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Byline: Gerry Volgenau
NIAGARA FALLS, Canada _ Frankly, I'd always thought of Niagara Falls as the Zsa Zsa Gabor of romantic places.
It's famous for being famous.
Even locals seemed to verify my Zsa Zsa theory when I asked them why they thought honeymooners keep coming to Niagara Falls. "Because they always have." "It's a tradition."
For more than a century and a half, Niagara Falls has been ballyhooed as "the honeymoon capital of the world."
In the 1800s, the love-struck rich came in horse-drawn carriages. Later, almost anyone who could afford to rattled up from New York City by train. Songs such as "Let's get away from it all" caught the romantic drift with lyrics such as: "Let's take a trip to Niagara, this time we'll look at the falls."
Locals say the honeymoon notion still carries the intoxicating strength of a best man's cologne.
Hoteliers _ Niagara Falls, Canada, alone has some 120 hotels and motels _ say their honeymoon suites, some with heart-shaped Jacuzzi tubs, are constantly filled. Niagara Falls Tourism reports that each year it passes out from 12,000 to 14,000 special discount certificates to honeymooners.
AAA Michigan reports that this summer Niagara, ranks as Michiganders' No. 1 out-of-state driving destination.
But still, I could not determine why they flock here.
I had visited the falls half a dozen times before. I thought: Magnificent, yes. Awe-inspiring, certainly. A whole lot of water, you bet. But romantic?
Exactly what is the connection between romance and a 185-foot precipice with 2.75 billion gallons of water thundering over it every hour?
Clearly I'd missed something. So I went back to find out what that might be.
I stayed a couple of days this month. In that time, I saw the things newlyweds see, visited the places they visit, bought the things they buy, ate in the restaurants they frequent and even went to a wedding of a young Missouri couple who said their I dos within sight of the falls.
I was determined to figure it out.
(At this point, female readers are probably saying to themselves, "There's a guy for you. Romance is not something you figure out." But never mind, this was my plan and I stuck to it, or maybe got stuck with it.)
First I went to the falls themselves, which, I thought, must be the greatest of romantic intoxicants. All that surging water. All that noise. All that billowing spray.
The statistics astound. Ninety percent of the Niagara River's water washes over the …