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Queen City Of The Lakes: A Buffalo Day II

Start the day off with breakfast at Gigi’s Restaurant (257 E. Ferry Street). After a soulful feast, go west on Ferry Street until you arrive at Broderick Park. Slaves gathered here to cross the Niagara River to freedom in Canada.

Continue on to Erie Basin Marina Gardens and the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park. Leaving Broderick Park, turn right onto Niagara Street into downtown Buffalo. Turn right onto South Elmwood Avenue. Cross Church Street to the Lower Terrace and turn right on Erie Street. Walk the Erie Basin Marina Gardens, which have the distinction of being one of 25 All-American Rose Selection test gardens in the United States. Specialty annual flowers include over 200 worldwide varieties.

Stroll along the beautiful banks of the Buffalo River and visit the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park. It is the largest inland naval park of its kind in the United States and home to the guided missile cruiser USS Little Rock (which houses an African American Soldiers exhibit), the destroyer USS The Sullivans and submarine, USS Croaker.

The Buffalo Harbor Cruises are docked nearby. Narrated tours and dining cruises will take you onto Lake Erie and the Black Rock Canal where you can view Buffalo’s lovely skyline and the 1833 Lighthouse. Lunch or a snack is available at the Hatch in the middle of the rose garden.

From the Marina, make your way to Tifft Nature Preserve, one of the largest urban nature preserves in the United States. From Erie Street turn left onto Bingham Street (directly under highway overpass). Turn left at Church Street, followed by another left onto 190 South. Bear right towards Route 5/Lackawanna. Exit at Tifft Street/Fuhrman Boulevard. Turn left onto Tifft Street. Make an immediate left onto Ohio Street. Arrive at Tifft Nature Preserve (1200 Fuhrman Boulevard). This 264-acre habitat features walking trails, a 75-acre freshwater cattail march and attracts over 200 species of birds annually.

Departing from Tifft, go right onto Ohio Street, then left on Fuhrmann Blvd.Take Route 5 West to Ridge Road Exit. Turn left on Ridge Road. Then make a left on South Park Avenue and arrive at Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens (2655 South Park Avenue). Take a stroll through the most intact Frederick Law Olmsted landscape and arboretum in the country. Exotic horticultural treasures from different climates can be found in the Victorian tri-domed conservatory, one of only two crystal palaces left designed by Lord & Burnham in an Olmsted-designed park.

A short walk away, you’ll find Our Lady of Victory Basilica and National Shrine(2760 South Park Avenue). This Roman Catholic church is an exquisite combination of Italian Renaissance and French Baroque styles. You’ll be amazed by this architectural masterpiece.

For dinner try the Caribbean fare at nearby Curly’s Bar and Grill (647 Ridge Road).