Every summer my family goes on a trip; and I don’t mean my mom, dad, brother and I. Oh no. When I say family I mean grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins too. Last year we all went to Disney World for a week, so imagine how our hearts dropped when we were told Niagara Falls was our destination for 2009. I don’t want my family to come off as spoiled or ungrateful because Niagara Falls is no doubt spectacularly beautiful; however, it’s only 88 miles from our hometown of Rochester, New York, which means all of us had already seen it, at least once. On top of that it would only be a weekend trip and the weather was in no was synonymous with “fun”, with highs in the low 70’s.
Trepidation lay heavy in my heart as the time approached and when August 7th dawned I could barely bring myself to rise out of bed. Nobody was looking forward to this trip; except perhaps my grandmother who had organized it. The weekend kicked off with a tour of one of the seven “forgotten” natural wonders of the world, which just means a busload of us traveling in circles around Nigara Falls. Our travel guide, Bill, told us over and over how it could easily chop us to pieces, should we fall in. We were the living epitome of boredom. It was a 5 hour-long tour and when we arrived back to the Comfort Inn motel (which drew another gasp from our family, as we were used to Holiday Inns and Marriotts) I was miserable and cold, as was everyone else. The weekend progressed in much the same way: cold, boring and quite easily the longest weekend of our lives.
Yet, when I look back on that trip I smile. I think of how we’d all gather each night, sometimes for hours on end, and talk. We’d laugh and joke, brightening the dark with our large smiles. Our chuckles and giggles would travel the dank hallway and rebound back to our hearts, making them even brighter than our smiles could ever be. Our eyes would twinkle and shine brighter than any stars, and our happiness flowed faster and harder than Niagara Falls could ever dream of flowing. We were all so happy and carefree during those nights, all of our happiness intermingling and pooling at our feet. It grew to our knees, until we retired for the night and it waited for us the next night. It covered our hips and up and up and up it reached until we were all drowning in our own, and each other’s, happiness.
It was last Christmas when we found out we’d be going to Niagara Falls and inwardly we all groaned, some going so far as to complain outright. Yet as I rode home, my forehead pressed to a cool window, I realized that this trip was exactly what we needed. We’d gotten closer, something Disney World hadn’t even gotten close to accomplishing. We’d all also learned to relax, let loose and to enjoy each other’s company; but on top of that we learned its being together, and not money that makes true happiness.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.