Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Quest to Overcome the Winter Crankies

I knew when I made my decision to leave California and move back to Buffalo, it would mean giving up one of my favorite things: bitching about the winter weather. I had a chance for a blizzard-free life but I CHOSE winters in Buffalo. So never again can I whine about being cold, having to dig out my car or wear layers and layers of unattractive clothes. I knew that if I ever WERE to complain to anyone again, that they would have the right to slap me. I accepted all of that when I packed everything I own into my car (again) and headed home.

I gave it up for you, Buffalo.

I told myself that I loved this city enough to embrace winter. I'd start snowboarding again. I'd walk through the park in two feet of snow. I'd learn to ice skate. Go sledding with friends. I'll find a way to overcome my annual case of S.A.D and enjoy myself year round. Yes! I can do this!

But that was in June.

Now it's December. It's cold out. I've had to dig my car out from under a foot of snow. Driving through this lake effect slush is like trying to steer a sheet of cardboard down a slip-n-slide. AND THESE BOOTS I'M WEARING ARE ANYTHING BUT CUTE!

view from my front door

So now's when I'm really going to have to work at not becoming one of those Buffalo weather-bashing naysayers I've been talking about. I really do love this city, and I'm still really happy to be here, in spite of the weather. I'm going to go out and buy myself a sled (if I don't get one for Christmas, hint hint) and drag my friends out to the park for some fresh air and old-fashioned fun (get your snowpants ready people; this is happening.) I'm going to get my snowboard sharpened and tuned up (where's the best place to do that, by the way? Urban? Phatman?) and head out to Holiday Valley.

To keep from being bored and lonely, I'm going to brave the winter driving conditions and check out some of the many events that are always happening around town. The Home for the Holidays concert series will continue for a few more weeks. I'm also looking forward to checking out the Olmsted Nights and Winter Lights show and Flurrious Festival in Delaware Park. I was really sad to have missed the first annual Powder Keg Festival last winter, and am already looking forward to attending it this year. In addition to the events, there are still lots of live theatre performances happening all winter long, museums and gallerys to visit, and of course great food to eat! I haven't been to the new Eights Bistro yet, but their menu has my mouth watering.

To top off all of my winter gallivanting, I'm planning to take some classes this winter. Cone Five Pottery on Hertel Ave. offers pottery classes which I'll be starting in January. I'm hoping also to be accepted for the  Preservation Buffalo Niagara annual docent training classes. I'm clearly a big Buffalo supporter, and a not-too-shabby public speaker if I do say so myself. I think I'd make a pretty awesome Buffalo Tour Guide - don't you?! Maybe I'll even finally take one of the workshops at the WNY Book Arts Collaborative that I've been talking about since I got back.

I'm reminding myself every day that I couldn't really appreciate the warmth and beauty of spring if I didn't have to first endure a little winter. And in the mean time, yes I'm doing my very best to embrace and possibly even enjoy it.

Ok, so maybe I'm not embracing winter quite as wholeheartedly as some, but it's a start. And yes, if you catch me doing any more whining, you have my permission to slap me.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Autumn in the Queen City

I didn't think anything could top summertime in Buffalo. Then came October. What an amazing time to be in this city! The weather was phenomenal and there was so much to do.

One beautiful Sunday afternoon my parents and I went on a walking tour of Forest Lawn cemetery. I've always loved spending time in Forest Lawn and really enjoy learning about the history of the place. Some people get a little turned off by the idea of hanging out in a cemetery, but Forest Lawn is really so much more than just a grave yard. It's a park, a museum, an art gallery, and a nature preserve. The landscape is beautiful, the history is rich, and the memorials are some of the most beautiful architecture and sculpture in the city.

The tours are over for the season, but will start again in the spring. I enjoy tours, but Forest Lawn is open to the public year-round for those who would rather explore it on their own, or don't want to wait until June. Some highlights to check out include final resting place of President Millard Filmore, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Blue Sky Mausoleum, and the ornate Blocher Memorial. In addition to the tours, Forest Lawn has an on-going event schedule.

Another tour I got to check out was Mason Winfield's Ghost Walk of Allentown. I had been looking forward to checking out the ghost tours for years, and was looking forward to hearing the history behind the ghost stories. Honestly, I was a little disappointed when a lot of the tour had to do with people losing their keys, or dogs barking when nothing was there. I can't speak to all of the Mason Winfield tours, and I'll probably go on another one next year. I hope when I do I'll hear more about the history of the buildings and the people who lived in them.

In addition to enjoying Forest Lawn and the Ghost Walk, I got to spend a sunny afternoon lounging on Bidwell Parkway with my best friend, hit the farmers market for some awesome local produce, and get fresh apples at one of Buffalo's many apple orchards. There were also some great Oktoberfest events and Halloween parties to enjoy. Now the holidays are here and I can't wait to see what awesome experiences I'll have in the Queen City this season!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Buffalo Makes Me Want to Dance!

Buffalo Salsa
I didn't know what to expect when I signed up for a series of salsa classes. I purchased the series on a whim when LivingSocial.com was offering a deal of four classes for $20. Salsa for the Soul offers classes for beginners as well as more experienced dancers at the Configuration Dance Studio on Lexington Ave. I was intrigued but also a little intimidated by the idea of salsa, not only because it looks like a complicated dance, but also because those salsa girls always make it look so damn sexy! I don't think I'll ever move quite like the pros, but after two classes I'm at least somewhat comfortable with the basic steps. The instructors take their time explaining everything we do in the class, and there is a lot of repetition to help everyone get used to the movement. It's not only fun, but also a pretty decent workout! All that moving definitely gets the heart pumping. Anyone who is interested in Salsa for the Soul can check out their facebook page. For info about upcoming classes you can also email Sarah Hooper (Salsa Sarah) at Salsaforthesoul@gmail.com.

There is actually more of a salsa dance scene in Buffalo than I ever realized. I first saw Salsa Sarah doing a Salsa for the Soul workshop at a Latin Jazz Project performance on Bidwell this summer. She performed again at the Party for the Olmsted Parks last month (which was a great time.) The Latin Jazz Project performs every Friday night at Barcelona on Pearl. Anyone can go to dance, or just listen to some excellent Latin music. They also play at the Anchor Bar (home of the original Buffalo Wing) on Saturdays. Chow Chocolate  has a "noche de salsa" event every Wednesday which includes a lesson followed by open dancing.

Take a dance class in Buffalo!
In addition to Salsa for the Soul, there are other organizations that offer Salsa and other Latin dance classes such as the Latin American Institute, and Folkloric Productions.

As a matter of fact, there are all kinds of dance classes available in Buffalo. Kineo Lab offers contemporary dance classes for both children and adults. The American Academy of Ballet offers classes in ballet for children and adults as well as modern, jazz and tap. For the tango enthusiast, there's Buffalo Tango. Anyone interested in ballroom dancing can check out the Arthur Murray Studios, and there is a surprisingly large amount of studios and teachers offering Belly Dance including Ilya's on Hertel Ave, The Belly Dance Academy in Kenmore, and the Western New York Bellydance Association. For the daring and adventurous, there is the Pole Play Dance Studio on Hertel Ave. They offer pole dancing classes as well as chair dance, flexibility, and hoop dancing.

Buffalo's Own Dance Company
If you're more interested in watching a dance performance than in learning to dance yourself, Buffalo also has its own touring dance company. I took in a performance by the Lehrer Dance company last Friday at UB. I was absolutely blown away by the raw athleticism of the dancers. These people were doing things with their bodies that mere mortals should not be able to do. They were balancing on each other and holding postures that would make bodybuilders tremble.

image courtesy of lehrerdance.org
I've never really attended a dance performance (other than the Nutcraker ballet at Christmas time - check it out at Shea's) but what intrigued me enough to check this one out was a dance entitled "An American Siddhartha: The Way Within" which was performed to a soundtrack of Led Zeppelin and The Guess Who. Not what I expected to see on a modern dance program. I know very little about modern dance, but I enjoyed the performance and noticed how the piece utilized color and lighting along with song and movement to tell a story. Very cool.

The Lehrer Dance company was founded in 2007 by UB alum Jon Lehrer. Since then, the company has spent time touring the country, receiving rave reviews in cities such as Chicago and Houston, as well as from national dance publications including Dance Magazine. In addition to touring, the company also has a home season during which they perform here in Buffalo at the UB Center for the Arts. Not only is Lehrer Dance based out of Buffalo, the company has also recruited some dancers from the Western New York community. I am proud to say that Buffalo has a world-class touring dance company, and I am sure that they are equally proud to call Buffalo home. We need organizations to be out there sharing positive ideas about Buffalo, so I hope my readers will join me in supporting them.

  Buffalo on the cheap!
I purchased my salsa lessons through LivingSocial, a Web site that offers one local deal per day to members. As I have yet to find employment since moving back to Buffalo this summer (someone please hire me!), I have had to learn how to be frugal in this city. Luckily for me, LivingSocial isn't the only Web site to offer the specials. Groupon and Seize the Deal are similar sites. It's free to sign up for all three services, and members will receive daily emails letting them know about that day's deals. I love these services, which feature deals from restaurants, salons and spas, theatres, boutiques, local attractions, and more.

Other sites that help you save money and find deals in the area are the Deal Map and Channel 2's Discount Deals. If anyone knows about any additional sites for finding local savings, please send them my way and I will share them here!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A visit to the Buffalo Zoo

I took advantage of yesterday's sunshine by finally paying a visit to the Buffalo Zoo. I've been meaning to go all summer and am glad I made it before the really cold weather came. The zoo is one of the area's biggest tourist attractions. It was designed as a part of the Buffalo park system by Frederick Olmsted in 1875. In more recent years, it was a controversial topic among area residents. The zoo's accreditation was jeopardized when it was accused of having substandard care facilities for the animals. There was also talk of the zoo moving from its historic location in order to expand. Ultimately, in 2002, the Buffalo Zoo finalized plans to rennovate and update many of its facilities. In 2008, many of the updates were completed including Sea Lion Cove and the impressive Rain Forest Falls. The updates will continue for years and I am optimistic about the zoo's future.

Upon arriving, I noticed signs instructing me to try out the Buffalo Zoo iPhone app. I'm told that Buffalo is the first zoo in the country to have developed such an app. It features a map that pinpoints your location in the zoo and shows you what animals and exhibits are nearby. It also has schedules of upcoming events such as zookeeper talks, tours, demonstrations, and feedings. The app even includes audio and video clips about some of the animals in the zoo.


One of everyone's favorite animals to visit in any zoo is the polar bear. The Buffalo Zoo is home to two. While seeing any animal held in captivity can be a little sad, the polar bears seemed especially depressed to me. They were pacing back and forth in their small and bare enclosures. I am delighted to report, however, that the Buffalo zoo just announced today that they will be developing a new habitat for the bears, to be called the Arctic Edge habitat. The update to the habitats, which were originally designed in 1930 comes just in time, as the zoo's 10 year old female polar bear may be expecting cubs soon.

Some of the other highlights of my visit included the new Rainforest Falls exhibit, the adorable snow leopard cubs, and my favorite animals, the tigers.


The Buffalo Zoo is open year-round. It is available for birthday parties, and holds events throughout the year such as Halloween hayrides, holiday parties, and more. The Buffalo Zoo always needs funding to continue renovations and to improve the quality of life for the animals. I encourage everyone to visit the zoo and to donate to support its continued growth.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Buffalo's Got Architecture, and Tours too!

One of my favorite things about Buffalo is our architecture. Though I love the beautful old buildings, I don't know all that much about them. I made my first attempt to rectify that last night on the Open-Air Autobus of Buffalo. The bus tours are operated by the Campaign for Great Buffalo and focus on the historic architecture in the area. Among other things, I learned that there were three great American architects: Henry H. Richardson, Louis Sullivan, and Frank Lloyd Wright; and that Buffalo is one of only two cities to have buildings designed by all three (the other city being Chicago.)

Our first stop was the Richardson complex on Forest Ave. Almost everyone in Buffalo is familiar with the complex even if they don't know the name of the building or its designer. The main building's towers are recognizable and can be seen from various points all over the city. It was originally designed by Henry H. Richardson to house the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane. Though I recognize it as a beautiful building, I've always imagined it to be haunted by the tormented souls of the insane who lived and died there.

Another beautiful building we visited was the Ellicott Square building downtown.When it opened in 1896, it was the largest office building in the world. I love the ornamental sculpture all over the building's exterior, as well as (though we didn't see this from the bus) the intricate glass and steel ceiling that covers the lobby.

Louis Sullivan was one of the three great American architects, and until last night I didn't know he had existed. He designed the Guaranty Building (now the Prudential building) in 1895 and it was built the following year. When our bus parked directly beside it, I was able to get a close look at the gorgeous and intricate terra cotta blocks that make up the building's exterior.

One of Buffalo's most recognizable buildings, and certainly my favorite, is City Hall. The first style of architecture I was ever familiar with was Art Deco, and that is because I was familiar with Buffalo's City Hall.

This was the "Whirlwind Tour" so we covered a little bit of everything. The group also offers more specialized tours such as the Frank Lloyd Wright tour. There are a few weeks of bus tours left for this season and the schedule is available here.

More Buffalo Tours

Another group that offers architecture tours is Buffalo Tours. I've never been on one of their tours, but telling by their Web site, they offer a variety of specialized tours. After familiarizing myself with their offerings, I certainly plan to attend some of their events. Their site also features a free audio tour. Anyone who wants to check out some interesting sites on their own need only print out the map and call a phone number for the audio tour.

Forgotten Buffalo offers a more quirky selection of tours. Events include historic bar crawls, neighborhood visits, and Irish Buffalo tours. A Polish princess myself, I can't help but be intrigued by the Polonia Pride tour.

Best Buffalo Tours seem to offer mostly mafia-themed tour events, which could certainly be interesting.

The tours and walks guided by Mason Winfield are definitely for thrill seekers! They offer ghost walks in various areas of Buffalo as well as some of the surrounding towns. In a city as old as this one I'm sure there are plenty of great ghost stories to be heard. In the past, they've done a haunted pub crawl through Allentown. I'm hoping to attend that event this Halloween season!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Where doing nothing is a productive way to spend a day

Sir John Lubbock said "Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes in the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky is hardly a waste of time." Words to live by! Though I have tried to use my time this summer to take advantage of all there is do in Buffalo, I have definitely spent some wonderful hours doing absolutely nothing at all.

There are plenty of places to sit and do nothing while enjoying the summer weather in and around Buffalo. My spot of choice is Crystal Beach, Canada. Some call it Bay Beach, or Point Abino, but it's still the bay and beach area surrounding what used to be the Crystal Beach amusement park. Now, it's a beach town where people go to relax and enjoy the summer weather. It's a favorite getaway not only for Buffalonians, but also people from the Greater Toronto Area as well as all over North America.

I have been lucky enough to spend most of my summers at the beach. When I was very young, my parents would rent a cottage just for a week. One week turned into two weeks, which became a month, and eventually they bought a cottage and we stayed for the entire summer. Friends back home in the city would ask what I did all summer. I honestly don't know what my friends and I did for all those hours. I'm sure it was a whole lot of nothing, but I don't remember ever being bored. It was on that beach where I learned to enjoy the simple things like a perfect seashell, or a shooting star. I know how to take a time out from reality and city life to enjoy life for a moment.

Our cottage isn't waterfront (what do you think I am, rich?!) so we had private beach access as members of the Bay Beach Club. We are still members and still spend summer days on the beach there with some of our closest friends. It's a lifestyle none of us have been able to outgrow. There is also the public beach, where day visitors can go to escape the heat. The Friends of Crystal Beach are a group of townspeople, summer residents and other supporters who are currently fighting a developer's plans to build 12-story condo on the public beach. The bay is also home to the beautiful historic Point Abino Lighthouse, as well as the Buffalo Canoe Club, Buffalo Yacht Club, and other boating clubs, and beach access locations.

Whether it's relaxing on the beach all day walking with friends and going for boat rides, or enjoying the company of friends and family on the deck, I have a place where I can go and feel like time doing nothing is time well spent.
For those of you who don't yet have a favorite place to sit and do nothing, I'll gladly share mine with you.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Secret Gardens of Buffalo

Ever since I was little girl, I've been fascinated by Frances Hodgson Burnett's story of The Secret Garden. In it, a girl discovers a beautiful garden hidden in the middle of her sad and lonely life. Tending to the garden helps her and the damaged people around her to grow and heal.

I've always wanted to discover my own secret garden: a place filled with beautiful flowers that was hidden from the outside world. Today, during Garden Walk Buffalo, I was able to do that.

This year's Garden Walk Buffalo was part of the first annual National Garden Festival. Gardening organizations from the Buffalo Niagara region have come together to create the festival, which consists of five weeks of garden walks, tours, and other events taking place throughout the summer. Visitors have come to Western New York from all over the globe to visit the gardens in what has been called "America's best event of it's kind."

Today I participated in the free festival during the Garden Walk Buffalo. This walk is a self-guided tour that takes place on Buffalo's West side, in the area between Delaware Park and downtown Buffalo. I visited some of Buffalo's beautiful historic neighborhoods and discovered gardens that I would have never imagined could be hidden in them. Behind small cottages were breathtaking sanctuaries filled with gorgeous beds of colorful flowers, peaceful fountains, and beautiful artwork. The painstaking work of the owners results in gardens so lovely that visitors are whisked away to places they thought only existed in storybooks.

I was delighted to be able to discover these secret gardens for myself. I hope to someday have a garden of my own that is even half as beautiful as some of the ones I saw today. In the mean time, the Garden Walk Buffalo helped me to live out a little childhood fantasy of mine. Though this weekend marked the end of the  festival, there are additional garden-related events taking place in Buffalo later this summer.

National Garden Festival - Events Calendar
Urban Roots Buffalo - Events Calendar
Buffalo Botanical Gardens - Events Calendar

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tuesday Nights

Tuesday nights in Buffalo mean it's time for one of my favorite Buffalo Summer events: Bidwell concerts. Apparently, the official name is The Elmwood Village Picnic in the Parkway Summer Concert Series. Every week, the people of Buffalo bring their folding chairs and their picnics over to the parkway to enjoy music and eachother's company. I go with some of my closest friends. We each bring a bottle of wine, and a summer salad or fancy cheese, and we visit. We people watch. We dance. The Elmwood Village Association always brings in some really talented musicians, and this week was no different. N'Dias kept the whole crowd moving with their dynamic African drum rhythms. What could be better than good music, good friends, and good wine? Everyone can enjoy the event. There are always families with young children, senior citizens dancing together under the trees, and adolescents hanging out without getting into trouble. I can't think of a better way to spend an evening. Unfortunately there are only a few weeks of the 2010 season remaining. The shows run through August 10. I hope to see you there!

Sometimes my friends and I finish the night at McGarrett's bar on Elmwood and Bidwell, right across from the concert location. Tuesday is "2 for 1" night at the bar. They have some great microbrews on tap and a good selection of bottles as well. You can't beat the two-for-one prices! The place has gone through some name changes over the years, but is probably still most well-known as the "no name." It's a great bar for just hanging out with friends in a casual setting, and a nice way to end a perfect Tuesday evening on Bidwell.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Square, The Taste, and Shakespeare, oh my!

Last weekend was definitely a busy one. As I've said before, there are dozens of things to do on any given day, and I'm really enjoying trying to hit as many of them as I can.

The weekend started with another Buffalo favorite, Thursday at the Square. Since 1986, Buffalonians have enjoyed this free concert series which takes place in Lafayette Square, downtown Buffalo. Some of my personal favorite shows ever have been at the Square. The music is always great and there always an abundance of positive energy and Buffalo pride that flows freely through the crowd. Thursdays at the Square are produced by Buffalo Place, the same group that does the Buffalo Rocks the Harbor series. This week's act was Ozomatli, a Latin/funk/hip-hop group from L.A. I knew I had to be ready to shake my groove thang, and shake it I did! The high-energy performance from the band had me and the rest of the crowd dancing in spite of the overwhelming heat. The series runs through August 12 and I encourage anyone who's never been, or who hasn't gone in a while to check it out!

I started my Saturday with another trip to the Bidwell farmers market, and from there headed downtown. On my walk from my car to Niagara Square, I was delighted to stumble upon the Buffalo Book Fair. I'm a big fan of books in general so I stopped and walked around the fair for a little while. There were bookselller tents at which I was tempted to spend all of my money. The fair also featured book signings, seminars, readings, and workshops. From there we walked the few blocks to Niagara Square for the Taste of Buffalo.

The Taste of Buffalo started in 1984 and has become the largest two-day food festival in the country. When I was in L.A. I bragged about how great the food in Buffalo is. The people who come from all over the country just to sample it at "The Taste" are proof of that! The event features all kinds of demos, workshops, and even live music, but I only go to do one thing: eat! There's always a huge variety of food so even picky eaters can find something to enjoy. I myself am a pescetarian (I eat fish, but no meat) and there were still plenty of options for me to stuff my face with! Some of my favorite dishes were the Saag Channa from Tandoori's (I have a thing for Indian food - YUM!) and the watermelon sorbet from Sweet Melody's - it was just the right amount of watermelon flavor without being too sweet, and the little chocolate chips were a great treat. A little shout out goes out to my friends at Bing's restaurant. Their artichokes gratinee won the award for best vegetarian dish. Congrats guys! You can sample the dish at the Italian Festival - going on now through the end of the weekend!

After the Taste, I decided to check out the Really Really Free Market. My brother and I had some old CDs to unload and we were interested to see if there would be anything worth picking up. Let's just say the market was a little disappointing. The items weren't even on tables. Rather, they were scattered across the overgrown lawn. Unfortunately the event seemed really unorganized. I have nothing against hippies, and I support any group that encourages the community to recycle, but in all honesty this "market" seemed to be little more than a bunch of dirty hippies trying to score some free stuff. Get it together, guys! Clean some of your junk before you donate it, get a table, and take a shower.

Finally on Saturday evening, some friends and I headed to Delaware Park to catch a performance of Shakespeare in the Park. Only New York City can boast a bigger (in terms of attendance) outdoor Shakespeare festival. The performances began in 1976 and take place on what has come to be called "Shakespeare hill" next to the rose gardens of Buffalo's Delaware Park. Last weekend marked the end of the first play of the summer, Much Ado About Nothing. This production of the play was set post-World War II, and featured some of the music of that era. I was surprised by the wide age range of the audience. Even groups of high school-aged kids seemed to be enjoying themselves. Audience members are encouraged to bring chairs, and picnics, and did I mention it's a completely free event?! The next production (An all-female performance of Macbeth) starts on July 22 and runs through August 15. I should mention that even though the event is free, attendees are asked to make donations during intermission, which I encourage everyone to do in order to keep this great Buffalo tradition alive!

Unfortunately for me, Shakespeare hill is the last place I remember having my camera, so the pictures I have were taken on my iphone.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Citybration Weekend!

I adore farmers markets. There's just something about home-made specialty breads, and fresh produce and the people who work hard to bring it to me. It makes me sublimely happy and tastes so much better than anything you'll find at the grocery store (even Wegmans!) So, last Saturday I headed to the farmers market on Bidwell, where my brother and I quickly devoured a pint of fresh raspberries. 

Happily, last weekend was also Citybration; a weekend-long series of events designed to encourage Buffalonians, ex-pats, and tourists to celebrate Buffalo. As a part of Citybration, Bidwell Parkway was host not only to the weekly farmers market, but also to this season's Indie Market. I was impressed by the great turnout in spite of the damp weather. I knew Buffalo was full of talent, but even I was surprised and delighted to discover some of the beautiful things created by the talented artisans at the market. These talented individuals include my dear friends the Jacobis, and their vintage Buffalo t-shirt designs. The Queen City Shirt Company pays homage to Buffalo's past with designs including the Iroquois Beer logo, Courier Express newspaper masthead, and lots of other great designs. I encourage anyone with Buffalo pride to visit them at their next event, or check them out on facebook.

I have been wanting to check out the Western New York Book Arts Collaborative since I read about the center's opening last spring. One of my favorite classes in school was printmaking, and I've always wanted to continue working in that medium. When I found out that the WNYBAC was participating in Citybration weekend, I finally went to check the place out. I was not disappointed. The center is in a beautiful space downtown and serves as a studio for local artists as well as gallery space for members. They also sell materials and member work including bound books, and prints. What I'm most excited about, however, is the full schedule of classes and workshops. I'm looking forward to getting a little refresher in linoleum printing as well as learning the art of bookbinding! Classes are relatively inexpensive and materials are provided.


I finished up my day at the Buffalo Place Rocks the Harbor concert. (Last week's headliners were Donna the Buffalo, and Moe.) I haven't been to one of these shows since they moved from the old location years ago and I have to say that it is such a gorgeous spot! The backdrop of the water and commercial slip on one side and the cityscape on the other is lovely, and the long stretch of land is perfect for a big crowd to spread out. Summer in Buffalo means a lot of really great live music, and this is one of the cheap options in a fantastic venue.

This weekend is the annual Taste of Buffalo festival. If you're in town, don't forget to check it out!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Festivals Galore, and The Olmsted Parks

Buffalo is a city that knows how to take advantage of summer! There are a dozen things to do on any given day. One could fill up their entire schedule with just festivals and still miss at least half of them! Here is a list of all the festivals happening around Buffalo this summer.

Festival Guide

I've already missed a few of my favorites, but I will definitely be hitting some of these over the next few months!

I spent some time over the past few days enjoying Delaware Park. As most Buffalonians know, it is part of a system of parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted - the same man who created Manhattan's Central Park. The park was built during the 1870s and is, I believe, one of the most beautiful parks in the country.

On Fathers' Day, my brother and I went for a walk with Dad around Hoyt Lake and the Western half of the park. We took some photos around the Japanese gardens, and the rose gardens.

On the edges of the lake are the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Buffalo Historical Society, both of which I plan to revisit this summer. The buildings themselves are beautiful examples of Buffalo's architecture.

Yesterday I walked over to get some exercise around the other half of the park. The eastern side of the park used to be referred to as "Meadow Park." It's the home of yet another stop on my list for this summer: the Buffalo Zoo.

Interested in checking out Delaware Park or one of Buffalo's other beautiful Olmsted parks? Check out the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy Web site.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Goodbye co-workers, Purging myself of material possessions, and a side of Buffalo camaraderie

Yesterday was my last day at work. I can recall maybe a few times in my life when I felt so appreciated. They threw me a party (two, if you count the group at happy hour after work) and showered me with kind words, support, and well wishes. I was working with a really incredible group of people who made my days really fun, even when we were super stressed and busy. I liked my job and I think I was pretty good at it. I don't have anything lined up yet for when I get to Buffalo. I can only hope to find a job that I enjoy as much. I'd be lucky to work with people who are half as friendly or creative as those who I have had the pleasure of working with these past 7 months.

I had my moving sale today. I can't believe how much stuff I've accumulated in the year and a half since I got to California! Luckily today was pretty successful and I was able to unload a lot of it (including my bed, which is getting picked up on Monday. Guess I'll be sleeping on the couch for the week!) It does feel kind of liberating to sell off so many of my possessions. The fact that I didn't hesitate to part with any of it makes me wonder why I bought most of it in the first place.

One of my sale signs said "Moving Back to Buffalo." It was spotted by a guy who happened to also be from Buffalo who was driving by on his way to the beach. He yelled to me from the moving car, and had his friend turn around and come back just so we could talk about Buffalo. There's such a strong sense camaraderie between people from Buffalo; it's one of the things I've missed most about home. We're a community that sticks together and supports one-another. I'm looking forward to feeling like a part of that again.

I'm missing some of my favorite Buffalo events this weekend:
The Buffalo Gay Pride Parade, and The Buffalo Greek Festival (mmm, baklavah!)
I guess I should have made this spur-of-the-moment life decision a little bit earlier. Guess I'll have to wait and write about those events next year.