Unless you’ve received a good wallop on the head or you’re terribly lost, the chances are pretty good that you almost always know exactly where you are. Whether you’re in Timbuktu, a grocery store in Vancouver, or a New York City subway station, human beings are rarely without their bearings for long. However, just because you know exactly where you are doesn’t always mean you know exactly what’s around you. The intricacies of a place can themselves become lost, whether it’s due to over-familiarity or just a lack of detailed knowledge.
If you’re visiting the Niagara area, both a false sense of familiarity and a lack of specialized knowledge can keep you from experiencing the more hidden and lesser known wonders the place has to offer. While the giant waterfalls still top everyone’s list of why the place makes for a great vacation, smaller delicacies also abound. Here is a site, a tree, and a wine that are all so unique to the Niagara region that even if you’ve got your back to all that water, when you spot them, you’ll always know exactly where you are.
The Wedding Museum
Could there be a better-located wedding museum? Long known as the Honeymoon Capitol of the world, this Niagara Falls museum has a vast collection of wedding gowns and tuxedos that date from the 1870s all the way up to the present day.
There is also an extensive hat, accessory, and fashion collection that dates back to 1830. If you love looking over the glamour and splendor of ages past, the Niagara Falls’ Wedding Museum is a must, and it can only be experienced in Niagara Falls.
All That Niagara Icewine
There are many wine regions throughout North America and around the world, and many of them produce excellent wines. However, few places can rival Niagara’s production of and love affair with icewine. Made from grapes that were allowed to naturally freeze on the vine before harvesting and pressing, icewine is a sweet, luscious laborious creation that is so well-made in Niagara, the wineries in the region have won coveted international awards with it.
It’s a delicious and specialty elixir not commonly produced throughout the world, and those places that do make it rarely do so as well as Niagara.
The Red Mulberry
A rare tree that is native to the area, the red mulberry has been nearly wiped out. In Niagara, however, it’s still making a stand. The Niagara Gorge is home to 21 red mulberry trees and is one of only 10 places in all of Ontario where it is known to still exist.
A major effort is underway to restore it to healthier and more robust numbers, and organizations as far-ranging as the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the National Parks, numerous universities, and more have joined forces to help it thrive again. In the meantime, however, Niagara Gorge is one of the few places the tree can still be found.
Niagara is one of those places that is assumed to be a known entity because it holds a place within the popular imagination. The next time you visit, however, resist believing you know all you need to. Instead, open your mind and eyes to a true experience of Niagara — a place unlike any other on earth.
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