Have I mentioned how much I LOVE a good ole’ fashion road trip!? Yup, I sure do! It all started way back when my parents, brother and I traveled across the country in our conversion van back in my teenage days. This is around the same time my love for Elvis grew…(we stopped at Graceland and it was love at first sight).
Last summer, my parents, my kids and I went on a 2-week road trip from NYC to the south east states and back up. This past summer, Sasha and I traveled the California coast stopping at beautiful beach towns as we made our way from LA to SF. So you must be thinking, what do I love about a road trip? Well, it’s just simple. No need to fly, no TSA lines, no dirty airplanes and you really get to see the country at a leisurely pace. You can stop when you want to stop or drive all night long! It’s truly an amazing way to explore and discover parts of the country you never thought you would see. Bottom line, you are on your own agenda! I also love that all of my belongings are in the back of the car and easy to access (I can go on and on).
Fall is upon us and I decided (after my Mom promised to watch my kids for 3 days) that a girls (road trip in the great state of New York was a must! The weather is still awesome and the leaves are just starting to fade so I got out my trusty atlas and started to map out our latest adventure.
We decided that our our end destination would be to Niagara Falls! I had been as a kid and didn’t remember it but thought it would be fun to travel up to see nature at its finest and cross the border to check out Canada! We had heard that the Canadian side of Niagara was much nicer than the American side (can’t argue…it’s true).
Woodstock was an easy first stop for us as it’s only a few hours outside of the city and their is so much to check out. The town is obviously known for its namesake music festival and has awesome food, shops and art galleries. Did you all know that the actual concert didn’t occur in Woodstock?! It actually took place in Bethel, NY! Apparently the festival was so large that they had to change location last minute to accommodate so many people. Woodstock was the perfect place to stop: I came, I saw, I bought a Woodstock T-shirt, got some great photos and had the yummiest iced coffee and pastries from a local cafe. After our coffees, it was time to hit the road again!
The first night on our 3-day trip was reserved for Glamping… yes, glamping. Well folks , if you followed my IG stories, you would know how that turned out…HORRIBLE! Bugs, Bugs and more bugs for days. The site was called “The Collective Retreat” in Ghent, NY. It was supposed to be one of the chicest places to glamp but OMG, talk about false advertising. Yes my friends, I paid for my stay so I am writing a review because it was one of the worst hotel/glamping experiences of my life. I had glamped two times before in Kentucky at Paris Landing and while filming RHONY at Paws Up in Montana. Both of these locations were luxury at its finest with great overall accommodations. “Glamping” is pretty self explanatory… it’s glamorous camping!
Well, The Collective Retreat in Ghent was basically CAMPING with a bed and nice sheets. Not quite sure how this location has received good reviews because it is the furthest thing from glamping. Yes I expect to see bugs outside, no I’m not afraid of them but when they are crawling on the bed and into my luggage, I’m out! There were bugs on the ceiling (including a tarantula), bugs on the floor, bugs in my suitcase, bugs in the bathroom and a mouse outside my tent. EWWWW, I tried my best but I HAD to leave. Long story made very short, I had planned and researched my trip to a T and was so disappointed by this location.
It got awesome reviews, but after reading the fine print, I realized the reviews from Vogue and Goop were for based on their other properties… Ha, tricky! (Note to self…read the fine print!) Soooo at 8pm at night, I couldn’t handle it so I reloaded the car and hit the road with nowhere to go. All I knew was that Sasha and I wanted to get as far away from the camp site as possible. We ended up in a lovely hotel in Albany (thank goodness for Expedia).
After a yummy breakfast and a much needed coffee, we were back on the road in search of the TEE PEE, souvenir shop randomly located on highway 90. This is truly Americana at its finest! A cool family owned souvenir shop that has been a roadside attraction since the 50’s. Sasha and I had a blast roaming the store and trying on clothing, hats and shoes! I ended up getting a bow and arrow for the kids as well as a beautiful dream catcher. 🙂
We moved along through some fun covered bridges, lots of cows, pumpkin patched and stopped at a corn maze before heading to the border. Canada here we come!
The border was super easy to drive through (much easier than flying and customs)! LOL TSA has nothing on this quick passport check. The Canadian side of Niagara is the place to be with all of its tourist attractions, casinos, museums and shows! We arrived at our hotel, had a quick steak dinner with some much needed Sauvignon Blanc and we we headed to “The Conga” show. LOL Maybe it was because we were in the car for so long or maybe we had once glass too many at dinner but we LOVED the show. It was such a blast and I really felt like we were in Vegas. Our first night in Canada was so much fun, filled with dinner, drinks, shows, bars and a bit of gambling. I love Niagara!!!
The next morning (yes we were a bit sluggish but coffee did the trick) we set off on a tour that we booked through our hotel! One travel tip for you…BOOK YOUR TOUR THROUGH THE HOTEL! They are so much less expensive and much easier to maneuver. That’s why hotels have concierge services after all! Sasha and I had searched and searched for a tour through various websites but just couldn’t come up with anything. Some of the tours were 9+ hours long and I was definitely not into that. Our tour ended up being about 4 hours; short and sweet with a full view of Niagara. We went behind the falls, stopped at a few monumental locations and then headed on the Hornblower (the boat that takes you into the falls). I found Niagara to be an awesome place for a weekend getaway and a fun spot for families to visit. There is really so much to do and see in Niagara. I am so happy I had the chance to go back! Bucket list, check and check!
After enjoying the waterfalls, it was time to grab a quick bite and get back on the road! Overall it was such a fun trip (minus the glamping). For full outfit details see below: