Staycation: Rooftop Fireworks

Rooftop fireworks. Martinis. 24/7 kitchen. Modern. Views.

There’s a new staycation in town and it may not be where you would first think of one. It’s the Hyatt Place in Niagara Falls, NY and it’s perfectly located within steps of the Seneca Casino, Old Falls St., and the Canadian border.

We packed up for an overnight stay, dropped Chloe off with the grandparents, and rushed on up to the new Hyatt. Already impressed with its location, we were surprised again once we stepped inside and noticed the modern décor: large sphere lights, wood panel walls, a hand-drawn map of downtown Niagara Falls, and wood with metal detail tables that made us wonder if we could sneak one in to the car and take it home.

Greeted by smiling people, we found our room filled with a charcuterie board, fruits, chocolate-covered strawberries, and Prosecco. (Ooo, who are we right now?!) Our room overlooked the mist of the Falls and peered in to Canada. It made us reminisce of our old Clifton Hill days (amiright?!). We spent time at the bar downstairs, noshing on tacos, sliders, and cheesecake while having a breather to finally just be together again. That’s the point of a staycation for two, after all.

Every Saturday they have live music up on their rooftop that overlooks Niagara Falls State Park. Being a little rainy, it was moved to the lower level where people gathered to just chill and enjoy the music. 90s tunes while we had some drinks? Living our best live in our thirties. At 9:45pm, we went up to the rooftop to get cozy for the fireworks. Each Friday and Saturday night, fireworks roar over the Falls and the Hyatt rooftop is the perfect location to watch! The fire lit up the sky and with the city lights as the backdrop and a wave of new appreciation for this part of WNY rushed over us. Low-key, modern, fun…this was everything the Hyatt was bringing to this night.

We took advantage of the location and stopped by the Casino where we ran in to people we knew, had some drinks, danced in the aisles, downed some coffee, and basically broke even on what we spent at Blackjack. Beau is decent at it and I am like a little old lady hitting up the old-school penny slots. Heading back to the Hyatt, we were once again greeted by smiling faces who asked if we were hungry and if there was anything they could get us. Heck ya! A quesadilla and flatbread were ready in under 20 minutes and we relaxed back in our room, this time enjoying the lights across the way.

There we were, 1:30am and way past our bedtime. Parents night out. Oh, it’s a real thing and we thought our friends made it up. Nope. Somewhere between Planet of the Apes, chugging water, and the last flatbread- we fell asleep and slept in until 8am. Oh em gee, 8 fricken in the morning. Is that as late as our bodies would let us? We’ll take it.

Breakfast was light and fresh- French toast, greek yogurt and granola bar, eggs, juice, coffee…the hotel was bumpin’ and we were glad to see it filled with all types of people visiting the area. We got in a workout at the on-site gym and went for swim at the pool which made for a nice morning.

As we packed up, we said goodbye to the GM Stacey at the Hyatt who was so glad to hear our stay was above and beyond our expectations. The service we encountered was wonderful and the view from the roof was what changed our thoughts on having Niagara Falls as a staycation. While we missed Chloe, it was so awesome getting away together for a night and pretending we were boyfriend and girlfriend again. We all need that…us married folk, that is. Think outside the box…go somewhere you normally wouldn’t…uncover new adventures…eat a quesadilla in bed at 2am…reminisce…watch the fireworks from the rooftop. See what happens.

Hyatt Place Niagara Falls // 310 Rainbow Blvd. S Niagara Falls, NY 14303

716.285.5000 // Facebook page // Instagram

Location: minutes to the Seneca Casino, around the corned from Old Falls St., walking distance to Niagara Falls State Park, right at the Canadian border

Breakfast included, contemporary rooms, rooftop

Perfect for: staycations, telling your family and friends where to stay while visiting the falls, event space

Day Date: Shirt Factory Cafe

ICYMI, Beau and I hail from Niagara County. Yep. I grew up in Newfane and Beau in Lockport. Perhaps my roots a little more country than him and nonetheless, small-town life is what we know. So when there is a place ‘up north’ that is a must-see…we go!

How much for that baby in the window?

Shirt Factory Cafe is the latest place to be transformed and back on the map in Orleans County. New owners Scott and Alix (you may know them as @DCMinute) have taken over the former Robert H. Newell & Co. building and started its new evolution in to being a staple in Medina, NY. They invited us out to nosh on their soon-to-be revealed Toast Bar and we couldn’t pass it up!

The old Shirt Factory here was quite famous among celebrities around the globe

Medina is also going through a resurgence, like Buffalo just on a small town scale. Neighbors of the Shirt Factory Cafe include Mile 303, Zambistro, the vintage shop Ellen J Goods, and Mariachi de Oro. The Erie Canal flows through Medina and was once a popular stopover for trading. Now you can rent a hydrobike or kayak right in town at Pedal and Paddle Medina!

Scott and Alix’s introduction of a Toast Bar is so fun! They’re tweaking the toast now and we got a sneak peek invite to eat ALL OF IT.

Oh em gee.

I had to get a few bites in here and there before Beau ate them all. The cool thing about the ingredients is that Scott and Alix grow the beets and tomatoes in the garden at their beautiful farmhouse. They also source as many items as possible at local businesses like The Bread Basket in town for the toast.

Chloe approved!

The flight is really great for sharing and just one toast is enough to fill you up. Perfect for a to-go breakfast or lunch!

Their current menu boasts sandwiches, salads, coffee, and smoothies. Breakfast for those locals who need to pop in early and veggie options for those non-carnivorous eaters. We also shared an Avocado and White Bean wrap as well as a Bob Hope (turkey). I could eat the AWB ever day!

Scott and Alix are keeping a few old school Shirt Factory nostalgic items like photos and letters from early and mid 20th century shirt requests which is why we felt so proud to be inside their space. Keeping history with revitalized buildings is so important and they GET IT.

Medina is showing us glimmers of a new destination spot. With wineries nearby, water sports on the canal, and people like Scott and Alix (Medina boomerangs) determined to help shed its old skin there is no doubt you will be checking it out, too. Plans for the Shirt Factory Cafe are coming to fruition with ideas of an upgraded menu, Toast Bar, and eventually cocktails. In the same building, Hart Hotel is open and a boutique style place to stay. Medina is quickly becoming a great day trip or even staycation. Keep your eyes peeled on this one, guys. There’s a new town in…well…town. 😉

Where to Find the Flowers: Our WNY Guide to Nurseries & Greenhouses

Fun fact: I grew up on a horticultural farm. My grandfather, parents, Aunt Jillie, siblings, and Great Aunt grew chrysanthemums by the 1,000s in Wrights Corners, NY for years. The tens of acres at my grandparents’ house was magical, beautiful, and hard work. Besides the mums, we also grew vegetables and sunflowers and my Grandpa took much of his garden to the local Farmer’s Market in Lockport every week. My brother studied landscape architecture and my mother is a retired art teacher. So naturally, this whole gardening thing is of interest to me and I am diving in to everything that has to do with the outside of the house.Beau is, too.

My parent’s home in Newfane, NY was meticulously landscaped and they spent every hour they could once the weather broke until the snow fell outside working on their flower beds. It was so stunning that people would drive down our road very slowly to check out the land and ask my Dad questions about what things were. (lol!) I spent ALOT of time in nurseries and greenhouses as a kid and have started to visit many of them now as an adult and getting my own things.

We have some stunning places in WNY and each nursery and greenhouse has a certain personality. Some are fierce flower joints, others focus on shrubs. Some have hearty plants and several are uniquely their own. This list is our personal guide to places we love that you should definitely be hittin’ up this Spring:

Our Top Greenhouses and Nurseries:

Russell’s Tree & Shrub Farm: The best place for trees, bushes, grasses, and shrubs. You can find small to large sizes for your budget and talk about delivery to your place. Transit Rd., East Amherst

Hi-Way Garden Center: A well-maintained and beautiful greenhouse filled with hearty and colorful perennials and annuals. We love getting our coleus, hens and chicks, and vegetables here. (yes, like the veggies you can grow yourself) Tonawanda Creek Rd., Amherst

Lockwood’s: A new discovery for us now that are Southtowners! This place has some stunning houseplants, beautiful spikes, and really hard-to-find annuals. Clark St., Hamburg

Seasonal Nursery: The place to look in to for landscaping design ideas and beautiful hanging baskets. We like to get spikes, sweet potato vines, and impatients here. Bullis Rd., Elma

Angle Acres Greenhouse: Here’s your hidden gem, guys. Angle Acres has 4 greenhouses filled with houseplants and unique varying sizes of succulents. Best place for a photo shoot. ***CASH ONLY. If you forget it’s okay- there is a gas station nearby with an ATM. Angle Rd., Orchard Park

Our original go-to spots also in Niagara County:

Zehr’s, West Lake Rd., Burt

La Roses, Ridge Rd, Lockport

Heimiller Greenhouses, Ewings Rd., Newfane

Northtowns:

Spoth’s, Transit Rd., East Amherst

Badding Brothers, Transit Rd., Amherst

Adam’s Nursery, Genesee St., Lancaster

Curated Buffalo Boxes: buffBOX

It was one of those serendipitous meetings while strolling along Hertel Ave. last fall. The cutest pop-up caught our eye inside a popular local shop and we hit it off talking about Buffalo, Instagram, and the love of WNY artisans. It was buffBOX– a newly launched curated Buffalo box design that was the hit of all that walked by. 

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Heidie, the creator of buffBOX at the Mod/Nos pop-up shop

We were so impressed by this unique business that we caught up with owner Heidie Buffomante (I mean, c’mon, even her name is totally Buffalo!). Check out the inspiration behind the boxes and how you can get one, too:

Okay, we gotta start with the basics like…what is buffBOX and who are you?!

H: buffBOXes are curated collections that offer style, function, and feature items from small businesses. Each is thoughtfully created with a lot of love.

My husband, Adam, and I live in Williamsville with our sweet pup Daisy. I work as an Assistant Principal at a Middle School (which was also my favorite grade level to teach).

People in life matter, a ton. Gifting a custom buffBOX evokes feelings of importance and connection. Your gift recipient will feel like they have just received something extra special as they notice the unexpected details such as the elevated packaging or the handwritten note on linen paper. buffBOXes also support Buffalo’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. When purchasing, you are building into the resurgence of our city. It is my hope that the quality and uniqueness of your buffBOX items will get you right back into that small business to buy more and of course, connect with the owner/creator/artisan/entrepreneur.

This is new to the scene! How did it all begin and what was your inspiration behind it all? Everyone has a story about their creations!

H: After a brain injury in August 2014 I spent a significant amount of time at home recovering. It brought me immense joy to remix items throughout our home to optimize their function while also creating something beautiful. I needed to be in a space that elicited feelings of comfort and coziness as Adam and Daisy spent many evenings and weekends tucked inside with me. I evolved into styling spaces for my mom, sister and friends. All the while, I would have consistent FaceTime sessions with my dear friend Aubrey in California where we would dream about this turning into a business. Most recently in October 2017 I decided to share my curated pairings of home goods more fbroadly, did a big shop, came up with 30 variations, and had a “First Look” with family and friends a week later. Very shortly after that Adam picked me up from work on an afternoon we planned to hit up the small businesses on Hertel. It was a very rainy day and we considered just going home. Instead, we braved the Buffalo weather, had a conversation with a few local entrepreneurs about this passion project, and weeks later we were popped-up inside their store. This launched buffBOXes being featured in local blogs, a segment on Channel 7 news, collaborations with local entrepreneurs, and most importantly Adam and I met a lot of new people in our city of Buffalo. We are forever grateful to Bri at Modern Nostalgia, Matt with Scout & Cedar, and Katie creator of BKindCity for believing in buffBOXes and embracing us on that rainy night.

 

It’s nice to have a creative-type put these gifts together as a gift! Where do you frequent to find pieces for the boxes?

H: I create buffBOXes with functional and unique items I find on our travels around Buffalo and day trips on the weekend. This ensures there is a small business feature in each box. This is important to me and part of why I enjoy curating buffBOXes because each has its own authentic story that is shared on the personalized stationery packaged inside. I also have my stores I frequent often like Hobby Lobby and Marshall’s. I can always find supporting pieces to the anchor item in each box.

buffbox2

 

What are some good uses for a buffBOX? What kind of gifts could it be for?

H: Reason- (birthday, baby shower, housewarming, new job, just ‘cause, treat yo’ self)

Season- (spring tablescape, essential summer decor, fall vignette, hot cocoa station for a winter wonderland)

Holiday- (Valentine/Galentine, Mother’s & Father’s Day, Halloween, Christmas

In each custom buffBOX there is a handwritten note sharing the small business feature, where the items have traveled from, or how it will compliment their lifestyle based on the information the gift-giver provides on my custom order form.

 

What are the ranges of buffBOXes if readers are looking to send a gift?

H: Custom buffBOXes come two ways: Regular $69, and BIG buffBOX for $99

For Pop-Ups at local businesses prices range from $4 to $45 for the Build-Your-Own buffBOX option. You can pick and choose which items you want with attractive price points.

 

How do the gifts get to the people?

H: Free pickup, $10 delivery within 20 miles of Williamsville. Shipping adds on a cost of the flat rate box.

 

Where can people see the buffBOXes? 

H: Instagram @buffboxes is the platform I use to share what’s available for purchase, dates/locations for pop-ups, completed custom orders (with permission from the gift-giver), and information on how to order your own.

My personal Instagram @heidiebuff is a place to checkout how I style our home through the seasons and behind the scenes footage of my creation stages of buffBOXes in the Instagram Story. I just saved our adventure to Rochester to find some new goodies in the Highlight section.

 

What visually inspires you?

H: Casual simplicity of Skeem Design, color palettes of Kate Spade NY for spring, craftsmanship of Mariposa, timeless pieces in Mackenzie Childs courtly check, lush blankets in neutral color tones by Barefoot Dreams.

 

You recently had your home featured in Buffalo News! Yay!! How do you envision certain rooms and looks? What is the style you aim to achieve?

H: I am committed to creating our home spaces that are functional and truly evoke feelings of comfort and coziness. To do this, I start with an anchor item and monochromatic color palette. This helps guide my purchasing of other complementing pieces. For example, our oversized coffee table in white washed wood drove the tone of the wooden tabletop tray stacked with books and the hammered metal coaster set. Our hobbies are also sprinkled throughout the home, like Adam’s fondness of sports and collector items and our board game collection. See more pics here!

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Heidie, Adam, and Daisy from their Buffalo News photoshoot // pic: The Buffalo News

 

So you guys are in the Northtowns- what is your go-to place to eat? Any good date night suggestions?

H: Sandwiches and salads at D’Avolio or Japanese at Kumo for lunch. Roccos, San Marco Restaurant, Share, and Sinatra’s for dinner. The best date nights always involve an activity like bowling, games like Spot It, or popping in to play with our nephew Little Rick.

How can people get a buffBOX for someone??

H: Follow @buffBOXes on Instagram! If you are not a user, email me at heidie.buff@gmail.com

Working on a new custom order form that will be available soon!

 

Check out buffBOXes in person and meet Heidie! Pop on over to the Ellicott Square Building for the City of Buffalo Artists Market on Saturday 5/12/2018 from 11am-3pm. And remember- Mother’s Day is coming up on 5/13/18 so you’re going to want to send Mom a super fun buffBOX. 🙂 

Date Night: Buffalo Collective

Recently, we were invited to Buffalo Collective’s space over in South Buffalo for a DIY studio pallet night. Sure, we have all heard of the paint nights and probably have been to one (or ten), but THIS is something different. Cool. Like, Joanna Gaines cool.

Sometimes, Beau doesn’t listen. I had told him about ten times what we were going to be doing on this particular date night and when we got there- he said to me, ‘You didn’t tell me I would be painting! Oh my God, what if I mess up?’ The dude knew. Busted, hubby. Luckily, Buffalo Collective guides you through the whole process and in the end you step back and want to do another…and another….

Pic: @buffalocollective

With two locations- one on Abbott Rd. in South Buffalo and the other on Harlem in Amherst, Buffalo Collective was started by a duo of mamas looking to get their creative side out and to other people. It’s a more hands-on place than you expect. You use POWER TOOLS. Pallet boards are pre-cut and sanded for you but you get to put the board together yourself including the backing. The gals (we had one of the owners, Jill) help you through the adventure and offer tips on making your board clean and accurate. Pick your paints, learn about easy ways to pattern your pallets, and sip some wine while waiting for paint to dry. (Yep, you can get a drink at the ‘bar’)

Buffalo Collective has open and private parties available and the best way to get one started (we’re thinkin’ the ‘new’ bachelorette party, friends in town, gather all the ladies in the fam, roll in with your significant other…) is on their website. A private party is a minimum of 12 people, a group booking is 6 people, and you can choose your date online. There are even kid events you can do- perfect for a family date! Getting married? Buffalo Collective also makes signs and table numbers for weddings. Check everything out on their site!

So…here is how our night went:

Beau was in a room filled with ladies, yes, but who cares? Pallet parties are for the boys, too. He was so serious making his board for Chloe’s room that he proclaimed he wanted to return to do it again so he could perfect it. Oh, Beau!

Do something different. Do something fun. Gather your squad and book a night at one of the Buffalo Collective spots. You’ll be proud at the end, channeling your inner Fixer Upper style. We had so much fun!

DETAILS:

Buffalo Collective locations: see online (Southtowns, Northtowns) Street parking in Southtowns.

Instagram // Facebook

Perfect for girl night, fam time, date night, parties, solo, fundraisers.

Drinks for purchase, smocks on site, immediate assistance.

Colors and Magic at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Aren’t we so lucky to have these incredible museums right here in our backyard? As kids, we are exposed to them through field trips and as adults we get to relive those moments all over again but with fresh eyes and respect.

Beau and I have been Albright-Knox Art Gallery lovers for life. My school did field trips here and I was able to experience my Mother (now a retired Art Teacher) taking her students to it as well. We went as a family a few times and as a ‘big kid’, Beau and I have attended for live music and special exhibits. Now that we have Chloe, it’s a whole new adventure. We took her for her very first Albright experience last weekend and it was more magical than we expected.

AKG had a hands-on exhibit called ‘Art of the Senses’ which included works you could taste, touch, and hear. Great interaction for people of all ages, especially babies! Chloe was looking everywhere and seemed to love the bright art the most. The museum was packed and rightly so- the second exhibit featured the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami which was colorful, mesmerizing, and imaginative. (Think: the Japanese Lisa Frank)

AKG is stroller-friendly (can carefully take stairs, too, but there is a small elevator). There is a cafe inside you can grab lunch at- a sit down so you can enjoy your time. The gift shop is always fun afterward because you will find unique art supplies, books, and decor. You see classic artists such as Picasso, Monet, and Matisse and they even brought back the ever-popular favorite: The Mirrored Room by Lucas Samaras. *bring socks so you can step inside!

We’re pretty cheesy, if you didn’t already know. Every time we had Chloe take some pics, she giggled and posed- clearly she has the cheese, too. Must be in our genes! How can you not want to get a cool shot in the Albright-Knox though??

These exhibits I mentioned have ended their time at AKG, but the museum is constantly curating new exhibits and artists to come. The best place to see what is currently there and arriving soon is on their website: Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Follow their Instagram, too!

This is seriously one of our top fav date places in Buffalo! You can solo, grab a friend, bring the kids and baby, cross generations, or go on a date.

Grab your camera, grab your person…even download their app to play some fun games. We are too lucky not to keep going to AKG again and again, to expose our young selves once again and of course to enlighten the future youth.

Details:

Albright-Knox Art Gallery // 2182 Delaware Ave. Buffalo 14216

Tuesday – Sunday 10-5 // First Friday of each month is 10-10

Parking in lot: $5 for guests

Available street parking behind the museum

Family / friends / solo / date night / day date