy with my photos of the Falls from the boat.
After the boat ride, you can walk up these stairs (below) next to the Falls. I was mistaken in thinking 1.) we were walking back up all the way because 2.) we could and 3.) removing my raincoat because I was 4.)thinking it couldn’t be that wet. I got soaked and really couldn’t appreciate this view due to much spray and wet glasses! And then we took the elevator up.