Buffalo, and the rest of New York State, can take a well-deserved bow for flattening the curve and curbing the spread of the Covid-19 virus. By encouraging social distancing, the wearing of masks and frequent hand washing, our region is taking the precautions that make it safe for you to venture away from home.
With that in mind, it’s time for a road trip. Buffalo is the epicenter of a region that truly shines in the summertime – a place with distinctive foods, quirky roadside attractions, unique historic sites and distinctive cultural institutions. Couple that with summer weather that’s ideal for being outside and you’ve got all the ingredients for a great getaway.
For years, this city of 30,000 in the southwestern corner of New York State was known, if it was known at all, as the home of the legendary Lucille Ball. That changed overnight with the opening two years ago of the National Comedy Center. Located in the former Jamestown Train Station, the Comedy Center encompasses nearly 40,000 square feet of artifacts, exhibits and multimedia installations. You’ll find scripts from favorite shows, costumes worn by beloved characters and an interactive experience that is among the best in the world. But it’s the thousands of hours of movies and TV shows that have been assembled here – and the easily accessible clips from them — that make the Comedy Center a truly memorable museum experience. If you haven’t had your fill of comedy history, stop by the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum that’s around the corner and learn more about “the first couple of comedy.”
If You Go…
Lakehouse Tap & Grille at the Harbor Hotel: Their patio offers a tasty menu of lunch and dinner specialties, complete with a view of Chautauqua Lake.
The Chop House on Main: This stylish new steak house is taking dining in Jamestown to the next level. Check out the extensive wine list and curated cocktail menu.
The charming village of Ellicottville is an eclectic destination with experiences to suit different tastes, interests and moods. For starters, there’s Ellicottville for people who love to shop. Quaint and historic may be overused descriptors of small towns, but they aptly fit the Main Street of downtown Ellicottville, a street filled with locally-owned shops and boutiques. There’s also Ellicottville for people who love to eat and drink. Don’t be deceived by your first impression of this modest-sized municipality, Ellicottville rocks a big-league dining and drinking scene that would be right at home and get plenty of respect in much larger destinations. Finally, there’s Ellicottville for people who love the great outdoors. Come winter, Ellicottville is one of the top-rated ski destinations in the Eastern United States, but it keeps up its outdoor rep in summer at the Sky High Aerial Adventure Park. Thirteen challenging courses complete with platforms, bridges and zip lines will test your strength, balance and ingenuity. For more information: EllicottvilleNY.com
If You Go…
Ellicottville Brewing Company: Its massive patio makes this long-time anchor of Ellicottville’s spirited nightlife perfect for socially-distant dining and drinking.
Niagara Scenic Parkway
It’s no exaggeration to claim that this scenic 15-mile stretch of highway packs more punch than roads ten times as long. Not only does it offer intensely beautiful vistas of the Niagara Gorge and the river far below, it is chock-full things to do. From three state parks that take you into the heart of the gorge and alongside the Class Five rapids of the Niagara River to charming small towns like Lewiston and Youngstown to the historic grandeur of Old Fort Niagara, this road makes for a delightful diversion of a couple of hours or an entire day. For more information: Visit Buffalo Niagara – See & Do
If You Go…
The Silo: This repurposed coal silo serves classic American road food from a vantage point high above the Niagara River. Lewistonsilo.com
Hibbard’s: Owned and operated by the Hibbard family since 1939, Hibbard’s frozen custard is the real deal – creamy, rich and in a class of its own. Try the black raspberry twist.
A stroll along Main Street in East Aurora at first feels like a step back in time. A movie theater with a vintage marquee sits across the street from a huge five-and-dime store with a red-striped awning. An elegant post clock adds to the air of classic Americana. But a closer look behind the quaint storefronts and general sense of small town coziness reveals the amenities of a hip urban neighborhood featuring excellent coffee shops and restaurants, high end stores and boutiques, walkability and craft beer. It also happens to be home to the National Historic Landmark Roycroft Campus and Inn, birthplace of the American Arts and Crafts Movement. For more information: Visit Buffalo Niagara – Neighborhoods, East Aurora
If You Go…
42 North Brewery: Its owners call it a craft brewery campus – a bold claim until you consider that in addition to the brewery, taproom and beer garden, there are four beer-themed Airbnb rentals on the property. Come for the beer and stay overnight!
Elm Street Bakery: This family-owned bakery, restaurant and market is renowned throughout Western New York for its artisan breads, pastries and wood-fired pizzas.