Tag Archives: Festivals

Niagara Falls, New York. Old Falls Street ~ What’s the Buzz about?

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T.G.I.F.’s outdoor patio, and a view down Old Falls Street.

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.

http://www.twcnews.com/nys/buffalo/news/2015/09/1/record-tourism-numbers-for-summers-end-in-niagara.html

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?

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Starting with this uber-excited chess-playing young man! Hint: more games to follow…

 

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The newly added Rainforest Cafe

 

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The Rainforest Cafe patio.

 

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How many monkeys DOES it take to help Atlas shoulder the world?

 

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A common sound on Old Falls Street ~ Live Music! (The Sheraton’s At The Falls Arcade).

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/

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We came for a visit to Old Falls Street, on the Taste of Niagara Falls weekend. May we say it was very ‘tastefully’ done?

*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.

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The food was enough to have you make a pig of yourself!

http://www.scipionecatering.com/

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We would like to welcome a fairly recent addition to the restaurants in Niagara Falls: The 755 Restaurant: located at City Market, a family owned enterprise, serving Mediterranean/Lebanese food. This falafel pita sample was delicious.
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…as was the chicken souvlaki pita.

http://www.755westmarket.com/

                          

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The food festival had ample customers. This is a candid shot of Tony Roma’s stall. The Rainforest Cafe, and TGIF’s chain restaurants were all represented.

 

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The Meeting Place has an interesting mix of American fast food and Greek foods and is located in Bergholtz. http://www.meetingplaceniagarafalls.com/

 

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Cupcakes. Did you say Cupcakes??!

 

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A brand new shop! Looking forward to checking it out…

http://www.babycakescupcakediner.com/

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The Como Restaurant is a goodie. This NF fixture needs to be visited by anyone who is an Italian food lover.

 

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Pizza bread? Como-style? What’s not to like?

 

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Bar food. Mmmm. Solidays, in the city.

 

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Did you say ‘tots’? With dipping sauce? Yes please.

https://www.facebook.com/solidaysbarandgrille?fref=ts

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Nope. Not a restaurant. A promotional for no-kill shelters. But these festivals attract varied groups and vendors. We thought this seemed like a good one!

http://www.THESOHOPROJECT.org

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And DANG! They had good quinoa bowls. Yum!

 

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Who doesn’t like chocolate? Niagara’s Honeymoon Sweets ought to do the trick!

http://www.NiagarasHoneymoonSweets.com

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Always classy. LOVED the Angel. ❤

 

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Dragonfly Jams and Jellies, Youngstown New York. Both delicious and economical.

https://www.facebook.com/DragonflyJamsandJellies

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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:

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We especially enjoyed the ping pong. I won. 😉

 

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Jenga anyone?

 

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What would you write?

 

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A big ole’ sidewalk chessboard, or two or so…

 

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Somebody was having a good time!

 

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Rainforest Cafe shuttle. http://www.niagara-usa.com/listings/Rainforest-Cafe/1032/#.Ve-QoBFViko

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!

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More to come on 2chicks: Farmers Markets and part III Niagara Parks!

Follow 2chicks2go on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sherrierobins/

Rochester ~ A Stone’s Throw from Niagara

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The gardens at the Sonnenberg Mansion, on Lake Canandaigua, near Rochester, NY.

Rochester, New York, is an easy thruway drive of under two hours from Niagara Falls. It has a different vibe than Northern Buffalo and the Niagara area, including the hilly terrain, and it’s a great place for a very doable day trip.

This weekend was a fun one for the 2chicks. We had a family wedding in Rochester, New York, so we went a bit early to do some exploring! One of the ‘chicks’ was in the wedding party, so the other one took the ‘rooster’ to do some of that sight-seeing… feel free to tag along…

Our favorite stop was the Sonnenberg Garden and Mansion, State Historic Site. Located in Canandaigua, about a half hour from where we were staying, this is definitely a worthwhile place to spend a half-day. A Victorian Era Private Home, we found it to be very tourist-friendly, with guides available with historic information and tid-bits, and encouraging people to take photos inside (not oft the case). There’s more ‘wiggle-room’ for exploration than some places allow as well. http://www.sonnenberg.org/

So please, enjoy the Sonnenberg Tour.

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A view of the mansion from the gardens.
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The front entrance.
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The rose garden as seen from the Mansion balcony.
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A Rooster and a Chick. 😉
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The greenhouse and surrounding gardens.
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Love us some orchids!
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We happened to attend the day of the Arts at the Gardens Event, 2015.

http://artsatthegardens.com/

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A view of the fountain from the Mansion.

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High Noon Cafe at Sonnenberg, located near the greenhouses. They have reasonable prices and good food.
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High Noon.
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A fruit Gazpacho. Very good!
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A tasty seafood crepe and fresh tomato-basil salad.

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A delicious shrimp dish with brown rice and a side of steamed vegetables.

Back in Fairport (a village/suburb of east of Rochester) we went to Chakara Restaurant. They are rated the number one restaurant in Fairport, and perhaps they deserve that rating…at least our tastebuds thought so.

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Their won ton soup was one of the best we’ve had, anywhere!

https://www.facebook.com/EatChakara

Rochester is located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. At the Northern end of the city lies a lovely park: Ontario Beach Park. There is a fishing pier, a public boat launch, an historic operating carousel, public beach picnicking facilities and more. We enjoyed strolling and relaxing there after the wedding festivities.  http://www.cityofrochester.gov/ontariobeachpark/

One of only fourteen operating antique menagerie carousels in America, “The Duchess” Dentzel carousel is accompanied by a Wurlitzer Military Band Organ. http://rocwiki.org/Dentzel_Carousel

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Some kids enjoying themselves on the colorful carousel!
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I went for a ride on this cat. Bad boy!
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High traffic in the waterway leading to the lake.
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Volleyball Tournament every weekend.

Back in the city, downtown Rochester, we met up with the other chick and her rooster, for a lovely Sunday Brunch. The Owl House is a hidden gem, but known to those on the lookout for that unique spot to eat fresh made-from scratch foods. It has a varied menu including a good selection of gluten-free and vegan/vegetarian dishes. We would highly recommend it!  http://www.owlhouserochester.com/

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The Spring Scramble with sourdough bread and tofu ricotta. (The ricotta is delicious, but a bit spicy, be warned).

Thanks for joining us on our Rochester adventure!

The happy bride and groom...and a sneaky brother!
The happy bride and groom…and a sneaky brother!

A Plethora of Festivals in Niagara

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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/

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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.

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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

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Vintage Advertisment Reproductions have some great historic reproductions. Go to their website at www.BuffaloHistoryBuff.com.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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Juliana Drumheller makes lovely “pottery for everyday elegance” and can be found at www.jmdrumheller.net/pottery 

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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/

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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 Four Seasons of Niagara

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Autumn is a wonderful season no matter where you are. If you live in an area where they refer to “autumn”, chances are you experience the changes of the four seasons. We all love the cooler temperatures, and refreshment from the summer’s heat. The variation of foliage brings an array of colors and salutes the majesty of creation.

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Having traveled and lived in various area through our lives, we just happen to think that Niagara likes to show off a bit.

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Niagara loves to grow an abundant harvest. It loves to party. It loves to dress up to the hilt. It loves to share all of this with you!

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Winter is a season of controversy. Many folks either love it or hate it. There is no doubt that living near Buffalo, NY has given Niagara a bad rap from January through March. Yet actually, there is much awe and inspiring beauty during these cold winter months.

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Christmas decorates the malls. The holidays celebrate December. Icicles dance in sparkling shows of glitter and glam, while people sing and celebrate you home through New Years.

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Indoors we dine and civilize in the warmth of each others company and class.

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There are cleared paths and trails for walking, and places for skating and nearby skiing.

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We all look forward to spring, with the hope of new life and regeneration.

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“crocuses show their little heads, gracefully leading the way.

The blossoms sprout, the lilies sing, in a dazzling, joyful floral array.”

See… Just thinking about it makes us wax poetic (Mom’s the corny one.)

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To visit Niagara in the spring is to see a tumbling and effervescent declaration of life!

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The ice is let out of the Lake Erie boom and jostles its way over the abrupt precipice.

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And then there’s summer. we all love summer, as long as the temperature doesn’t spike!

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And summer is the Niagara we all know and love. Cool refreshing breezes blow in from the Great Lakes and the many trees provide ample shade. Oh yes, we have our heat too, but what a refreshing way to cool down, standing by the edge of the abyss, immersed in the spray stirred up by the crashing turquoise waters.

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The Jet Boat and the Maid of the Mist are two ways of getting right down into the turbulence and rapids, experiencing the water like no other! But even in the rush of the summer season, there are gentle times and places that allow for lingering ruminations.

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Hawks, buzzards and varied bird life soar high above the gorge, while the great outdoors is just waiting to be experienced. Festivals, music, concerts, and such soar in their own way as well!

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So pick, your favorite season and come on by. We’d love to have you!

Chautauqua; a delightful place to take an autumn break

 

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One of the wonderful things about Niagara is its central location to so many other fabulous finds. We love to take day trips or overnights to some of these places. One of our favorites is Chautauqua! It’s a short drive from Buffalo and Niagara, and an easy and pleasant day trip, to be sure.
The Lake Chautauqua region of Western New York is fresh and full of voluminous vistas. The hills which rise up from Lake Erie and house Lake Chautauqua, offer beauty to the beholder, around many twists and turns.
One of the largest grape growing regions in America, the Chautauqua area is a supplier to Welch’s grape juice and has several wineries as well. (See link below).
My favorite season to visit this area is the autumn, when the leaves are turning, the air is still warm and the scent of grapes tickles your nostrils with happy little joy tendrils.

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My cousin and I rented a condo on the property of the Chautauqua Institute and did everything we could to enjoy ourselves! We love taking photos and walking and this is a regular paradise to do so. There is some interesting architecture here and the Institute is filled with charming homes from around the turn of the 20th Century. The owners take pride in dressing up their front porches with delightful flower arrangements and greenery by the dozens. Who wouldn’t be happy taking pictures of such a place?
A community, reminiscent of days past still exists in the summer, with a small bleed over into the fall. People sit and rock on their porches, magazine in hand, chatting with neighbors and drinking iced tea. Ideas are born this way.

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The Atheneum is an old hotel, on property, with a delightful wrap around porch, facing the Lake and the famous clock tower. In the autumn many of the porches’ chairs are empty whereas during the summer season you’re lucky to snag one! http://www.athenaeum-hotel.com/ The hotel lobby is a step back into yesteryear, with a gracious environment long gone. It somehow reminds me of Mark Twain. Oh wait, yeah he was here. This is a cool article describing the roots of the Institute, (but note, it’s an older article and the prices are not correct): http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08/03/travel/chautauqua-s-quiet-charm.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

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There’s also the Busti Apple Festival a way out in the country, in the town of Busti that is well worth the trek. They’ve got the old mill up and running, fiddlers fiddling, cider pumping, corn a shuckin’ and lots of vendors selling their arts and crafts. They also display some crafting, like caning, with the demonstrators in costume. It’s held the last Sunday in September and runs from 9-5. http://www.townofbsti.com/apple.htmlu

During the winter, the President’s Day Weekend Winter Festival is held in Mayville and includes a Snowball Dance, snowmobile rides, a Lego Creation Building Contest and a fireworks display. http://www.chautauquachamber.org/events/eventdetail.aspx?EventID=260
At the beginning of spring, buckets can be seen hanging from maple trees all along the countryside. A Maple Syrup Festival is held then, in nearby Jamestown. http://aboutchautauqua.com/page/4
Of course, in the summertime the Chautauqua Institute reigns supreme with all she has to offer: http://www.ciweb.org/#1 and humbler activities such as boating, canoeing, hiking, biking, antiquing and wine tasting, museums and children’s activities are all easily available with a variety of accommodations to choose from. (See links below).
For general information on activities: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g1987130-Activities-Chautauqua_County_New_York.html
For wineries and tastings: http://www.chautauqua-wine-trail.com/wineries.html ,
For water activities and more: http://www.chautauquarentals.net/Links.html
For hiking and biking: http://www.post-journal.com/page/contkent.detail/id/501773.html?nav=5099
Photography, hiking, biking, wine tasting, boating, festivals, Niagara, Chautauqua County, Chautauqua Institute, Buffalo, New York State, crafts, maple syrup, Atheneum, Mark Twain, Antiquing, Legos, Lego Creation Building Contest.

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