Being on an Island surrounded by the Niagara River which is fed from Lake Erie and flows over Niagara Falls into Lake Ontario, offers us many wonderful things to do.
On the second last day of the year we headed along Lake Erie to Hamburg, NY and had a fun Hibatchi style dinner.
On New Years Eve we had an early dinner on Lake Ontario. The streets lining Lewiston, NY were wonderfully decorated and the lights twinkled as you made your way down to Lake Ontario where we had a nice dinner overlooking a dock with a fishing boat ready to head out the next morning.
And a few nights later we were headed to Canalside in downtown Buffalo, NY on Lake Erie for a fun night of visiting the new ice rink which opened a few weeks ago.
It was a balmy 30 degrees but there are plenty of heat lamps along the rink and a warm room with benches. There are little shops along the way, a few different food trucks and these really, REALLY cool ice bikes you can rent.
Can you tell what I will be renting soon??? I can’t wait to try these. But tonight was not the night as we were headed to watch the sad Sabres play. The kids had fun heckling the opposing team 🙂
And after another bad loss for the Sabres we headed back to the rink to watch the novice curlers trying to learn the game which is another feature of the new rink.
I love the fact we have so many things to experience right in our back and front yard just over the bridges.
The sun was setting over the campsite we built on our property next to our ice skating pond. Sitting by the fire I was reminded again of the beauty of nature with this sight.
This area used to be fields where the trees resided surrounded by brush. Slowly we have cleared it out to build an area away from the main house to relax and enjoy friends and family but close enough to care for the animals. We have a tenting area and a pond for “frogging” in the summer and ice skating in the winter. Our next project will be to build a small log cabin as a place to sleep rather than our tent. We have our first woodburner still in the garage and will incorporate that into the cabin for warmth.
There was always a “low” spot in the trees that filled with water. As kids my siblings and I would walk back through the wintery brush and ice skate on the frozen waters in that area with double edged ice skates. It was not smooth, big or easy to skate on, but it was fun! We cleared that area out a few years ago and built a large ice skating pond. We hung colored Christmas lights on either end, built an ice shanty to warm up in, and have a burn barrel with a fire going to warm yourself during the cold winter days and nights when skating. With electricity back there the kids can even brew up a hot chocolate.
The horse pastures are near the area. The horses love to be back there when we are and we enjoy seeing and hearing them during the night. The coyotes howl off in the distance, owls hoot, and crickets play their music. It’s one of the most relaxing areas on our property. I picture my kids as teenagers hanging out back there with their friends, having a bonfire, skating, listening to their music, being silly and loud and feeling independent being away from mom and dad, but not too far.
It’s a “staycation” area giving us the feeling of a true vacation without having to worry about the care of the animals, watering of the gardens, and upkeep of the farm!!
Chase rode with a little girl who could not ride alone
And we are off to the Fair again today….. The man and I are attending a concert at the Fair tonight featuring Lady Antebellum so we will head out a little later, have a bbq dinner at the Fair as a family and grandma will take the kids to see the shows they want to see again and watch the laser light show until the end of our concert. Should be a great day and evening 🙂
I know I say this quite often, but I am amazed at how close we live to wonderful places to experience. Yesterday we visited the Hidden Valley Animal Adventure Park (see what it’s all about here). This is about a 50 minute drive away from the Island.
We live on a farm, we have lots of animals and own 34+ acres of land. Yet, my kids LOVE to visit other animal sanctuaries and open lands. We were hand feeding water buffalo, antelope, bison, zebras, camels, goats, cows, yaks, donkeys and so many other animals. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures from our adventure and take a minute to visit their website. My kids are already asking when we can go again.
Link to pictures taken of our trip here
I have a friend in town who currently resides in Florida (he grew up on the Island) and he is visiting Niagara Falls today. He took this stunning photo of the beautiful sky, mist and the falls from the American side. Growing up 15 minutes away from this location, each time you visit Niagara Falls the beauty is still awe inspiring!!
My son’s school had a field trip around the Island visiting our town hall, the local police station with the jail cells (the kids were able to enter them), and a few other original areas. They were given this picture as a momento of our Island. It’s shaped like a pork chop as you can see. That was the most amusing part for the kids.
The boat pictures on another post are pictures taken on the right side of the Island as you see it. Our home is located just left of the dirt divider you see running in the middle of the Island which is a pipeline. We call this Island home 🙂