Sunday, July 10, 2011

Niagara Falls and Pittsburgh

Our third road trip of the season with the Gherkin started off on the Fourth of July. The destination - Niagara Falls.

Day One: Four hour drive to Pittsburgh. The Gherkin sleeps for the first two hours. We stop for lunch in Everett, PA just beyond the Maryland border. We decide to try out a Bob Evans and realise that we have not missed much all these years. The pancakes are a soggy mess and my scrambled eggs look like the cook had a change of heart at the last minute and decided that scrambling the eggs would be too cruel - so he just let them be.

Our next stop- Pittsburgh. The friends we are staying with are not at home, so we head to a Startbucks and then a nearby park and relax till they came home. By the way, this would be all we saw of Pittsburgh - or rather its suburbs.

Spend the evening catching up with my high school friend and her family. Since we did not get to watch the fireworks this year, here is a picture from last year along with one from this year with the gherkin in a red, blue and white outfit.
Day Two: It is three and a half hours from Pittsburgh, PA to Buffalo, NY. Our first stop was for lunch at a Cracker Barrel. Our next stop, was somewhere near Lake Erie. This was one of those when-the-baby-yell-head-for-first-available-exit type stops. We stopped at Alba's Ice Cream and Snack Shack. Unfortunately they were closed - no ice cream for us. We enjoyed the nice breeze while the Gherkin enjoyed her bottle of milk.
After checking into our hotel, we caught up with yet another friend for dinner. As I am writing this, I realise that I have had a lot of mediocre and down right awful Chinese food in the US but have never had really bad Thai food. Even in a place like Buffalo (yes, I said that with that tone of voice and more on that later) our Thai dinner was remarkably decent. Infact we enjoyed our meal at the Jasmine Thai restaurant and the leftovers even more.

Post dinner, we went over to the SUNY Buffalo campus, where our friend is a faculty member and walked around and chatted and reminisced over coffee.

Day Three: Headed to Niagara Falls after a breakfast of eggs, toast and coffee in the room. Thank heavens for suites with kitchenettes - they take the guess work out of getting breakfast in a strange town. Stock up the fridge with groceries and voila! you can have breakfast in your room in your pajamas without stepping out.

We parked in Goat Island and walked around a little before taking the trolley to the Maid of the Mist.

After the boat ride we did a couple of things:
  • Got ourselves some lunch and ice cream and fudge
  • Discovered the fact that I had lost my watch
  • Walked back to Goat Island and walked to the Three Sisters Islands
while the Gherkin caught a quick snooze. Soon after the weather started turning nasty and we decided to head back to the hotel. Once the weather cleared up a little, we headed out to the nearest strip mall for the lack of anything better to do. This would explain that snide comment about Buffalo.
Day Four: Within an hour of starting, the Gherkin is in a bad mood and we see signs for the Lake Erie State Park and so we stop. We take in the views, walk along the pebble-y beach and then resume our journey. Three (Michigan, Erie, Superior) done, two more to go as far as the Great Lakes are concerned.

The next stop is for lunch - at the Cracker Barrel in Erie, PA. Yes, there is a theme here. Ever since we discovered Cracker Barrel on our trip to North Carolina, we usually stop at one- if there is one on our way that is. The food is decent and the service is friendly. We can usually find something in the menu for the gherkin (mac n' cheese, green beans) and the wait staff is very accommodating of little ones. In an earlier life, we would have sought out the quaint, one of a kind place to eat at , but now we seek comfort in corporate consistency.

Day Five: After the obligatory pictures are clicked, we head home. The rains follow us all the way home, but we are surprised at the good time (four and a half hours) we make - in spite of the thunderstorms and mountain roads. To celebrate, we stop by Tysons Buffet in Rockville, for a late lunch and then battle flash floods on the 8 mile drive home.

And since we were busy travelling, there was no soup this week. The tom yum soup at the Thai place in Buffalo was good but we have nothing else to say about it. So, no soup this week - it is.


Harman said... cute!
love the pichhas!

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