Column: A visit to Niagara Falls

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Today, the final stop on our trip to Cape Cod, we visit Niagara Falls, among the nation’s most spectacular natural wonders.

Niagara Falls, lying along the United States/Canadian border about 17 miles northwest of Buffalo, N.Y., includes three separate waterfalls. The largest, Horseshoe Falls (“Canadian Falls”), straddles the border, with 90 percent in Canada. American Falls and much smaller Bridal Veil Falls, located within the United States, are separated by Luna Island, where people can get close to both falls. Niagara Falls State Park, the oldest state park in the U.S., was created by New York State in 1885 and contains American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. It features an observation deck providing a view of all three falls and offers boat rides to their base. Honeymooners can obtain a free “We Honeymooned in Niagara Falls USA” certificate from the park visitor center. The pedestrian-friendly Rainbow Bridge, opened in 1941 to replace the collapsed Honeymoon Bridge, connects Niagara Falls, N.Y., to Niagara Falls, Ontario, where the 764-foot-tall Skylon Tower provides the best view of all three falls.

The tradition of coming to Niagara Falls for a honeymoon began early in the 19th century, when famous persons, including the daughter of Aaron Burr and the brother of Napoleon, celebrated their honeymoons there. Honeymooners increased following the opening of the Erie Canal, which connected with the Niagara River. By the middle of the 20th century, Niagara Falls had gained a reputation for seedy hotels and tacky wedding chapels. That reputation is no longer deserved, at least on the U.S. side. Niagara Falls, N.Y., has plenty of fine hotels and restaurants along with its wedding chapels, some featuring stained glass in place of neon. Niagara Falls now attracts sophisticated visitors from around the world and has become a must-see for visitors from India.

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