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Family vacation

Niagara in the Fall

Haha. See what I did there? Back when Chris and I lived in western NY, we would go to Niagara Falls for small getaways. But we’ve never been to Niagara Falls in the fall.

Our lives are increasingly in the northeast so our getaway isn’t as easy to access, but we were going to Rochester for WordCamp and to visit the kids anyway. Chris had the brilliant idea to trip down memory lane by driving another 90 minutes to enjoy our old stomping grounds.

Mollie was already at work when we woke up Sunday morning, and Hudi had to work at 8:30 am so we decided to head to the falls early, leaving at 8am. I knew it was a long shot, but when we got to the hotel we asked if we could do an early check-in, and they agreed 🙂 Talk about lucky. We also asked for an upgraded room because I am a sucker for a nice fireplace (and the hot tub in front of the fire wasn’t painful to deal with, either). We got their only remaining upgrade. Wahoo!!!

Chris enjoying breakfast at the hotel.

This was a very good start to our getaway. We even got breakfast. I have a weirdness where I’m obsessed with oatmeal servings at hotels. I don’t know why it’s such a big treat for me, but there it is. And this place had oatmeal 🙂

We were a bit tired from our recent travels so after breakfast we relaxed in the tub in front of the fire then took a luxurious nap. When we woke up, refreshed and ready for some exploring, we realized that without our great fortune, we would just be checking in.

Now let me back up a bit and explain this hotel getaway thing. Chris and I are tightwads. We actually enjoy life on a budget for the most part, so vacations are usually limited to camping. However, we found this delightful site called Travelzoo, which has amazing deals.

Just like in times past, we reserved rooms in the hotel at a great rate, and also had a package which included free chocolate, free cocktails daily, free beer samplings daily, BOGO’s to local attractions and best of all — Casino points.

Since we are not big gamblers, but we enjoy the Casino music and lights, we tend to head over to the slots and Blackjack and play for fun with our free credits. As soon as we are up a bit, we cash out. Free money for us. Over the years we also learned that Tuesday night is Date Night. You get an amazing buffet along with more free Casino credits.

Chris enjoying the buffet

Chris got the healthy food while I focused on desserts 🙂 If you look closely on the left, you can see the falls out the window.

So there we were, enjoying our meal and casino points. And enjoy them we did. On Monday our CA$ 50 in credits turned into a bit over CA$75. Tuesday was even better. Chris is good at waiting until the credits he has are almost gone then cashes out so he gets bills. I don’t trust the machines and cash out pretty much when I’m up. As a result, I get a lot of loonies and toonies. A bit heavy, but fun.

Monday found us touring around in delightful weather. Usually we go around my birthday so we can see the Christmas lights. We aren’t used to seeing people, but the tourists were definitely out and about. How very fun! Instead of lights, flowers spilled off lamp posts and lined our paths. The air smelled so sweet. A different sort of beauty from the sparkling lights we were used to. The moon even posed over the Skylon Tower for our appreciative eyes.

Tuesday was a work day for us so I attended meetings and worked support before heading out in the evening. Chris worked on some art. After our lovely buffet and a bit of slot fun we went back to the room to see POKÉMON Detective Pikachu, which I found surprisingly entertaining. Thanks for recommending that one, CJ 😉

As we packed up Wednesday morning, and I headed out for one more round of oatmeal, we ruminated over how amazing the getaway was. We didn’t really do touristy things aside from walking around. We didn’t even use up all our wine and beer offerings. What we did do was talk. A lot. And relax. A lot. Then we talked some more. How can it still feel like dating after almost 28 years of marriage? I’m not sure, but I’m thankful.

Thanks to our Casino points, we had taken a good chunk out of our hotel bill. As we went to pack, Chris decided we had too many coins and asked if I was interested in hitting the slots with my won loonies and toonies, knowing we could lose them all. We decided to splurge and have fun with the CA $18 we had gathered.

On the very last spin of our very last credits, we won CA $200. How fun is that?!?! Together with our other winnings, the three nights in the upgraded hotel room were paid for.

It's very fun watching the winnings build. We finished the vacation with CA $200 :)

From kids to WordCamps to delightful getaways. It was the perfect ending to a perfect weekend.

7 replies on “Niagara in the Fall”

hahaha. Every time I go there I think of you, and it makes the place even more special. Would love to be there the same time as you.

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