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Foreign visitors arrive

This post is a little out of season, but I just discovered the following story in the Buffalo Business First from last year: the view of a foreign visitor to Niagara Falls.

Patrick Doyle, who has friends in Syracuse, has visited the falls once in summer, once in winter. His summer visit matched the perceptions that Buffalo Niagara tourism programs perpetuate: Cascading blue-and-white water bordered by green foliage and dotted with the yellow and blue ponchos of tourists in the Cave of the Winds and on the Maid of the Mist.

But what truly captured Doyle’s fancy was winter, a time when he saw “maybe 10 other people” at the falls and when he felt as if he and his wife were the only people in the hotel. The absence of humanity, in Doyle’s eyes, was overshadowed by an overflow of natural beauty. “We were driving there and it was like a lunar landscape,” he says. “All the tree branches were frozen and joined together. The snow covered everything — just unbelievable. It’s a beautiful part of the world.”

Unlike the well-advertised falls of summer, Doyle had never seen this before. He thinks the tourism officials behind the falls should try to lure more people there in the winter. His point is case one much better presented by an outsider, so I’ll add a sole, simple thought: He’s right.

Now I think I understand a little more about why I’ve been a fan of Mr. Doyle’s for 16 years.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. sean | September 5, 2007 at 3:41 am | Permalink

    the falls in winter are terrifying, literally painful – and magnificent. on a bitter day, it is difficult to walk close to them on the american side (my favorite all-time description of niagara, offered by an old painter i knew in the falls … “from the canadian side, you’re looking at a picture. from the american side, you’re part of the picture.”) where the frozen spray bites and tears at your face. the noise is deafening, and there is no time of year when the falls are such vivid reminders of human frailty and the reality of death. yet they are also beautiful beyond the ken, nature as raw art, and ice and snow strip away the crap of the whole tourist deal.

    in other words, doyle drills it.

    sean

  2. Mrs. Mecomber | September 5, 2007 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    I think our beautiful winters are what make Upstate so enchanting, bar none. I also love the idea of winter camping!

  3. Ellen | September 8, 2007 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    Mrs M, have you seen this link in my linklist? WinterCampers http://wintercampers.com/

    I, too, love the IDEA of winter camping. (Stress is on “idea”)

    Sean, I have never been to Niagara Falls in winter (wish I was there right NOW, with this 95 degree heat), but I remember being delighted as a kid by the “foaming rocks” in winter along the Thruway. Water would seep out from the rock walls along the highway and create frozen waterfall-like forms, which reminded my sister and me of rabid animals foaming at the mouth. Not sure why we found that a highlight, but we did. Um, kids are strange.

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