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…
A popular pilgrimage and destination, and close to Niagara. If you enjoy glorious old churches, made in the grand way of by-gone days, and you’re visiting the area, you will want to add this to your itinerary. If like me, you’re from around the area, please take the time to visit. It will be worth your while.
Lovely flowers are placed around the park, especially by the entrance to Hoyt Lake, by the art gallery, and the beautiful rose garden as well. Japanese gardens are on the other side of the park. (Another post, yet to come).
Shakespeare in the Park, a summertime Buffalo tradition.
Weeping willows are an art unto themselves.
Olmsted’s glorious vision.
The end of the park gives way to less manicured gardens, and more natural growth.
Silver light slicing through sky and water as the sun begins its descent.
The sun setting over the statue of David.
A stunning replica of Michaelangelo’s classical statue of David. It stands 17ft high x 5.17ft wide x 3.5ft of depth, not including the base. http://buffalovr.com/david/
Arriving again at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
The sun getting low over the museum.
The Buffalo History Museum ‘bookends’ the Albright-Knox on the other half of Delaware Park.
The Niagara region is rife with vegetation and life. It’s beaming with beauty and verdancy. So much is accessible to the public for viewing, some in a natural state and some in more manicured park lands.
Here is a quick overview of a few of the Parks Niagara has to offer, featuring Devil’s Hole, Whirlpool State Park and Niagara Reservation State Park.
Devil’s Hole State Park has been a great source of Inspiration for our family. With it’s changing moods, with the seasons, diverse paths and trails, it seems to always present something for each of our tastes. Mom likes the above trail and the creative opportunities a stroll affords. The rest of the family likes the hiking down the cliff to the water’s edge: destination ‘wild water’ and unique rock formations.
No pictures of the lower path. Sorry. Everyone was too busy having fun! You’ll just have to come and experience it for yourselves.
And on a practical note, there are picnic tables, so bring a lunch.
Whirlpool State Park and Devil’s Hole are ‘next door’ to one another and accessible via a trail that runs along the top of the gorge. It is not a difficult connection, but it is not easy either. If you are looking for an easy walk, the Devil’s Hole trail is the easiest. Whirlpool’s has a hill you need to navigate and the connection between the parks has a stony and hilly trail.
Whirlpool Park has a lovely view of the Whirlpool, below on the Niagara River and of the Aero car that crosses the gorge, over the Whirlpool, from Canada to Canada.
We would be remiss if we did not turn the spotlight toward Niagara Reservation State Park. A constant beauty, showcasing the Falls, renowned world over, this Park is the number one destination of all tourists visiting from across the globe. A four-season reservation, no room for any hesitation, this is the ultimate destination! 😉
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Western New York is home to a diverse art scene. We take great pride in our artistic history, and its diverse expressions – from the well known architecture to its museums and art galleries. We would like to focus our attention today on the visual arts.
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery of Buffalo began in 1862, and is among the oldest public arts institutions in America. It is an easy 25 minute drive from Niagara Falls.
One of the most up and coming neighborhoods in Buffalo is the Elmwood Village. A vibrant and creative community, there are plenty of boutique-type shops, small art galleries and stores, and trendy restaurants. Both the Albright-Knox and the Burchfield Penney are located in this area of the city.
Located less than 1 hour from Niagara Falls is the small town of East Aurora, NY. Back in 1895, an artistic community was started, and has been maintained in one form or another ’til this day. It began as a printing house and grew into a community which evolved into various forms, including the Arts and Crafts movement including the creation of beautiful glass, furniture, and copper work. It is now a campus with several buildings, including the Roycroft Inn. Tours and classes are available, and eating at the Inn is a special experience.
Some examples of the glass work:
The Roycroft Inn:
Niagara Falls itself is home to Niagara University, which has its own art gallery, The Castellani Art Museum housing various exhibits,and is open to the public.
Recently the 24 Below Cafe and Art Gallery has opened, just feet from Niagara Reservation State Park, and Niagara Falls itself. Many local artists offer their wares in a pleasant atmosphere in the hub of tourist central. Concerts, classes, and activities are offered. One of the “Chicks” happens to be an artist there! 😉