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Why We’ve Downsized … Again

As we’ve alluded to a few times here on the blog and on Instagram, we’ve decided to make some big changes to our travel style for upcoming adventures in 2017. So we wanted to share our thoughts on why we decided to leave our camper behind as we set off to criss-cross the country this year!

Boondocking in Gila National Forest, New Mexico

On our drive north after wrapping up our Appalachian adventure Ryan and I began discussing what our 2017 travels would look like. We’d previously assumed we’d be taking the camper with us around the country, but after six weeks of having it on the road with us, we weren’t as excited about the prospect as we’d expected to be. Fortunately, we were in agreement that for the next leg of our travels, we needed a better — and smaller — plan.

We began discussing options. Our first idea was to leave the camper behind, sell the Tahoe, and purchase a small (<18′) RV that would lighten our travels but still provide the comforts of home. Ryan did some research, we found several on Craigslist, but pretty quickly discovered that for what we wanted to pay, we’d definitely be getting a fixer-upper — and we weren’t sure we had the time (or the energy) to do that again. And, since we were heading north, any projects would have to be completed while braving a frigid New England winter. That prospect was less than thrilling.

Next we considered trading in the Tahoe for #vanlife … in fact, Ryan had already built out into an epic road tripping home on wheels in his mind. But, while we’re still positive a van is in our future, we struggled to find one at the perfect intersection of price point and specs we were looking for. (And Ryan wasn’t thrilled at the idea of buying a van that had endured salty New England winters.)

Those options having fallen by the wayside, we were back to square one. And at that point we realized — Franklin, our trusty Chevy Tahoe, was already a pretty sweet road trip machine! Ryan went back to the drawing board and had soon sketched out plans for a new car camping build, including an awesome new kitchen design. He took on some projects to make Franklin look and run better. And before too long, our current vehicle had transformed into a comfortable and reliable mini home on wheels! 🙂

All that is the what of our upcoming travels, but I also wanted to share why we found ourselves wanting to downsize in the first place. Minimalism has been a big driving force in our lives over the past couple of years, and I always loving talking about why we love living small and the things that drive us to a lighter, more adventurous life.

Our Camper Fall 2015

1. Towing the Camper Can Be a Drag

There, I’ve said it. After getting off to a rough start towing the camper through the mountains of West Virginia, it took us a while to settle in to pulling 6,000 lbs behind us wherever we went! That’s the cost of carrying all your creature comforts with you, I suppose — but after about a week on the road, we were already tired of setting up, breaking down, not being able to get drive through … the list goes on. And it was also frustrating that Ryan was the only one able to drive; hats off to you ladies who are skilled at towing, but I’m just not! While he’s usually happy to be behind the wheel, there were times when he was tired, or not feeling well, or just didn’t want to drive, and we missed the flexibility of me being able to take the wheel. Overall, while we adapted pretty quickly to the vagaries of life with a camper in tow; it just seemed like a continuous, low-grade hassle, and one we didn’t feel like dealing with for the next nine months.

Car Camping Seminole Canyon Texas

2. We Want to Cut Costs

You had to know this one was coming! You guys, camper spots, even without sewer hookups, are expensive. Of course, there’s always boondocking, but if we were going without things like air conditioning and an electric hookup to run the fridge, what was the point of having the camper with us, anyway? This trip we’re looking to do a lot more boondocking … maybe even check out a Walmart parking lot or two … and just generally rough it in the interest of adventuring more, and saving money. (The sacrifices seem totally worth it if it frees up more cash for things like rafting the Rio Grande in Big Bend, or taking an air taxi to Gates of the Arctic National Park in Alaska!)


3. We’re Comfortable with Less

After selling 90% of our stuff, taking two six week car camping trips, and figuring out we don’t miss our stuff, even the camper was just feeling extravagant! And after another summer parked in Harpers Ferry, and a three month stay with my parents (plus a very generous Christmas!), we were both beginning to feel the weight of our stuff again. (Can I just say — going through every nook and cranny to pack for this upcoming trip was highly therapeutic!) We’ve learned that with car camping we have just enough to feel comfortable … but not too comfortable. We’ve been joking that the next step in our downsizing process is a backpack apiece! (Spoiler alert: we already have them 😀 )

Ryan in a Tree at Big Bend National Park

We’re Craving More Adventure

One more thing we learned on our last trip — somehow, having the camper ended up putting a damper on our adventurous spirits. I often think of Jess Curren’s excellent post, I Don’t Trust Myself in Suburbia, and somehow, the camper was starting to feel like our own personal version of suburbia. (If you haven’t read her post — and even if you have — go read it. Seriously.)

“We are advocates for an active, outdoor, adventure, family-oriented lifestyle so what does that say about me when I can’t even get us out the door in over a week? It says that life in Suburbia is hard and we are cheaters.” — Jess Curren

Traveling with the camper we found ourselves sleeping in later, spending more time watching TV on the laptop (seriously, we watched three seasons of Chicago P.D. in six weeks), forgoing campfires in favor of nights on the couch, and generally sucking at getting out the door and exploring. I can’t explain what it was, other than that we were just too comfortable. And comfort is not why we upended our lives and moved into a camper.

And That’s Why We’re on the Road with Just Our Tahoe

So, here we are — on the road, headed southwest, with all our stuff packed into our Chevy Tahoe. We’re planning on mixing it up this trip; it’s not going to be nine straight months of camping. In fact, in the two weeks we’re taking to get from New Hampshire to Louisiana, we don’t have a single night of camping planned — our route is formed by waypoints with hospitable and welcoming friends and family. So, while we will be doing lots of car camping this year, we’ll also be stopping with friends, and we are also hoping to dip our toes into the world of professional house sitting. And I’m sure we’ll pepper in some hotel stays and tent camping, too.

That’s all, folks! Thanks for reading along 🙂 Tell us in the comments: What’s your favorite method of travel? RV, van, car camping, tent camping, backpacking?

2016 Year in Review

2016 flew by and was absolutely packed with adventure. In the past year we’ve seen ourselves grow more comfortable in the full-time travel life, spent a lot of time with family, and traveled to many new cities and states. Despite a few stressful moments, 2016 was a pretty great year! Here’s the 12-month recap of trips we took, people we saw, and adventures we had!

January //

January 2016 Our Streamlined Life

  • January found us still in Louisiana with Ryan’s family after enjoying a wonderful holiday season with them. We helped his parents move into their beautiful new home, saw his youngest brother Kennan become the third Rogge boy to become an Eagle Scout, and said goodbye to his brother Landon as he headed off to Officer Candidate School for the Marine Corps.
  • While lots of work happened in January, we did make time for some fun adventures. Ryan and his brothers went to WizardCon New Orleans; we saw Breaking Benjamin at House of Blues New Orleans; we visited Rosedown Plantation; and Ryan installed a new refrigerator in the camper!

February //

February 2016 Our Streamlined Life

March //

March 2016 Our Streamlined Life

  • If February was epic, March was … well, what’s a bigger word than epic? Basically, March was just a continuation of our favorite road trip to date.
  • We kicked off the month at what is surely the most gorgeous state park in all of Arizona; were spoiled rotten in Cave Creek; fell in love with Prescott; found our new favorite wine in Jerome; were awed by the Petrified Forest; visited dear friends in northern New Mexico; and were sobered by the Oklahoma City Memorial.
  • Oh yeah — we also saw the Grand Canyon. NBD.
  • And somehow, by Easter weekend we were back in Virginia to see Ryan’s brother Landon be commissioned as an officer in the Marine Corps. It was such a proud moment for our family, and a blessing to be able to spend Easter with them (as well as my sister Katharine, who joined us from Illinois).

April //

April 2016 Our Streamlined Life

  • We kicked off April with a long weekend of business (a wedding) and pleasure (a sweet hotel) in the Charleston area.
  • Finally settled back in Virginia, we settled into what we didn’t realize would be one of the rainiest springs on record in the DC area. (And I quote: “From April 27 to May 11, D.C. logged measurable rainfall on 15 straight days, the longest streak on record by five days.”) All  I know is, 15 straight days in the camper, surrounded by muddy footprints, watching the rain pour in buckets from the sky, had us both screaming, “What fresh hell is this?!”
  • But all that rain did have one positive effect: When the rain is falling, the river is rising, and Ryan got to experience some pretty sweet whitewater on the Shenandoah River, which is usually more of a pleasant paddle than the epic torrent it became.
  • At the end of April I headed to the Atlanta area to see my baby brother graduate from Army basic training. My brother Adam joined us from Texas, and we had a great time traveling with my parents.

May //

May 2016 Our Streamlined Life

  • As the rain continued in May, I was so ready to escape. Ryan was hard at work ziplining and rafting, but I jetted off to Colorado Springs with my mom! Ostensibly we were traveling to bring my brother’s car to him at Fort Carson, but we had a great time road tripping together, visiting my sister along the way in Illinois, and even (barely) outrunning a tornado in Kansas! And in Colorado Springs we got to visit the Air Force Academy, see my brother’s Army digs, and spend some time in the Garden of the Gods.

June //

June 2016 Our Streamlined Life

  • June 6 was our eight year anniversary and we headed to Niagara Falls for a fun and relaxing getaway (after spending a few days visiting my family in New Hampshire). We had a great time exploring Niagara’s parks and drinking lots of Niagara wine!
  • Another highlight of my year also happened in June: visiting Chicago with my sister Michaela. We had such a fun time running all over the city — I absolutely fell in love and can’t wait to go back soon with Ryan!

July //

July 2016 Our Streamlined Life

  • We didn’t go anywhere in July … instead, the fun came to us! My parents and three youngest sisters stayed at the campground with us for a week of ziplining, whitewater rafting, hiking, and campfire relaxing. They rented a cabin near our camper and we all had a great time. (The picture above is from when my dad and I hiked Maryland Heights — the best view of Harpers Ferry!)

August //

August 2016 Our Streamlined Life

  • Ryan and I parted ways once again at the beginning of August. I headed to New Hampshire to spend a week with my family; Ryan traveled to southern West Virginia to do some disaster relief work for the flooding that happened there earlier in the summer.
  • And then we headed to Maine for two glorious weeks! We hiked. We ate blueberry pie. We tent camped. We loved every minute of it. And on the way home, we visited with my family again and stopped off in New Jersey for a few days, too. It was a great way to cap off the summer.

September //

September 2016 Our Streamlined Life

  • Come September we breathed a giant sigh of relief to get back on the road! (Editor’s note: Despite all evidence above to the contrary, it totally felt like we spent a housebound summer after being parked on the mountain for four months. Apparently that was less true than I thought!)
  • The first leg of our journey had us running alllll over West Virginia. (We absolutely loved Morgantown, the Gauley River, Charleston, and Pipestem State Park.) And we rounded off the month with two trip highlights: visiting the Biltmore in Asheville, and finally making it to Great Smoky Mountains National Park — one of our new favorite national parks!)

October //

October 2016 Our Streamlined Life

  • Ryan’s birthday is October 4, and we celebrated it with rock climbing in Chattanooga. By this point we were on the return leg of our journey, and chasing fall into Kentucky: we spent a night in Nashville, explored caves in southern Kentucky, drank lots of bourbon, and rounded out our Appalachian adventure with Bridge Day back at the Gauley River.
  • After a quick stop at home base to get some maintenance done on the car and to say our goodbyes in Harpers Ferry, we were officially New England bound. Our stop-off in New Jersey was perfectly timed for some of the best foliage we’ve seen in years … and we also got in some history by visiting a few national park sites! (Read our guide for visiting all four of New Jersey’s national parks in a day here!)

November //

November 2016 Our Streamlined Life

  • After a busy early fall, November was time to hunker down and get some work done. We parked the camper at my parents’ and settled in to enjoy the remnants of fall and take care of business.
  • That said, November wasn’t all work and no play: we enjoyed a great Thanksgiving with family (even our military brothers joined us — mine from Fort Carson and Ryan’s from MCB Quantico!) … went into Boston for our traditional Sam Adams brewery tour … and visited Louisa May Alcott’s childhood home and Minute Man National Historical Park.

December //

December 2016 Our Streamlined Life

  • In December, the coziness continued. We decorated the camper for Christmas … and even got a little snow! The month was busy with Christmas shopping, Christmas cookies, and general good cheer. Family started coming in from around the country and we celebrated a fun holiday weekend with plenty of presents and lots of good food.
  • And here we are wrapping up 2016 grateful for a wonderful year bookended by January in Louisiana and December in New Hampshire, with lots of glorious adventures in between. (And you’d better believe a not insignificant part of our month was spent making travel plans for 2017. That post is coming tomorrow, but I just have to say — it’s going to be awesome!)
  • And just for fun, here’s our 2015 Year in Review!

Happy New Year, friends! Tell us in the comments: What were your highlights of 2016? (Feel free to share your blog recaps … we’d love to read them!)

2016 Year in Review Header | Our Streamlined Life

West Virginia Disaster Relief Trip

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Over our past two summers working and living in Harpers Ferry we were very blessed to find a really awesome church. When we first visited Harvest Pointe Community Church, we were surprised to find we already knew several families from previous churches we’d attended, including the pastor who married us, along with his family, which made it much easier to decide to attend that church. Once there, we made great new friends that we really enjoyed getting to know.

This summer I was able to go on a short term missions trip with HPCC, my first since high school. At the end of June, southern West Virginia suffered massive flooding, with 23 lives lost and over 1200 homes destroyed. Our church partnered with a larger church family of Southern Baptist churches, and we assembled a team to go down and spend three days helping.

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The Harvest Point Community Church team!

Cleaning materials were desperately needed to combat the mold and mildew that set in quickly after flooding. The team running the relief operation assembled a list of these cleaning items, and created kits from them which would fit in a five gallon bucket, cost a total of $50, and would be enough to clean an average home. Our church raised enough money to buy and assemble 65 relief buckets, and we loaded those in a trailer and brought them down with us.

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When we arrived, we were met by an awesome and diverse group of experienced relief workers from all over the country. Many were retirees from construction fields who spent much of their year in their RVs, traveling wherever help was needed! What an awesome way to spend a retirement, and what a great reason to travel!

Every morning we’d gather for breakfast and devotions, and then head out into the field as assigned. Our team varied from unskilled to semi-skilled labor, so they split our team up, and sent Vance, an HVAC engineer and all around cool guy, and me to work on a house that needed a tremendous amount of work.

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The house was about 250 yards in front of the creek that had flooded. At its highest, the water had come up to the bottom of the first floor windows all around the house, destroying the first floor drywall, cabinetry, and furniture, and flooding the homeowner’s brand new HVAC system.

Previous teams had come in and gutted the first floor, removing all the dirt and mold. Once the inspector certified that the mold was completely gone, other teams had come and replaced about 90% of the drywall. Vance and I were tasked with finishing the drywall, and taping and spackling the entire first floor.

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We jumped right in, and over the next 3 days were able to put two coats of spackle on almost the entire first floor, including the bathroom, bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen, enclosed patio, and utility room.

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We were also able to do some extra framing to support bouncy sheetrock, and framed and sheetrocked areas that hadn’t been reached before we arrived, including under the stairs in the living room.

Ryan & Vance Our Streamlined Life

I really enjoyed working with and getting to know Vance, and we had some great lunch break chats! I was fascinated to learn that he worked in a lab where they designed and tested cutting edge high efficiency heating and cooling systems for homes — and he offered to take us on a tour!

Meanwhile, the rest of our team was also hard at work. Since they didn’t have building experience, they were tasked with some of the heavy cleanup, which is an incredibly nasty job — climbing around sub-basements and crawlspaces through sitting water and sludge, and removing moldy wood, fiberglass insulation, and other debris from homes.

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Those troopers spent two days working in those conditions without a complaint. The third day, they moved onto a a rebuild job to help another team of contractors insulate and sheetrock the home of a local widow who lived right next to the creek — and whose house had been devastated.insulating

Vance and I, having finished as much as we could given the high humidity and slow drying time of the spackle, were able to jump in and help them with that job for a while before we hit the road back north to Harpers Ferry.

This entire trip was a tremendous experience, and I was very grateful for the opportunity to join in. Rebecca and I lead such a blessed life, enjoying the ability to travel and explore the country. This disaster relief trip served as a great reminder that not everyone is as blessed as we are. Working in these kind of situations has always helped me to keep my priorities straight, and I’m glad for the reminder this trip served as. Having the flexibility to be able to jump up and pitch in is just one more reason we love this debt-free, footloose life of ours!

Road Trip 2016 Recap

Road Trip 2016 Recap | Our Streamlined Life

We are total number nerds, so just like last time we got a a kick out of looking back and seeing the breakdown of what we actually did. We thought you might get a kick out of it too! So here we go:

Road Trip 2016 By the Numbers:

Total travel days: 38
States visited: 5
Nights car camping: 26
Nights in cabins: 1
Nights in hotels: 2
Nights with family: 9

Our 2016 southwest adventure was a total success. A huge part of that was our new and improved road trip machine — a vast improvement over all the tent camping we did in the fall. A big “thank you!” to our family and the real life and online friends who kept up with our adventures through Facebook and Instagram and gave us so many tremendous suggestions along the way. We loved reading your comments and sharing our experiences with you!

It took us much longer than planned to get caught up on all these posts, but we had way too much fun not to share everything we did and saw with you guys — so thanks for being patient! We have lots of awesome adventures planned for fall 2016 and are making plans to share them in a more real-time way this time around. In the meantime, check back through the archives and make sure you didn’t miss a thing!

Day 1: Texas or Bust!

Days 2 & 3: Beaching in February

Days 4-6: Sunny San Antonio

Day 7: Her Name is Rio and She Dances on the Sand

Days 8 & 9: Our Big Bend Adventure Begins

Day 10: High Times & Higher Temps in Big Bend

Day 11: Rain in the Desert: Driving Big Bend

Day 12-13: An Unplanned Hike (and Unexpected Discovery) in Big Bend

Day 14: The Grand Canyon With a Roof on It

Day 15: Snow in the Desert

Days 16-17: Adventures at Gila Cliff Dwellings

Day 18: Welcome to the Wild Wild West

Days 19-21: Tucson: An Arizona Love-Affair Begins

Day 22-23: Desert Luxury in Cave Creek

Days 24-26: The GRAND Canyon

Day 27-28: Prescott: A Love Story

Day 29: Red Wine and Red Rocks

Day 30: A Petrified Forest in the Painted Desert

Day 31-34: Wild Beauty in Northern New Mexico

Day 35-36: They Say “OKC-ing Is Believing”

Day 37-42: Homeward Bound

If you’re still itching for more road trip adventures, check out our 2015 Road Trip recap here!

Water, Wine & Parks: Romantic Niagara Falls

On June 6, 2016 Ryan and I celebrated our eight-year wedding anniversary! We had been planning on celebrating with a quiet long weekend at the beach, but when Ryan suggested we head north instead, I jumped on the idea. We had both been to Niagara Falls as kids and I was excited to see it again with fresh eyes.

We spent a few days in New Hampshire with my family beforehand, then drove west on Sunday afternoon. We hoped to get there in time for the fireworks over the falls, but after hitting pouring rain in Vermont and New York, we figured we wouldn’t get to see them after all. Imagine our delight when the fireworks went off as scheduled, despite the rain — and we were able to see them from our hotel room! It was the perfect way to kick off our anniversary trip.

Fireworks Over Niagara Falls | Our Streamlined Life

The weather had cleared beautifully the next morning, and naturally our first stop was the falls themselves.

Niagara Falls 1| Our Streamlined Life

No matter how many times you’ve seen them, you can’t not be wowed by the power of Niagara Falls. And there’s something totally mesmerizing about standing on the walkway right at the point where the water plummets over the edge, turning from calm into chaos.

Niagara Falls 2|Our Streamlined Life

We kept wandering past the falls till we hit the park running alongside this fantastic building, the now-closed Toronto Power Generating Station. Its Beaux-Arts design makes it look far too stately to be so utilitarian!

Niagara Falls Toronto Generating Station | Our Streamlined Life

One thing I love about Niagara Falls is that it’s pretty much one giant park. The other times I visited Niagara Falls — once as a kid, and later in college — I remember it seeming super cheesy and touristy. That’s probably because we spent our time either at the falls or on Clifton Hill, the “world famous Street of Fun by the Falls.” But once you get away from that area, there are lots of places to lay in the grass …

Niagara Parks | Our Streamlined Life

And stare up at the sky.

Niagara Parks Sky | Our Streamlined Life

The weather was too beautiful to go inside, so we headed up Niagara Parkway to the Niagara Parks Botanical Garden. (Admission was free; parking was $5.) The park has a little cafe, where we grabbed ice cream and I confirmed for Ryan that not only am I a treat, I’m also pretty cool.

Cool Treat Our Streamlined Life

The botanical gardens are huge — 99 acres of beautifully maintained flower, herb, and vegetable gardens, including a rose garden featuring over 2,400 roses.

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens 1 Our Streamlined Life

It was the perfect day for enjoying the sunshine and wandering through the gardens …

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens 4 Our Streamlined Life

… enjoying the giant shady trees and expanses of sunny grass.

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens 5 Our Streamlined Life

After spending a few hours wandering through the gardens, we headed back towards town. It was just too nice to to eat indoors, so we opted for an anniversary dinner on the patio at Coco’s Terrace Bar & Grill, followed by cheesecake and champagne from an Italian restaurant around the corner. Perfect!

After spending Monday exploring Niagara’s parks, our plan for Tuesday was to drive half an hour  north to Niagara-on-the-Lake to investigate the region’s wine scene. As we drove north we soon realized Niagara-on-the-Lake is nothing like the strip malls, casino hotels, and chain restaurants of Niagara Falls; it’s a darling little town full of quaint bistros and charming shops.

First we grabbed lunch at The Epicurean Bistro on Queen Street, where we enjoyed a yummy lunch of sandwiches and coffee.

The Epicurean | Niagara on the Lakes Our Streamlined Life

And because we’re magnetically attracted to water, we couldn’t resist stopping on the edge of town to take in the lovely view of Lake Ontario. We could just see the outline of Toronto across the water.

Niagara on the Lake | Our Streamlined Life

Finally we dragged ourselves away from the lake to start our wine tour in earnest. With 25 wineries to choose from, we were a little at a loss on where to begin. Fortunately I spotted Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery on my map, and I knew I had to go there — if only to take this obligatory Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm photo.

Sunnybrook Farm | Our Streamlined Life

Starting at Sunnybrook ended up being an excellent choice. Unlike in the United States, where wine tastings can run $10-$15/person, Sunnybrook (like many Niagara wineries) allows you to pick and choose the wine you’d like to taste for just $1 per sample — and tasting fees are waived when you purchase wine! We loved Sunnybrook’s fruit wines and walked away with a bottle of Burgundy Plum and Bosc Pear wines. The woman who did our tasting was friendly and knowledgeable, and gave us a thorough overview of the wine region and recommendations on where to head next.

Next we headed to Konzelmann Estate Winery, a larger vineyard on a lovely piece of lakefront property.

Konzelmann Estate Winery | Our Streamlined Life

For $5 each we enjoyed a tour of the vines, facility, and winery, along with a delicious tasting of several Konzelmann wines. We have done many wine tastings before, but our tour guide Montana was extremely knowledgeable and taught us many things we’ve never learned before about wine and the best ways to full enjoy it. Once again we were surprised at how much we loved the fruit wine, and walked away with a bottle of delicious Konzelmann Peachwine.

We were unprepared for how generous Niagara wineries are with their tastings; by this time we’d tasted around 15 wines and weren’t sure if we could keep going! But somehow it didn’t seem like we’d completed a legit winery tour unless we stopped at least three wineries, so I begged Ryan for one more, and we continued on to Big Head Winery.

The Cellar Door | Our Streamlined Life

Big Head ended up being a great way to round out our Niagara wine experience, as they almost exclusively offer traditional grape wines — unlike the other locations we’d visited, which were heavy on the fruit wine and ice wine. The tasting format was again very different from what we were used to here in the states; we were offered a list of all the wines Big Head made, and allowed to choose the four or five we wanted to try. The pourings were generous and I enjoyed being able to choose the wines I was interested in instead of having them pre-selected.

Ryan and I spent one more night at the hotel and headed back to Virginia the following morning. We hadn’t done any of the touristy things we’d planned to do — like a Maid of the Mist boat ride or dinner in Skylon Tower — but we thoroughly exploring the romantic side of Niagara Falls!

Niagara Falls Resources

Parks:

The Niagara Parks website has lots of information about outdoorsy activities in Niagara Falls, as well as some great maps. And if you get the chance, you have to pick up one of their visitor’s guides — it’s also a gorgeous coloring book!

Wine:

Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake has many helpful resources, including a great map. They also offer a $25 tasting pass that allows you to enjoy one tasting of a Winemaker’s Selection wine at each of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s 25 wineries — pretty cool! If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of 25 wineries, a Niagara Vintage Wine Tour could be a good option for you. (They also offer “foodie tours” which include food and beer in addition to wine.)

History:

We didn’t have time to visit any of them this time, but Niagara has a plethora of fascinating historical sites. Old Fort Erie is Ontario’s oldest British Fort (1764) and the site of the bloodiest battlefield in Canada. Fort George was the site of another War of 1812 battle, and Queenston Heights is supposed to have some of the best views in the area.

Niagara Falls, New York:

I’ve never visited the American side of the falls, but I’d love to explore it one day. We caught just a glimpse of Fort Niagara State Park, but I’d love to explore it. I’ve bookmarked Four Mile Creek State Park for camping, and I’d love to visit Top of the Falls Restaurant at Niagara Falls State Park — America’s oldest state park. And I’ve heard there’s a tremendous hiking trail starting at Whirlpool Falls State Park that runs down into the gorge.

Water, Wine & Parks: Romantic Niagara Falls | Our Streamlined Life