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!

Father’s Day Gift Guide at Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls

We love shopping at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls. Beau gets a lot of his wardrobe there and we love that there are 200 shops to peruse through. So of course we were excited to team up with the Fashion Outlets again and go on the hunt to show you some really great Father’s Day gift ideas. The outlets always have every day prices that are up to 75% off- can’t beat that!

They’re not far at all- only a short drive from downtown Buffalo and are really accessible from anywhere in WNY. Here is what we found for gift ideas this Father’s Day at any budget:

Some things about Dads: they usually always need help in the fashion department, they never can have enough grilling tools, and sometimes you just need to get them beef jerky. Beau spotted a wall of jerky at the Beef Jerky Outlet and I had to pry him out the shop before buying the whole store.

Over at Puma they had a buy one get 1/2 off T-shirt sale which is perfect since Beau is the super athletic dad.

Michael Kors has everything for the traveling business guy from shiny watches and matching business travel bag for those on the go.

Raise your hand if your dad has old holey underwear. Yup. We found deals on boxers at Banana Republic that seems like it was too good to be true always fun colorful print.

With stores like J.A. Zwilling Henckels you can stock the shed and garage with grilling tools perfect just in time for the summer. Find all the fun Buffalo goodies at the BFLO shop where you can hook him up with a grilling apron, a Bills koozie, and a South Buffalo shot glass when he’s outside making those burgers. And just in time for Father’s Day Old Navy is opening Saturday, June 16. Doesn’t Dad need some new shorts??

It’s not just clothes at the Fashion Outlets! You can find a gift for literally anybody on your list especially dad Father’s Day. He might even be super proud of you that you saved a lot of money and found the deals without tapping him for some cash.

DETAILS:

Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls / 1900 Military Rd. Niagara Falls, NY 14304

Directory List of Stores

*the list also shows what deals are going on at each store!

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

 

Pizza 101: Niagara County

As we always remind you- us lovebirds grew up in Niagara County before traveling the world and landing in downtown Buffalo. So naturally, we hit up old stomping grounds every time we head back home and It causes us to relive our teenage years.

Last night, an impromptu northern visit aimed us in to Newfane (girl bird) and a 9:45pm dinner time meant one thing: Wilson’s Pizza

 

Located on Main St. in the heart of Newfane, Wilson’s has held its pizza and wings name in town for over 50 years. During childhood, there were two choices in Newfane on where to get your pizza- and the town was divided like the Capulets and Montagues. Pizza is serious. The Wilson’s Pizza lovers mean this: sweet sauce, thick crust, and all the kids’ favorite cut: square pieces. 

With 10 minutes to spare before our order was complete, we headed in to the small shop front (inside an old home) and girl bird chirped away about skipping school to get a slice (but always going back cause she was nervous), arguing at slumber parties on which two pizza places to order from, and then went on and on about how she used to know everyone that worked here (up until now). With very limited seating- really only to grab a slice and eat it fast- Wilson’s is the ultimate take out spot…but it has some cool items on the wall that you should check out when you pop inside:

  
Grateful Dead memories

  

The picture above is actually quite personal to the Newfane community. The upper right photo is the elementary school’s former Principal, Tom Hicks. Mr. Hicks had been a superior boxer in his day, before taking on the administration world. How cool that this is displayed in the town’s local pizza shop!

Ok ok, so the food.

  
Salivating, yet? We don’t blame you. We opted for thick crust, sweet sauce, SQUARE SLICES (because for some reason, that is more fun). We devoured more pieces than we needed and caught girl birds’ Dad woofing down a couple slices. 

  
Spoiled by wing specialists in WNY, we say ‘make these things hotter!!’ in order to have some kick-butt wings. Pizza > wings at Wilson’s but you just have to pair the two anyway. Nothin’ like coming home to relive childhood memories.

DETAILS: 

Wilson’s Pizza 2730 Main St. Newfane, NY 14108

716.778.9651

wilsonspizzashop.com

Take out // sweet sauce // street and ‘lots nearby’ to park // ice cream at Scotchie’s next door to top off your cheat meal

 

Go, Panthers! 

Lockport, NY: Erie Canal, Lockport Caves, and Lake Effect Ice Cream

the front of Lake Effect
the front of Lake Effect

Both of the Buffalovebirds hail from Niagara County. Specifically, one is a Lockport Lion alum! Forty minutes from downtown Buffalo, at the corner of route 78 and 31, twenty five minutes south of Lake Ontario- Lockport has quite the history behind it, regardless of it being under the radar in Western New York. The Erie Canal, a 360+ mile canal that extends from the Hudson River in Albany to Lake Erie in Buffalo (a connecting route via water from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes), is the most prominent landmark in LP. We get a kick out of being tourists in our hometowns and wanted to share a great day date idea for you, next time you venture out in WNY.

Start your day with a 2 hour cruise along the Lockport Canal, where you can experience the view of the man-made canal, see the ‘Flight of Five’ locks from the 1840s, and pass under raised bridges and the only set of double-locks along the canal.

QUICK INFO:

Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises

210 Market St. Lockport, NY 14094

(716) 433-6155

adults $17.50, kids 4-10 $9

www.lockportlocks.com

Slide Show Image

Inside the Canal Side building (clear to see from the road), is a cafe where you may grab a bite to eat- unless you have reserved a cool lunch & cruise deal already. It’s easy to book online or through the phone. Group rates are also available (a great tour to take your out-of-town guests, too!). After you’ve taken your historical canal tour, hop off and head up to the Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Ride. Lasting a little over an hour, this tour gives you an industrial history on Locks 34, 35, 67-71 built in 1838, hydraulic tunnels that gave off water power, and hear about Birdsill Holly. (who??!! ah, the guy who invented the rotary pump, the 2nd place winner of the most patents in the US (Thomas Edison in first).)

QUICK INFO:

Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Ride

5 Gooding St. Lockport, NY 14094

(716) 438-0174

adults $12, kids $7

www.lockportcave.com

The boat ride is relaxing yet a little spooky! It’s also a blast to take the tour the week of Halloween as well! Make sure you wear safe shoes as you will be walking on even ground and in a boat. You can reserve through their website, as well- and of course calling or stopping by the office, too. After all of that darkness- step out in to the light and walk over to Lake Effect Ice Cream for some addicting artisan treats! Locally owned and established in Lockport, Lake Effect has taken Western New York by storm and has begun selling their deliciousness in Wegmans & Tops- even at the Transit Drive-In! (how we wish they had a shop in downtown BLo or Elmwood!!!)

QUICK INFO:

Lake Effect Artisan Ice Cream

79 Canal St. Lockport, NY 14094

www.lakeeffecticecream.com

@lake_effect_ic

app: lake effect ice cream (free!)

Owned by two Lockport teachers, their ice cream has humorous local names which are created using local ingredients, offers gluten-free flavors, and best of all- is rich and mouth-watering!

the DL on the flavors (how does one choose!?)
the DL on the flavors (how does one choose!?)

IMG_1445[1]

quaint inside seating area. also space to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine!
quaint inside seating area. also space to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine!
Glazed Red Velvet Donut sundae (made with Paula's red velvet donuts!) and a waffle cone filled with Peanut Butter Epiphany
Glazed Red Velvet Donut sundae (made with Paula’s red velvet donuts!) and a waffle cone filled with Peanut Butter Epiphany

So take a drive out to Lockport to brush up on your local history and savor a cold cone which will leave you scouring the grocery isles for your own personal pint!

**the popular crowd of LP: the creator of volleyball (William G. Morgan), the inventor of the human canonball (William Leonard Hunt aka- The Great Farini), supermodel Kim Alexis