The carols have all been sung. The holiday bells have all been rung. It’s the day after Christmas and you need a break from all the Yuletide fun. You need a great escape. Well, we have just the place for you. Buffalo is just what the doctor ordered to cure your post-holiday blues.
First things first. Check into the charming Hotel Henry, one of Buffalo’s newest places to rest and recuperate. Set in a magnificent National Historic Landmark building designed by H.H. Richardson, complete with surrounding grounds that sprang from the drawing board of the great landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the Hotel Henry has been celebrated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation for its ingenious adaptive re-use of the former Buffalo State Hospital for the Insane. A nightcap at 100 Acres Restaurant and a stroll through the art-lined hallways is the perfect way to get acquainted with your home away from home.
To appropriately caffeinate your day, head down Richmond Avenue to Rhode Island Street. Here you’ll have a choice between the funky but chic Remedy House and the crunchy goodness of Five Points Bakery where an order of the simplest of meals — toast — becomes a celebration of local ingredients. You can’t go wrong at either spot.
Head a few blocks east to Elmwood Avenue, where you can walk and gawk among the locally-owned shops and boutiques. You’ll find clothes, crafts and plenty of post-holiday sales. Longtime favorites include Everything Elmwood, Poster Art and Talking Leaves Books.
Next, check out the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, home to one of the finest collections of modern art in North America. The AK has a special exhibit – “We the People” — featuring new work from its dazzling inventory of the best of contemporary art that will be up through June 30, 2019. If you’re feeling particularly arty, stop into the Burchfield Penney Art Center right across the street. BPAC is home to the largest collection of the work of the great watercolorist Charles Burchfield, who just happened to call Buffalo home, as well as an archive of the best art created by artists from Western New York.
It’s lunchtime. Hop back in the car and head across town (a ten-minute drive) to Larkin Square and the Swan Street Diner. This beautiful 1937 Sterling Dining Car was restored and relocated to Buffalo in 2017. In an effusive review on Roadfood.com, author Michael Stern told his readers that the Swan Street Diner is “all about celebrating the best of the past using the best of modern culinary values.” The Swan Street can really walk that talk.
Now it’s time to head downtown to Canalside where you’ll find one of the largest outdoor ice rinks in the United States. You can skate, ride an ice bike, rent an ice bumper car, try your hand at curling or just grab a hot chocolate and do some people watching at what has become one of Buffalo’s busiest winter gathering places. In Spring 2019, the new Explore & More Children’s Museum will open on a site overlooking the rinks.
Lovers of great architecture and exquisite craftsmanship should be sure to visit the Martin House Complex in the city’s Parkside neighborhood. This is the largest residence ever designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and is considered the finest example of his Prairie Style. It’s in the last phase of a $50 million restoration that has brought the house back to its 1907 glory. Tours are held Thursday through Monday.
Famished? For dinner and drinks, head back to the Elmwood Village and make a stop on the Buffalo Wing Trail at Cole’s. If walls could talk, they’d have a lot to say in this 85-year-old Buffalo institution, things like: “Try the wings and beef on weck combo!” Cole’s is one of the few places that offers these two classic Buffalo foods side-by-side. It’s the perfect way to end a perfect day in the City of Good Neighbors.
Feeling better? We thought so.