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The Historic and Natural Gifts of the Niagara Region: From the Falls to the Underground Railroad

Program Number: 16303RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/13/2013 - 5/18/2013; 5/12/2014 - 5/17/2014; 7/27/2014 - 8/1/2014; 8/17/2014 - 8/22/2014; 9/14/2014 - 9/19/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Niagara Falls (New York), New York
Price starting at: $649.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Multi-Topic; History & Culture
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 4 Dinners    

Join us to examine the fascinating “Niagara” region of Western New York from one of the world’s iconic natural wonders, the majestic Niagara Falls, to the area’s role in a moving chapter in American history, the Underground Railroad. Awaken all of your senses as you explore this beautiful and historic region.




Highlights

• Take an expert-led boat ride on the Maid of the Mist. Observe scenic sites on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border with insights into the geology, hydropower and Native American heritage of the area.
• Field trips provide encounters with the beautiful region’s variety and a sampling of rural life, from a visit to a winery to scenic farm vistas.
• Visit key sites in the history of the Underground Railroad and be inspired by a special related art exhibit at Niagara University.



Valid passport needed to travel to Canada.




Date Specific Information

5-12-2014, 9-14-2014

This program week stays at a retreat and conference center on 134 scenic acres along the Lower Niagara River in Lewiston. Tranquil environment, scenic walking trails, outdoor labyrinth, indoor swimming pool. Shared, gender-specific, dormitory-style baths. Sink in each bedroom.



7-27-2014, 8-17-2014

This program week will stay at a comfortable, convenient hotel located in downtown Niagara Falls, NY, a short walk from the Falls.



Coordinated by Stella Niagara Education Park and the Center of Renewal.




Niagara Falls (New York)

The waterfalls at Niagara straddle the border with Canada, plunging 60 feet farther on the Canadian side, and can be visited by boat, helicopter or by peering over the edge. The area offers casinos, a butterfly conservatory, sites along the Underground Railroad, the Niagara Wine Trail, the Erie Canal and several parks and recreational trails.



Accommodations
Retreat and conference center on 134 scenic acres along the Lower Niagara River. Tranquil environment, scenic walking trails, outdoor labyrinth, indoor swimming pool. Shared, gender-specific, dormitory-style baths. Sink in each bedroom.
Meals and Lodgings
   Center of Renewal Retreat & Conference Center
  Center of Renewal at Stella Niagara, NY 5 nights
 Center of Renewal Retreat & Conference Center
Type: Conference Center
  Description: The Center of Renewal at Stella Niagara is a tranquil, peaceful site on 134 acres, conveniently located on the banks of the Lower Niagara River in Lewiston, New York. It features an outdoor labyrinth, nature trail, riverside chapel, indoor pool, healing massage and reflexology, arts, music, relaxation, and more. Designated as an Official Peace Site, Stella Niagara has a rich historical tradition in Western New York, and is well worth the visit! Our peaceful atmosphere provides individuals and groups with the opportunity to get away from the everyday demands and distractions and focus on personal goals and objectives, including lifelong learning and relaxation. Quality service and hospitality ensure a pleasant and enjoyable visit. Guests will be refreshed and motivated after visiting the Center of Renewal Retreat & Conference at Stella Niagara Education Park. Close distance to key features of the area: 10 miles north of Niagara Falls on the Niagara River. 4 miles south of Old Fort Niagara. 6 miles to the Niagara River Parkway in Ontario, Canada leading to nearby Niagara-on-the-Lake and Shaw Theater. 20 miles from the original Erie Canal and 15 miles to Welland Canal. 26 miles north of Buffalo, New York (36 miles to the airport). 90 miles north to Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  Contact info: 4421 Lower River Road
Stella Niagara, NY 14144 USA
phone: 716-754-7376
web: www.center-of-renewal.org
  Room amenities: Single bed, easy chair, desk w/chair, lamp, fan, clothing racks, sink. Limited # of double rooms based upon availability where extra bed replaces easy chair. Double & single rooms are same basic size. Single upgrades guaranteed own room w/no roommate.
  Facility amenities: Relaxing lounges and casual gathering areas both indoors and outside amidst all nature has to offer. Coffee and tea service available all day. Bookstore on site. Indoor swimming pool available for Road Scholar at specified evening times and days. Free outdoor parking, including room for trailers.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Bathroom: Common-area shower and commode facilities on each sleeping-room floor are separated for men and women. (NOTE: Four rooms with partial or full separate baths sometimes available for additional charge. Call Center directly (716-754-7376) for info.)
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Only $33 per person per night SPECIAL DISCOUNTED RATE: Only $33 per person per night for any extra nights added to start or end of Road Scholar package for standard room. Meals @ $24 per person per day. (Recommend two-weeks advance notice on rooms and meals.)
  Check in time: 2:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Only $33 per person per night SPECIAL DISCOUNTED RATE: Only $33 per person per night for any extra nights added to start or end of Road Scholar package for standard room. Meals @ $24 per person per day. (Recommend two-weeks advance notice on rooms and meals.)
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
5:00 PM Welcome dinner You will be staying at Center of Renewal Retreat & Conference Center that night.
  End of Program:
1:00 PM following noon lunch You will be staying at Center of Renewal Retreat & Conference Center the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free parking on site, including limited space for RV's and campers. Please call in advance to determine available space for larger vehicles.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Center of Renewal at Stella Niagara, NY
  Nearest city or town:  The charming villages of Lewiston (2 miles) and Youngstown (3 miles)
  Nearest highway: I-190 North to Robert Moses Parkway (North)
  Nearest airport:  Buffalo Niagara International Airport (36 miles)
  From End of Program
  Location: Center of Renewal at Stella Niagara, NY
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Buffalo/Niagara International Airport, Amtrak Train Stations, and more in Western New York area

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Airport Al's
phone: 716-754-7188
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Varies, but his prices are discounted for Road Scholar guests at Center of Renewal at Stella Niagara
Prices are subject to change.

 

Distance:

 

36 miles from Buffalo Int'l Airport to Center of Renewal in Lewiston, NY

   

Al and his wife offer a wonderful transportation service, greatly discounted from other commercial transportation offerings in our area. Mention you will be with the Road Scholar/Elderhostel group at the Center of Renewal at Stella Niagara for special rates. We have had excellent experience with this service for ground transportation, both to and from airport, train, and bus stations, as well as for a simple visit to area sites during your stay.

 

Buffalo-Niagara International Airport

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Airport Taxi
phone: 800-649-8166

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Current taxi fare is approximately $85 + tip; can be divided among 5 people.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

Taxis are available at the airport, but advance reservations for a taxi can be arranged. 

 

Distance:

 

36 miles Buffalo Int'l Airport to Center of Renewal in Lewiston, NY

   

TRAIN: AMTRAK Rail Station in Niagara Falls, NY -- call 800-872-7245. Taxicabs are typically available to meet arriving trains; advance reservations recommended via LaSalle Cab Service in Niagara Falls (1-716-284-8833). Call Center of Renewal (716-754-7376) for updated travel information flier. Information subject to change. BUS from Canada: Greyhound Canada 1-800-661-8747.

 

Buffalo-Niagara International Airport

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 


ITA Shuttle
phone: 716-633-8294
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$45.00
Prices are subject to change.

   

The ITA shuttle operates seven days a week from the airport to Niagara Falls (the closest stop to the Center of Renewal is Howard Johnson, Main Street, Niagara Falls). The current fare is $45.00 per person one-way. Call 716-633-8294 for information and reservations. Shuttles currently run on demand 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, but call in advance to confirm.

 
Driving Directions
  From Canada: Take QEW to 405 to the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge. Take first exit past customs marked Lewiston (exit comes up suddenly). Continue until you see Robert Moses Parkway North/Fort Niagara. Drive about 4 miles to Pletcher Road exit. Turn left onto Pletcher Road. Continue for about ¾ mile and turn left at first driveway (between two small white fences) onto the Stella Niagara property. Follow road PAST the "Main Entrance" sign to the Center of Renewal, last building on the right (separate entrance).
  From Interstate 90: Take New York State Thruway, I-90 to Exit 50, I-290 West. Follow I-290 West to I-190 North (exit marked Niagara Falls). Follow I-190 North to exit 25B, Robert Moses Parkway (last United States exit). From exit 25B, take Robert Moses Parkway North/Fort Niagara. Drive about 4 miles to Pletcher Road exit. Turn left onto Pletcher Road. Continue for about ¾ mile and turn left at first driveway (between two small white fences) onto the Stella Niagara property. Follow road PAST the "Main Entrance" sign to the Center of Renewal, last building on the right (separate entrance). Driving time from Buffalo is approximately 35-40 minutes, and from Niagara Falls, 15 minutes.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check-in, first meal (dinner), orientation, first lecture (evening), welcome wine-&-cheese social
(Monday, May 13)
   
 Afternoon: Check-in from 2:00 to 4:45 pm. Earlier check-ins available with advance notice.
 Dinner: Dinner at Center of Renewal at 5:00 pm.
 Evening: 6:30 pm Formal welcome and orientation session (meet the group!) 7:30 pm Evening learning program by adult learning facilitator and Center of Renewal Executive Director Nancy P. Askins. Explore the upcoming week's programs through formalized learning activity including Niagara Falls video. 8:30 pm Welcome wine-and-cheese social
   
Accommodations: Center of Renewal Retreat & Conference Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Old Fort Niagara (over 250 years old and instrumental in War of 1812), Niagara Power Project Power Vista (hydroelectric power), and Niagara Wine Trail Field Trip.
(Tuesday, May 14)
   
 Breakfast: 8:30 am Breakfast at Center
 Morning: Lifelong learning morning field trip to Old Fort Niagara, including Native American history and the War of 1812 (celebrating its bicentennial in 2012).
 Lunch: 12:00 noon Lunch at Center
 Afternoon: Lifelong learning field trip to New York State Power Authyority to learn about hydroelectric power in the Niagara Frontier. Enjoy a visit to a site along Niagara USA Wine Trail before returning to the Center of Renewal for dinner.
 Dinner: 5:00 pm Dinner at Center
 Evening: 6:00 pm - Optional Stella Niagara tour and centennial history with archivist Sr. Mary Serbacki, OSF. Open evening at the Center. Evening activities vary from night to night, typically includes such activities as classes, films, open times, periodic swim times (specific schedule), and socials.
   
Accommodations: Center of Renewal Retreat & Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Niagara Falls geography and natural history, with lifelong learning field trip to Niagara Falls State Park, Maid of the Mist boat ride (pending seasonal and weather restrictions).
(Wednesday, May 15)
   
 Breakfast: 8:30 am Breakfast at Center
 Morning: 9:30 am Morning learning session with specialists from Niagara Falls State Park (Topic: Niagara Falls Geography and Natural History).
 Lunch: 12:00-12:45 pm Lunch at the Center of Renewal.
 Afternoon: 12:45 pm Bus to Niagara Falls State Park (the oldest state park established in the USA, celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2010), Maid of the Mist boat ride (boat ride pending seasonal availability), and Goat Island (part of the Niagara Falls USA State park). A breathtaking afternoon experience!
 Dinner: 5:00 pm Dinner at the Center of Renewal.
 Evening: 8:00 pm in the Main Lounge: Enjoy our showing of the feature film, "Niagara", starring Marilyn Monroe and filmed right here in Niagara Falls. Popcorn and other treats will enhance the movie experience!
   
Accommodations: Center of Renewal Retreat & Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada lifelong learning field trip. TO CROSS THE USA-CANADA BORDER, YOU MUST BRING VALID PASSPORTS (or other mandatory customs documents) as required by USA and Canadian Customs.
(Thursday, May 16)
   
 Breakfast: 8:30-9:10 am Breakfast at Center.
 Morning: Open morning until bus leaves for Canada trip at 11:30 AM. IMPORTANT! BRING PASSPORT AND JACKETS FOR TRIP TO CANADA!
 Lunch: Join the group for a special lunch in the restaurant at the top of the Skylon Tower overlooking Niagara Falls -- breathtaking views and a wonderful meal, too! Skylon Tower's world-famous dining simply must be experienced. Their award-winning continental cuisine is presented in an elegant setting 775 ft. above the Falls. Experience once-in-a-lifetime views of Niagara Falls, the Great Gorge, and Niagara Wine District. Lunch includes admission to the Skylon Tower Ride-to-the-Top and Indoor/Outdoor Observation Decks.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a visit on the Canadian side of the Falls, followed by an open late afternoon through evening for your own personal exploring near Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada including Victoria Park.
 Dinner: Dinner is on your own tonight. Plenty of places to eat in the area, including upscale restaurant at Table Rock (right next to Horseshoe Falls), Victoria Park (overlooking the American & Bridal Veil Falls), around Skylon Tower (where we had lunch earlier today), and in the Village of Lewiston back in the USA.
 Evening: Re-join the group and board our bus (at the Table Rock loading area immediately next to Horseshoe Falls) for our return trip back to the USA. Exact time to board the bus will be announced ... will depend upon timing for evening light displays at the Falls which varies daily depending upon sundown and darkness. Usually around 9:15 pm in May, earlier in September.
   
Accommodations: Center of Renewal Retreat & Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Underground Railroad field trip with costumed re-enactors, lifelong learning lectures, and evening closing reception.
(Friday, May 17)
   
 Breakfast: 8:30-9:10 am Breakfast at Center
 Morning: Visit the special docent-led Underground Railroad exhibit at Niagara University's Castellani Art Museum.
 Morning: See the inspiring historic "Freedom Crossing" status (on the Village of Lewiston waterfront) depicting Josiah Tryon helping slaves cross the river into freedom in Canada.
 Lunch: 12:00 PM Lunch at Center
 Afternoon: 12:45 PM - Board bus for continued field trip on the Underground Railroad, including Murphy's Orchard, with Underground Railroad re-enactor Peter Green as former New York State Governoe DeWitt clinton. Experience the farm now known as Murphy Orchards, originally established by Charles McClew in 1850. Charles and his wife, Anna Marie, are believed to have been involved in the Underground Railroad Network from 1850 until 1861. The house, barn, and orchards themselves remain virtually as they were when built 150 years ago, offering an authentic setting for sharing the history of the Underground Railroad. Additionally, as a working farm, experience a real hands-on illustration of how farming in the new American Colonies eventually led to the horrifying chattel slavery that existed for generations.
 Dinner: 5:00 pm Dinner at Center with re-enactor Peter Green.
 Evening: 7:00 pm - Join re-enactors from the 1800's in an Underground Railroad performance in the Main Lounge. Met abolitionists "Josiah and Sally Tryon" (Lewiston Council on the Arts) as they share their stories of 19th Century life and related challenges. 8:15 pm - Closing social before heading home tomorrow.
   
Accommodations: Center of Renewal Retreat & Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Lunch before departure after a wonderful week
(Saturday, May 18)
   
 Breakfast: 8:30 am Breakfast at Center
 Morning: Morning open until 10:10 am to finish packing and checking out from room. 10:15-11:45 am Final learning session and fun competition exercise: "All You've Learned about Niagara Falls", facilitated by adult learning facilitator and Center of Renewal executive director Nancy P. Askins. Enjoy this final session structured as a fun-filled learning game complete with prizes!
 Lunch: 12:00 noon Lunch at Center; program officially ends after lunch. Have a safe trip home, and thank you for enjoying our Niagara Falls area Road Scholar lifelong learning adventure!
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Center of Renewal at Stella Niagara, NY Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitor's Bureau
1-800-BUFFALO (283-3256) For additional information, visit buffalocvb.org/home.html
  Historic Lewiston and Youngstown, NY
Lower Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce (716) 754-9500 For additional information, visit www.niagara-lewiston.org
  Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp.
1-800-338-7890 For additional information, visit www.niagara-usa.com
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Buffalo-Niagara Connection: A New Regional History of the Niagara Link


Author: John W. Percy


Description: Book available for sale in Center of Renewal bookstore (call if interested in advance purchase via mail). Geography's impact on the history of Western New York and Ontario's Niagara Peninsula.



Colossal Cataract: The Geologic History of Niagara Falls


Author: Irving H. Tesmer (Editor)


Description: Book available for sale in Center of Renewal bookstore (call if interested in advance purchase via mail).



Daring Niagara: 50 Death-Defying Stunts at the Falls


Author: Paul Gromosiak


Description: Book available for sale in Center of Renewal bookstore (call if interested in advance purchase via mail).



Goat Island: Niagara's Scenic Retreat


Author: Paul Gromosiak


Description: Book available for sale in Center of Renewal bookstore (call if interested in advance purchase via mail).



Nature's Niagara: A Walk on the Wild Side


Author: Paul Gromosiak


Description: Book available for sale in Center of Renewal bookstore (call if interested in advance purchase via mail).



Niagara Falls Q&A: Answers to the 100 Most Common Questions about Niagara Falls


Author: Paul Gromosiak


Description: Book available for sale in Center of Renewal bookstore (call if interested in advance purchase via mail).



Owahonton: Maid of the Mist


Author: Paul Gromosiak


Description: Book available for sale in Center of Renewal bookstore (call if interested in advance purchase via mail).



Seeing Niagara: The 10 Best Ways to Experience the Falls


Author: Paul Gromosiak


Description: Book available for sale in Center of Renewal bookstore (call if interested in advance purchase via mail).



Zany Niagara: The Funny Things People Say about Niagara Falls


Author: Paul Gromosiak


Description: Book available for sale in Center of Renewal bookstore (call if interested in advance purchase via mail).





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