The Village of Williamsville is blessed with a bevy of treasures: the historic Williamsville Water Mill, pocket parks, Old Home Days, never-ending “family friendly” activities – the list goes on. It doesn’t seem real, right? I’m lucky enough to have grown up in this community and got to witness this fairytale way of life. Coming a long way from its historic roots, Williamsville now hosts a variety of boutiques, cafes, gift shops and restaurants. From indulging in a few classic or craft cocktails to shopping local, it’s all just steps away from the beautiful Glen Falls. Here are my tops picks for exploring the Village of Williamsville, aka Will’ville!
Williamsville has a wonderful “shop local” vibe with everything from home décor shops to artisan boutiques. Grab your best friend and make your way to all the best retail Williamsville has to offer. Shop high-end consignment at Second Chic, décor dreams at Tesori, swimwear at Blum’s and local handmade gifts at Village ARTisans. For those of you who have an Alex and Ani obsession, fear not, they opened their first store in Buffalo on Main Street in the Village of Williamsville. Time to get your shopping fix on!
Settled nearly 200 years ago, this quaint village has its roots in the War of 1812. When the invading Brits burned the City of Buffalo to the ground, the fleeing citizens turned to Williamsville for refuge. This rich history can be seen in the local watering hole The Eagle House, which still stands today as a popular restaurant. This was a “nightly stopover for passengers and wagons traveling from Buffalo to Batavia”, and legend has it that it was a part of the Underground Railroad, “providing safe haven for those moving from the U.S. to Canada before the Civil War began”. This history is evident through the colonial style homes and businesses that line the streets of the Village of Williamsville. The original 1811 Williamsville Water Mill built by Jonas Williams (for whom the village is named) proudly still stands as a village landmark for the community to enjoy.
Is there anything better than spending a leisurely day browsing the Village? Williamsville comes to life during the summertime. Each week is packed with fun, family-friendly things to do. Hit the streets every Thursday evening from June through the beginning of September for a wide variety of free live music performed in front of bars and other businesses for the wildly popular Music on Main Street. Every Saturday, Island Park is alive with the farmers’ market, packed with all the good-for-you, fresh from the farm delights that will make you want to create gloriously delicious dishes. Will’ville knows how to throw a good party, so save the dates on these perennial fan favorite local events: Old Home Days, Taste of Williamsville, Glen Park Art Festival and Village Garden Walk. They even shut down the main drag for an evening of family fun at the annual Main Street Block Party. Bikes, strollers, and pedestrians reign supreme.
Truly the heart of the Village, Glen Falls is a small waterfall located on Ellicott Creek. It’s the ultimate picnic perfect setting for a beautiful summer day. Stroll through Glen Park to view the falls up-close and enjoy the roaring sounds of this 30-foot cascade.
Will’ville is packed with a variety of restaurants, fit for every palate. Whether you’re looking for hot and trendy or village classics, be ready for some serious eats. Check out Moor Pat and Share Kitchen & Bar Room for a tasty menu and good brews to match. For those classic Village spots, head to Glen Park Tavern and Creekview Restaurant, and for a sweet treat visit Williamsville’s own homemade ice cream and chocolate shop, Sweet Jenny’s. This tasty sweet shop is located inside the historic Water Mill, along with a cool comic book shop perfectly named 1811 Comics!