Quaint, authentic, charming, and trend-setting. These words perfectly describe the village of East Aurora, less than 30 minutes southeast of downtown Buffalo. As Buffalo has undergone a transformation, East Aurora has seemingly been a microcosm of that evolution.
Spend a day or two walking the idyllic sidewalks of East Aurora’s historic Main Street and you may never want to leave. Here are our favorite reasons to take a trip to East Aurora:
Arts & Crafts, Alive & Well
Because of the legacy built by the Roycroft Campus, East Aurora could be renamed Arts & Crafts, U.S.A. Nearly 120 years later, art is still a vital characteristic of this community. Several fine art galleries, such as Meibohm Fine Arts and redFish Art Studios & Gallery, call East Aurora home. The Copper Shop Gallery and West End Gallery offer gifts and crafts for every taste. And if you’re looking for inspiration to create, MUSEjar will supply your hands and heart with everything you’ll need to fill a canvas.
Whether you’re looking for made-from-scratch baked goods and dishes or classic Buffalo-style fare, East Aurora is always cooking. Bar Bill Tavern may very well have the best chicken wing presentation in the area. Fanned out perfectly on a lovely green and white checkerboard plate, Bar Bill even takes the time to give you the perfect wing to drumstick ratio. Opened in 2011, Elm Street Bakery is the total package, offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner. From freshly baked muffins, scones, and cakes to wood-fired pizzas and cast-iron culinary creations, just the scent of Elm Street Bakery is like heaven on earth.
With a booming craft beer scene emerging in nearby Buffalo, it’s no wonder East Aurora has grown fond and taken up the mantle. 42 North Brewing Company, lovingly named for the geographical latitude on which East Aurora lies, opened in 2015 to much fanfare and praise. Committed to brewing authentic lagers and ales through collaboration, 42 North is making waves on the local brew scene. At the other end of town, Aurora Brew Works offers you the opportunity to try before you buy. With hundreds of craft bottles and cans for sale, you can even have them flash chill a bottle to taste in-store.
While the legacy of Elbert Hubbard, the Roycroft and Arts & Crafts movement is paramount in East Aurora, the history of the village goes even deeper. On Shearer Avenue, just a couple houses in from Main Street, lies the home of our 13th President, Millard Fillmore. Built in 1826, the home is only existing Fillmore residence, aside from the White House, left standing. On Main Street, in the heart of the village, the Aurora Theatre was the vision of Irving Price, founder of Fisher-Price toys and Elbert Hubbard II. Opened in 1925, the theatre was considered state of the art and still shows current run movies to this day. Fun Fact: The first movie shown on its screen was Madame Sans Gene starring Gloria Swanson.
Kid In A Candystore
No visit to East Aurora is complete without a trip to Vidler’s 5 & 10. From the signature red and white awning, seeing the antique coin-op mechanical horse, smelling the fresh popcorn, and gazing upon a sea of candy and sweets, this classic five and dime will have you feeling nostalgic. Vidler’s is pure Americana and a timeless institution that is not to be missed. You could spend hours perusing both floors of Vidler’s; housing everything from vintage toys, knick-knacks and craft supplies, decorative items and, honestly, anything you can think of.
Author’s note: If I could have written this entire post in the Roycroft font, I would have.