Before all of the great travel, adventures, culinary treats, and amazing destinations, there’s a grand meeting.
A meeting where travel writers, epic journalists, travel photographers, videographers, bloggers and epic destinations gather.
This year, I got to mingle among those epic journalists, photographers and learn and just be.
The magic behind the mojo of travel starts as a HUB, as a Travel Media Showcase and a destination where we all come together as a team.
We descended upon a picture-perfect Niagara Falls USA destination and as a team, we do what I call, ‘stop motion’ the area.
Where we get to STOP while in motion to visit vineyards, streets, alleys and the Rainbow bridge.
Basically dissecting it all to really see it in slow motion even though we move at the speed of lightning to see it all in a few days!
Vineyards to Waterfalls, it’s natural and effervescent all in one breathe! Niagara Falls, USA is everything you imagine, but it’s so much more.
This is a YOLO Trip for everyone that goes, not just writers!
In fact, it’s the destination you can flock to for girlfriend getaways to Vineyard hop, bachelorette party perfect inns, and shopping.
Consider a visit as a family to take in 2 countries within steps of one another.
Niagara Falls USA Through A Travel Writer’s Eyes
*Update – in September of 2019, Niagara Falls USA provided a writing award for my article’s description of their area~!
What To Expect – Niagara Falls USA
Having been a previous visitor of the area as a hockey mom, a child, a couple, I might have thought I knew it all, but all I knew was the topping.
This trip was different, it was about to happen, I was going to come together with some of the biggest names in the travel industry. Journalists who’re names I see on paper and digital, and read daily. My travel read crushes.
Of course, there was the destination itself. As I said, I have been to the falls, and that is not uncovering Niagara Falls, USA. It’s one morsel or breadcrumb of an area that will defy your expectations.
You Gotta See The Other Side To Appreciate Ours – Niagara Falls NOT USA
See what I mean? On the USA Side, you get to Look DOWN on it, but from Canada, you see OUR real view. Oh, My G#$%! Love! Right?
The area entertained all of the journalists, and just let us dabble in the multiple activities, adventure, and culture of the area.
Want to know what? Niagara Falls USA through a travel writer’s eyes caught my attention, kept me captivated and did the same for the other participants.
What does that mean? We’ve traveled the world, but some of the best adventures are right in the USA. If it peeked us that much, it’s gonna dazzle you!
You see, there’s so much more than just the Falls.
We never stopped smiling from start to finish, because there’s a lot to enjoy and tons of friends to celebrate!
Wait, that’s what travel is about right?
The fireworks over Niagara at Goat Island was the perfect start to what was going to be ah-mazing!
There’s photo opps and fun all waiting and it’s picturesque and waiting.
We worked this farm and vineyard over, with a celebration of food, culinary delights, wine, and beer!
Walk and enjoy or stop and eat, it’s just NONSTOP, but it is STOP Worthy!
I never saw the same thing in one of my photos or when I was actually looking from behind the camera.
There’s just that much to see and tons of parking.
Maybe the best part of the trip was Becker Farms. The couple that owns this is as endearing as the area.
A bakery, a place to sleep, eat, drink, get married. It’s just so much more than you can believe until you visit.
THE EXPERIENCE – Just outside of Niagara Falls USA
We experienced a wagon ride through the property, wine tasting, beer, fresh donuts, and a stroll through the vineyards.
Do we not look like we are having fun?
We were here for about 4 hours. Can you imagine being here with your kids?
Spouse? Partner? Fiance? Or with a large group? It’s that place!
I was so intrigued by the vineyard. Look at the deep purple and purity! It is a working vineyard that sits on the farm.
Together the Becker Farms and Vizcarra Vineyards boasts 30 acres of fruits and veggies.
Indulge in sweets from the bakery, I did with all of my colleagues. It was not just here for us, they make these!
Sorry to those avoiding carbs, so worth the big bite and I’ll do the extra mile on the treadmill tomorrow!
I personally suggest powdered sugar! Sugar up front, and so much taste, on the back end, you just can’t stop with one bite! (Jog the next day to work it off, lol!)
Well, this was after my dinner, so take a look at the fresh menu and the food!
Oh my goodness a trip of about 45 minutes from the Falls. Don’t miss this!
Now we also got homemade caramel dipped apples. It is a working farm and they pulled out all the stops!
Did I mention I am an apple junkie? At least 2 a day, they had me at Apple!
Families will delight in a very walk-able area around the falls and the delightful fact that you can Cross the border.
It’s cool, like a 2 fer kind of vacation! Your kids will love the gravitating power of the falls.
I personally loved how easy it was to get from one country to another, call me a kid!
I do tend to get more excited than a kid with travel! But when the Canada sign is in front of you walk, you won’t regret what you see on either side.
That’s why a trip to Niagara Falls USA is so unique.
The Winds of The Cave tours, or a ride on the Maid Of The Mist boat tour, where your body will thump from the power of the falls!
It’s a work of nature upfront and cool.
Now Mom and Dad can take in the falls at night, while the kids are resting tight in the room as you stroll on Goat Island.
Follow the beauty and the path will allow you to grab a few selfies and time together.
Grab a souvenir in the shops along the walkway! A visit to Becker Farms is where you want to go to let the kids run it off and use it as a chance to sample wines and great eats.
Read more below!
When you just want a simple get away, and want to be together, how about a stay where you can visit a lot within miles of the main attraction?
Romantic with all it’s power and good luck mists and as natural as it can be. My question to you, “what are you waiting for?”
A few minutes walking distance from the DoubleTree by Hilton you will uncover a fun destination that costs nothing to visit and lets you laugh!
Did I mention it is the perfect place to IG an image because it shares where you are! Kirsten my GF found this and we went for a walk!
Cut loose, have fun and take those memorable couple pics, no one is watching! Well, who cares if they are this is YOLO (<<Click to see what I did!) once territory you gotta have fun in Niagara USA!
There’s a casino, which is great for a stroll through and a great place to just let it all go for a while.
No worries, I strolled through and took my chances for a little just to test it out for you! LOVE! It’s not Vegas, but it’s fun!
However the walk there is fun too. From churches to an Art Alley there are plenty of things to keep you busy right around the falls.
Walking is a great way to learn the area, even if I missed the Starbucks.
Hold hands as you navigate the Cave of Winds, dressed up in your cute yellow slickers. Misty in love gets a whole new meaning here!
Beyond the Falls area, a simple 30-45 minute drive will bring you to Hard Cider destinations as well as vineyards and a must see working farm! Keep reading, you gotta!
Where To Stay?
I am totally bias to the DoubleTree by Hilton Niagara Falls, New York. Maybe it was the cookie at check-in or just the area, it was definitely the winning combination for me.
Yes, there is plenty of lit parking.
The rooms were wonderful and impeccably clean. Of course, I was spoiled by my view of Niagara Falls.
Just seeing the water each morning sun-kissed and glistening from the sun made it all the more special.
Hard Cider, Wine & Our Trolley Fun
We stopped at Blackbird Cider, Black Widow Winery and WoodCock Bros – yeah it’s a thing!
Go with a sense of humor, the want for adventure and of course a thirsty palate!
So how do you transport this massive group of journalists around and let them taste the goodness of the area?
No matter what tour you took, we all experienced Wine and Beer aboard our vehicles! Cheers to fun on the road.
We took our party to new levels and brought food onboard that we bought at the Black Willow Winery, a charcuterie pass the tray!
Woot! You can buy one too! Don’t forget the popcorn from there! YUM.
Cider tasting was something new for me. I am generally a wine only girl, but hello to a new libation I could definitely learn to love.
The crisp apples inside these samples made it a super first taste for me and really refreshing.
You can stop here too, it’s not just a ‘travel writer thing’. It’s open to the public.
Yeah, there’s a place named WoodCock Bros Brewing Company and there’s a lot of great ales to try here! Buy it, bring it home and reminisce later!
I can’t tell you anything about the food side we were there for a tour and a drink and out the door.
What I can tell you, is NOT to try the hops (raw) yuck! I took one for ya.
Moving Along To Black Willow Winery
The owner here, put a lot of thought and time into this and it’s a work in progress getting bigger and bigger.
She was impressive with her tale of how it all came about.
Her work ethic and commitment to the trade are what make her Black Willow Winery stand out in my mind.
Cheese paired with wine, charcuterie and a really ‘cute’ set up for tasting. Here’s where you want to spend a little time.
There’s a lot of options when it comes to taste here and you gotta take the time.
The Trip Made Possible By… (disclosure)
I’ll call it a gift of acceptance, and an induction into a most impressive if not epic group of travelers who share their passion.
Acceptance is a funny thing without it, you won’t make it far, with it, friendships bud and life take you far!
Friendship is a gift that comes through mixing talent and visiting a conference together and then joining in on trips together later.
It’s a way to learn and be part of a community.
Whether you are being accepted into a school, a church group, a new job, it’s a working mechanism doing its thing 24/7.
Life just moves forward best with it. Once a while ago, even though I believed in me, someone believed in me more.
I took a chance and applied to a travel conference not knowing whether my credentials were ‘it’ or not and I hit send.
A few months later, returning from a flurry of travel, an inbox email forever changed me in so many ways.
An intro to a woman, a business, a woman-run business, in fact, many businesses, would suddenly enhance who I was.
She was the someone that saw more than I did in me. Joanne Vero knew more about me than I understood about myself.
Her ‘Yes’ to her conference opened a door to a plethora of uncommon ‘Yesses’, new friendships and my first writing award on behalf of one of her clients, Cabarrus, North Carolina.
Little did I know that the man I made friends with at the year’s previous conference was John Percy, president & CEO of Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation (NTCC) to serve as president. by nature, I am a chatty Cathy.
So I just talked to him, never asking who he was.
I had hung with him, had dinner with him, just pulled up a chair and chatted with him. Here I was with this man, larger than life!
WOW! Now, a year later, I am visiting his amazing destination.
My thanks to the person who picks up the phone and says, “Hi Dane” like she knew my nickname without even knowing me for long. Thank you, Joanne.
Now, amplify this by being surrounded by epic journalists, photographers, and an area that was beckoning to be uncovered. Now you got it.. DYNAMIC.
Yes, there are massive Falls to uncover and a border to cross to see a totally different perspective, the Niagara Falls USA area is a destination.
From wineries to hops trails, farm-fresh eats, and so much more. It’s family, couples, girl friend getaway travel ready.
This trip is based on my thoughts, the faces of all the people you see having so much fun in the destination.