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DESCRIPTIONS OF NIAGARA.
DIRECTIONS TO TRAVELLERS.
In these days of rapid travelling, when the most trifling delay is deemed a calamity, a few directions may be necessary, to enable you to save time, and view the various points. of interest to the best advantage. At the same time we can not help deprecating the mania so prevalent at the present day, of making our excursions for pleasure, mere races against time. No person should come to Niagara, for the first time, and leave the same day; it is utterly impossible for one to conceive or realize its grandeur or beauty in such a visit-in fact one can hardly endure the bodily fatigue of simply climbing up and downthe various staircases, hills, rocks, &c., much less can the mind take in and appreciate the various objects of interest which necessarily present themselves in such quick succession, when endeavouring to see the whole of Niagara in a day.
It is a common custom for visitors, on arriving at Niagara, to hasten, immediately upon alighting from their conveyance, to catch a first glimpse at the mighty cataract; and this view may in all probability be one of the least attractivethey feel disappointed-and wonder at the eulogium bestowed by other travellers, who have used more time and discretion; jump into the first car that leaves, and praise the Falls, because every one else does, not because they have witnessed or appreciated its beauties themselves!
Should you arrive on the American side, you will of course stop at one of the hotels, of which the principal are the Cataract Hotel, kept by P. Whitney & Sons, and the Eagle Hotel, by C. B. Griffen & Co., both of which are excellent houses. After recovering in some measure from the fatigue of your journey, take the street to the right around either of the hotels, and proceed a few rods, to the bridge that leads across the rapids to Bath and Goat Islands; you will stop at the toll-house on Bath Island when you pass over, record your name in the register, and pay twenty-five cents, which entitles you to visit all the islands, with their appendages, as often as you please during your visit, or for the year, without any additional charge. And, if you choose to cross in a carriage, you pay no more. Proceed next to Goat Island, where you will find guide-boards directing you to all the most interesting places and objects around the island. Follow the gravel-walks at the right, down to the cascade or centre Fall, and cross a narrow bridge to Luna Island, from the farther corner of which you will have the best and most splendid views of the Falls on the American side. Retracing your steps to the gravel-walk, proceed next to the Biddle Staircase; descend that without fail, as you will there have a magnificent and much admired view of the two entire Falls, standing between them, and an opportunity, if the wind be favourable, of passing a considerable distance behind either sheet, with the tremendous flood pouring over you from a height of 150 feet. From the foot of the staircase, turn first to the right and go to the Cave of the Winds, under the centre Fall, and in returning, follow the path to the great Crescent Fall.
Reaching the top of the island again, proceed to the farther corner, where you will find the Stone Tower, forty-five feet high, with winding steps to the top, and also the Terrapin Bridge, from both which places you will have decidedly the best and most impressive views of the Falls, that can be had from any position. Here you will realize power, grandeur, sublimity, immensity, no pen or tongue can describe it.
Pursuing your way with a view to go entirely round the island,―as you ought without fail to do, inasmuch as you will thus get a much better view of the rapids and surrounding scenery than can be obtained anywhere else,-you will proceed up to a beautiful cascade, where, under the shelter in part of a projecting rock, you can have an opportunity to bathe in the sparkling foam of Niagara.
"This is the purest exercise of health,
The kind refresher of the summer heats."
A rustic bridge was here, to give you access to the Moss islands, which are well worthy a visit. Just above these islands you have the very best view of the rapids, that is presented from any place about the Falls. Proceeding round the head of the island, you cross the place nearly opposite the saw-mill, where a number of human skeletons have been dug up,-supposed to be the former site of an Indian burying ground.
If your visit is protracted at the Falls, you should pass around and through Goat Island by the different paths in order to observe its picturesque beauty and realize its thousand attractions. You ought also, if time permit, to visit the site of old Fort Schlosser, the Mineral Spring, the Whirlpool, the Devil's Hole, &c., to all which places the coach drivers will conduct you, and give such information and directions as you may need.
In order to cross the river, proceed from the bridge to the staircase, near the edge of the Falls, at the foot of which you will have a very near view of the highest Fall and a most charming prospect of the entire falls.
"Above, around, beneath, amazement all!
Terror and glory joined in their extremes ;"
Take a look from the window of the staircase and you will realize the truth of Shakspere's description,
And dizzy 'tis to cast one's eyes so low!
I'll look no more,
Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight