Tag: <span>things to do in western NY</span>

Milk and Honey Bread

Milk and Honey Bread

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 […]

My Fabulous Girls Weekend in Buffalo, NY

My Fabulous Girls Weekend in Buffalo, NY

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?!? […]

Fall in Love With Buffalo

Fall in Love With Buffalo

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!

Niagara-on-the-Lake Part 1

Niagara-on-the-Lake Part 1

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 […]

Thrills and Chills at Escape City Buffalo!

Thrills and Chills at Escape City Buffalo!

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 […]

Griffis Sculpture Park

Griffis Sculpture Park

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 I heard about their fabulous breakfasts and desserts! Little did I know the bakery itself would be the most adorable little bakery that I ever did see!! Like seriously perfection! If I were to close my eyes and design a bakery, I swear it would look exactly like this. It’s pretty much my dream bakery. Lots of splashes of country swag, the perfect amount of comfy cozy charm, and a ginormous counter just overflowing with so many amazing sweet treats. I don’t know who came in here and did the decorating but you would swear it was Joanna Gaines herself. Really!!

Seriously though can you send the decorator my way so we can make my kitchen look like this???

The seating in here is fabulous! There is plenty of room whether your group is small or large. We were the first ones to arrive that morning and snuck in right as they opened at 8:30AM. After sampling a few bites from the menu I seriously can’t believe that people weren’t lining up at the door! I am convinced they have days where that happens!

I couldn’t resist ordering this show stopper from the breakfast menu!! Kaylena Marie’s combines two of your breakfast favorites, and turns them into the ultimate breakfast food mashup…cinnamon roll French toast!!!Talk about heavenly!!! And the portion size was huge too. I couldn’t even come close to finishing this massive dish but Lord knows I tried!!

My hubby went with a classic ham, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich, made to order and served on a fresh brioche bun! I am such a sucker for homemade bread. Doesn’t that look SOOOO good!! The bun was EVERYTHING and the eggs were so fluffy!

We were so impressed by our breakfasts that we even took this cute funfetti muffin home with us! So pretty! I will eat just about anything as long as it has rainbow sprinkles on top! This darling little muffin will surely make you feel like a kid again.

After breakfast we made our way out to East Otto, to explore Griffis Sculpture Park. This outdoor attraction is located just 8 miles outside of Ellicottville and is one of America’s largest sculpture park. It’s 450 acres house over 250 steel sculptures by Larry Griffis Jr. and many other international artists. And it’s dog friendly (as long as their leashed). I can’t wait to bring my puppies back! You can do as much as or little walking and hiking as you like. The park is split into two sections. The Rohr Hill area has larger than life sculptures spread out along a field just off the road and is mostly flat for easy exploring.

Or if you’re feeling adventurous you can make your way over to the Mill Valley Road site, and hike up the hill and through the woods over a variety of terrains where you’ll find sculptures scattered throughout the mostly wooded trails. These dancing ladies surround the pond and are there to greet you as soon as you enter this area.

Many of the sculptures are interactive, meaning you are free to climb inside or on top of them, for photos or just for fun! I climbed up inside this metal tower to pose for a pic! It’s like playground meets art project.

And my hubby channeled his inner “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” and rode atop this giant bug!

The hike through the woods is absolutely beautiful as well as quite the workout. The walk is mostly shaded which is really nice. We found another pond back along the woods as well as an amphitheater where they sometimes have concerts in the summer. This is a gorgeous place to have a picnic. Just remember to pack out what you pack in!

This tornado like piece reminded me of the leg lamp from “A Christmas Story”.

Taking a break in the shade at the Rohr Hill Road site before heading to lunch!

For lunch we decided to head into Ellicottville and check out the Ellicottville Brewing Company. The original brew pub opened here in 1995 and now that location has expanded itself to include an 8000 sq ft restaurant with outdoor seating, a brew house and German beer garden, as well as two additional locations in West Fredonia and Bemus Point, with a fourth on its way this Fall.

The building itself is located on Monroe Street and takes up nearly the whole block! Trust me, you can’t miss it! Or just follow the crowd! I think on any given day you’ll find most of Ellicottville gathering here.

The onsite brewery offers tours on the weekends. For just $15 you can tour the facility, try a few free samples and take home a souvenir glass. Pretty neat!

Inside you’ll find the most inviting, rustic styled restaurant and bar. The restaurant only looked empty but that’s because EVERYONE was sitting outside! But it made for the perfect opportunity to snap a few nice pictures. I bet this place is packed in tight during the winter ski season.

We sampled one of Ellicottville Brewery’s own, Mowmaster’s Ultra Pale Ale, a cool and refreshing light beer! So tasty and delicious!

Jeff enjoying the outdoor beer garden! It was so nice to kick our feet back outdoors after our nice little hike. I would love to go back and check this place out at night when it’s all lit up.

OK, so you HAVE to order the loaded brewer tots as an appetizer. DO IT!!! It’s basically crispy tots, loaded up with their own house smoked BBQ pulled pork, then covered in melty Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses, and topped with BBQ sauce, scallions, and sour cream. Next time we make pulled pork on the smoker I am SOOOO trying to recreate this masterpiece at home! Until then I’ll just have to look at this picture and drool!!

We split a Brisket Sandwich which was awesome! They dry rub it with their own signature seasonings and serve it with BBQ sauce and it’s HUGE! It’s definitely shareable especially after those tots. And we couldn’t stop eating these fries. So addicting!!

We pretty much had to roll ourselves outta there! I can’t wait to go back!!

We’d love to hear from you! Please leave us your comments and love down below.

Strawberry Crumb Cake Muffins

Strawberry Crumb Cake Muffins

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 […]

Niagara Wine Trail

Niagara Wine Trail

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 […]

The Escape Room You Need To Try In Buffalo!

The Escape Room You Need To Try In Buffalo!

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 bring you this awesome deal! Take advantage of buy one get free admission prices at 5 Wits after dining at Bar Louie (receipt must be from the same day). On top of that, Bar Louie will reward you with a free appetizer for signing up for The Mob via a mobile coupon! Be sure to sign up for this 24 hours in advance as it took a day to receive our coupon. But why stop there with the savings??? Bar Louie runs Happy Hour Monday thru Friday from 4pm-7pm which means you can score $3.50 drafts, $4.50 wines, and $5.50 signature martinis, along with half price flatbreads and select appetizers. So of course we started with a signature martinis and a Bud Light on draft! May I suggest the Diva (pictured below). When the rest of our group arrived, we all chowed down on dinner. Definitely needed our strength and quick wits to be on point for the next part of our adventure!

We headed inside the mall to 5 Wits to see if we were up for the challenge! 5 Wits (at the Walden Galleria in Buffalo) offers three different adventure challenges. Your team must solve a series of puzzles and challenges to complete each adventure. Here you will submerge yourself (and your team) in this action packed, live action, insanely interactive escape room! 5 Wits was unlike any other escape room I had been to, not only because of their top notch special effects and stellar story lines, but also because they are suitable for virtually all ages. Our team consisted of my 8 year old niece Ellie, my 9 year old nephew Nathan, their parents, myself, my husband, and my mom. Yep! Even Grandma came. Our group ranged in age from 8 to 64 and everyone LOVED the experience! We started our journey in Deep Space!

Our mission started here on Earth as we received our instructions. Within seconds we were teleported to the abandoned starship Nebulous, a starship that had recently sent out a distress signal after being abandoned for years.

5 Wits escape rooms are set up in 3 stages. Each stage is set in a different room and whether you succeed or fail, you still get to continue on to the next room. So try to act fast and get your head in the game as quickly as possible to complete the mission. The rooms are very interactive and you’ll be moving around a lot! Your adventure will also be timed, so the faster you complete each task, the better your final score will be. In both games that we played, Deep Space, and Drago’s Castle, the middle stage seemed to be the most challenging stage for our group.

The best advice that I can give to you is to be a good listener!!! We were so impressed by the show of it all that we found it easy to get distracted or over excited while you’re in the game. So try to stay focused. And you will definitely need to utilize your team! Some of the challenges will require you to rely on more than one person to complete. Also it was really nice to have the kids there to handle the low work!

Overall we scored 82 out of 100 in Deep Space, which I thought was pretty good because I’m pretty sure our starship is floating out in space in about a zillion pieces right now! If you’re ever trapped in Deep Space, you might not want to call this team!

But if you ever have to capture a dragon…..now here are the kids for the job!! I couldn’t resist the adorable knight and princess accessories. So cute!! They loved wearing them during the game and they obviously helped us solve the puzzles faster!

For our second game, we tried our hand at Drago’s Castle. This game is full of awesome surprises and without giving too much away, I’ll just say that it was pretty magical. The quest starts and ends with an interactive storybook. This room is more geared towards kids story wise, but the adults absolutely loved it too, and the puzzles were still challenging. It’s probably also a little more physical as well, Grandma was a good sport and crawled on her hands and knees through a tunnel, but they also have another option available if that’s not your thing (which I thought was really nice!).

Overall we scored an 86 out of 100 and captured the dragon in the end! We decided to stop after two adventures since the kids started school the next day, but did purchase tokens to come back on another day and test our wits at the Tomb!!! We can’t wait!!!

We celebrated our win with a victory lap to Dough Boyz Dough for a round of well deserved edible cookie dough! Pictured here are Monster M&M, King Caramel, and Brownie Batter! We also had a few Classic Chips in our party. ALL were delicious!!! Make sure to savor every bite! And if you by chance you can’t finish it, they keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks!!

I can’t think of a better way to spend a Wednesday!

We’d love to hear from you! Leave us your questions, comments, and love down below!

Summer Fun at Becker Farms

Summer Fun at Becker Farms

A couple weeks ago we took a charming little daycation to Becker Farms! Does it count as a vacation if it’s just one day of fun? I think so! I’m counting it!! Becker Farms is a quick 45 minute car ride from our home in […]