Friday, February 15, 2019

A Very YOLO Trip: Buffalo, NY and Niagara Falls AND Canada

My goal is to recap all of my 2018 trips before I take my first trip of 2019. I can't believe I'm still recapping my April trip from last year. I just have had no blogging motivation. I am currently on bed rest after having shoulder surgery on Feb. 1 (so I'm updating this post with one hand, which is fun-not). I am going to do my best. My apologies for any typing errors. :)

It's been several months, so refresh your memory here on where I left off. On our way from Pittsburgh to Toronto, we had a stop in Buffalo, NY on our itinerary solely because I wanted to stop at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site. Yes, I'm a nerd.

On our way into town, we passed by a baseball stadium. After some research, we discovered it was a minor league team called the Buffalo Bisons (and we both thought it was a great name). We decided we wanted to swing by and get a T-shirt on our way out of town. But first, we made a quick stop at the home where Teddy Roosevelt took the oath of president after the assassination of William McKinley (because I'm a history nerd and will stop at any place that has some historical reference). Unfortunately they only allowed guided tours in the home, and it was a 90 minute wait for the next tour, so we just took a look around the outside of the house. 

We had to look up the address of the Bison's ballpark, and when we did, we discovered that they had a home game that day. A day home game. And it had just started. Mind you, it was 37 degrees and drizzling, but we HAD to go. We were on a baseball road trip after all. 

We purchased cheap seat tickets and made our way through the gate. We were in luck- it was free ice cream day! It doesn't matter how cold it is-I will always take free ice cream. After a quick stop at the gift shop, we made our way to our seats. Well, actually our seats were in the far corner of right field (meaning they were getting drizzled on). A nice usher said we could sit under the covered seating area. We overheard a conversation in the gift shop that only 94 fans were braving the cold weather that day so there were plenty of seats.

In the gift shop we noticed they had stuffed celery toys, but we were so confused why (we later found out it was a mascot that used to race in between innings, he is now retired). Anyways, we hadn't been sitting long when Lisa grabbed my arm and screamed "it's the Celery!" And of course we needed to get a photo with him. We also got one with the official mascot- Buster the Bison. We became fast fans of the Bisons. And I have to give credit to the fans that were braving the weather- they were passionate. 

We left in about the 7th inning. We were supposed to go to Niagara Falls and we were already leaving Buffalo way later than we had planned. Since the weather wasn't exactly perfect for viewing the Falls, we didn't mind much that we had a detour.

Niagara Falls is one of those places that I've always wanted to visit. It's something that I've always seen in books and on TV and just wanted to see it in person. I definitely want to go back when the weather is nicer, I would like to take one of the boat tours. The day we were there was NOT a day I wanted to be on a boat right under the falls. It was dreary and cold. It even started to snow at one point while we were there. I will say that the Falls were a wonder to see. SOMEONE took one look at them and said "it's just water", but I won't name names. :) We were able to see Niagara Falls from both the New York side and Canada side. If you go visit, I highly recommend going to the Canada side.

After a quick dinner stop, we made our way to Toronto, which was less than two hours from Niagara Falls. After several late nights, it was nice to get to the AirBnb somewhat "early" and just have a relaxing evening.

The view from our AirBnb in downtown Toronto
The next day we made the short one block walk from our AirBnb to Rogers Centre to see the Rangers take on the Blue Jays. We lucked out and saw the Rangers twice on our road trip. There was no batting practice because it was a day game, but we were able to get photos with several Rangers players as well as the third base coach Tony Beasley. We also met Evan Grant, a beat writer for the Rangers.

The game wasn't that good (because we didn't win), but we still had fun. We were told that Rogers Centre wasn't going to be that great, but I actually thought it wasn't that bad. Everyone was so nice. The Blue Jays mascot and his sidekick were a little creepy looking, but overall, we enjoyed our visit there.

A friend spotted us on TV!
After the game, we ate at a wonderful Italian restaurant called Hey Lucy! (it was a recommendation from someone I follow on Twitter who is from Toronto). Fun fact. In Canada the meal portions are a lot smaller than in the US. Also fun fact: Canadian money has a clear portion you can see through.

Later that evening, I faced my fear of heights and we went up in the CN Tower. I will admit that the view was spectacular. I was even brave and sat on the "glass bottom" and was doing fine until some kid started jumping up and down on it.

Sadly this is the only "Mounty" I saw because The Royal Canadian Mounted Police doesn't police in Ontario. 
We left early the next morning to make the drive to Detroit. My visit to Canada was short and I hope to spend more time and do more sightseeing on my next visit.

I make no promises when I will post my next update. It took me almost a week and a half just to complete this post. :)

40 Through 40 Update:
2. See a game at six different ballparks on my MLB Ballparks To Visit list- this trip made ballpark #6
13. Travel outside of the United States (not including Mexico or the Caribbean)