I love summer in New York and making a bucket list every summer helps me make the most of it! There are a few things on my list every year, as well as some new adventures I’ve been waiting for warmer weather to try. This year, I want to focus on exploring Western New York, instead of trying to plan a plethora of weekend trips. Buffalo is an incredible city in the summer and with more friends moving to Rochester, it makes sense to take advantage of all the (585) has to offer too!
This Summer in Buffalo:
Food Truck Tuesday at Larkin Square
Hertel Ave (Must-dos: Lake Effect’s new scoop shop, Poutine and Cream, and Lloyd’s)
Buffalo City Hall Observation Deck
Tifft Nature Preserve
Erie County Botanical Gardens
The Victory Gardens at Oxford Pennant (open from May 20th to July 3rd!)
Bike rides (although I’m going to need a bike for this 🤔)
Spruce Lake at Holiday Valley
Go on a picnic
I’ll be documenting my bucket list progress on Instagram and would love it if you followed along! What new places are looking forward to exploring this summer? Let me know what you think I should add to my summer plans ☀️
Travel. Over the past year I’ve been lucky enough to spend spring break on Anna Maria Island, long weekends in Allegany State Park and New York City, as well as visit Boston for the first time. Exploring new places with my favorite people is invigorating and I’m not slowing down any time soon. Next up, Costa Rica!
Education. Graduating from Ithaca College was bittersweet, but I’m increasingly thankful for everything I learned in my four years there. Not only how integrated marketing works, but also how to work hard and never stop learning.
Family. Spending more time with Cody, and my immediate and extended family is one of the best things about being done with school. I cherish every moment we spend together, from birthday celebrations to watching the Bills every Sunday. A had a small horde support me as I graduated in May. My dad was inducted into his high school’s Hall of Fame as family watched.
Friends. After our last semester of undergrad together, I miss my Ithaca peeps like crazy. We’re always going to be there for each other and catching up is great (shout out to Tyler :)). At home, old and new friends were waiting and we’ve made memories at Into the Enigma, Ale in Autumn and just hanging out.
Thanksgiving. Without a doubt, it’s my favorite holiday. There’s no pressure to pick the perfect gifts or visit three places in two days. This year, I spent Thanksgiving in New York City with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. We ate turkey and stuffing and pie, giving thanks for our blessings.
Faith. Renewing my commitment to the church has made coming home after graduating so much easier. Not only is God supporting me, but so are the awesome people who I see at service and Bible study.
American Politics. I am in no way happy with the results of this year’s presidential election. I think our president-elect promotes hate and discrimination and in no way supports the efforts of the everyday people our country is built on. However, I went to my polling place and was helped by friendly workers, allowed to express my opinion on our future leaders.
Melanie was my “dance friend” in high school. We didn’t go to the same high school, but we spent just as much time together as if we had. The last few years, I’ve been in Ithaca while she was in Buffalo and then Boston. Fitting in a coffee date while we’re both home is always nice, but spending a few hours a year with someone you used to see for four hours a night just isn’t the same.
We’ve been trying to coordinate a weekend in Boston for what seems like forever and it finally worked out this month. I knew it was going to be a good weekend when Miss You Much, the song we danced to our junior year in Disney, was playing on the radio as I pulled into Melanie’s driveway. I’ve never heard that song anywhere but the dance studio. It might sound silly, but that song was our everything for at least seven months.
Most of our weekend was spent just hanging out, catching up on new jobs, new cities, and new and old friends. Saturday we spent in Boston. Melanie was the best tour guide for my first trip to the beautiful city. From Granary Burying Ground to Fenway Park and back to Little Italy, we had the best day wandering through the city.
Melanie, thank you so much for letting me stay with you, watching Netflix instead of going out, showing me the beautiful places you love and reminding me that with some friends, anything is fun.
Cody picked out the perfect birthday gift this year, a Nikon D3300. My 23rd year is going to be my most well-documented one yet! If you thought I was obnoxious about stopping to take photos before, you haven’t seen nothin’ yet…
A quick camping trip to Allegany State Park at the peak of fall color was the perfect weekend to play with my new toy. I’ve spent a lot of time at Allegany the last few years, and my most recent trip is also documented on my blog. This weekend was possibly the most beautiful I’ve ever seen the park, with reds and yellows reflecting off perfectly still water on a warm fall day. It was so nice to see the campground at Red House full, with friends and families enjoying the weekend just as we were.
As usual, our quick trip was spent eating almost every meal cooked in pie irons, climbing Thunder Rocks and biking around the lake. We met the cutest dogs at Thunder Rocks, including Fen the Aussie, who has more Instagram followers than I ever will and Pumpkin, who, according to his owner, loves fall as much as his name implies.
I know this is a little late, but I want to take a minute to reflect on how life has changed in the last few months. I knew that leaving Ithaca College, degree in hand, meant a lot of changes were coming. It’s beginning to sink in just what this really means.
Graduation, and the weeks leading up to it, were filled with friends, hikes and more food than anyone should ever eat. There are so many moments from these weeks I can picture; snapshots I will treasure forever.
We were singing Blink-182 at the top of our lungs, eating more Altoids than real food, spilling all of the popcorn and laughing for half the movie we were trying to watch. The night of graduation, popping champagne into the fountains, we tried to forget the fact that we were all leaving in the morning. To Texas, to Virginia, to all corners of New York.
As much as graduation is an ending, it is also a beginning. I’m so glad to be home. I love seeing old and new friends, exploring revived neighborhoods and having the time to horseback ride again. I am ready to have a normal schedule after a few absolutely crazy semesters.
I’m learning so much on the job – more than I ever absorbed in the classroom. It’s also becoming evident just how lucky I am to have the education I do, one grounded in real-world examples and experience.
But this week, despite a wonderful date night, bible study and catching up with an old friend, I have been homesick for Ithaca. The people I grew to love there, who are now strewn across the country, have been on my mind. It’s time for a reunion!