It’s no secret that Jeff and I love a good wine/beer/whisky/cider tasting……ok let’s just say we love to sample anything with alcohol! We’re a good time, what can I say?!? Niagara-on-the-Lake and The Niagara Wine Trail are among our local favorites because they have SO […]
Tag: <span>things to do in Buffalo</span>
Everyone needs a break once in awhile to relax and unwind. Life is hard, and mom life is even harder from what I hear! You ladies all deserve a trophy!! Or at least a night out. I’ll do you one better, how about a staycation?!? […]
Show of hands…..does anyone else have cabin fever??? We do this year and it’s pretty hardcore! Now I know a beach vacation with cold drinks and palm trees and waves crashing would be the ultimate cure right about now….but we already have a vacation planned for April and can’t just go off jet setting whenever we feel like it. April just seems SO. Far. Away!!! So we did the next best thing and played tourists in our hometown of Buffalo, NY.
We started our day at Swan Street Diner. This place is filled with so much history, yet it’s fairly new to the Buffalo area. It just opened in October 2017 in fact! It got it’s start as one of the early Sterling Company diner cars and originally opened in Newark, NY in 1937. Just steps away from Larkin Square, this place is sure to hopping on Food Truck Tuesdays this summer!
This guy LOVES himself a good diner!!! This place has been beautifully restored over the years and all the interior enamel panels, bar stools and wood trim are original. The retro vibes are everywhere!!
Not to be missed are the Mini-Donuts!!! We took a cue from Gateway Lodge and ordered them to share as an appetizer to our breakfast. Served hot and fresh they really were out of this world!!! I think the glazed were my favorite! Oh and another fun fact, ALL of the plates and mugs were locally made here in Buffalo at Larkin Soap Company China before it’s closing in 2013. How cool is that?
Everything was cooked to perfection. Swan Street offers the classic diner experience that you would expect! The coffee was super delicious too!! I went for the two eggs, bacon, home fries and sourdough toast and the hubby went with a Western Omelette….cause we’re predictable like that. Why mess with a good thing?
And….we loved the mini-donuts so much that we got a 3 pack to go! That’s how we roll. But seriously…..just order some already!!! I’ve gotta come back here for lunch and try one of the milkshakes. MUST!!!
After breakfast we took a short drive to the Buffalo Botanical Gardens. The green houses are absolutely stunning both inside and out. The glass house design was inspired by the famous Crystal Palace in England.
The gardens are jam packed with amazing flower exhibits and exotic horticulture from around the world. Opened in 1900, it’s earned it’s spot as a national historic site!
This garden sanctuary is seen by many visitors as a place for spiritual healing, meditation and reflection. It’s easy to see why! As soon as you walk through the doors you’ll immediately feel more relaxed and at peace.
The Asian Rainforest house was my favorite spot! It showcases a moon gate, a decorative teahouse, lots of bamboo, beautiful orchids, and bonsai trees, but the main attraction is the spectacular waterfall. We loved sitting near the koi pond and watching all the fish swim to the surface!
It was an especially frigid day in Buffalo, like 6 degrees and chilling winds that shot right through ya! So you can bet I took my time in this desert inspired room where the temps were in the 70s and 80s. I wanna be where the cactus are!
The Ivy Room is the largest public ivy collection in the world housing over 400 varieties, but don’t worry….none of it’s poison!
The Tropical Plants House holds amazing flowering tropical plants, and also includes a soothing water feature, a vine-covered gazebo, a gorgeous pergola and a relaxing place to play checkers.
We spent our first anniversary exploring the fabulous Denver Botanic Gardens. This cute little day date had me reminiscing about that vacation! Plus there were plenty of spots to take photos at every turn. Don’t forget to tag your photos #buffalogardens for the insta!
I definitely recommend sneaking off to the hidden bench. There’s room for two and the view is the best! It feels like you’re in your own little secret garden! It really was so romantic and magical.
After the gardens, we headed to Oh Pour L’Amour Du Chocolat, the cutest little candy shop meets ice cream parlor that we didn’t even realize was right in our back yard! It’s a one stop candy shop for all of your sweet tooth cravings!!
Oh Pour L’Amour Du Chocolat which translates to Oh For the Love of Chocolate in French, really is a labor of love for husband and wife team Howard and Tara Cadmus. This full service sweet shop serves up everything from turtles, to artisans truffles, to homemade ice cream and everything in between. We were lucky enough to meet Howard during our visit! His love of all things vintage and nostalgic helps to serve up some of the most unique molded chocolates that Buffalo has to offer. Where else can you purchase a chocolate Han Solo trapped in carbonite, all four teenage mutant ninja turtles in chocolate form, or an exact replica of the human heart modeled in chocolate?!?
His wife Tara, who spent time in Belgium and Paris honing her chocolatier skills, brought back some of that European flair to Oh Pour L’Amour. This vintage cash register was one of my absolute favorite things!! But also take notice of the Italian marble ice cream counter as well as the custom shelving and woodwork found throughout the shop. But if you really want to get to know Tara, don’t miss out on the portrait she inspired, created by Art Noveau-inspired illustrator Echo Chernik which is displayed prominently on the front wall. The artist also created the Willy Wonka-esque masterpiece that hangs behind the candy counter. Just more stunning details that make this candy shop so one of a kind and unique!
The hubby and I took it upon ourselves to create our own DIY chocolate tasting and sampled as many of their creations as we possibly could! We let local artist and full time chocolate lover Isabella Constantino choose some of Oh Pours finest selections for us to try. I mean she IS the pro behind the counter! And boy did she pick us some winners!! These milk chocolate turtles topped with sea salt were absolutely to die for!!! I was so impressed by everything that I couldn’t resist taking a box of artisan truffles home with us. Really I ‘m pretty sure every time I pass this place I’m going to have to stop in for truffles. And you can bet we’ll be checking out Oh Pour’s sister shop Sweet Jenny’s to fuel our ice cream addiction REALLY SOON!! We sampled the Caramel Chocolate Truffle artisan ice cream and it was truly love at first bite!
Ok so maybe this winter weather isn’t so bad after all! What are your favorite spots to get you through those winter blues?
We’d love to hear from you! Leave us your comments and love down below!
If you’re planning a visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake, you really won’t find any finer accommodations than the Prince of Wales Hotel. They truly pamper their guests to ensure that you have a romantic and luxurious stay. The hotel is absolutely stunning both inside and out, from the luxury […]
We spent last weekend across the border, exploring Niagara-on-the-Lake before all of the Christmas madness set in. Niagara-on-the-Lake is situated in Ontario, Canada right where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario, and directly across the river from Youngstown, NY. This historic town is home to […]
Halloween is basically my family’s favorite holiday! My two adult brother’s still dress up in costumes. My mom dresses up….every year….never fail. Heck, even my 87 year old Grandma still dresses up! Growing up I remember making homemade costumes with my Dad so that I would have the most original (and scariest!) costume in my class. My mom loved throwing us Halloween parties and bringing all of our friends along to haunted houses. And you can bet that come October 1st, she is hounding the whole family to get together and keep the tradition alive! She absolutely LOVES it!!! That’s where Escape City Buffalo comes in!
My family also loves escape rooms! So when we heard that Escape City had a scary escape room…..Body Collectors…..we knew it would be perfect for us! As soon as we entered the lobby at Escape City, we knew that it would be unlike any escape room that we had ever done! Their attention to detail and theming is nothing short of spectacular. It’s pretty much the DisneyWorld of escape rooms! And speaking of Disney, they have a Ghost Mansion room opening in winter 2018, which is rumored to be inspired by The Haunted Mansion. Also coming in winter 2017, will be an adults only Hangover themed room which I absolutely can’t wait to get into! Couple that with their private party room and I can already envision my next birthday party!! Everyone’s invited!!!
We opted to stick with the spooky Halloween spirit and tested our skills at the Body Collectors game. The game is based around the Saw movie series. Without giving too much away, I will say that I was extremely relieved when Billy the Puppet did not ride in on a tricycle, but he does play a major role in the game! (I am SOOOO afraid of puppets!!). You start by selecting one unlucky human sacrifice….err…umm, I mean volunteer. Bless my hubby for stepping up and taking one for the team here! You must then work to free that person from restraints, and then together as a group, you will work your way through a series of chilling and thrilling rooms by finding clues and solving puzzles.
There are a bunch of small scares scattered throughout the game, which keep you on the edge of your seat, but are not enough to scare off even the biggest chicken in your group! I loved that it accommodates all skill levels from escape room newbie to expert because they offer unlimited clues! That’s right! They will give you as many clues as you need to ensure you have the best experience possible. And the clues are displayed on a high quality video monitor, unlike other escape rooms that we’ve been to that just slide a post it note under the door. The game is so extremely well thought out and the rooms are so detailed and high quality that you may even forget that you are playing a game for a moment or two. It literally feels like you are on the movie set for a Saw movie. And with the latest installment, Jigsaw, coming to theaters at the end of October, I can’t think of a better time to try this room! Movie and escape room anyone???
Our group managed to escape with 19 minutes to spare! Afterwards we headed to Smoke on the Water to celebrate our victory and to sample some of Western New York’s best barbecue. We love to cook out anything and everything at home on our propane smoker so we know a good pulled pork when we see one. And the Classic is just that, a perfectly smoked hand pulled pork sandwich on a Costanzos bun. Not to be outdone by the Voodoo fries that come with it. Perfectly crisp and so flavorful! I just could not stop eating them.
My hubby went with the Choose Your Own Adventure, a massive platter of generous portions of two meats and two sides. He chose the obvious traditional BBQ picks, smoked beef brisket and 1/4 rack of baby back ribs, alongside the Voodoo fries (a must!!) and Chiavetta’s potatoes. Is it a man thing to order potatoes with potatoes??? Or just my hubby?!?
If Tonawanda, NY wasn’t on your radar, well then it should be! Smack dab in the middle of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, it’s pretty much accessible to everyone. And I can now say that it’s home to one of the most intriguing and impressive escape rooms in the area as well as some of Western New York’s tastiest barbecue! You’ve got to try both for yourself!! Round up 4-8 people you won’t mind being trapped in a room with, and make it your next date night, family game night, or party! The only thing left to ask is……..Would you like to play a game?????
*I was not financially compensated for this post by Escape City Buffalo. I received a sample of their service for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*
We had absolutely gorgeous weather for Labor Day weekend, so we decided to do a little bit of local exploring, and took the 30 minute drive out to Kaylena Marie’s Bakery in Orchard Park. I had been completely dying to try out Kaylena Marie’s ever since […]
Back in July, me and the hubs took a little daycation to Becker Farms to sample some beer, wine, and do a little fruit picking out in the fields. I had always enjoyed apple picking here in my younger years on school field trips, so […]
Last week my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary!!! We’ve got 6 years of marriage under our belts, 2191 days, 52584 hours, 3155040 minutes, 1 home, 2 loved puppies, 6 vacations, and ZERO STABBINGS!!! We must be doing something right?!? Here’s hoping we can keep that stellar record intact! We decided to celebrate by doing a mini version of the Niagara Wine Trail. The Niagara Wine Trails has 22 stops in all stretching across Niagara, Orleans, and Monroe counties. It’s within minutes of Niagara Falls and about a 35 minute drive from our home in Buffalo! The wine selections at each are quite diverse. I love visiting the Niagara Wine Trail because they have a large selection of wines that tend to be on the sweeter side, which I really prefer. That being said, each stop is uniquely different and you’re sure to find something for every palate here!
We decided to start at my absolute favorite, Honeymoon Trail Winery! They’re home to the original Niagara Winery. They offer a huge selection of wines! I counted 20 plus wines while we were there. This place is a great first stop because you can load up on the snacks! They now carry a large selection of cheeses, spreads, sausages and crackers, as well as gourmet chocolates. We couldn’t resist the smoked sharp cheddar cheese spread from the Cuba Cheese Shoppe! You can’t go wrong with their Diamond, the Mighty Niagara, and the Honeymoon Suite from their wine selection. We each sampled a tasting of 4 wines and ended up going home with a bottle of White Lace (an elegant blend of Riesling and Cayuga with refreshing hint of citrus) and a bottle of Chocolate Covered Cherry (decadent with ripe cherries, that melt into a chocolate finish). SO heavenly!! They said it pairs well with a rich dark chocolate or a slice of cheesecake! I cannot wait to crack this bottle open with dessert out by the fire after dinner!!
Our second stop found us at A Gust of Sun Winery less than 5 minutes away. The tasting room can be found right out front in an old Amish barn. The staff was the absolute sweetest! They even comped our wine tasting fee when they found out we were celebrating our anniversary. How awesome is that?!? One of my favorite things about this place was that they catered to my sweet tooth and even had a list of chocolates that paired well with each wine! Sweet!! They also have a great covered side patio to sip a glass (or two!) and a pond where you can lounge in adirondack style chairs and kick back and relax. It really was SO peaceful there!
This was my first time at A Gust of Sun but I absolutely fell head over heels in love with this place, from the amazingly friendly and helpful staff, to the beautifully groomed grounds, to the fabulous wine, and let’s not forget the wine slushies!!! Yes you read that right. Wine. Slushies. They come in three flavors and they are absolutely EVERYTHING!!! You can’t leave without sampling one. I went with Rhap-sody in Blue and it did not disappoint!
Taking a break by the pond to enjoy a little slushy! I was half tempted to ask if I could just move in. Do you think they’d let me??? We left with a bottle of Sweet Westies White (a crisp sweet to semi-sweet blend of Riesling, Cayuga White, and a splash of Niagara) which is adorned with an adorable photo of three of the owners beloved Westies! I wish all my wine came with pictures of puppies, don’t you?
Stop number three was just a two minute drive to Long Cliff Winery and Vineyards. This place has the cutest little selfie station as you walk in. We couldn’t resist taking a couple of mustache selfies before heading inside! Team Pink!
The winery has only been open since 2011, but the farm has been in place for the past 50 years. In that short time, they’ve expanded their offerings to include twenty wines! Long Cliff is the quintessential American farm that runs on hard work and keeping it in the family. The owner was actually the one to pour our tastings and his granddaughter popped in to help out as well. We loved chatting with them! This family is truly passionate about wine as well as extremely knowledgable. They even expanded my palate a little and turned me on to their Sauvignon Doux, which strayed a bit from my typically over the top sweet selections, and we took a bottle to go, as well as a bottle of the Cobalt! Be sure to head to their website (clickable link above) where they go above and beyond and even pair cheeses with all of their wines!
Just 5 minutes away, we found ourselves at Niagara Landing Wine Cellars. Established in 1998, Niagara Landing Wine Cellars was the first winery to open in Niagara County, NY in over a decade and the first winery on the Niagara Wine Trail. Their wine list is pretty epic offering a variety of 31 wines, which range from very dry to very sweet, and maybe one that’s even a little spicy! Really!! Their Hot Pepper Wine is a must try even for the most experienced wine connoisseur. Its a sweet wine with a spicy finish on the back end. It’s truly unique. Also not to be missed is their Loganberry Sweet, a loganberry flavored wine. All my Buffalo peeps know what I’m talking about! We’re diehard loganberry fans here! We absolutely had to take a bottle home with us, along with their Rosebud Gold nicknamed their “Island Wine”, as well as their Sweet Concord, which is essentially grape juice disguised as wine. Be careful with that one! Wink, wink!! They’re very generous here too, just $3 will get you six tastings. Tickets must be purchased at the cash register prior to tastings.
Our next stop took us less than 5 minutes away to Freedom Run Winery. The inside is absolutely gorgeous and definitely the fanciest on our trip! Like Niagara Landing you must purchase tickets at the register prior to tasting so be sure to jump right in line. We didn’t end up leaving with any bottles in hand. Unfortunately they were all out of the Catawba, their sweetest wine, which I’m sure would have been my favorite!! Next time!!
Our last stop led us to Eveningside Vineyards which is literally a minute down the road. This place was a bonus stop for us. It’s actually not listed on the Niagara Wine Trail but it was easy to spot from the road as you’re passing by. This place is super quaint and super hip all at the same time. You walk in to hear great music playing on vinyl records. You’re more likely to find company from a small group of friends sampling a few good wines than a jam packed bachelorette party filled tour bus, which can be a major relief on the weekends when the Wine Trail is at it’s busiest.
We finished our day with a special dinner at Black and Blue, one of our favorites in the Buffalo area! They are a must try if you’re looking for an upscale steakhouse in the Buffalo/Niagara area. We always find ourselves coming back and have never been disappointed with the food or the service! Click the link to join their Executive Club! It’s a rewards program that’s free to join AND as an added bonus, they’ll send you a $25 gift card on your birthday! Best birthday present EVER!!!
How do you spend the last day of summer vacation?!? Well going on an adventure of course! The best way to start an adventure is with a great deal! Obviously!! Every Wednesday in September, 5 Wits Escape Rooms has joined forces with Bar Louie to […]