If you hadn’t already guessed from this post or this post, we spend a lot of time in Allegany State Park every year. It’s 65,000 acres of woods, lakes, camp grounds, history and bike paths. You could go every weekend and not come close to seeing everything.
This year, we visited a few sights that hadn’t been on our itinerary in past years: the Summit Hill Fire Tower, Old Quaker Store Museum and Quaker Lake. The Summit Hill Fire Tower is a short hike from the road, and if you go on a day that a volunteer is manning the tower, you can climb to the top, although the trees almost completely cover the view of the surrounding peaks. The Old Quaker Store Museum was a very interesting history of human influence on the park and I really enjoyed learning about how groups from Buffalo used it in the ’20s and ’30s.
Of course, old standbys were part of our trips too; we climbed Thunder Rocks and made our way to Stone Tower.
Check out some of my favorite shots from our two trips to Allegany this year:
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 ☀️
Erin was kind enough to take a break from studying for finals to hike in Letchworth State Park with me this weekend. We ventured on the road less traveled and took in some gorgeous views above the gorge on a sunny spring day.
Cody and I took a quick trip to Ellicottville this weekend to visit Ellicottville Brewing Company and wander through a few of the small town’s shops. It was a perfect spring weekend – a little grey, but warm – perfect for a getaway to this cozy ski resort town.
Our first stop was the brewery tour at EBC. The old building is beautiful and the tour did a great job of not only explaining this history of beer and the Brewing Company, but also the building. The taproom’s bar is from the 1983 World Fair and is the second oldest bar in the area, which I found so interesting. Cody really enjoyed how knowledgeable our tour guide Kevin was on beer history and the making of beer.
The tastings at the end of the tour were delicious: Blueberry Wheat (already one of my favorites), Juicy Juice, Mosaic Sunrise and 1/2 Baked Porter. The tasting room is part of the brewery’s addition, framed by giant wooden beams and overlooking stainless steel beer tanks. We stayed for lunch and a flight, to try the beers on tap but not in the tasting room.
Ellicottville Brewing Company was the biggest reason we chose Ellicottville for our trip, and it turned out to be a good decision. We left educated and full, which was a nice combination.
We checked into our hotel and spent the next few hours watching HGTV (Fixer Upper marathon for the win!) and getting hungry enough to walk to our next meal, dinner at Villaggio. This is another place with a great atmosphere, full of rustic-eclectic decor, string lights and laughter. The Sabres game (which we actually won!) was on the big screen as we ate. There were definitely groups in Ellicottville for a Saturday night out, so I’m sure it would have been fun to stay out and visit a few of the town’s bars, but Cody and I headed back to our hotel to take advantage of the pool and hot tub.
Sunday morning we checked out of our hotel and walked back down Washington Street. We poked around in ski shops, home goods stores and Watson’s Chocolates before heading home. And how can you not stop and pet the dogs at Adventure Bound every time you walk by?
While our trip was short, Ellicottville was a perfect weekend escape. With the ski slopes still covered in snow but temperatures warming, wandering around the village was a great way to spend a day!
Winter finally arrived in Western New York today. Here in Niagara County, snow totals are fast approaching 18 inches and the snow is showing no signs of stopping. We haven’t had this much snow in a long time, so of course the first thing I did when I got home was cover my camera in a plastic bag and throw on the Bean Boots for a little trek around the yard.
Winter in Western New York can be unforgiving, to say the least. Weeks upon weeks of scraping ice off your car, wearing so many layers you’re mistaken for a snowman and being almost certain you’ll never feel your toes again. It’s slightly ironic to be writing this now, because it’s been 55° for two days in a row. But trust me, it was snowing four days ago.
Because winter is harsh, both physically and mentally, people here in colder climates have tricks to make it through. I want to share some of my favorite winter pick-me-ups that helped me through the season this year:
A new loose leaf tea infuser and the amazing salted caramel pumpkin tea from Wegmans. My sister gifted me with the infuser and a wonderful collection of loose leaf tea that I’ve been savoring all winter. I never would have gotten this for myself, but I love it! Also, Wegmans for the win (as per usual), because this tea is just as delicious as the expensive specialty stores.
Anyone who knows me knows that I wear my plaid Joy Susan blanket scarf daily from October to March. This thing is so cozy and makes me looked pulled together with minimal effort. And when the heat at work is making less effort than would be ideal, this scarf really is blanket-sized.
My new Warby Parker glasses are cute, affordable and come with better customer service than my local eye doctor. I’ve had nothing but great experiences with the company, both via email and in person. In the dead of winter, a positive experience (especially when it has the potential to be not so great) is a wonderful thing.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is an inspiring read, even when you only have time for a chapter. I actually read a few excerpts for a class my last semester at Ithaca, which prompted me to add the book to my Christmas list this year. I’m not done yet, but I’ve been pairing a few pages with my eggs every morning, and I highly recommend it.
For anyone who lives in the cold and doesn’t want to spend every weekend skating or skiing, getting out of the cold is a must. This is why my passport is a winter essential. This year Cody and I escaped to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, which I highly recommend. If you haven’t already, check out my travel diary of the trip!
I almost never buy candles for myself, but my friend held a Yankee Candle fundraiser this fall so I splurged and bought “Autumn Wreath,” which smells exactly like you might imagine. Fall is my favorite season, so bringing the scent of apple, green leaf and cinnamon into the winter months makes me happy.
My skin does not like the dry air of a Buffalo winter, so any product that makes it a little happier is a good investment. This year, I’m loving Lush’s Aqua Marina face and body cleanser. It’s a clay-based product that soothes skin with aloe, seaweed and calamine. One note of caution – the seaweed gets EVERYWHERE, so you might be washing your shower curtain more often than usual.
Also from Lush is the alcohol-free Breath of Fresh Air toner, which includes sea water, aloe vera gel and rose absolute. It’s a great follow up to an exfoliating face wash and I feel like it gets that extra layer of grime off while also refreshing my wind-whipped face.
Cody got me a subscription to Magnolia Journal for Christmas, which is further fueling my love for the work of Joanna Gaines. Politics aside, I think she is an incredibly talented designer who creates beautiful homes, businesses and publications. Plus, it’s already spring in Texas, and the latest issue is packed full of warm-weather plants, clothes, design and more.
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.