On the Niagara Riverside

We spent July at our favorite home base, Milton Heights Campground, which is just off the 401 highway, north west of Toronto. I will always recommend this campground to anyone traveling to the Toronto area. It is clean, spacious, well-kept, and there are different settings to choose from. If you have a rig, you can choose to be out in the open field, with beautiful views of the Niagara Escarpment, or you can nestle in the area I call “The Village” since it is more enclosed and intimate, while still feeling spacious.

The “Village” side of Milton Heights

In August we set off to Niagara. We found a delightful campsite upstream from the Falls, called Riverside Park Motel and Campground. It is a little cramped, but the residents, both travelers and seasonals, are quiet, and the place is very clean.

View of our neighbors from our window.

Added to this are the surroundings, which are beautiful. Next door is a farm and horse ranch, with three beautiful chestnut horses who are obviously very comfortable seeing the humans in their RVs. And right outside the front door is the Niagara River, with Grand Island in full view. This is great cycling territory!

The Niagara Parkway

This is an area rich in history and was populated by the Pennsylvania Dutch in the 1780s. There is still a strong Germanic presence in the names of the towns and streets. And this is also the heart of wine country.

Our other neighbors – after a rainstorm. Horses are to the right of the barn.

We did a slow drive-by of the Falls – we have seen them many times, so we felt no need to stop. Niagara Falls is a city built on tourism. The Canadian side has the advantage of the best visual perspectives of both the Canadian and the American falls. The eternal crowds stick to the sidewalk, and then just off the strip is a collection of tourist traps that would make Las Vegas blush. Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and a hundred more similar attractions, all compressed onto one street.

Also similar to Vegas is Niagara’s seedy, run-down areas – the “no-tell Motels,” strip bars and low-rent restaurants that all could have been settings for Breaking Bad. You get to see these when you start to “live” in the town for a while rather than just visiting. As soon as you head out to find the nearest Walmart, you’ll find them.

If you want to see some amazing photographs of the Falls, go to Nina Fussing’s blog entry here.

We are discovering the ideal staying time in any one place is 7 days. And shorter than that and you feel you are – as the WKRP theme song goes – always “packing and unpacking, town to town, up and down the dial.” Any longer than a week (or 10 days max) and my wanderlust starts to kick in.

I would highly recommend the Riverside Motel and RV Park for people who really like scenic drives, beautiful homes and quiet scenery. (We haven’t been paid to say these nice things, by the way.)

Next stop: Wine Country and trying out Harvest Hosts for the first time.

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