Niagara on the Lake is History come alive. But sometimes it’s just plain fun history. Like Alice In Wonderland kind of fun. Mad Hatter Tea Party kind of crazy.
This is a two-parter blog post. First the tea party, because we just couldn’t resist. Our next blog post on Niagara on the Lake, will be “History alive”. But isn’t that kind of the same thing? So we shall just begin at the beginning.
It all starts with the Shaw Festival and their play, Alice in Wonderland. Here is the link including dates and showtimes. This really is something you wouldn’t care to miss. Surely you’d better hurry and not be late…for a very important date! http://www.shawfest.com/playbill/alice-in-wonderland/
Secondly, all in strictly proper timing, we’re sure, Beau Chapeau has the most felicitous of window dressings. You will be missing out if you don’t drop by for a look-see. And while looking you may just want to stop inside and find the very hat you’ve been looking for, from a by-gone era or not. https://beauchapeau.com/ (3 slide-show below. Click arrows if you’re still late)…
See how that crazy Mad Hatter worked on his tea-potion to blend the old and new? What a guy! Gotta tip your hat to him. 😉
Lastly, nothing like a sample of the real deal. A real tea party, done up in Mad Hatter style. An homage to the Shaw and the Carroll, Alice and the Queen.
Let’s stroll down the Avenue to meet the Prince: Prince of Wales that is, the dreamy little Hotel hosting this gem of a party in their very own Tea Room.
Step back into yesteryear and enter the upside down world of the Hatter. The Queen will be sure to greet you. The Queen of Hearts, that is.
She will beguile you with her charms and entice you with the aroma of sugar and spice and everything nice.
For your pleasure, another quick slide-show, below, 4 photos.
A warm spring day in Niagara. A healthy appetite. Yearning for a bit of adventure. Whadd’ ya got? Our Saturday trip to the country! So if you like farm-sourced food, delicious house-made baked goods, a drive in the country, and a few good snaps, you’re in for a treat.
There’s nothing too surprising for a country restaurant, on the outside…
But on the inside…
And the food was perhaps as surprising.
From scratch corned-beef-hash
They make their baked goods including the croissant for this plate.
The home fries weren’t greasy. The burrito filled with lovelies. Different taste combinations, friendly staff. We give it 4 chicks!
Then it was off to the Farm! There were…
A chicken laying eggs…supervised by a rooster…
A Chick NOT laying eggs, supervised by a Rooster…
Speaking of eggs…and rocks…
Speaking of roosters…
Isn’t this farm just ducky?? (HAD to do it)…
Oh, and did we mention the farm was at a market? Or rather, the market is at a farm?
Dispenza’s is a rather unique, family owned market that sells meat and dairy products, as close to nature as they are practically able to do. If you are interested in such things, it would be a good idea to visit them. https://www.facebook.com/DispenzasMeatMarket/?fref=ts
They have farm fresh milk and eggs and other locally sourced food items, along with some standard, popular Western New York fare. We chicks certainly enjoyed the items we purchased! Best milk we ever had…
Then, we made a quick stop over, Youngstown way to Sanger Farms for some fresh baked goods, like cherry pie and banana pineapple bread. The aroma of fresh baking hit us right in the nose,when we walked in the door. https://www.facebook.com/sangerfarms/?fref=ts
There’s no place like the country for good eats! Niagara County is just really good at it…
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!
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.
*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!
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/
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.
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
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/
We love to eat well. Or should we say, well…we love to eat!
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
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
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!
While we do love Niagara Falls, we also like to vacation in other parts of the world. We will be doing a small series of our escapades, near and far.
First we’d like to start with Jennifer’s capers in Europe.
Years ago in High School, I met a girl from Germany. We hit it off, and have remained great friends ever since. Every so often, we will exchange visits, and December was my turn. We met in Munich, and then flew directly into Venice for 3 days. In the off season, there are some great deals on flights and hotels!
We stayed at the Hotel Aquavita, http://en.acquavita.it/ which is a 400 year old building, turned into a boutique hotel. When we compared this building to some of the others that we saw, it actually seemed relatively new.
Like every good tourist, we took a ride on the Gondola. No matter how cliche, it really is a must do. In the month of December 2013, the price was 80.00 Euro for the trip. Keep in mind, that price is divided between the number of people taking the ride. There is a rigorous test that the Gondoliers have to go through to achieve that position, so the ones that actually do really enjoy their job!
San Marco Square is also a must-see, and it’s true what they say about the pigeons. Everything they say about the pigeons.
And watch out for the man that wants to give you corn to feed the pigeons… out of the kindness of his heart… because really, he just wants your money. And he won’t take the corn back. and he wants to charge you much more than the corn is worth. But, I digress.
On a more serious note, we also visited the Jewish Ghetto, which is like turning the pages of history. http://www.ghetto.it/ghetto/en/index.asp In fact, they still have the barbed wire on the walls. This was a quiet respite from the touristy areas of Venice, and a nice place to reflect and think. It’s hard to imagine how people were actually imprisoned here in a corner of this spectacular city.
But we must not forget.
Now, this wouldn’t be a 2chicks2go blog post without the food. So here is the obligatory meal. Behold and feast with your eyes. This spread was found in the Jewish quarter, and it was delectable. This included humus, roasted carrots, felafel, egg salad, eggplant, and more. It was a wonderful sampler of a unique cuisine.
So, it’s “Oktober” and you know what that means…yes…Oktoberfest!
There are many Oktoberfest celebrations world wide this time of year, but none other have the roar of the mighty Niagara as a back drop.
This autumn has been an unusually warm one, with temperatures regularly above average. The leaves have begun their subtle turn from green to gold and auburn and orange, and this past weekend was spectacular. The sky was bright blue, with barely a cloud to be found.
And down by the Falls, on Old Falls Street, there was a lot going on. Our version of Oktoberfest included the quintessential lederhosen and dirndl ensembles, biergartens, and “Oom-Pah-Pah” bands.
There were were several types of German themed foods, including bratwurst, schnitzel, pretzels, and a variety of beer available in the large tent. Long tables filled to capacity with families and friends ate, drank, and listened the alphorns, while watching colorful dancers.
There were activities for children in the Kidtoberfest Zone which included a petting zoo, bounce house, art tables, and a balloon twister. And for the grownup “kids”, it was the perfect day to toss around the Frisbee in the Kan Jam tournament.
Because we know they have great food and a shady place to sit, we decided to eat at Legends Bar & Grill on First Street. Their menu includes wood fired pizzas, hamburgers, salads and wings, to name a few. http://legendsbarnf.com/ We’ve always found the food to be good here.
Mayor Paul Dyster and his friends were there to enjoy the fun.
The summer schedule of Old Falls Street is jam packed with activities, with a smattering of seasonal festivities as well. The calendar of activities is available on their website, http://fallsstreet.com/.
Welcome to our blog. We are the two chicks! Jennifer and Sherrie, Daughter and Mom. We live in Niagara Falls, NY.
During our travels, people always ask “where are you from?” and we say “we’re from Niagara Falls.” Inevitably. they know just where that is, with their only question being, “which side of the border?” because Niagara Falls is the “world’s most famous address.” And the second question is “living in a tourist area, where do YOU go for vacation?”
So, we thought that we would answer those questions and more in the form of a blog. First of all, for those coming to visit our world famous attraction, we will happily give insider information, tips, and tell you what we like to do.
Secondly, for those of us that live in the Western New York area, you know we’re sitting on a treasure. Wouldn’t it be nice to have consolidated where-to information, schedules and reviews at your finger tips? We would also like to share our enjoyment of local fare, markets, restaurants, and the wine trail. Jennifer and Sherrie also enjoy cooking- we will contribute some recipes of the bountiful produce that Western New York has to offer here on our blog.
Living in such a centrally-located area, we have access to so much. World class events, dining, entertainment, hiking and scenery. For people that are visiting our area, they may not be aware of how this hub can lend to an exciting extended vacation and for locals to enjoy day trips. As anative born Canadian, Sherrie has a unique perspective of both sides of the border.
That brings us to where we like to vacation. Sherrie has traveled extensively across most of North America, where as Jennifer has traveled abroad on several different occasions. We would also like to share some of these experiences with you.
So put on your yellow rain slicker, and lets get ready 2 go.