Spend the morning enjoying the beautiful fall foliage in Niagara Falls State Park (Visitor Center: 716/278-1796). Ascend to the top of th Observation Tower (bird watchers will delight in seeing peregrine falcons, bald eagles and more) for stunning panoramic views, or visit Goat Island,, Three Sisters Islands and Luna Island for stunning up-close perspectives of the Upper Rapids. Visit the Niagara Adventure Theater (716/278-5040) to learn about the history and folklore that surrounds Niagara Falls during the 40-minute film "Niagara: Legends of Adventure." View the Bridal Veil Falls up close on the Cave of the Winds Gorge Trip (716/278-1730).
Dry or wet, when it's lunchtime, try Murphy's Cafe on Third(716/205-8341), Red Coach Inn (716/282-1459), or the Top of the Falls Restaurant (716/278-0340) on Goat Island. The restaurant overlooks Terrapin Point in Niagara Falls State Park - what a view!
After a bite to eat, travel a few minutes north to River Region, with stops along the way at Whirlpool State Park and Devil's Hole State Park for more spectacular Niagara Gorge foliage views. Continue on the Robert Moses Parkway North to Lewiston's Niagara Power Vista (716/286-6661)-where 50+ interactive exhibits tell the story of how the water from the Falls is used for hydropower.
Be on the lookout for the River Region Scarecrow Expo along Center Street during the month of October as you travelthe Robert Moses Parkway to Youngstown. There you can explore Old Fort Niagara (716/745-7611), an 18th century fortress with living history demonstrations and a spectacular view of Lake Ontario, or dare to visit their Haunted Fortress.
After leaving Old Fort Niagara, head south back to Lewiston, a quaint village full of specialty shops and boutiques or come back during the evening forMarble Orchard Ghost Walks.
Have dinner at The Brickyard BBQ & Pub (716/754-7227), Water Street Landing (716/754-9200), Casa Antica Ristorante (716/754-2581), Tin Pan Alley (716/754-4330) or other wonderful eateries in Lewiston.
See the Illumination of the Falls each night when they are bathed in a rainbow of colors.
Morning begins in Lockport, the Erie Canal's backyard, where you'll learn about the history and importance of the Canal at the Erie Canal Discovery Center! Continue along Rte 31 and stop at Becker Farms & Vizcarra Vineyards in Gasport to see what fall really means: pumpkins, cornstalks, hayrides and more! For the adults, there's both a winery and a microbrewery on-site too.
Next stop: Medina, via Rte 31. Spend the afternoon at the Medina Railroad Museum, which features memorabilia from the New York Central Railroad as well as a huge HO-scale-model railroad layout. Then book your ticket for a fall foliage tour of the adult-themed Halloween or Niagara Wine Trail tours. Thirsty? Stop by the Leonard Oakes Estate Winery on Ridge Road for a wine tasting. Heading northeast on Rte 104, travel to Holley where Hurd Orchards awaits. This family-owned fruit and flower farm and canning company is nestled between the banks of the Erie Canal and the shores of Lake Ontario.
Ready to explore the Lake Ontario lakeshore? Take Rte 272 north and head west on Rte 18. Make sure to stop at Golden Hill State Park near Somerset, with shoreline hiking, picnicking, nature walks and tours of the Thirty Mile Lighthouse site.
Continue your travels along Rte 18 to Appleton, visiting The Winery at Marjim Manor, a full production winery in a haunted Victorian mansion with ghost stories and wine for every palate! Need a snack to keep you going? Stop in Olcott to get some famous Bye's Popcorn, browse in the charming craft shops or visit Olcott Beach to fish, stroll about or to admire the rebuilt Olcott Lighthouse.
Next, head southwest to Burt to tour Murphy Orchards, the historic homestead of an abolitionist and an actual "stop" on the Underground Railroad. Now a working fruit farm with fresh jams, jellies and produce, it's a lovely place for lunch or afternoon tea.
Return to your hotel along Lake Ontario and enjoy one last overnight stay in Niagara Falls.
For additional information, visit The Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway website, www.wnyssb.orgAPPROXIMATE MILEAGE: 140 miles