2Chicks CANADA ~ NIAGARA
Just a sneak peek at our blog to come. A Mad Hatter tea party? Sounds like fun to me. Niagara on the Lake, Ontario. Soon…more to come!
2Chicks CANADA ~ NIAGARA
Just a sneak peek at our blog to come. A Mad Hatter tea party? Sounds like fun to me. Niagara on the Lake, Ontario. Soon…more to come!
Harvest has pretty much come and gone this season, here in Niagara. The farmer’s have labored for many months, and now we are reaping what they have sown. Much of the crops are in from the fields while farm markets, stands & stores are brimming full of fresh produce.
Not only is Niagara a world renowned tourist attract, a place of great power and beauty, but it is also farm country! According to Cornell University, (Cornell Cooperative Extension) there are over 860 farms in Niagara County. With all those farms, you bet there’s plenty of bounty to partake of.
So whether you live in the area or are visiting, be sure to make it a point to visit a market, farm or if you see a farmer…thank them!
And perhaps, when it’s your turn, you’ll have as much fun as we did!
Apples for the picking.
One of the Chicks & a Rooster…
I see a lot of tears…
American Gothic – 2chicks style.
Oodles & oodles of fresh canned goods.
Time for a Kitty Kat break!
Farm cat beauty.
We have much to be grateful for!
Just a little scarecrow flirting…for good measure.
A couple of markets & such:
Park Place Market also has a Small Business Saturday holiday event. The 2chicks attended last year and would recommend it. (See that lovely blue scarf? It’s sold & hanging in my closet).
Kappus Farms, u-pick fruit.
HENRY FAMILY FARM:
3744 Creek Rd,
Youngstown, NY 14174
Niagara Falls, New York has been experiencing a tremendous upswing in the amount of tourists coming around, this 2015 season. As a matter of fact, tourism is up somewhere near 200% since 2014! That’s quite the statistic.
There are varied reasons for this, and if you’re curious, feel free to click the above link. (Let’s just say the park has had a face lift, and some new money has come into the city).
One of the places that is showing off a bit, is Old Falls Street, adjacent to the Reservation State Park (where the actual Falls are).
So what’s been going on there, exactly?
May we show you in some pictures?
Starting with this uber-excited chess-playing young man! Hint: more games to follow…
And might we add, for more information on this Live Music on Old Falls Street, see their Face Book Page! https://www.facebook.com/events/1005160562848902/
This includes info on the Eighth Annual Niagara Falls Blues Festival: http://8th Annual Niagara Falls Blues Festival and The Sixth Annual Old Falls Street Oktoberfest! https://www.facebook.com/events/894374640582768/
*Below are photos of several of the vendors who displayed/served their wares/food at the Taste of Niagara Falls. Following these…GAMES! Old Falls Street is full of FREE GAMES available for the public to participate in.
We loved the atmosphere! A positive ambiance. It was family friendly, had a beer tent, games were being played by young and old, alike. Plenty of seats were available, even some in the shade, during the September heat wave…
*Drumroll…The promised GAMES:
The Rainforest Cafe has a shuttle available to the public. They would love to have you come on over and hop on for a ride! You must admit this looks like a lot of fun…
So thanks again, for hopping along on OUR tour. This time it was a tour of our town, good ole’ Niagara Falls. And the best IS yet to come!
More to come on 2chicks: Farmers Markets and part III Niagara Parks!
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This is Part II of the Niagara Parks piece. We are so fortunate to be living in one of the most beautiful areas on earth. We hope you enjoy the photos and learn a bit more about Niagara and its parks and then come on over to inspect them for yourselves.
Queen Victoria Park
Queen Victoria Park is the park in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, where people go to see the Falls – all three – The American Falls, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe. It is maintained by NPC – the Niagara Parks Commission, and is truly lovely, in itself.
This exquisite pond is located directly across from where one views the American Falls.
In the same vicinity, is the Oakes Garden Theatre. This is a great place to sit and have a picinic, take wedding photos, or to walk around and check out the gardens.
Nestled in behind the theater, and through a gate, lies a secret garden. Yes, really. Many visitors miss this gem.
And, here I am, (one of the two chicks) sitting at a restaurant right next door, called the Secret Garden. I honestly can’t give a review of the menu, as I’ve only had drinks on the terrace, but the link is here, http://www.secretgardenrestaurant.net/
Back over on the American side, one really must see Fort Niagara. The Niagara River empties into Lake Ontario at this juncture. There is a lighthouse, the Fort, the River, The Lake a swimming pool, picnic area, snack bar and more. It’s a great place to spend the day with the family.
The Fort Niagara Lighthouse offers tours and a gift shop.
There is an old road that follows the river and makes for a great walkway, with beautiful views along the way.
You can even stop and take a moment to reflect.
Public Dock – Youngstown, NY
Just down the way from Fort Niagara, are the Youngstown Public Docks. we like it there. When you’re at the Fort, you can see sailboats emerging from upriver, and coming out into the open waters of Lake Ontario. But going to the Docks, you can see these boats up close at waters edge. It’s also kind of handy if you happen to have a boat. 😉
Lewiston’s Waterfront Park
At the river’s edge, in Lewiston, downriver from Niagara Falls and upriver from Youngstown is a quaint little park. Lewiston has their docks down at the water below, but up some steps and at the end of Center Street is this park. The Silo Restaurant is there, picnic tables, a couple of bench swings to watch the sunset over Canada. One of our favorite things are the spectacular statues by sculptor, Susan Gessler.
Peace Garden – Lewiston, NY
Back up the hill, on Center Street lies a quiet little nook, behind the main buildings. It is a peaceful place with flowers and sculptures and a table to play chess on. A small oasis during a tour of the historic town of Lewiston.
Lockport Cave Entrance/Lockport Canal/Town of Lockport Nature Trail
Alright folks. You got me. Have you ever been someplace and don’t really know where it was? I googled until my eyes crossed and then called the Lockport Library where a very kind research librarian helped me. (Heck, they live there and don’t know what it’s called.)
The Erie Canal runs through the town of Lockport and there are trails meandering all around the canals, here and there. There are walkways and ruins, and woods and hiking and picnic tables, oh my! In the midst of that is an attraction called the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat ride. Near the entrance is a park-like area. We choose to call it a park!
There is the famous ‘upside down’ railroad bridge. It’s an interesting story:
There are all kinds of photo ops, with ruins and scenery and historical buildings. Such a fun place to go!
Hyde Park – Niagara Falls
Hyde park is New York State’s largest park aside from Central Park in Manhattan. It has a lake for fishing and boating, bocce ball, tennis courts, a golf course, a swimming pool and a baseball stadium. We take walks quite often through this park, and it’s one of our favorite ways to exercise. With the holiday weekend upon us, it is also good to mention that every year, they have an impressive fireworks show over the lake for the 4th of July.
Niagara has a treasure trove of parks and green spaces, and we hope that you’ve enjoyed touring it with us! Stay tuned for part three…
Western New York enjoys her food and many foodies agree that her everyday eats are really great! She doesn’t have to put on the dog and dress up to put on a good show.
The 2chicks will probably have another top ten favorite restaurants and eateries blog in the not too distant future… because there are so many darn good places to eat around here. We could do a top 100 and get it over with, but that would just be piggish. So we’ll take our time and savor it, and show you around…slowly…on simmer… at 325 degrees, because we’re not in a hurry and like things tender, flaky, and oh so juicy.
(These are not in any particular order, they all serve plain old good food).
1) Red Coach Inn
The Red Coach Inn, which was opened in 1923, is a fine dining establishment in Niagara Falls and right across from Reservation State Park, steps from the Falls. There is a lunch and dinner menu and a lovely veranda outside with quite a few tables. They have an innovative twist on some dishes as well as standard fare, nicely done. http://www.redcoach.com/
And don’t forget dessert!!
2) The Fuji Grill
The Fuji Grill is a chain Japanese style restaurant that has some very delicious food choices, entertaining presentations and lots of fun for the family. Some of the choices are pretty healthy, including vegetarian dishes, brown rice, fish (both cooked and raw) and a variety of other items. Sometimes it’s especially nice while on vacation to have the opportunity to eat healthy! They have a friendly staff and we’ve never left hungry or bored. They have two locations, one in Williamsville, and the other in Niagara Falls.
3) The Royal Family Restaurant
The Royal Family Restaurant has not only authentic Greek style food, but also American, including daily specials. We absolutely love their Open Souvlaki Salad, and the tzatziki sauce is to die for! http://www.letseat.at/royalfamilyrestaurant
4) The Griffon Pub
The Griffon Pub is in the Town of Niagara, off the beaten tourist trail, near the famous Canadian soaked Outlet Malls. Every time we visit this pub, we are not disappointed! Their food is very inventive, definitely not your typical bar food. Their Roasted Strawberry Salad with panko coated goat cheese is very fresh (See photo below). We also loved their Bahn Mi sandwich; it was so flavorful! This place has just made the Thrill List on the Best Bars outside of New York City. http://www.thrillist.com/drink/new-york/upstate/best-bars-new-york-state-where-to-drink-in-ithaca-lake-placid-albany-and-more
5) The Pizza Bistro
Third Street, Niagara Falls, has a nifty little place called the Pizza Bistro. It has authentic brick oven pizza with several interesting choices, salads, soups and daily specials. The Bistro is a cute niche, next door to Wine on Third, which isn’t shabby either! They have a nice outdoor eating space and indoors is stylish and comfortable. It isn’t a tacky pizza joint, but has a bit of panache, and the food is just really yummy!
6) Chu’s Dining Lounge
There’s a Chinese food restaurant, Chu’s on Main Street, Niagara Falls, which is just a little different than the others. For those in the ‘know’, this is a ‘Canadian Chinese’ place. Many Western New Yorkers have been appreciative of the small differences and nuances that the other side of the border has produced in its Aisian Cuisine. A couple of examples would be the hand made egg rolls, which are amazing. They also have homemade “little pillows”in their won ton soup. So, if you don’t want to cross the bridge, but want a taste of this excellent food, save the trip and visit Chu’s. We’ve been fans for many years now. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chus-Dining-Lounge/111669492203391
7) Viola’s Subs
So, we went to the Niagara Falls Italian Festival on Pine Avenue in the summer and decided to do our own little taste-test. We ordered several items from several vendors in order to find which had the best tasting dish, in our humble opinions, and came up with a decidedly number one winner. It was Viola’s Sub’s! This well known sub shop is popular and reknowned for a reason…the subs are delicious! We had the steak and cheese, and they beat out any others we’ve tried, thus far. You really should try one out for yourself and then give us your opinion! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Violas-Submarine-Shop/157132101003133
8) The Lewiston Stone House
The Lewiston Stone House is more like a “wine house’. It isn’t actually even a restaurant, but it’s a fun night out! They have a wide variety of wines, entertainment, even painting nights. They also have a food truck that stops by on certain nights. It’s an outdoor space, so weather needs to be considered and you should always check their Facebook page for the latest “goings on”.
So, grouped with this place, we’ve added the Foodini Food Truck!
The Foodini fare tickles our tastebuds. The Bang Bang Shrimp Po Boy is a flavor festival. The above quesadilla is really nice too! There are different choices written on that board of their’s and there’s always a line-up no matter the festival, concert, event or Wine Bar they happen to park their little wheels. https://www.facebook.com/greatfoodinifoodtruck
9) Mullberry Italian Ristorante
Mulberry Ristorante in Lackawanna New York, (the Southern end of Buffalo) is a restaurant worthy of the ride. Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives featured it, and no wonder! They have a meatball the size of my fist, homemade noodles, and ridiculous layers of lusciousness in their original lasagna. There wasn’t a bite that passed our lips that wasn’t welcome! http://www.mulberryitalianristorante.com/menu.html
Gigantic, yet somehow delicious meatball!
Chicken Violante, Parmesean crusted chicken, sliced tomato, provolone lemon butter sauce. Scrumptious!
Their lasagna is simply lip smacking fabulous!
10) The Brickyard Pub & BBQ
Western New York isn’t necessarily known for barbecue, but you wouldn’t know that if you went to Lewiston’s Brickyard. Their slow cooked meats have the “smoke ring” which is an indicator of an authentic smoking process. We particularly love their Brunswick Stew, and the beef brisket is tender and juicy. Their sides are plentiful; you could even choose a shot of Evan Williams Bourbon with their platters (if you dare!)
So with all the delicious choices, what are you waiting for? Come for the sights but let your taste buds have a holiday too!
Western New York has five seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, and the season of festivals. Most of the festivals take place from May through October, but there are a smattering during the off season as well. If you come for a vacation, you really should find out which festivals are occurring during the time you’re visiting, and plan to attend at least one, if not more. And you might even want to plan your vacation around the festival(s) of your choosing.
The Buffalo Waterfront is a constant source of activities, as you can see in the link. http://www.visitbuffaloniagara.com/things-to-do/canalside/events/
Canal Fest, which takes place in July, is a time-honored gatherings in North Tonawanda, and it has really grown over the years, be sure to check it out! http://www.canalfest.org/
Lockport has an outdoor arts and crafts show in June. They have many vendors, food, and even some displays.
Dave McKenna was one of the vendors at the show. He makes wine cork birdhouses and feeders, which are hand crafted from reclaimed lumber, cedar shingles, and wine corks. His website is www.mckbirdhouses.com
Vintage Advertisment Reproductions have some great historic reproductions. Go to their website at www.BuffaloHistoryBuff.com.
The next festival is one we just love: the Lewiston Art Festival. This would be our pick for one of the best that Niagara County has to offer.
Thomas Paul Asklar is quite a well known artist in the area, and his work is beautifully executed. One of his favorite subjects is of Niagara Falls (and we can understand why!) He does not have a website, but you can reach him at 716-531-2668. Also, his studio is in Lewiston, if you’d like to take a look at his work. (433 Cherry Lane, Lewiston, NY 14092.)
Shawn Kosmala is an incredibly talented photographer, and he takes the coolest close-up photos. He photographs ordinary objects and turns them into works of art. You can visit his website at www.newbeginningsstudio.com and his email address is nontoxicartist@hotmail,com.
Juliana Drumheller makes lovely “pottery for everyday elegance” and can be found at www.jmdrumheller.net/pottery
Niagara Falls has its own festivals, including the upcoming Oktoberfest on Saturday October 4th, 1-8 pm. You can check out last year’s blog from 2chicks2go: https://2chicks2go.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/oktoberfest-at-the-falls/
Finally, there is the Niagara Falls Music and Arts Festival, which takes place in June. It is a wonderful combination of live bands, arts & crafts, and delicious foods. We also wrote a blog on this one: https://2chicks2go.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/the-niagara-falls-music-and-arts-festival/
For more activities and festivals, visit http://www.niagarariverregion.com/calendar/list/current_page,1/per_page,10. Another great resource is http://www.visitbuffaloniagara.com/things-to-do/calendar-of-events/. Lastly, visit the Old Falls Street webpage or things to do in Niagara Falls. http://www.fallsstreet.com/1000/FallWinterSpecialEvents.asp .
We’ll see you at one of the festivals!
The second half of my Baltimore vacation continued along the waterfront. Not far from the National Aquarium is the coolest Barnes and Noble bookstore. It was constructed in a completely re-vamped factory (the above photo shows a building with four smokestacks, which actually houses the bookstore).
These are a couple of pics of the awesome interior! You’ll be sure to want to allocate some time to exploring this place.
Heading towards the Baltimore Science Center and the Welcome Center you will pass the USS Constellation and its museum.
Everybody knows Forest Gump and the famous shrimping duo; and lucky you if you decide to stop in for the view and a delightful berry mixed green salad topped with shrimp!
There are plenty of restaurants and bars and a few shops. I really liked it that there were some ethnic places where I could get my urge for a Middle Eastern shawarma satiated. It was one of those family owned places where they take extra care and make everything from scratch, including the flat bread. The price was reasonable though the atmosphere lacking. There are several of these kind of stops available on the main drag, just down the road from the Cross Street Market.
Many of the older homes of the district are row houses, lots of brick, yet trying for their snippet of individuality. Others are the ‘painted doors and shutters and gates and flowers and everything charming’ kinda places. It does seem that some streets succeed more on the charm level than others.
The next part of the adventure needs be the Federal Hill Historic District. Don’t you love it when cities have quaint pockets of an historic area, still brimming with life and oozing personality? I loved the Cross Street Market where you can get everything from flowers, to chocolate to live steamed crabs or clams (not my cup-o-tea, but every crowd has one). It’s neat and clean and a one-stop-shop for all foods Baltimore.
The end of this trip needed a bird’s eye view to take it all in and absorb the skyline. So up to the top of Federal Hill it was. This is a wonderful place to take photos.
I happened upon a magazine bridal photo shoot and asked if I could take this shot. Too bad I didn’t have the right camera with me…but it’s still beautiful! The bottom of her dress is covered in feathers. Goodness!
After descending the hill and walking back around the harbor, I passed by the World Trade Center where these structural pieces from the NYC tragedy were recovered. It gave pause to reflect on the then upcoming 13th anniversary of September 11th. It also brought to mind the great privilege of freedom we hold dear.
All in all this was a memorable and highly recommended trip.
Some people have a pre-disposition for the hunt. They love lurking in dark corners, looking under rocks and tree trunks for that elusive find. If you are among the chosen, the few, who consider yourself to be an antique hunter, part of an elite squad who comb the country-side to snatch up that one-of-a-kind doohickey, you will be pleased to know that Niagara is awash with whoozie-whats-its and whatchamacallits.
So whether you are visiting Western New York and desire to make this a part of your vacation plan, stopping over from Ontario for the night, or lucky enough to live here and want to just make an afternoon of it, you will be pleased with the many discoveries waiting here for you.
My sister and I went to Sanborn, just outside of Niagara Falls, and found a cute little antique shop called the Sanborn Old General Store. http://sanbornoldgeneralstore.yolasite.com/
Inside were treasures galore, from delightful candles and sundries, to genuinely sought after, and hard to find antiques.
These items were set up in lovely displays.
The store was tastefully arranged, and it made for a very pleasant shopping experience. The prices were more than reasonable, and they had a vast selection of goods for everyone’s taste.
The Hilltop Country Antiques & Gift Emporium was down the road a bit, and a completely different experience. The store is much smaller, and packed to the brim.
This is a “Mom and Pop” shop, and the purveyors/owners are more than helpful, and very knowledgeable about the goods in their store (and antiques in general). They took a lot of time to help us with particulars. We felt very comfortable and welcome, but not pressured to buy.
Shawnee Country Barns Antique Co-op is another place that we’ve visited on previous excursions. It is a huge setup, with individual vendor stalls. http://www.scbantiques.com/
After a long day of antiquing and gathering our goods, our favorite part of the hunt had to be our number one choice for Greek food in the North Towns – The Olympia Family Restaurant. They have a large and varied menu, but our favorite dish is the Greek Open Souvlaki Salad. The chicken is marinated and tender, and the portion is ample, with plenty to take home.
So onward, fellow shoppers, the thrill is in the hunt.
On June the 13th, one of the Chicks had a Capital idea! She decided it was time for a summer trip to our Nation’s Capital, patriotic girl that she is. So here are some tips, tidbits and photos, in case you want to go to Washington, D.C. or Baltimore, MD.
One of the best ways for a tourist to see DC is to take a tour. I went on a bike tour, and loved it! It was so nice to be out in the open air, with access to many places that cars can’t go (and feet can tire quickly. HA!). The guide was very knowledgeable, and kept the pace leisurely so that all of the riders were comfortable. We took in a lot of sites in a 3 hour span, something that is difficult to do on your own. http://dc.capitalcitybiketours.com/tours
The White House was one of the stops on our tour.
… As was the Jefferson Memorial.
The Jefferson at sunset.
Next on the agenda was the Smithsonian Institution, which is made up of a variety of museums. The best thing: they’re free. I visited several, and enjoyed them all. A couple of highlights for me included the Star Spangled Banner in the American History Museum – it was much bigger than I thought. I was also very moved by the Holocaust Museum and its respectful and somber portrayal of some of the lamentable events of WWII. http://www.si.edu/
This poster is from the American History Museum’s WWII exhibit. I wonder how many citizens of the time knew they were giving Herr Hitler a ride?
This is a classic poster from the same exhibit.
The Strawberry, Goat cheese, and Spinach salad was practically a meal in itself.
Now, you know you’ve gotta eat… And one of the most historic and delicious restaurants in DC is the Old Ebbitt Grill; Washington’s oldest saloon. Check out their website for interesting and historic facts. Better yet, go there for yourself. http://www.ebbitt.com/
The salmon dish was to die for- they fly their fish in from Alaska fresh, every day.
The Smithsonian National Zoo is an easy subway ride from the city. There are many exhibits, it is well kept, and it is also free. Can’t beat that!!! http://nationalzoo.si.edu/
Because I rented a car, it was quite easy to take a day trip to Baltimore, MD – you’re there in about one hour (depending on the traffic). The waterfront is well developed and beautiful; with many restaurants and shops to visit.
My favorite thing I did, while there, was to go to the Aquarium. This was not free, but it was well worth it. It took the better part of my day to explore the many aquatic displays, which were very enjoyable. http://www.aqua.org/
So, I leave you with the following photos, and wish you a bon voyage – for now.