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Staycation: Summer Vacation Destinations Close to Home

Pierce Arrow Museum

Pierce Arrow Museum

It’s that time of year again: summer vacation. Unfortunately for many of us, due to finances, work, school, kids, or just an overall lack of free time, the ‘vacation’ part of summer may not fit into the equation. Luckily, Western and Upstate New York, our own backyard, is a vacation destination. Yes, from outdoorsy activities to beach spots to grandiose mansions and castles, ingredients for relaxation, thrills and fun are all around us.  So, have a staycation: here are some cool ideas outside of the typical tourist destinations to feed your wanderlust.  Some destinations can be a weekend trip, a day trip or even a half day trip.

In addition to several features in this week’s this week’s print edition, we will be posting near by destinations and day trip ideas here on Artvoice Daily over the course of the week, starting with these picks less than an hour from the city, care of Artvoice Staffer Kellie Coppola. To view all of the other posts as they are added, click here.


Pierce Arrow Museum


263 Michigan Ave. Buffalo, NY 14203 / 716-­853-­0084

Hours Thursday­Sunday 11 a.m.­ 4 p.m.

Guided tours are available for $20 per person.

It’s that little red building with the big sign on Michigan Avenue that you pass every time on your way to Chef’s and wonder what there is to see inside, and why it’s relevant. Make the stop, you’ll find that it’s more than worth the trip (and very relevant). Discover lesser known aspects of Buffalo history at a locally owned non­profit museum that displays antique vehicles from Buffalo area motor companies such as Pierce­Arrow and the E.R. Thomas Motor Company. Also see a display of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for an innovative filling station that was never made for use. For information on tours, banquet and event hosting, see website.


West Side Bazaar

Address: 25 Grant St., Buffalo NY, 14213 / 716-­464-­6389 /

Take your taste buds on a vacation without a plane ticket or hotel reservations. Created by the Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI), an organization working for economic development and community cooperation in Buffalo’s West Side, the West Side Bazaar is a place to experience rich ethnic diversity in a central gathering place. Try cuisine from all over the world and purchase unique gifts while supporting the community in a vibrant atmosphere. More information and hours of operation are available on the website.


Baehre SwampGreat Baehre Swamp

General location directions: Route 78 North (Transit Road) to Klein Road (west) and then north on Hopkins Road Amherst, NY 14221. Destination is adjacent to the Amherst Conservation Park.

Can’t make it to the Everglades? No worries, Amherst has it’s very own 270 acre wetland area perfect for hiking, biking and looking for wildlife. Travel along the boardwalk and keep an eye out for beavers, muskrats, birds of prey and various amphibians.


Asa Ransom House Bed and Breakfast

10529 Main St. (NY Rt. 5) Clarence/Buffalo, NY 14031 / 716-759-2315

Voted number one Bed and Breakfast in the “Best of Buffalo” survey, the Asa Ransom house is a quaint place to call home not so far away from home, even if only for an evening or two. Let innkeeper Robert Lenz and his pal, golden retriever George welcome you into their home, former 19th century grist mill turned relaxing and homey staycation spot. Rooms replete with warmth and 19th century charm and the historic library and herb garden are the perfect places to relax and unwind. Treat yourself to tea in the Ransom Room, summer concerts in the garden, or dinner theatre in the dining room (closed July and August). Sneak off the grounds to go on a treasure hunt through the streets of Clarence, “the antique capital of Western New York.”


East Aurora


Village Hall — 571 Main St., East Aurora, NY 14052 / 716-­652-­6000

About 25 minutes from Buffalo

Just Southeast of Buffalo neighboring Orchard Park, West Seneca and Hamburg, the village of East Aurora is a cosy community with plenty of history. East Aurora is home to former President Millard Fillmore, the Roycroft Movement and Fisher Price toy company, not to mention the many charming shops, streets and eateries. Whether you explore for a day or stay the night at a local bed and breakfast, East Aurora has plenty of attractions as well as events going on all summer. Four additional notable East Aurora attractions follow:


Roycroft Campus

Roycrofters at Large Association, 1054 Olean Rd. East Aurora, New York 14052 / 716-655-7252 /

Walk in the footsteps of artisans past and present around this historical artist community, created by Elbert Hubbard prominent leader of the Arts and Crafts movement. The campus is kept alive today by registered Roycrofters at Large association artists, merchants and traveling museum exhibits that create and showcase pieces in the signature Arts and Crafts style. Spend a night at the Roycroft Inn and visit the Elbert Hubbard Roycroft Museum for more information about Hubbard’s legacy.


Elbert Hubbard Roycroft Museum

363 Oakwood Ave. East Aurora, New York 14052

hours: Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday, 1­4 p.m. from June 1­ October 31

A guided tour of the Elbert Hubbard Roycroft Museum will provide interesting information on Elbert Hubbard and his legacy in the Arts and Crafts movement. For more information about the museum and on scheduling a private tour, call 716-­652-­4735. 


Millard FilmoreMillard Fillmore House Museum­fillmore-presidential­site

24 Shearer Ave. East Aurora, NY 14052

hours: Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, June – October. Tours begin at 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30 and 3 p.m.

$10 per person, Ages 13­-18: $5, 12 and younger: free

See the rooms in which the president ate, slept, and raised a family through a guided, docent led tour. Tours last approximately one hour. Combination Ticket (also includes the Elbert Hubbard Roycroft Museum) are $15. Special tours are available. Call 716­-652­-4735 for more information.


Explore and More Museum

300 Gleed Ave. East Aurora, NY 14052 / 716-­655-­5131

Wednesday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m, First Friday of the Month 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Adults & children ages 1 & up: $5, Children under age 1: free

Need a day staycation with the little ones? Explore and More family Museum is geared for ages 1­-10 and has lots of activities, interactive exhibits and special events to keep them entertained and engaged as they learn in a fun atmosphere. Keep an eye out for their new, larger location at Canalside.


Niagara Wine trailNiagara Wine Trail

Niagara, Orleans and Monroe Counties, Lockport, NY 14094

Visit one, two, or 22 wineries in your own backyard! Western New York’s unique climate and soil makes it the perfect location for wineries such as Honeymoon Trail, Midnight Run and Black Willow to prosper. Visit the website for information on trip planning, accommodations and special events that are definitely worth the trek (cough cough the Niagara Wine and Culinary Festival on July 25­26 in Lewiston!). Even if wine isn’t your thing, the Niagara Wine Trail features many distilleries, breweries, farmer’s markets and local shopping.