The great natural wonder of the world known as Niagara Falls is located in Ontario, Canada and New York, USA. The Falls and the Niagara River create the border of the USA and Canada and can be seen from both countries. The more scenic side of The Falls is located on the Canadian side. We visited The Falls by driving there from Chicago. We crossed the border in to Canada through Detroit, MI, USA and drove through Canada, which is approximately an 8 hour drive + border crossing time. The other road trip route that can be taken is to continue on 1-80 E and enter Canada on the Rainbow Bridge in New York, USA, which is about a 9 hour drive + border crossing time. The other option is flying in to the Buffalo/Niagara Airport in Buffalo, NY, USA.
There are 4 bridges that will get you across the Niagara River to and from Canada and the US near The Falls.
This bridge is located north of The Falls near the Butterfly Conservatory and Floral Clock in the Niagara Park on the Canadian side. This bridge experiences less border crossing traffic during the day.
This bridge is the famous Niagara Falls bridge that goes through The Falls. You are also able to walk across this bridge for spectacular views of The Falls over the river. Border crossing times can sometimes be high for this bridge as it is the most popular one in the area.
This bridge is located north of The Falls but is a Nexus Only bridge. Do not attempt to cross this bridge unless you have a NEXUS card.
This bridge is located south of The Falls. This bridge experiences less border crossing traffic during the day.
To see live border crossing times visit the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission.
Best Sites to See in Niagara
Obviously the main reason to go to Niagara is the see Niagara Falls. The more scenic side of The Falls is on the Canadian side and from that view you can imagine what the New York side would be. However, if you are in the US and do not have time to cross the border or do not have a passport to get in to Canada, then the NY side will still do the trick as The Falls are spectacular no matter what.
Walk Across the Rainbow Bridge
For 50 cents a person, you can walk across the Rainbow Bridge and get to see The Falls from both sides of the river + be directly over the river in the process. How cool is that!? Don't forget your passport though because you need it to actually get off the bridge on both sides.
Maid of the Mist
Take a ride on the famous Maid of the Mist where you ride in a boat on the Niagara River right through The Falls. Don't forget your rain poncho though as you get soaking wet on this adventure.
Visit the Floral Clock in the Niagara Park on the Canadian side. It is one of the most visited attractions in all of Canada every year!
The Botanical Garden is located in the Niagara Park on the Canadian side, as well. Take a stroll through the beautiful garden as a nice break from the hectiness near The Falls.
Clifton Hill is like the Las Vegas Blvd of Niagara Falls. You can find everything bigger and better on this street. You can visit Ripley's Believe It or Not, the Guiness Book of World Records, tons of shops, restaurants, and lots and lots of lights at night
Things to do in Niagara
The Niagara Wine Region is quite incredible. There are 100s of wineries to choose from and many of them have tasting rooms. Each side of The Falls has plenty to offer with the USA side having what they call The Niagara Wine Trail and the Canadian side being called the Ontario Wine Country.
There are plenty of trails on the Canadian side to walk along the river but to experience some great hikes it is best to venture over to the American side and go to the Niagara State Park. Go for a hike in the Devils Hole State Park for some of the best views of the area.
Visit Niagara-on the-Lake
This quaint town is something that you don't want to miss. You'll discover some of the cutest shops you'll ever find and some of the best eats in this little town. Plus Queens Royal Park is right on Lake Ontario and a wonderful place to spend an afternoon relaxing.
Where to Eat
Il Gelato di Carlotta
This gelato is incredible! This shop is located in Niagara-on-the-Lake and is perfect for an afternoon snack lakeside. Try the pistachio or strawberry and you won't be disappointed.
Stromboli's Pizza Ltd.
A little pizza shop located in St. Catharines. Get the pizza combo for a ton of food and remember that if you order bacon on your pizza that you're in Canada...and it's not their fault ;)
This bakery/gelato shop is located in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Grab some breakfast here in the morning and some treats or gelato for a snack in the afternoon. We highly suggest their chocolate strawberry crepe and pasteries in the morning and some macarons in the afternoon.
Lococo's Fruit and Veggies
Grab some groceries at this fruit and vegetable store to have a picnic. A couple of perfect spots are right across from Niagara Falls on any of the lawn areas right on Niagara Parkway or in Queens Royal Park on Lake Ontario in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
This cafe is located in St. Catharines and is the perfect spot to grab a quick cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich to start out a morning. Whether you grab and go while you're heading out of town on your last day or for a quick stop before you do a full day of exploring the area, their breakfast sandwiches are delicious.
Where to Stay
This gorgeous B&B is located in St. Catherines in Ontario, CAN. It is a dog friendly B&B. Their hospitality is mind blowingly wonderful and the house itself is gorgeous. Make reservations on their site here.
Any of the B&Bs in Niagara-on-the-Lake seem incredible. They are all located within walking distance of the main street and Lake Ontario.
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Dress: Gal Meets Glam | Cardigan: Old Navy (old, similar) | Open-toed Flats: JCrew Factory (no longer available in white, black) | Headband: JCrew (old, similar) | Bracelets: Alex and Ani
Kai's Outfit Details:
Button-up Shirt: Old Navy (no longer available, similar) | Chinos: Carters | Oxfords:Freshly Picked | Bowtie: Little Mister
Sunday was one very special day. I was woken up to my little baby smiling down at me from my hubby's arms. We spent all day together just celebrating our bond and I can't imagine a more perfect day. Kai and I slept in after our morning feed and then Caleb made me a delicious breakfast. In the afternoon, we made our way over to the Chicago Botanic Garden and Caleb took all these beautiful photos of me and Kai to help me remember this incredible day. Even though Kai was tired, he kept up the picture taking charade for me like a champ! Just spending time with him was the greatest gift of the day.
I ordered this beautiful dress from the new Gal Meets Glam collection when it first launched and have been dying to wear it. It has finally gotten warm enough to be comfortable outside wearing a dress here in Chicago, so I took full advantage of that this weekend. I love the feminine look this dress has and how it buttons in the front. It makes nursing Kai super easy and when were all done I feel perfectly put back together. It's the perfect dress for a spring baby or bridal shower! Julia's line of May dresses launched today, so make sure you head over to her site to check out the new dresses!
I absolutely love dressing Kai up, too. I ordered this sweet little tangerine shirt for him a couple months ago and he's finally big enough to wear it now! I love putting Kai in bowties, as well. Caleb loves wearing bowties, so I think it's extra sweet when Kai wears them, too. My favorite place to get bowties from is this little shop called Little Mister. Even the name makes me swoon! This grey gingham one I got for Kai is my favorite so far. I know baby shoes are so unnecessary but I just can't help myself! The best baby shoes I've found are from Freshly Picked. They very rarely fall off and they fit Kai's little feet pretty well. He is currently in a size 1. Freshly Picked has this awesome monthly program called The Fringe that you can join! It costs $10 a month, but you get to use that $10 towards shoes. You also always get 20% off your order every time you shop and that is on top of any other sales they have going on. I know this is going to come in handy when Kai starts walking and we do have to buy him more shoes. Nice baby shoes that stay on their little feet can be expensive, especially for how fast they grow, so I'll take any kind of discount I can get! Plus if I let my monthly fee stack up over a few months I can get a pair of shoes without having to pay anything at checkout because your money on your account never expires! Oh the great things these shops come up with to help us parents out!
What did you do for Mother's Day this year? Let me know in the comments below!
Happy Belated Mother's Day to all the mamas out there! I hope you all had a beautiful weekend! This weekend was so incredible for me, and I'm still left speechless from it. Saturday we spent the afternoon in the city celebrating a good friend of ours graduating law school! We're so proud of you Jackie! Sunday was such a special day. It was my first Mother's Day and I couldn't imagine having a better day. Caleb, Kai, and Wrigley really spoiled me this year! Kai and I slept in and Caleb made me brunch at home which consisted of orange ricotta pancakes, avocado toast, bacon wrapped dates, extra bacon, and a mimosa. He put it all together on this cute little serving tray with this precious I love you sign. He and Kai also surprised me with the most thoughtful gift, a new robe and the Magnolia Table cookbook! In the afternoon, we headed to the Chicago Botanic Garden and walked around and took some Mother's Day photos. Then that evening, my parents came over and we celebrated the end of Mother's Day having dinner with them at home. It was the best day and I will never ever forget it!
Wrigley update: He's doing so much better. By Saturday he was acting like nothing was even wrong, so we're really confused as to what was going on with him. Every once in awhile he seems to be a little bit bothered by the sprain, but for the most part he's back to his peppy self!
Since having Kai, we always get asked how Wrigley has been doing with him and what all we did to prep him for Kai's arrival. Well I'm happy to report that Wrigley loves Kai just as much as he loves me and Caleb and did right from the beginning! It took a couple days for him not to get worked up when Kai cried or squirmed, but he caught on so quickly. Wrigley is a very gentle and loving dog to begin with but I do think the things we did before Kai was born helped tremendously with the transition for Wrigley. So here is what all we did in order to prepare Wrigley for us adding to the Cabrera Crew:
Showed Wrigley all the Baby Stuff
We showed Wrigley every single little item we got for Kai before he was born. We allowed him to sniff everything and would tell him over and over again this is for the baby. There was only a couple of things that he tried to take for himself like Kai's Mickey and a blanket (Wrigley's 2 favorite things in the world, so no surprise there), but we gently told him no and kept explaining to him that these things weren't his. After telling him just a couple of times he caught on and stopped trying to take anything from the nursery.
Talked about Kai & Showed Wrigley the Bump
Wrigley is the biggest snuggler in the world, so it was a little hard for him to adjust not being able to lay on my chest/belly. As he saw my belly grow though he started to understand. We would tell him all the time how his little brother is in there and even one time when I put Wrigley's paw on my belly, Kai kicked him! He was 50% full of wonder and 50% scared ha! Dogs can sense things though like when you're sick, so I truly believed Wrigley knew exactly what was going on with me being pregnant. In fact, he started getting extra protective of me right around the time I did get pregnant, so there's some scary stuff for ya!
Let Wrigley Sniff a Baby Blanket from the Hospital
I was a little nervous about this one because it didn't really go how I had pictured it would go. Wrigley ended up staying at my parents' house while I was in the hospital because Caleb stayed with him overnight in the hospital. We don't feel comfortable leaving Wrigley by himself overnight, so my parents graciously took him in. However, the downside to that was that Caleb wasn't able to bring a baby blanket home to Wrigley prior to us coming home from the hospital. We improvised though. My dad dropped Wrigley off at our house prior to us coming home from the hospital so that when we got home, he would be there. When we first got home, I went inside first, by myself, and brought in a blanket that Kai had been wrapped in the whole time at the hospital. I let Wrigley sniff it for a few minutes and spent some quality one on one time with him while Caleb waited in the car with Kai.
Caleb Brought Kai In for the First Meeting
Wrigley is VERY protective of me, even with Caleb. While I was pregnant it was 10 fold on the protection. Wrigley would get upset even when Caleb was trying to help get up off of the couch. So we decided it would be best to have Caleb bring Kai's car seat in to show Wrigley that it's ok for Caleb to be holding the baby. So if you have this problem, as well, we suggest having whoever the dog is less protective of bring the baby inside.
Brought Kai inside in his Car Seat & Put it on the Floor
Like I said above, Caleb brought Kai inside in his car seat and set it down on the floor. We let Wrigley slowly approach it and sniff it out. After a few seconds it clicked who it was and he was very excited. We didn't allow him to jump on the baby of course, but we did our best to allow him to be as excited as he wanted to be as to give Wrigley the happiest of experiences with his first meeting with Kai.
Allowed Wrigley to Form A Bond on His Own Time
We've allowed Wrigley to form his bond with Kai on his own time. We didn't want to force anything on him, but it really didn't take that long. Within a couple of days he was comfortable with sitting close to Kai and would even come over to give him some kisses. It has gradually turned in to now he always wants to be in the same room with Kai and won't stop giving him kisses if we let him keep going. We've tried to implement a one and done rule but Wrigley is a lover and tends to ignore the rule. Wrigley's favorite thing to do with Kai right now is tummy time!
Put a Dog Bed in the Nursery
So I've actually read things that are against this but we felt doing this would actually help. Like I said, Wrigley really loves to be around Kai, especially if we are with him. So if we are spending time in the nursery with Kai, it's nice for Wrigley to have his own place to snuggle up, too. When Kai was smaller, Wrigley could fit in the rocking chair next to me, but now that Kai is bigger, it's not as comfortable for Wrigley. So, Wrigley will go lay in his bed that we have in the nursery so that he can still be spending time with us. Just remember though, a big no no is allowing them to go in to the baby's crib. You don't want them to ever have the association that they are allowed to snuggle up in there as it is not safe for pets to sleep with infants. If you have cats or large dogs that can easily jump in the crib, it might be best to keep the door shut if you are not in there so you can easily monitor this behavior.
If you want to see the DIY post I did for how we made Wrigley's teepee bed for Kai's nursery you can see it in this post!
Spend Quality Time with Wrigley
We still try our best to spend as much quality time with him that we can. It's of course less than before Kai was born, but honestly not much less. Wrigley does a good job at just fitting in wherever we are and we always try to let him know that he is welcome. We include him in our little photoshoots that we do with Kai and invite him to follow us wherever we go with Kai. It's important to help them get their energy out so that it doesn't build up too much and they don't unleash it on you or the baby. We still try to take Wrigley out for daily walks (weather permitting) and Caleb takes him to the dog park about once a week. We'll still play fetch with him and give him all the snuggles he wants!
I think the most important thing for pet owners to remember when they are having a baby is that our pets are still a part of our family and they need us. I remember reading this one thing a while back how we have lots of people in our lives that bring us love and joy but when it comes to our pets we're it for them. They long to see us and spend time with us. We are their whole world, so we can't just forget about them when we add something like a baby to our lives. If you're anything like us, you view them as one of your babies, too!
Follow me on Twitter for all my ridiculous #momlife moments! Have a great week, everyone!
Woo sorry I've been a little MIA this week friends, we had a quite the week. We had a minor health scare with Wrigley and I'm not going to lie, I've been kind of a mess. He started acting very strange yesterday morning, so we quickly made an appointment with our vet. Thankfully after a thorough exam, it's been narrowed down to some kind of sprained muscle in his abdomen or back. He's on pain meds and already seems to be better. It was a very scary experience though because he's always been a very healthy pup. Please keep him in your prayers and send him some good vibes to heal up quickly!
On to happier things though...like trips to Disney! I know from experience that all the things Walt Disney World has to offer can be overwhelming sometimes. They try to make your life easier by having all these perks but sometimes it is just too much if you've never been before or taken advantage of them. Well, I promise you, all the things that WDW offers to vacation goers really does make your life so much easier and ensures you will have the best time ever! There's a lot that goes in to an amazing Disney vacation but today I'm going to break down the travel logistics of getting to Walt Disney World by plane and how to get around WDW.
Disney Magical Express
If you're flying in to Orlando, take advantage of the Disney Magical Express. It is a bus shuttle service that takes you from MCO airport to your WDW resort. The best part about it though is, it's free! No other shuttle/transportation service in the Orlando area is free to other hotels, so for us this is a huge perk and a way to save some cash. This also eliminates needing to rent a car. Sometimes a car is worth it if you want to go explore other parts of Central Florida, but if you are strictly doing Disney, then the Magical Express is the way to go. An added perk for us now is not needing to bring a car seat for Kai, too, since we would just be on the bus with him! The bus picks you up right at the bus depot at the airport and drops you off at your hotel. They also grab all your checked luggage for you from baggage claim, too! So you can get off the plane and go straight to the bus, not having to worry about waiting for your bags. When you book your Disney vacation and if you select using the Magical Express, Disney will mail you luggage tags to put on your bags so that the service knows to grab those bags at baggage claim. Disney will then deliver your bags to your room at your hotel. It's a very similar process for going home, too. You check your bags in at your resort when you're checking out of your room and Disney will bring them to the airport and check them in for you with your airline. You catch the bus at your resort at your designated time that Disney will give you via a slip of paper with your check out information for your room. It's usually around 3 to 4 hours prior to your departure time. The bus drops you off at the airport and you're on your way home. For any additional carry on items you want for your plane ride home, you can just leave them at the concierge desk and get them before you leave for the airport on the bus.
The only downside to this is you will need to pack anything you need for your first day at the parks in your carry on bag. I don't like to wear shorts on airplanes because I get cold, so I pack my outfit for the day and anything else I need for the parks in my backpack that I plan on using at the parks. I use that as my carry on with any additional items I want for the plane. When we get to our resort, I either empty those plane extras out in to our room or leave them at the concierge desk to get later if our room isn't ready yet and get them after we get back from the parks. I personally feel like this is a very minor downside to all the convenience Disney is giving you otherwise.
Disney Ground Transportation
I'm just going to come right out and say this, please don't drive from park to park. You'll waste so much time getting to your car in the parking lots and driving around the resort to another park. The best way to hop from park to park and back to your hotel is by using Disney's bus system. You can catch a bus to all 4 parks, both water parks, and Disney Springs from every resort and every park. So if you start at your resort and you want to go to Magic Kingdom, just go to your bus depot and catch the MK bus. Then if you want to hop over to Animal Kingdom, you can catch a bus to AK at the MK bus depot. Then to get back to your resort you would just simply catch a bus back to your resort from the AK bus depot. Pretty simple right? The buses start picking up for the parks about an hour before they open and run for about an hour after the parks close. Buses to Disney Springs start at 4pm and run till about 3am. The only thing to keep in mind is you can't get buses that go from resort to resort. So if you have a dining reservation at a different resort than the one you are staying at, then you will need to take a bus to a park and then catch another bus to the resort you are dining at or want to visit. I'm not going to sugar coat it, the buses can sometimes take awhile. Plan on about 45 minutes to an hour one way for waiting for the buses to come and driving to wherever you're trying to get to. It is still better than driving around in a car though!
The easiest way to get around Disney though is by using the Monorail. The Monorail stops at 3 resorts, the Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian and goes to Magic Kingdom and Epcot. It is fast and fun. It goes around the lake and has some amazing views while you ride it. This is the best way to get to those 3 resorts from MK and Epcot, which I highly recommend checking them out because they have some of the best restaurants, spas, and things to do outside of the parks. The Monorail will also take you to the MK and Epcot parking lots. There is also the option to take the ferry across the lake, but from experience, the Monorail is much faster.
If you must drive, here is all you need to know about parking. Disney has recently decided to start charging guests for overnight parking. For budget hotels it is $13 per night, moderate hotels it is $19 per night, and deluxe hotels it is $24 per night. It is still free to park at the parks during the day for resort guests. Standard parking for non-resort park goers is $22 per day and $45 for preferred parking. Parking at Disney Springs and ESPN Wide World of Sports is free all day.
That about covers all your transpo options for a vacation at Walt Disney World! When is your next trip to Disney? I'd love to hear about it, so leave me a comment below!
Hey everyone! I hope you all had a lovely weekend. We had a very memorable one, that's for sure! Every year we host a Cinco de Mayo party at our house for all of our friends and it was extra special this year for a couple of reasons. One, Cinco de Mayo finally fell on a Saturday this year, so we actually got to celebrate on Cinco de Mayo! And two, it was our first big get together with Kai! We had a taco bar, lots of chips & salsa, and of course, margaritas! On Sunday though, it was one of the best days ever. We baptized Kai and had a beautiful luncheon at our house to celebrate with all of our family. It was one of the most special days of our lives and we are so overjoyed at how much love everyone has shown our little boy! Thank you to everyone for celebrating with us and sending him congratulations!
So in the spirit of having an overnight guest this past weekend and many more to come over the summer, I wanted to share with you how we make our guests feel welcomed into our home and ensure they have a lovely stay with us! I've picked up some tips over the years and know when we go the extra mile for our guests it is much appreciated. So here are the extra special little things that I do in our home when we have friends and family stay with us.
Fresh Flowers in Guest Room
I try to always have fresh flowers in our guest room when we have a visitor. They are always such a cheerful welcome! In the summer months, I usually have an orchid sitting pretty on the nightstand and in the colder months I will put a pretty bouquet in it's place.
Light a Candle the Day of Arrival
So the only real use our guest room ever gets is Wrigley laying in the sun spots, so sometimes I feel like it can be a little stale in there. To liven it up, I always light a candle the day our guests are going to arrive. I also do this in our guest bathroom. Not only do they make our whole upstairs smell great, but they make it feel so warm and inviting when we show ours guests to their room.
Set Towels Out
One thing I always do for our guests is set out a bath towel and multiple face towels out on the dresser. I personally always feel awkward asking for towels or snooping around for them, so I try my best to have it all ready for them when they get here. This way if they want to shower or wash up after a long travel day, they can do so right away.
Have Extra Toiletries in the Guest Bathroom
Another awkward thing I've found when I'm visiting others is if I forget any toiletries, I always feel bad asking to borrow their stuff if it's not in the bathroom I am using. So, I always make it a point to have extra shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and an unopened toothbrush available in our guest bathroom.
Clean the Room
I know this one may seem obvious, but some of us have kids and some of us have pets, so it's very easy for our houses to get messy. I know I've had it happen in the past where the guest bed is all messed up from Wrigley trying to snuggle on it, and I get so embarrassed! So obviously put clean sheets and blankets on the bed and make sure you dust the surfaces. Also, make sure there isn't too much clutter in the room. You want your guests to experience a peaceful setting while they're staying with you. Then shortly before they arrive, do one final quick over to make sure everything is still tidy and cleaned up.
Stock Your Kitchen
Obviously your guests won't be confined to your guest room the whole time, so you want to make sure other parts of your home are inviting, too. One way to do this is to stock up on lots of food and drink options in your kitchen. It is always nice when you're offered a few options at someones house. Not everyone may like the same drinks and snacks as you, so that is why it's good to have some variety. Unless of course you know your guests' favorite food and drinks then it would be nice to have those things on hand to make them feel extra special that you thought of them before hand!
These are just a few things I like to do to welcome guests in to our home and make their stay with us extra special! I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead!
Make sure you follow me on Snapchat (@dianakaravida) for lots of fun videos of Kai and Wrigley!
I’m Diana; curator & author of Tiny Dapper Fox. Here you’ll find posts on motherhood, home life, travel, & fashion/beauty as well as City Guides for places all around the world. Make yourself cozy and let’s be friends!
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