Need ideas for road trips this summer? We’ve got a few! Learn about what some of the small towns of Buffalo Niagara have to offer.
by Max Fisher
Besides natural beauty, there is plenty of history, fun, food & more to find in Buffalo Niagara’s small towns
Warm Weather Wanderlust
We all know Buffalo Niagara is a great place, right? The people are friendly, the Bills are probably going to the Super Bowl this year (#speakit, or in this case, write it into existence), and they shoot major motion pictures here on a regular basis. It’s a pretty nice place to live, all things considered, but sometimes during the summer with the sun bearing down on you, it’s not uncommon for the old wanderlust to rise inside of you and you just want to get a change of scenery.
Well, for those who can already feel the wanderlust bubbling up, we’ve come up with some of the best small towns around so you can satisfy that wanderlust to your heart’s content. Let’s get to it!
Photo from Artpark Facebook
The Town of Lewiston (formerly known as The Landing) was the site of the first European settlement in western New York in 1720, where trading started along the river. Today, however, Lewiston is most prominently known for all the attractions it has involving Niagara Falls (due to its proximity). Some of these activities include the Niagara Falls USA Open Jet Boat Tour courtesy of Whirlpool Jet Boat tours, where adventure-seekers can revel in this ride through the river’s whitewater rapids. Participants will also appreciate the stunning scenery on this 18-mile journey. Learn about the history and geology of the majestic Niagara River while experiencing the excitement of playing in whitewater rapids.
Yet attractions involving Niagara Falls are far from the only thing Lewiston is known for. Lewiston happens to be home to Artpark, a state park that regularly holds some of the best concerts around. The outdoor amphitheater has seating for up to 10,000 people and it regularly hosts everything from musical theater performances to live music shows by some of the country’s top artists.
So if you’re looking for a fun way to learn about Niagara Falls or catch some great concerts this summer, Lewiston is definitely worth a drive!
Photo from Roycroft Campus Facebook
East Aurora is widely known as the birthplace of the Roycroft Arts & Crafts movement, whose singular style can be seen all around the public spaces of East Aurora. The movement focused on traditional craftsmanship and often used medieval, romantic, or folk styles of decoration. It advocated economic and social reform and was anti-industrial in its orientation. Since its formation, East Aurora has been an art hub for all types of art, with the Arts and Crafts Movement being the most visible since it was created and brought to providence there.
A wonderful example of the movement can be seen at The Roycroft Campus, which is the best-preserved and most complete complex of buildings remaining in the United States of the “guilds” that evolved as centers of craftsmanship and philosophy during the late 19th century. The Campus was designated a National Historic Landmark district (NHL) in 1986.
If art isn’t your thing, have no fear because there’s a lot more to do. For instance, if you’re into nature, there’s the Knox Farm State Park, where visitors can observe wildlife, hike, cross-country ski and ride horseback along beautifully scenic nature trails.
If you are the type that enjoys a good nature walk from time to time or likes to appreciate a bit of art history, then East Aurora may be the best visiting spot for you!
Photo from Medina Railroad Museum Facebook
Revered as an architectural haven due to its renowned Medina sandstone, the Village of Medina has quite a bit to offer, such as The Medina Railroad Museum, which features the largest Railroad and Toy Train Museum in New York State. They house a huge HO-Scale model train layout, 204 feet by 14 feet, as well as large fire fighting exhibits. And that’s just one of the many things Medina has to offer.
If you want to find out what else Medina has in store, your going to have to plan a visit!
Photo from Victorianbourg Wine Estate Yelp
Wilson is not the biggest place on the map by any stretch of the imagination; however, what it lacks in size, it more than makes up in the sites and sounds it has.
One such site that’s of particular note is Victorianbourg Wine Estate. Owners Victoria and Dan Hogue decided the Niagara region of New York State was the best place to produce fine wines from the classic European wine grapes of Germany and Northern France.
Back in 2005, when Victorianbourg Wine Estate first opened, their commitment to quality, as well as service, has been recognized region-wise and they’re still going strong 10+ years after opening. They do fermentations in very small batches, often as small as 250 liters (60 gallons). This allows us to keep far better control over the wine-making process of each batch. The fermentations are done cold, usually at 58-60 degrees, and are monitored regularly to ensure quality.
So if you’re looking for a nice out of town spot to get some good wine, The Victorianbourg Wine Estate is definitely worth the drive.
Photo from Palm Island Indoor Waterpark Facebook
Considered the birthplace of western New York (it is, trust me. I’d put the explanation, but it’s long, and I don’t want this to turn into a history lesson), Batavia has a lot going for it including Palm Island Indoor Waterpark, catch a baseball game at Dwyer Stadium, but arguably Batavia’s best attraction is Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel.
Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel is an all-encompassing hotel that includes shopping, dining, and if you’re so inclined, gambling. Though the only sure bet is no matter when you go, there’s bound to be something interesting happening. So if you’re in the mood for something exciting checkout Batavia and all it has to offer!
No matter how much you love your city it’s always nice to get away every once and awhile. The summertime is the best time to do just that! I hope this piece gave you a little historical context of the surrounding villages/cities around Buffalo Niagara and gave you a few good ideas on any possible road trips you may be thinking about going on over the summer.
One thing is for sure; Buffalo will be here when you get back, so enjoy your travels!