Browsing Tag

New York

History, North America

Visiting the Queen City of New York

July 24, 2016 • By

When I first visited Buffalo, New York in 2001, it was February and I hated it. I complained ad nauseam. It was cold, dark and dreary and I vowed to never return again but I was in L-O-V-E and needed to hide my disdain. I failed.

Fantasy Aisle

Spot Coffee on Delaware in downtown Buffalo

The city was certainly not any colder than Chicago, my hometown, but I found reason after reason to dislike the Queen City. Starbucks and Ann Taylor had yet to arrive and I couldn’t walk to any shops or bars. The downtown was desolate and by comparison to Washington DC and New York City, it was small and boring. As New York State’s second largest city, I expected more.

Fantasy Aisle

Delaware and Chippewa Streets are the main hub of downtown Bufalo

While I wouldn’t rush to move to Buffalo (and to be clear I have no reason to contemplate such a move), I stand corrected. Buffalo has grown on me. I have returned a few times for work mostly with my head lowered and my countdown clock going strong but on my last visit I finally figured out that the people are the driving force behind Buffalos’s allure.

Buffalonians are proud and hearty people.

They reflect on the positives the city has to offer rather than the negatives and the proof is in their relentless efforts to bring economic opportunities to the region. Buffalo has been fighting its way back to greatness since the demise of the Erie Canal at the end of the 19th Century. Similar to other Rust Belt cities, the decline of manufacturing stunted Buffalo’s growth and much of the population abandoned downtown for nearby suburbs. That is changing as more and more Buffalonians young and old come home to the City of Good Neighbors.

On a recent trip to Buffalo, I decided to explore the city from the perspective of a traveler. Why visit Buffalo?

Fantasy Aisle

Buffalo Lighthouse on Lake Erie

It’s a city with two professional sports teams, a beckoning lakefront and a rich and interesting history. It serves as the gateway to Niagara Falls and the Canadian border and there is plenty to see and do.  A short 15-minute drive for Buffalo Niagara airport will land you right in the center of activity.

Buffalo will satisfy every craving whether it’s an architectural tour at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House and his Fontana Boathouse or a stop in Elmwood Village to marvel at the Victorian style homes or maybe a visit to the Silo City Grain Elevators for a chance to go back in time.

Fantasy Aisle

Canalside and the walkway to the Buffalo & Erie Country Naval and Military Park

If the Queen City is on your destination list, then definitely carve out time to visit Canalside and listen to locals buzzing with excitement. I braved the overcast skies and flurries *(yes it’s possibly in late spring) to find out for myself if the area lives up to the hype. I hopped on the NFTA Metro Rail, which runs along Main Street and is free downtown. It dropped me at the end of the line at Erie Canal Harbor Station and I fumbled my way around until I realized everything seemed shiny and new.

Fantasy Aisle

Anchor at the Naval and Military Park in Buffalo

Canalside is a redevelopment project that once served as the western terminus of the Erie Canal. It is now a lively area with restaurants, bars, the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park and the reconstructed Commercial Slip that once formed a boundary of the Canal District. It’s a great spot to grab a drink or bite to eat and learn more about the city’s past.

I sampled a 716 Kölsch style beer brewed by Flying Bison Brewing Company at Liberty Hound and swapped stories with the bartender originally from Chicago and a White Sox fan.   When I explained to him my recent re-discovery of Buffalo, he insisted I cross the street and investigate the offerings of HarborCenter, a hockey themed complex with rinks, restaurants and hotels. I wandered through 716 Restaurant and thought if only New York City had a sports bar like this place, I might actually follow the Yankees.

Fantasy Aisle

One bite into Beef on Weck from Charlie the Butcher and I am hooked

No visit to Buffalo is complete without biting into something delicious so save room for Charlie the Butcher’s Beef on Weck sandwich served with mustard and a pickle or the Anchor Bar’s original Buffalo Wings and secret sauce. If you are like me and enjoy a sweet tooth, then Watson’s and their chocolate-dipped sponge is the place for you.

This time I departed Buffalo with only one disappointment: No Uber.  New York State has not granted a license  to the company and Buffalo definitely needs it. Rent a car and explore anyway.

Check out Travel & Leisure’s Here & Now Article from May 2016, Boom Time for Buffalo for more restaurant ideas

What to see on your visit

Discover Chippewa Street for beers and bites

Buffalo Harbor Boat Cruise on the Miss Buffalo II

Examine modern and contemporary art at Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Cruise the Erie Canal

Watch a Buffalo Bills football game, Sabres hockey game or the catch 9 innings with the Buffalo Bisons, Minor League Baseball team

Stare in awe at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House Complex

Wander Canalside

Admire the ships at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park

Take the kids to the Buffalo Zoo (third oldest in the United States)

Explore the neighborhoods of Allentown and Elmwood Village

Learn about a time in history at Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site

For more tour information, contact Explore Buffalo by email or phone (716) 245-3032


Asia, Destinations, North America

Ready to Go…

November 14, 2012 • By
The Luggage.

The Luggage.

As I am writing this, I still have no idea how my boot, lidoderm patches, vitamins, antibiotics and quarts of sanitary items are going to make it on my flight to Delhi. There was a last minute purchase of a “more appropriate sized” carry-on bag (meaning legal limit) around 3 pm today and I am curious if my shoulder is going to give out carrying said bag but I am packed in every sense of the word and ready for my trip to India.

Many of you followed my African and Argentine adventures so I welcome you back to a shorter version of what I expect will be an equally fulfilling trip. I am older, wiser (let’s discuss that later) and more determined than ever to continue my travels. The definition of “exploration” is the act of searching or traveling around a terrain for the purpose of discovery of resources and information. I expect to do just that by seeing, tasting and (from what I have heard) smelling India.

For those who have missed my entries, I appreciate the encouraging words and I look forward to having you along for my journey through India.

My job has ended, my foot is healing (somewhat) and my mind is an open book. Let’s tackle India. First stop is Delhi after a 15 hour flight from Newark.

See you on the other side of the world.
–Kelly