Maid of the Mist
The Maid of the Mist is a fleet of boats based in Niagara Falls, New York that takes tourists to the bottom of the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls. Passengers are given blue plastic ponchos, which can be kept as a memento. The Canadian counterpart is called Hornblower and is based across the river in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Its passengers wear red ponchos. If you see people clad in yellow ponchos, they’re visiting Journey Behind the Falls.
Compared to Hornblower, Maid of the Mist is a considerably smaller, more intimate boat and you feel more of the force of the falls. We’re not knocking Hornblower – in fact if you have the time, ride both! We just preferred Maid of the Mist. On either boat, you are riding through white-water rapids, and the winds generated by the falls are considerable. Go on a sunny day … if you get that perfect 40-degree angle of the sun to the mist, rainbows form and there were many to behold on this trip.
The Maid of the Mist has a long and storied history dating back to 1846 – before the Civil War. The fleet has played host to all manner of celebrities and politicians. Current prices are $17 per person and include Observation Tower passes. You can ride the elevator back up when you dock or take the stairs and pass right by the side of the American Falls. You don’t need your passport to ride the Maid of the Mist, because there is no embarking or disembarking in Canada. Similarly, you don’t need your passport on Hornblower, since all embarking and disembarking is in Canada.
You will get wet on this boat….that’s the point of it. Our photography and videography were done with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cased in Otter Box Defenders. Standard camcorders and big DSLRs are NOT recommended for this experience. This was one of Elsy’s first real videos and shot the video with phone held vertical. Smartphones are supposed to be flipped horizontal for video. The footage was all we had, so we ran it. The beauty is spectacular enough to mitigate the error. The best tool for recording a trip like this is a head-mounted Go-Pro Hero.
As we noted in our first Niagara Falls story, turn off your cellular data, and data roaming prior to approaching the elevator bank. Your phone is considered to be in Canada once you pass that point from the Canadian signal leaching over and unless you have an international data plan, it will cost you big money.
The Maid of the Mist is a must-do for Niagara Falls visitors. It is the most intimate, beautiful, and adrenaline-driven experiences of the region. It is well worth the $17 for the 30-minute run. I would dare say, skip all the tourist traps. Just get on the boat and on the tower platform!
Once we got back ashore, we rode the elevator back up and went on the Observation Tower platform. You can see our photo sequence in the first story. Our Maid of the Mist video contains some footage from the Observation Tower.
Having done that, we returned to Jeep and got our passports ready. It was finally time to cross the Rainbow Bridge into Canada, for we would be staying at the Marriott Gateway on the Falls.
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