Great Lakes and Great Friends.

After returning from Germany, and immediately going to Florence and The Machine, I packed my bags again and boarded a flight to Buffalo, NY. If I’m being honest, Buffalo is not a destination I ever imagined traveling to – but my best friend moved there to be with her boyfriend. Plus, she works at a music venue and it’s insanely close to Canada (a place I’d never been).


She picked me up from the airport and we went to meet her boyfriend for a day of sailing on Lake Erie. It was a beautiful day on the water, catching up with friends and enjoying cocktails on the sailboat.

Buffalo is a rather empty downtown, but Canalside is a fun, vibrant area and where the music venue is located. There were three concerts lined up for the week, starting with the local pop music station’s summer music fest. There were a number of musicians I had never heard of, but many of the tweens in the crowd screamed over. Then came Iggy Azalea and Meghan Trainor… two acts that I could finally sing along to. While it was a fun day, the Twenty One Pilots concert a couple of days later was even better. They put on a helluva show.

My friend and I were able to both take some time off during the week, so we went up to Niagara-On-The-Lake for some day drinking at the vineyards.

Niagara-On-The-Lake is a quaint little town, with a beautiful main street. More importantly, they have like 50 vineyards. Renting bikes and visiting said vineyards in the thing to do, so when in Rome… This town in Ontario produces something like 90% of all of Ontario’s wine. And they’re famous for making Icewine. I’d never been to America’s Hat before, so I was new to Icewine. I’d be lying if I said it was something I could see myself drinking again… until I tried it at our last vineyard in the form of a chocolate shooter.


My life will never be the same.

It could have been the wine, or the sun, or the water… but I think it was probably the combination of all of these things and being with my friend that made this one of the most fun days I’ve had in a long time. And we still had half the week to go! We made our way back to the US, but only for a day before we were going to head to Toronto.

That one day back in Buffalo included meeting Public Enemy before their set at Canalside. Flavor Flav and Chuck D are amazing, and incredibly polite/friendly/etc. Also, who knew that Flavor Flav played bass guitar – because that was not a fact I learned on The Surreal Life or Flavor of Love.

The week still wasn’t over. We still had a free night at the Omni Hotel in Toronto to use. Thanks to my many nights at Omni hotels on the road for my last job, I had earned a few free nights and cashed my last one in for this trip. I called ahead to tell them about my bestie’s new promotion at work and they gave us a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries to celebrate. It was fabulous. After we polished off the bottle of champagne, we sauntered to the restaurant across the street and found a drink called the Jake Ginenhaal. It was going to be a great night.

As a general statement, Canadians are a super polite group of people. Downtown Toronto might be the cleanest major city I’ve been to, and the bars were not only fun – the bartenders were incredibly nice. The bartender at one establishment ended up giving us two rounds of free drinks, just because one of our drinks was accidentally spilled (only a splash) when she set them down. The cabbies were nice, the bouncers were nice. It was super refreshing.

The next morning we spent some time walking around downtown, but never settled on an activity to do – so we left for Niagara Falls after eating some amazing pizza near Lake Ontario. This now means I’ve been to four of the five Great Lakes – Lake Huron, watch out!


If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know that I love being a tourist. I’m not embarrassed by it one bit. I do the cheesy touristy things, I buy the cheesy touristy photos, I love it all. Niagara Falls offered many options for someone like me (a total nerdy tourist) and after a lot of convincing – I got my friend to join me on the Behind the Falls tour. We had to wait about an hour before it was our time slot, so we filled that time by Googling all of the stories of people who tried to take various watercrafts over the falls. It’s worth reading about, we were very entertained.


If I ever go back to Niagara Falls, I will do this tour every time. It was beautiful and so fascinating. We learned a lot about the early development of the area, the power produced by the falls and we got to tour the tunnels behind the falls. It was worth every penny. Plus, we got these awesome ponchos so that we could take photos like the one above.

We had so much fun during the weeklong visit. I’d be lying if I said it was because we were in Buffalo, because that town doesn’t have much to offer outside of the concerts. It is a great option for those who want to go to Canada without the pricey airline tickets, as it was just a short drive to cross the border and then maybe a two hour drive to Toronto.


About LissaFarrell

Professional tourist moonlighting as a marketing professional.
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