Weekend Getaway: Art Installations and Strangers Waving- Medina, NY

Remember that super adorable real life Hallmark movie village we showed you at the Farm to Table dinner this past summer? It was Medina, NY and now we are back to share all of the details with you like where to stay and what to do. We are noticing some of our small WNY towns are starting to invest in themselves once again and clean up a bit. And Medina is the first one we should start to watch.

After meeting Scott and Alix (owners of Shirt Factory Cafe and Medina boomerangs), we knew it would be a nice friendship filled with blogger-swapping stories and insights in to sharing stories on local surroundings. They invited us to stay in Medina and teamed with Andrew Meier (Village of Medina Mayor 2011-2016 who owns the Newell Building we were staying in) to invite us for an overnight at the beautiful Hart House Hotel in the village.

So there we were back in Medina– back ‘up north’ and once again appreciating what our small towns are doing. Our weekend was perfectly timed with PLAY/GROUND, a curated art installation inside the former Medina High School. The place was packed with all ages exploring rooms and getting hands-on with interactive exhibits and designs. Chloe loved the rooms filled with color and fun and exclaimed ‘Wow!’ at every single one she entered. Can we get more of this in WNY, please?

After taking in the art, we checked in to our room at Hart House Hotel. It’s a unique and very Airbnb- style way of getting to your room: you receive a text on your arrival day with your unit number and code to enter. A phone number to Andrew is at the ‘front desk’ in case of issues. The Hart House Hotel first opened as an inn back in 1876 and closed in 1918. High-end shirt designer Robert Newell snatched up the building to open his facility where shirts were created for people like Winston Churchill, Warren Harding, Bob Hope, and J. Willard Marriott (yea, like Marriott hotels). By 2004, the factory ended and sat vacant until Andrew bought the building which he turned the upper portion in to a boutique hotel and a place for Shirt Factory Cafe and 810 Meadworks to open.

Our room was fricken adorable. It reminded us of our stay in Vienna (25hours Hotel) with exposed brick walls, white on white, and cleverly themed rooms. We lucked out with the Astor room which had a painters theme (sawhorse endtables with rollertrays, a gorgeous painting in the corner lit by a Hollywood tripodlight). A jetted garden tub, walk-in tiled shower, space for all to hang out…it was quiet and peaceful…and did not feel like we were in Medina.

We walked down Main St. to Zambistro for dinner. I actually remember when Zambistro opened in 2006 and my girlfriends and I ate there after a day of bridesmaid shopping at Blissett’s so it was nice to come back for a date night and experience the culinary evolution.

The place was packed (we made reservations and we suggest you do as well) and they were accommodating with a high chair and Kid’s Menu for Chloe.  Beau and I shared a flatbread, woofed down the Meatball Minestrone, and Beau ordered the trout while I enjoyed the Hanger Steak. So so damn good. People around us were clinking wine glasses enjoying one another’s company. Chloe colored and read some books while Beau and I got to just relax and talk.

Back in our room, we gave Chloe a bath and brushed our teeth. We pack her KidCo. tent every time we travel and she sleeps perfectly in it. In the morning, Beau walked down to Village Spin for back-to-back spin classes which he booked the night before on the MindBody app. There was a mix of pop and hip-hop blasting through class (shout out to Pam) and Beau came back super sweaty (that’s a win!).

After cleaning up, we walked downstairs to Shirt Factory Cafe for a light breakfast and some serious coffee. The place was non-stop filled with people which was so great to see. Comments were made about the art installation being a big draw for crowds at establishments. This is why we think it’s so awesome when events happen outside our usual places, right in our small towns. It brings people to places they may not usually venture out to and get this- they explore the town and *gasp* spend money at local places. Huge for the small businesses.

Our last stop was at Ellen J. Goods, a Joanna Gaines-inspired home decor shop where all of your farmhouse dreams come true. We met the owners Lynne and JR who were all smiles and shared their familial history with the building (JR’s grandfather owned the former Brundage Hardware for decades in the same spot the shop is now). Beau spotted the perfect tray for our new coffee table as well as a vintage Family Scale that we plan on using somewhere in our house. We love finding fun things!

Medina is about 50 minutes from Orchard Park. How far is it from you? It really is a perfect day trip or overnight staycation. You also have Leonard Oakes, Mile 303, Becker Farms, and the Medina Railroad Museum nearby. Right now you can even book North Pole train rides which are fun and something different to do. We cannot thank our new friends enough for making sure we came back to town. A special thank you to Andrew Meier, owner of the Hart House Hotel, for providing such a beautiful room for us to stay in. When are you planning to head on over to Medina?

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Lori Skoog says:

    Loved this post. Medina is so ahead of the curve. Zambistro is the favorite eating spot for so many….all willing to take the ride out for the best menu around. And of course I am very happy for Scott and Alex at the Shirt Factory. They have created a great atmosphere, good food and drinks and the best marketing plan! Glad you were able to return for some nice times and interesting activities.

    1. Hi Lori!! We get so many people asking us about Medina now- it is so exciting people are noticing the efforts!

  2. Ken Sloper says:

    This is such a great article and very well written. I moved back here 16 years ago to start a family and enjoy time with my ill mother and family. Even though I am single again, I am so glad to raise my son in this great town. Medina has so much to offer, you just need to open your eyes and explore.

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