Summer time is officially here and that means we have set off on our Great Lakes Summer Tour!  We’ve already made some great discoveries as we started driving to our first location, Niagara Falls!



We are always on the lookout for small local farms. Passing through Indiana on our way from Kentucky to Ohio, we stopped at one and picked strawberries.



Thing 3 enjoyed the fruits (literally!) of our labor.




We contemplated which route to take to Niagara Falls and decided to head through Dayton, Ohio where we stopped to explore. Dayton is home to the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. The Dayton Aviation park consists of multiple sites that commemorate the stories of three men who left their mark on America: Wilbur Wright, Orville Wright, and Paul Laurence Dunbar.



There are two interpretive/visitor centers as part of the park. We visited both, learning about the life of Paul Dunbar, a respected African American poet, and Wilbur and Orville Wright, the fathers of modern flight.



Located next door to the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center is the Wright Cycle Shop. It is the 4th bicycle shop owned by the brothers where they began to manufacture their own brand of bikes. This enterprise not only gave them the financial resources but also the mechanical experience to begin to turn their passive interest in human flight into active research and experiments.



The second visitor center, The Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center, focuses on the development of the world’s first aircraft in 1904, the Wright Flying School, and the successes of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. It truly is mind boggling to think about how these two brothers, sons of a minister from a humble Midwest city, changed the world!



Located nearby is the National Museum of the United States Air Force.



It is the oldest military aviation museum and is home to one of the world’s largest collections of aircraft and missiles.



The galleries are arranged chronologically from early years of 1901-1917 to more modern advancements of aircraft including spacecraft and the SR-71 Blackbird, one of the fastest planes in the world!



It’s a wonderful place to be wowed by the inventiveness of mankind and to learn and contemplate the complexities of history.



Our next stop was at a quiet campground near Ashtabula, Ohio. Ashtabula County is known as the “Covered Bridge Capitol of Ohio”.



There are 18 covered bridges in Ashtabula County, some of which date back to the 1850s. It is also home to the longest and shortest covered bridges in the United States.



The countryside of Ashtabula County is lush and rolling, a setting perfect for an evening drive.



If taking an evening drive and walking across old wooden bridges didn’t make us feel like we were stepping back into a slower time, then seeing the Amish drive by in their horse drawn buggies and carts did.



Ashtabula County is home to part of Ohio’s unique Amish community.



After a few quiet days spent in Ohio’s lush countryside, we made it to the wild and raging waters of Niagara Falls, the “official” start of our summer Great Lakes tour!

Established in 1885, Niagara Falls is considered America’s oldest state park. Tourism in Niagara Falls began in the 18th century but the beauty of the falls was almost lost in the early 19th century during the Industrial Revolution as hardworking industrialist built factories and mills along the river. Around 1860 a small group of pioneering environmentalist worked tirelessly to preserve the falls. They founded a group called the Free Niagara Movement and in 1885 they won their battle when the state set up the Niagara Reservation.

There are many things to do in Niagara Falls including the popular Maid of the Mist boat tour and Cave of the Winds tour which is a wooden path that takes you right up close to the thick mist of Bridal Veil Falls. We actually did the Maid of the Mist tour 3 years ago when we were here and highly recommend it. Our plan on this visit was to do the Cave of the Winds. Unfortunately, Thing 2 and 3 were recovering from being sick the week prior and we decided it wasn’t in their best interest to get wet that day. Nevertheless, we had a great time exploring the area by foot.



We started on the American side of the falls walking along the paths taking in the views. Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that cascade over the international border of the United States and Canada. The falls in the above photos are aptly named the American Falls since it is located entirely in the United States. The American Falls is the second largest waterfall of the three. The American side offers an amazing view of the powerful rapids that precede the fall itself!



We decided to walk across Rainbow Bridge (the above right photo is a view of the falls from the bridge) over into Canada.



The views from the Canadian side are stunning. Here you can see the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls (the smaller fall to the right) and the Maid of the Mist boat.



Horseshoe Falls is the largest of the three falls spanning a length of 2500 feet from side to side, more than twice as wide as the American Falls, and 170 feet tall. (The American Falls are slightly taller at 180 feet.)



We followed the long path high above the river that leads to the Crest of Horseshoe Falls. Here is the up-close view of Horseshoe Falls from the Canadian side.



What a beautiful start to our Great Lakes Summer Tour! We are looking forward to sharing our adventures and discoveries along the way. The Go RVing audience gave us a great list of things to do on Facebook and Instagram!

Have you ever been to Niagara Falls? Any suggestions on things to see as we wind our way along the lakes up to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan?