You’ll often hear people say that Buffalo has an “embarrassment of riches.” And it’s true. One of my favorite things about the Queen City is that you can mold your experience to be whatever you want it to be. One day it can be a sophisticated, pulsating metropolis where beautiful strangers distractedly strut down crowded avenues lined with swanky shops and restaurants. The next, it’s Small Town, USA, where neighbors greet you with a welcoming smile, and red white and blue bunting adorns rows of perfectly appointed Victorian homes on quiet streets dotted with oak trees.
If the latter is what you’re looking for, Greater Buffalo offers everything you need for you next weekend escape.
A half-hour southeast of downtown Buffalo you’ll find the Village of East Aurora. Drop your bags at the Roycroft Inn, part of the historic Roycroft Campus. At the turn of the century, the Roycroft Campus was bustling with artisans of the Arts and Crafts Movement; a distinctly American aesthetic movement based in the belief that good design led to a better society. Today, the Roycroft is a 22 room country inn and restaurant dedicated to celebrating the master craftsmen that once gathered on the Roycroft campus.
Before settling in for the night, have a cocktail by the fire in the Craftsman Lounge and enjoy some live music.
A Nice Little Saturday
Start your day with coffee and a pastry from Taste, a funky cafe on Main Street that mixes quirky and quaint perfectly.
From there you’re headed a few minutes northeast to the town of Marilla for a visit to the Marilla Country Store. The store has been around since 1851 and houses a museum with remnants of its history as the center of commerce in town. The decor changes to match the seasons. Stop by in the fall or during the holidays for the full country store effect.
Take an afternoon drive out U.S. Route 62 to Eden’s Kazoo Factory, Museum & Gift Shop. Learn the history of kazoos and how they’re made (the same way they have been since 1916) at the only metal kazoo factory in North America.
Before heading back to East Aurora, stop in the Made in America store, which sells hundreds of goods made entirely in the U.S.A.
Up-Scale. Down Home.
Back in East Aurora, reserve a table at Rick’s on Main. The warm, home-y feel comes from knowing owners Rick and Cathy, who work the kitchen and floor on a daily basis. The upscale vibe resonates from their culinary masterpieces created from years of experience working at some of the finest restaurants in Buffalo.
Sunday brunch at the Roycroft is a can’t miss. Good thing you booked a room there! After brunch, make your way to Knox Farm State Park for a picturesque walk and picnic on the 633 acre former residence of Buffalo’s famous Knox Family.
No tour of our region’s small town charm would be complete without a jaunt to the town of Clarence. On Sundays, Western New York’s largest antique and flea market operates out of Antique World on Route 5. After shopping, head to the nearly 200-year-old Asa Ransom House for afternoon tea (by reservation only on Sundays).
— Jay Josker