How To Step Up Your Sunflower Selfie Adventure

It’s a thing now. Heading out beyond the ‘burbs and in to *gasp* the country to take pics in the sunflower fields. Specifically in Sanborn, NY. We all are on year 2 for making this an annual end-of-summer trip…so why not check out the best of the best up north once you get that super perfect angle with a VSCO filter shot? We’ve got the deets for ya, guys.

So you’re in Sanborn…uhhh, now what?

All these selfies make me hungry. Here are some must-eat joints nearby:

Lewiston, 20 minutes from the sunflowers.

The Silo: on the water, kid friendly, ice cream, eat outside. More selfies.

Cask and Cow: burgers. The end. Kid friendly.

Brickyard Pub: BBQ and then a really good nap. In the village, so make sure you walk around the shops afterward. Yes to kids.

Water Street Landing: right on the river with a great view, drinks, eat outside, live music. Kids in the right condition.


Wilson, 15 minute drive.

Woodcock Brothers Brewery: beer, kid friendly. You’re happy now, I bet.

Sunset Grill: patio, drinks, good for kids. Tell Chad the bartender Lindsay sent you.

The Wilson House: so happy this is restored. Check out this 1844 home-turned-restaurant in the center of town.

Burt, NY nearby: Live Edge Brewing: the newer kid in town in a great space with fun food and kid friendly. Next to Schulze Winery, so there’s no failing here.


Lockport, 13 minute drive.

Steak, Stone, and Sushi: cook on a hot rock. You’ll be surprised. Kids can go- we took Chloe and she had a hoot.

Lock 34: a good ol’ staple and the same place Beau and I met (previous name and owner). Music, kid friendly.

Danny Sheehan’s: steak and potatoes. So good. Where everybody knows your name.

Aguacates: Mexican, baby.

Ennis’ West End Tavern: Seafood. Meat. Hearty plates. Cannot go wrong at all here.


Us, 2017 in the Sanborn Sunflower field

Ugh, I’m exhausted from smiling so much. I need a coffee:

Lewiston: Orange Cat Coffee

Lockport/Pendleton: Craft Coffee House, Steamworks Coffee, Scripts Cafe

Wilson: Wilson Brew


Chelsea Victoria Photography, Sanborn Sunflowers

Well, I packed the kids up and now I guess I drive home? Nope:

Niagara Zipper– zipline along the Erie Canal! Located in Lockport

Ice Bumper Cars– Also in Lockport- you haven’t seenthese yet because this is the only place in WNY to do it!

Olcott Carousel– take a drive up to Olcott for their small but cute carousel and other kiddie rides. Get cash out to get Bye’s Popcorn for the way home. **Carousel park closes after Labor Day


@andreeaclairee, Sanborn Sunflowers

What other kind of fun things can we do?:

Wine Tours– figure out a plan to hit some of the local Niagara County Wine Trail spots- vineyard selfies are cool, too. (drive safely)

Stop at local farm stands! They’re everywhere up there!

Spa time at Niagara Crossing (formerly Barton Hill Spa)- check it out online to get a little spa time in Lewiston.

**check all sites for times of businesses before you drive somewhere!

Waking Up in Lewiston: A Day Date

Part Two of our spontaneous getaway in Lewiston. Waking up and finding breakfast is always key when on vacation, spending a day off together, or re-exploring a local town.

But first, coffee.

 

orange cat coffee, lewiston
 

Our favorite coffee spot in Lewiston is Orange Cat Coffee, located on Center Street. Local, quaint, and the best Red Eye we have had in Niagara County. The beauty of Lewiston is you can walk from the river all the way to the end of the village without feeling exhausted. You can stroll from the Barton Hill Hotel to Orange Cat for a caffeine surge and walk the town, sit outside on their patio, or cozy up in their back room.

 

breakfast at mangia cafe, lewiston
 
We stopped by Mangia Cafe & Bakery, next to Orange Cat, for breakfast. It feels like a historic home with a diner-like feel and is a great stop to get together with your lovebird, family, or friends. Diving in, we ordered banana-walnut and strawberry pancakes, crisp bacon, and eggs. The place slowly packed in and with the sun shining in, we felt like we were on vacation in a peaceful New England town.

 

sgt. peppers, lewiston
 
Love hot sauce? Our favorite place to grab unique sauce is at Sgt. Pepper’s. As a small joint, Sgt. Pepper never fails us- and who doesn’t love naughty labels? The price tag also shows you heat level 1-10, so watch out! A family-run business that keeps it kickin’.

 

castellani art museum, lewiston
 
Since we were in Lewiston in its off-season, we made a quick little stop at the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University. Open on Sundays from 1-5pm, Castellani boasts contemporary and folk art exhibits that is perfect for going solo or bringing the kids.

 

nemo
 
Not ready to go home, we ventured in to Niagara Falls to revisit the Aquarium of Niagara– somewhere we had no been since we were in elementary school. Don’t worry, we found Nemo.

Stopping by Niagara Falls State Park, we walked around Three Sisters Island and observed some changes happening near the falls that should be improving the area in the next couple of years. We truly hope the area will grow.

Not-so-far-away destinations can be the perfect weekend getaway. On a budget? Last minute? Take another look in your backyard to see what you can rediscover together.

 

niagara falls state park, ny
  
inside mangia
  
jaguar at the bistro, youngstown
 
 

 

Local Getaway: Barton Hill Hotel & Jaguar at the Bistro **JAGUAR IS NOW CLOSED- CHECK OUT THEIR OTHER SITE AT CASA AZUL IN DOWNTOWN BUFFALO

One way we like to surprise one another and keep our newly-married life exciting is planning spontaneous getaways. Well, maybe not ‘us’…it’s all guy bird and I take no credit.

‘Good morning, beautiful! I brought you coffee.’

This in itself always starts the weekend off right and adds up brownie points.

‘Pack your bag, we are going on a local getaway.’

Brownie points off the charts.

It is one of the easiest ways to plan time together and keep that butterfly feeling you have when you are first dating. Where were we heading? Lewiston, NY.

Thirty minutes from downtown Buffalo, Lewiston is no stranger to us. Both hailing from Niagara County, it is a childhood staple. Additionally, we’ve celebrated the 4th there a couple times, spent our first summer of dating meeting up at Artpark’s Tuesday events, and had our first date on the river there. A beautiful town with live music, local businesses, and tons of history. Here is a way to make Lewiston a local getaway at any given time:

 

Our pick on where to stay:

Barton Hill Hotel & Spa

 

barton hill hotel & spa site

Built not so long ago, the hotel stands on the land where America planned its invasion in to Canada in 1812. Designed to look as if the building has been there for centuries, Barton Hill has river view rooms, spa services, and is great for weddings. Being very quiet due to the off-season, it felt as if we had the hotel to ourselves. Our Frederick Retreat room was lit by the fire and looked out over the river. The staff was very friendly and accomodating. After settling in, we prepped for date night- dinner at Jaguar at the Bistro.

 

Our pick on where to eat:

Jaguar at the Bistro

Having been on our list for quite some time, watching Chef Victor Parra Gonzalez and his sister Sous Chef Diana Parra at the Nickel City Chef Competition last week really made us stop putting off dinner reservations. Their restaurant, Jaguar at the Bistro, is in Youngstown- just north of Lewiston- tucked away inside the village. We went straight for the Tasting Menu which gives you the opportunity to have the chefs create what they want and truly gives you insight in to where their heart and soul lives. Always go for the chefs menu, anywhere!

It was a quiet Saturday evening, with an old inn feel and a pianist filling the air. Do not let the ambiance confuse you- the cuisine is a twist on Mexican cuisine and specifies pieces from the chefs childhood home of Acalpulco and their travels. Our server, Jessica, was joyful and attentive as we were led through the courses. There is nothing more exciting to us than not knowing what will be put in front of us!

First course: pork bone broth with corn


Second course: we have never had octopus as tender as this…


Third course: pork belly with mole, cactus, cotija…


Fourth course: 

Three parts to the dessert course! The first part…we ate. Sorry, guys! It was atole ice cream, made by Chef Victor Parra earlier that day. Atole is a warm drink made of corn, vanilla, and cinnamon. We could have eaten an entire pint. Part two: chocolate macarons with chocolate ganache and blood orange. Sous Chef Diana is the one who reigns over the desserts and it shows. We are suckers for beautifully plated food and flavor pairings you would never imagine would work.


Third part: flan with warm berries. It is safe to officialy say we will never want flan anywhere else. We learned that goat milk is the trick in making this so incredibly creamy.

Having the chefs sit down with us and tell us about the passion behind their food and where their inspiration stems from was a memorable and exhilarating experience. We love when the people behind the plates share their souls. You learn the story, you connect through food.

It has been a while since we were last blown away by a food date night and Jaguar at the Bistro nailed it. They are opening a location on the West Side in Buffalo this spring and we could not be more excited. So what does this mean for you right now?

Scope out their website here and plan your date night by calling for a reservation and get the Tasting Menu. Let them know ahead of time so the chefs can gather what is needed. You may be in quaint Youngstown but dress it up. You’re not gonna see a burrito on this menu (break out of that stereotypical Mexican cuisine mind), so get ready for an incredible experience.

We have towns and villages within minutes of Buffalo- or wherever you may be living right now. Venture out somewhere you usually would not and turn it in to a local getaway. It will allow you to reconnect with each other and rediscover what is in your own backyard.

Check out Part 2: Waking Up in Lewiston

 

entry in Barton Hill Hotel

 

jaguar at the bistro, youngstown, ny

 

inside jaguar at the bistro

 

Weekend Bash: 6/6 – 6/8

Summer is here, Buffalonians! You know it when you look at the events occurring this weekend and you just do not know where to start. We listed a brief weekenders to-do here, but make sure you check all sources to get ALL of the fantastic WNY dates!

FRIDAY 6/6

  • Kiss the Summer Hello- SOLD OUT. Who is gonna propose on stage tonight while Jason Derulo sings ‘Marry Me’? Oh boy…Hit up some after parties downtown.
  • Red Cross Mash Bash: From 8pm-midnight, dance the night away at this military-themed fundraiser happening at the American Red Cross on Delaware Ave. Food, drinks, music, and…LANCE DIAMOND. ’nuff said. All proceeds support the Buffalo American Red Cross in emergency responses. $75/person. Read all the details here: The Bash
  • Eclectic Improv at Burchfield-Penney: 8pm, $15/person…have you seen these guys? Go laugh your butt off. *great date night
  • Polish Heritage Fest (Friday & Saturday): Head to the Hamburg Fairgrounds for a pierogi eating contest, live polka band, vendors, Polish Genealogy, and more. $10

 

 

SATURDAY 6/7

  • Closing party for the Congress for New Urbanism. 6pm at Larkin Square and open to everyone. Music, food, drink- you know the drill in Larkinville. Mix and mingle with some great minds of architecture, design, builders, and revolutionists.

Willie Nelson & Alison Krauss at Artpark: You do not want to miss out on this performance in Lewiston. Hit up Tin Pan Alley, The Silo, or Town Hall American Bistro for dinner.

Saturday Artisan Market at Canalside: From 10-5, venture around the waterfront and check out numerous artisans and vendors while enjoying the sunshine.

East Aurora Music Festival: 33 bands, 10 venues, auction, 50/50, Del Aureo’s pizza, sliders, beer & wine, and kettle corn…you can literally walk the town from band to band! $10, wrist band. Look over the site for info & get your mobile map.

Master of Great Architecture Walking Tour: Meet up at The Archer on Main St. for a walking tour of Buffalo’s greatest architects’ buildings. $10, $5 for students. 90 minutes to 2 hours- good exercise! 😉 Enjoy dinner afterward at The Archer with 10% deal.

 

SUNDAY 6/8

Battle of the Blues Bands: from 3-6:30pm, head to Canalside to check out the competitors to open for George Thorogood on 6/27. Bring your chairs.

Woodlawn Beach: $7 to park in lot….or sneak in from the other side. We never said that. Get some Vitamin C. Grab your towels, sunscreen, cooler, shades, and frisbee. Also, the new tiki bar is open. Once we sun it up, we will take some photos for you guys. (instagram: buffalovebirds)

Down By the River Tour: $15, $5 student with ID…explore The Erie Canal, Old First Ward neighborhood, Cobblestone District, and the railroad history of the waterfront. 90 minutes to 2 hours. Meet up at The Swannie House 170 Ohio St.

Date Night Weekend Bash: 9/27-9/29

Here are the top picks we chose for you this weekend!

Fri. 9/27

The opening of Buffalo Iron Works in the Cobblestone District happens tonight with live music at 6pm & 10pm. Their menu shows off poutine, hot dogs, wings…you don’t want to miss out! In a historic building, partnered with Lagerhaus95- this is a top addition to downtown Buffalo. 49 Illinois St. Buffalo 14203

Charlie Murphy at Helium Comedy Club– since you’re in the Cobblestone District! Eddie Murphy’s brother takes the stage at 7:30 pm & 10pm tonight and tomorrow. Call for details! 30 Mississippi St. Buffalo 14203 716-853-1211

Sat. 9/28

Central Terminal Mini Fest happening at the Central Terminal from 2pm-8pm: free and offers a chance to win a Mini, take a tour for $10, vendors & arts.

Happening during Blo’s Beer Week, the Buffalo Beer Geek Festival occurs at Artisans Kitchens & Baths in two sessions: 1-4pm, 6-9pm $40 or $45 at door. Specialty craft brews from local and international geeks. 200 Amherst St. Buffalo. A must for the beer lovers!

Lewiston Arts Council presents Earth Voices of the Great Spirit at the Lewiston Peace Garden 476 Center St. Lewiston from 11am-5pm featuring Native American music, drumming and arts. A wonderful way to learn and experience the first people of our nations’ rich hertiage & culture.

Sun. 9/29

Happening all weekend is The Village of Williamsville Oktoberfest from 10am-10pm. Parades, markets, live music, & lots of restaurant deals.

Want to watch the Bills game? Our top picks on where to go are: Pan-Am in the Hotel Lafayette, The Lodge on Chippewa, Lagerhaus95, Buffalo Iron Works, and Amherst Ale House!

Date Night Weekend Bash: 9/6-9/8

Fill your weekend with our top picks for going on a date!

FRI. 9/6

Party for the Parks at Marcy Casino, Delaware Park is the party to be at for the end of summer. Benefits the Buffalo Olmsted Park Conservancy. The theme this year: Olmsted Rocks. Rock music (of course!), auctions, fire dancers…bring $ for food & drink. Tickets are $25, $75 for VIP. Check website for more details.

Canalside: Sunset Drumming with Neto Hatinakwe Onkwehowe, Native Dancers at 7:30 (free!). Head down to Canalside to experience dancing & drums. Feel the rhythm while the sun sets! *fun fact: Neto’s name in Cayuga means ‘Here lives the people’.

Canalside: outdoor movie at 8:30pm- Bruce Almighty…after the sunset drumming, take your chairs to the outdoor movie with trivia! See if you can agree or argue with the films’ depiction of Buffalo. Free! Make Canalside a whole evening!

SAT. 9/7

Peach Festival at Academy Park in Lewiston is the perfect Saturday date. Everything that is peaches is happening here! Food, dancing, contests…millions of peaches- peaches for me. (name that tune!) The fest runs Fri. 5-9pm, Sat. 11am-11pm, and Sun. noon-8pm Click here for parking info.

After gobbling some peaches, take a Marble Orchard Ghost Walk which is now happening every Saturday in September and October in Lewiston. Meet at the Peace Garden 476 Center St. at 7pm for a ghost walk where you hear about historical hauntings, curses, early medical practices, and murder. No reservations necessary, $15/adult, $8 for 12 & under…rain or shine, bring a flashlight! Make this a Lewiston date!

SUN. 9/8

Ukranian Fest is happening at St. John the Baptist Ukranian Catholic Church 3275 Elmwood Ave. Kenmore with dancers, food, tours, and music. noon-7pm. Free parking & admission. Bring $ for food & drink. Get some borscht!

echo Art Fair is happening at the Central Library downtown from 10am-6pm. Fine art, photography, media, print, sculpture…Sat. $5, Sun. free. Check the website for VIP deals to exclusive previews and deals. Parking at Adam Ramp, free street parking, or take the subway in and get off at Lafayette Square. Walk across the street to The Hotel Lafayette and grab a coffee at Butterwood and some fresh flowers at Woyshners.

The Bills Game. If you’re not already planning to head to The Ralph, make sure you hit up local hotspots or have friends over to cheer on our team. 1pm.